grilled chicken
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How to Cook Grilled Chicken That Isn’t Boring

Editor
Make flavorful, juicy chicken every time
grilled chicken
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With the right techniques, you'll never eat a dull meal again.

Summer is the perfect time for grilling. Burgers, hot dogs, grilled corn… For nights when you want something a little lighter, grilled chicken can be a nice reprieve from all the processed meat and beef. And summer barbecues aside, grilled chicken is an inexpensive, simple dinner dish that can be ready in mere minutes. But you might be getting bored with the same dry, bland grilled chicken breasts for every weeknight dinner. Well, if you’re making grilled chicken the right way and not making any dire mistakes, you should never have to endure a meal of boring grilled chicken.

There are a few tried and true methods to making grilled chicken taste juicy and delicious. We’ll walk you through each one and give you some sweet, savory and seriously good recipes, so you never have to suffer a boring grilled chicken dinner again.

Season smartly

Season smartly
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Too many home cooks are afraid of salt and experimenting with seasonings. Add more salt and more spices than you think you need — you’re probably underestimating.

Brine your bird

Brine your bird
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If you aren’t brining your chicken, you’re missing out. Brining before cooking helps to ensure you cook a juicy, tender piece of meat. You can use a dry brine or a wet brine, depending on how much time you have. A dry brine is quicker, while a wet brine is typically left overnight. A classic wet brine is done by immersing chicken in salt dissolved in water. However, you can add other things to your brine, as well. This recipe, for instance, brines chicken in Earl Grey tea. When grilling chicken, though, you want to make sure the bird is fully dry before you put it on the grill. Forgetting to pat chicken dry is a common cooking mistake that could cost you.

Add lemon

Add lemon
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A little lemon goes a long way — and the citrus fruit complements chicken quite nicely. Adding lemon to a basic cut of chicken can turn boring chicken into something you’re excited to eat. Not sure how to use it? Here are a few recipes that use lemon to spark your imagination.

Lemon-Caper Grilled Chicken

Lemon-Caper Grilled Chicken
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This recipe uses the salty addition of capers to class up a basic cut of chicken breast. All you need is lemon, a few spices and some capers to seriously elevate a quick chicken dinner into something fantastic.

Click here for the Lemon-Caper Grilled Chicken recipe.

Whole Grilled Chicken With Citrus Butter

Recipe: Whole Grilled Chicken With Citrus Butter
Billy Parisi

This zesty recipe pairs the zing of lemon with an array of spicy flavors. Chili powder and a cilantro-filled avocado sauce add flair to this delightful grilled chicken recipe.

Click here for the Whole Grilled Chicken With Citrus Butter recipe.

Use a marinade

Use a marinade
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You really can’t go wrong with a marinade. To marinate chicken, you simply need to soak the cuts of chicken in a mixture of spices and sauces. The flavor seeps into the meat as it marinates and transforms the flavor once you cook it. There are a myriad of marinades you can try. Experiment a little! Though you would typically stick to this simple formula: one acidic ingredient (lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar, for example), a fatty ingredient (such as an oil), seasonings and some additional ingredients to zest things up. Here are a few recipes that use a marinade to get your creative juices flowing.

Easy Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

Recipe: Easy Mediterranean Grilled Chicken
Perdue Chicken

This simple Mediterranean whole chicken recipe uses a marinade of oregano and chopped garlic along with salt, pepper and lemon. Adding oregano gives it that extra bit of flavor with hardly any extra effort.

Click here for the Easy Mediterranean Grilled Chicken recipe.

Flash-Grilled Chicken Breasts With Orange-Maple Syrup Sauce

Recipe: Flash-Grilled Chicken Breasts With Orange-Maple Syrup Sauce
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This marinade uses orange, orange zest and maple syrup to add some pizzazz to the chicken before it’s thrown on the grill. Use these strips of chicken in a citrusy salad or eat them with a side of sweet potatoes for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Click here for the Flash-Grilled Chicken Breasts With Orange-Maple Syrup Sauce recipe.

Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken

Recipe: Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken
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One of the more commonly used marinades is an Italian-style one. It’s super easy because all you really need are some spices and a bottle of Italian dressing. Zero creativity or effort required — and the results don’t disappoint.

Click here for the Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken recipe.

Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers

Recipe: Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers
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Making chicken skewers is a good way to switch things up and make your basic grilled chicken more fun to eat. You can add whatever you want to the skewers with the chicken, too. Mushrooms, peppers, pinapple… Whatever you have on hand. The marinade in this recipe is made with tare sauce, a Japanese dipping sauce used for grilled recipes and sushi.

Click here for the Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers recipe.

Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers

Recipe: Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers
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These chicken skewers are made with a dense marinade and then topped with a coconut peanut sauce — they’re the opposite of boring. You only need to marinate them for around an hour, but it’s recommended to let them sit longer. The longer they marinate, the deeper the flavor profile you end up with.

Click here for the Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers recipe.

Spicy Greek Yogurt and Lime Marinated Chicken

Recipe: Spicy Greek Yogurt and Lime Marinated Chicken
Lauren Atkins

Using habanero powder really spices things up with this quick and healthy recipe. The marinade uses Greek yogurt to cool things down and then kicks up the heat with paprika, lime and habanero. Dip the spicy chicken pieces in Greek yogurt for a refreshing, tasty dish.

Click here for the Spicy Greek Yogurt and Lime Marinated Chicken recipe.

Grilled Orange-Ginger Chicken

Recipe: Grilled Orange-Ginger Chicken
McCormick

This Asian-inspired marinade goes great with chicken, but works well with other protein sources such as flank steak, pork tenderloin and probably even tofu. 

Click here for the Grilled Orange-Ginger Chicken recipe.

Grilled Moroccan Spice Chicken

Recipe: Grilled Moroccan Spice Chicken
McCormick

Mix things up with this Moroccan-style recipe. Save time by massaging the marinade into the chicken instead of letting it sit for longer in the refrigerator. With this recipe of strong, aromatic spices, it still works just fine.

Click here for the Grilled Moroccan Spice Chicken recipe.

Make a sauce

Make a sauce
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Whatever boredom isn’t resolved before cooking can easily be cured after — by adding sauce. Whether it’s a dipping sauce or a sauce you pour over your chicken, any creamy or spicy sauce recipe can take your grilled chicken to another level. Here are a few you might enjoy.

Grilled Chicken With Alabama White Sauce

Recipe: Grilled Chicken With Alabama White Sauce
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The grilled chicken in this recipe is super simple — it’s not until the tangy, peppery sauce is added that things really heat up. Alabama white sauce is a unique regional style and one of the only mayonnaise-based barbecue sauces. Use it for dipping or pour it over your plate.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken With Alabama White Sauce recipe.

Ginger Garlic Asian Grilled Chicken

Recipe: Ginger Garlic Asian Grilled Chicken
Perdue Chicken

This recipe makes for a quick and healthy meal that’s far from boring. Ginger and garlic add lots of flavor to otherwise basic chicken and vegetables, and both ingredients are actually really good for you, too. Use the sherry-based sauce liberally and serve with rice for a complete meal.

Click here for the Ginger Garlic Asian Grilled Chicken recipe.

Grilled Chicken Wings With Jalapeño Barbecue Sauce

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Wings With Jalapeño Barbecue Sauce
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Turn up the heat with a spicy wing sauce that only takes 10 minutes to make. Eat these fiery grilled chicken wings as an appetizer on game day or as part of your dinner on any day.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken Wings With Jalapeño Barbecue Sauce recipe.

Grilled Chicken With Almond and Raspberry Relish

Recipe: Grilled Chicken With Almond and Raspberry Relish
California Almonds

This sweet, simple relish is the perfect thing to try when you get bored with your grilled chicken. It uses summer fruits and the satisfying crunch of almonds, introducing a nice blend of sweet and savory to your palate.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken With Almond and Raspberry Relish recipe.

Grilled Chicken With Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

Grilled Chicken With Mustard-Tarragon Sauce
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This creamy, Greek yogurt-based sauce is light, flavorful and refreshing. Unlike other creamy sauces, it doesn’t rely on mayonnaise, so you can use it more liberally.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken With Mustard-Tarragon Sauce recipe.

Grilled Chicken With Peach Barbecue Sauce

Recipe: Grilled Chicken With Peach Barbecue Sauce
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Add some Southern flair to your dinner table with this peach barbecue sauce recipe. The fruity, sweet sauce has a kick from the red pepper, but offers a great alternative to spicy sauces for those more wary of fiery barbecue.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken With Peach Barbecue Sauce recipe.

Grilled Chicken With Watermelon Barbecue Sauce

Recipe: Grilled Chicken With Watermelon Barbecue Sauce
Erika Monroe-Williams

This is the perfect grilled chicken recipe for summer. It’ll liven up any barbecue with the classic taste of watermelon and a light, refreshing side salad.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken With Watermelon Barbecue Sauce recipe.

Try smoking it

Try smoking it
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You might not think to smoke something you’re cooking on the grill, but the extra step adds a whole new layer of flavor. If you don’t own a smoker, there are ways to get around that. But the recipes below use a smoker to bring out the tender, robust flavor of grilled chicken.

Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings

Recipe: Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings
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You literally only need one ingredient to make these crazy good chicken wings. All the flavor comes from the cooking method. The recipe recommends you dip them in blue cheese, too, because why not?

Click here for the Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings recipe.

Smoked Chicken Wings

Smoked Chicken Wings
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If you’re ready to become the master of multiple cooking methods, this recipe is for you. These chicken wings are not only smoked, but they’re also brined, seasoned and paired with savory sauces. And did we mention they were grilled? Dang, these chicken wings truly couldn’t be any more perfect.

Click here for the Smoked Chicken Wings recipe.

Make it into a salad

Make it into a salad
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Some grilled chicken salads can be seriously sad. But if you know how to make a salad that doesn’t put you to sleep, grilled chicken salad can be the cure to your lunchtime boredom. Don’t stop at grilled chicken Caesar — though, some say it’s the perfect meal. Try adding fruit, seeds, grains and other out-of-the-box add-ins to your salad so you never eat a sad salad again.

Grilled Chicken Salad With Spiced Pecans, Gorgonzola and Peaches

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Salad With Spiced Pecans, Gorgonzola and Peaches
Thinkstock-ivanmateev

This salad is simple to make, but tastes far from basic. The spiced pecans add a little extra cook time, but the crunchy, satisfying topping is worth the effort. The soft peaches offset the crunch of the pecans and the chicken adds some much-desired protein to the mix. A Dijon-honey and balsamic vinaigrette tops this sweet salad perfectly.

Click here for the Grilled Chicken Salad With Spiced Pecans, Gorgonzola and Peaches recipe.

Thai Grilled Chicken Salad

Recipe: Thai Grilled Chicken Salad
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This salad takes something ordinary — a grilled chicken salad — and makes it out of the ordinary by taking inspiration from Thai food. The chicken is marinated in a spicy coconut marinade and fried shallots add a satisfying crunch.

Click here for the Thai Grilled Chicken Salad recipe.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
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And, of course, don’t discount the classic grilled chicken Caesar salad. It is the perfect meal, after all!

Click here for the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad recipe.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect
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If you make one bad batch of grilled chicken for dinner, don’t give up. The more experience you get cooking chicken, the better you’ll get at it. No matter the recipe you use, ensure you have a delicious grilled chicken that isn’t dry by relying on tried and true cooking techniques. Your chicken will get more and more tender and flavorful the better you learn to avoid making the same common grilled chicken cooking mistakes.

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