When it comes to grilling chicken, one of the most frequently asked questions is: How long does it take? The short answer is: it depends. Chicken isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of food, and the cooking time can vary based on the cut of meat, its thickness, and the temperature of your grill. However, on average, most chicken pieces will grill nicely at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-30 minutes. This is a general rule, but remember, safety first: The chicken should always reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Long Should You Grill Chicken Breasts?
Chicken breasts are a popular choice for grilling. They’re lean, healthy, and can be a blank canvas for a variety of flavors. Typically, you’ll want to grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes per side at 350 degrees. If you’re grilling bone-in chicken breasts, plan for roughly 10-12 minutes per side.
Keep in mind that these times are just estimates. The thickness of the chicken breast can affect cooking time, and it’s always wise to use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is cooked to the proper internal temperature.
How Long Does It Take Chicken Breasts to Cook in the Oven?
Now, what if the weather isn’t cooperating, or you simply prefer to cook indoors? No problem. You can also cook chicken breasts in the oven. When cooked at 350 degrees, boneless, skinless chicken breasts will typically be done in 20-25 minutes, while bone-in chicken breasts will need about 30-35 minutes.
Again, the thickness of the chicken breast and the accuracy of your oven temperature can affect cooking time. Using a meat thermometer will guarantee that your chicken is cooked safely and just right.
Tips for Grilling Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
One of the most common mistakes when grilling chicken breasts is overcooking. Chicken breasts are lean, which means they can dry out if cooked too long. To prevent this, keep a close eye on the cooking time and temperature.
Pound the Chicken to an Even Thickness
To ensure even cooking, consider pounding your chicken breast to an even thickness before grilling. This will prevent the thinner parts of the chicken from cooking faster than the thicker parts.
Let the Chicken Rest
After grilling, let the chicken rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the breast, resulting in a juicier piece of chicken.
Simple Steps for Grilled Chicken Breast
- Preheat your grill to medium heat, around 350 degrees.
- Prepare your chicken breasts by pounding them to an even thickness and applying your choice of marinade or seasoning.
- Place the chicken breasts on the grill over direct medium heat.
- Grill the chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
What is The Best Internal Temperature For Chicken?
The best internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F.
This temperature ensures that your chicken is cooked thoroughly, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Always use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone for the most accurate reading.
It’s also good to remember that chicken will continue to cook slightly after it’s removed from the heat, so if you’re close to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can pull it off the grill and let it rest for a few minutes.
Average Grilling Times for all Chicken Cuts
- Chicken breast, boneless, skinless: 6-8 minutes per side
- Chicken breast, bone-in: 10-12 minutes per side
- Leg or thigh, bone-in: 10-15 minutes per side
- Thigh, boneless, skinless: 6-8 minutes per side
- Chicken wings: 8-12 minutes per side
- Whole chicken: 1.5-2 hours at indirect medium heat
Are Marinades Important?
Marinades can significantly improve the flavor and texture of your grilled chicken. They help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. A good marinade usually contains acid, like vinegar or citrus juice, oil, and seasonings.
Chicken should be marinated for at least 30 minutes, but for a deeper flavor, marinating for a few hours or even overnight is better. Remember to always marinate in the refrigerator and never reuse marinade from raw chicken unless it’s boiled first to kill any bacteria.
Best Wine to Serve With Chicken
Pairing the right wine with your grilled chicken can enhance the dining experience, bringing out the flavors of both the food and the wine. Many people want to know which is a better choice, red or white wine with chicken? Here are three types of wine that pair beautifully with chicken.
Chardonnay is a versatile white wine that pairs well with grilled chicken. It’s known for its rich, buttery flavor, which complements the smoky, savory taste of the chicken. Particularly, an oaked Chardonnay can stand up to the bold flavors of barbecue or heavily seasoned chicken, while an unoaked Chardonnay is great with lightly seasoned or lemony chicken dishes.
Pinot Noir is a red wine that’s light enough to go with chicken, especially if you’re serving darker meat like thighs or drumsticks. It has a fruity, earthy flavor that complements the richness of the meat without overpowering it. Try it with grilled chicken that’s been seasoned with herbs, or with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.
Rosé is a fantastic choice for a summer barbecue and pairs exceptionally well with grilled chicken. Its bright, fruity flavors and crisp finish balance the smokiness of the grill. Whether your chicken is simply seasoned or slathered in a spicy sauce, there’s a rosé out there that will complement it perfectly.
Grilling Chicken to Perfection
Grilling chicken to perfection involves more than just throwing it on the grill. Here are some additional tips to help you achieve delicious grilled chicken every time.
Preheat Your Grill
It’s important to preheat your grill to the right temperature before you start cooking. For most chicken pieces, a medium heat of around 350 degrees is perfect.
Clean Your Grill
Clean your grill grates before you start cooking. This prevents the chicken from sticking and helps to achieve those desirable grill marks.
Oil the Grill
Lightly oil your grill grates before placing the chicken on them. This also helps to prevent sticking and promotes even cooking.
Don’t Move the Chicken Too Much
Let your chicken cook undisturbed for the right amount of time on each side. This ensures a good sear and keeps the juices locked in.
Use a Meat Thermometer
Always use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is cooked to the correct internal temperature. This is the safest and most reliable way to check if your chicken is done.
Grilling chicken is an art, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be a master in no time. Remember, the key to perfect grilled chicken is to cook it at the right temperature and for the right amount of time. Whether you’re grilling chicken breasts, thighs, or a whole bird, aim for a medium heat of around 350 degrees, and always ensure your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Keep in mind the average cooking times for different cuts, and don’t forget to factor in the thickness of the meat. Use a good marinade and your favorite seasonings to add flavor and tenderize the meat. And always let your chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful bite.
In conclusion, grilling chicken can seem intimidating at first. But with practice and by following these tips, you’ll be serving up perfectly grilled chicken at your next BBQ. Whether it’s a casual family dinner or a larger gathering, there’s nothing quite like the taste of delicious grilled chicken enjoyed in the great outdoors.
Claudia Faucher is a fitness trainer and lifestyle blogger, who recently started to pursue her other passions… Southern cooking and creating recipes.