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Asian-Inspired BBQ Chicken

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Think of this dish as Chicken Teriyaki with a South Asian flair, or India meets the other flavors of Asia.

Asian-Inspired BBQ Chicken

Flavored with soy sauce, ginger, lime, and garam masala (an Indian spice blend), this dish blends ingredients from all over Asia. It’s deliciously different, perfect for when you want to fire up the grill and elevate the usual cookout fare. Because of the sugar content in the marinade, the chicken gets gorgeously caramelized and charred on the grill.

For the chicken, you’ll need boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I know many people prefer chicken breasts, but I hope you’ll give the thighs a try here  — they’re juicier and more flavorful than boneless chicken breasts (not to mention more economical), which makes them a much better match for the bold flavors in this dish.

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Asian-Inspired BBQ Chicken

Think of this dish as Chicken Teriyaki with a South Asian flair, or India meets the other flavors of Asia.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least 3 hours to marinate the chicken


  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 2-3 limes
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • ¾ teaspoon Garam Masala (substitute curry powder if you can't find it)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don't like heat)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 scallions light and dark green parts only, thinly sliced


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken and scallions. Set ¼ cup of the marinade aside and cover (you'll use this later for the sauce), then place the rest in a zip-lock freezer bag with the chicken thighs. Be sure the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade, then place the bag in the refrigerator (in a bowl in case of leakage); let marinate for 3-4 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat.
  3. Grease the grill. (Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; then, using tongs, carefully rub the towels over the grates several times until glossy and coated.) Place the chicken on the grill; cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, then top with the reserved marinade and sliced scallions.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 653
  • Fat: 44g
  • Saturated fat: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Sugar: 21g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 39g
  • Sodium: 1536mg
  • Cholesterol: 222mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • That was so so good !

    White rice, fresh corn, the chicken, with the 1/4 of marinate on top was delicious ! Kind of a poke bowl ! So flavorful !

    The heat of cayenne was on perfection too, not too spicy!

    Thanks again !

    • — Karine on October 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wow-these were fabulous and easy.!
    Party worthy for friends! They’re perfect for entertaining on hot summer nights or for a quick meal! Just delicious-thank you Jen!

    • — Bonnie on July 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • So much flavor and very tender!!! I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Will definitely be making these again!

    • — Niki on May 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very tasty. Other than using my broiler instead of a grill, I followed the recipe exactly. I don’t care for thighs normally, but the marinade helped cover up the dark meat taste.

    • — Chris on April 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! I did use chicken tenderloins because that is what I had. Marinated the chicken about 2 1/2 hours. It was perfect cooked on the gas grill. Thank you Jenn for your delicious, easy to follow recipes!

    • — Cindy on April 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe, I’ve made this many times!

    • — Marie on April 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I am making this tomorrow. Because I already had a 1.7 lb. chicken half in the freezer, I am going to use that. I have the marinade made, since it has lime juice can I marinate it overnight to cook tomorrow evening?

    • — Karen Calanchini on March 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, I wouldn’t recommend it — the soy sauce in the marinade will make it too salty.

      • — Jenn on March 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • Another “why did I wait so long to try this” recipe! took advantage of milder day in February to fire up the grill. So glad I did. The thighs were nicely crisp on the outside; juicy and tender on the inside. We loved the balance of flavors and the slightest hint of heat from the cayenne pepper. Thanks Jenn for another fabulous (and easy) recipe.

    • — Kathie on February 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • My favorite grilled chicken recipe! Absolutely fantastic ❤️

    • — Cathy on December 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I am very interested in making this but can’t fathom a “no salt” recipe. How does that work given chicken’s blandness?

    • — Mitul Patel on December 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Mitul, The soy sauce adds plenty of salty flavor so I don’t think you’ll find it lacking in taste. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on December 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is the same recipe found in your newest cookbook—and that’s where I first saw it (under a different same)! Have made it a couple times and we love it. Seemed to really hit the spot last night as a “diversion” from typical holiday food. The accompanying cucumber/peanut salad is a must and a tad different from the one you suggest here. If you want to know the difference—buy the new cookbook!! It’s full of goodies!! (And no, I wasn’t paid to say that!!!!).

    • — Mindy on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💓

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • Made this along with cucumber salad that was recommended and steamed rice. Can’t wait to make again!

    • — Kimberly Miller on September 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • I really enjoyed this moist chicken thigh recipe. It was tasty and delicious. I had to use lemons. It probably lacked the tang of lime but, it was still very good. The Thai cucumber salad was really good. I had it for lunch and dinner the next day.

    • — laurie welsh on June 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • I saved this to my recipe box a while ago. Why, oh why, didn’t I try it sooner?? It’s delicious and easy!! I see myself making this quite a bit over the summer. Thanks for another winner 😊

    • — Alex S. on May 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • hi – do you think this recipe would translate to an oil-less fryer? I have the Char Broil big easy turkey fryer and I brine my birds before marinating them. I’ve had mixed results with the marinades I’ve used, though the Indian-inspired recipes have come out the best. Curious to hear if you think this one has a good shot at working for me!

    • — Fareed on February 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Fareed, I don’t have an air fryer and don’t know much about using one so it’s hard to say for sure – I’m sorry! You may find these tips helpful in converting traditional recipes to air fryer versions. Hope that helps at least a bit!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I have made this recipe in the past, marinating the chicken overnight and it was superb! Question is whether it would be okay to marinate for two days – just found out my company will be a day later than expected and I already put the chicken in to marinate…

    • Yep that’s fine 🙂

      • Another excellent recipe! My only question is can I do this with chicken breasts instead of thighs as my family doesn’t like brown meat, they find it too fatty. I made this recipe with thighs as I wanted to test it first with my family of 6 but would like to try with chicken breast instead. Thank you Jenn, I love your recipes.

        • Hi Lyne,, I think this would work with breasts but the lime juice in the marinade will make the chicken a little tough. You may want to use lime zest instead. Also I’d use the guidance in this recipe for cook time and pounding out the breasts. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • Best thigh marinade ever!
    It has perfect balance of flavours, amped up, completely elevating the chicken thighs (and disguising any less-than-desirable thigh attributes).
    Served it to my Indian grandfather last month and the pan juices were being spooned over the rice (I cooked them in the oven as I don’t have an electric grill).
    Thanks again for another unbeatable recipe

    • Hello, I am excited to try this recipe. My question is. Since I don’t have a grill. Can this be made in the oven? If so. What temperature? Thanks in advance

      • Sure. I’d broil them; cook time will be about the same. Enjoy!

  • Jenn,

    How would this be on salmon that you roast in the oven? Also, I’d love to see a traditional teriyaki sauce/marinade recipe!

    • Sure, I think this would work on salmon. (And I will keep your marinade request in mind!) 🙂

      • Hi Jenn. This recipe is pretty much the same as Gordon Ramsay’s teriyaki salmon recipe without the garam masala and cayenne (which are great additions). I’d suggest your reader just hold those back and you’re set. All that changes is the balance – perhaps some black pepper for warmth rather than heat. Cheers.

  • This is amazing, but why wouldn’t it be because Jenn Segals recipes are ALWAYS a hit! Highly recommend this dish, it was so easy to do and the trick with the oil on paper towels on the grill worked like a charm, they didn’t stick into the grill. Thank you Jenn 💕

  • This recipe looks great. I plan to make it in the oven. I don’t have sesame oil- what can I substitute that with?

    • Hi Debbie, you can just use more vegetable oil. Hope you enjoy!

  • Excellent recipe! I’ve made this many times because it’s easy enough that it doesn’t take up a bunch of time but it’s also a step up from grilled chicken with just salt and pepper seasoning. I often broil if I don’t have time to task hubby to grill the chicken and it turns out just as well. (Top shelf, high broil, same number of minutes as grilling.)

  • So delicious – the smell and taste of the marinade is divine. Made it with Thai Cucumber Salad, and my own egg fried rice and sesame green beans. Restaurant quality meal!

    • How do you make egg fried rice?

      Also, can I use lemons instead of hard to get limes?

      • — Laurie Welsh on June 15, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Laurie, I don’t have a recipe specifically for egg fried rice, but have two other ones that you may want to check out — Cauliflower Fried Rice and Pork Fried Rice. And lemons will add a different flavor to the chicken, but they will work. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on June 16, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hello Jen, how do you do it, another delicious and easy recipe. I used the toaster oven grill and had perfect results. Thank you so much.

  • This was delicious. Made it exactly as described. Reserving a portion of the marinade to baste the chicken worked very well. Served it with a side of asian noodles.

    • — Alistair Macleod
    • Reply
  • My entire family loved this chicken! Such great flavor and so easy to prep and cook. Definitely a keeper in our dinner rotation!

  • Is the marinade supposed to be watery? Mine was and my chicken was pale, no kind of “sauce” on it. Where do you think I could have gone wrong? Is there a point I’m supposed to reduce it?

    • Hi Ann, Sorry you had a problem with this! The marinade doesn’t need to be reduced and the chicken should get nice color. Did you make any adjustments to the recipe?

  • This was AMAZING! Made this for my boyfriend and I and he couldn’t stop raving about it. He said this has to be our new go – to chicken. He ate all of it and only left me two small pieces because he felt bad I didn’t eat any…but he said he would’ve eaten them all. Thank you!

  • This is a regular meal in our home. It works well for a week night meal, but is delicious enough for company. I usually serve it with cauliflower fried rice (although often I sub out half the cauliflower for steamed rice; then you REALLY can’t tell that you’re eating cauliflower).

    Thank you for so many fabulous recipes, Jenn!

  • HI JENN — our grill isn’t working. How would you suggest cooking these in the oven?


    • Hi Eve, I’d broil them; cook time will be about the same. Enjoy!

  • I had trouble flipping the chicken this time even after I had oiled the grates. It’s possible this is due to the fact that thighs are juicier and this gives them more of a reason to stick. Anyone else have this problem?

    Anyway, it still turned out great. Amazing flavor. I’m now no longer afraid of chicken thighs!

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