This is the BEST grilled chicken thighs recipe and so easy! Boneless skinless chicken thighs have never been more tender and full of fantastic flavor. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, no worries. You can substitute a mixture of crushed red pepper and paprika and it’s equally delicious.
Thick Greek yogurt tenderizes the chicken thighs. A smoky pepper and lemon-garlic combination infuses it with intense bright flavor. Aleppo pepper chicken comes off the grill golden, tender, flavorful, delicious.
This is one of the best chicken dishes I have ever tasted. I make these grilled chicken thighs all summer long and everyone at the table is always thrilled to have them. I especially love this recipe for when I’m entertaining or feeding a crowd because the prep is easy and you can do it all ahead of time.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
The real magic of this recipe is in the yogurt marinade. Yogurt is an ideal marinade base for beef and poultry. Any dairy – yogurt , milk, buttermilk – is an excellent tenderizer, partly because it is not very acidic. Acidic marinades can actually toughen meat.
According to Fine Cooking contributor Shirley Corriher, dairy products are the only marinades that truly tenderize. She goes on to explain that calcium seems to activate enzymes in the meat, causing the proteins to break down. I have to assume all that “breaking-down” makes way for the delicious flavors of pepper, lemon, and garlic to move in.
The marinade is a mix of yogurt, sliced lemons, smashed garlic cloves, tomato paste, vinegar, olive oil and spices. Mix it all together with the chicken and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
Aleppo Pepper is a wonderful spice. I discovered it on a trip to Istanbul and I fell I love with it. It’s fruity with a moderate level of heat, not as hot as crushed red pepper flakes and way more flavorful.
If you can’t find aleppo pepper, mix up equal amounts of crushed red pepper flakes and sweet paprika. I’ve done this on several occasion and the result is still the best grilled chicken thighs ever!
Flattening garlic is a really easy way to get the skin off. Using one hand, hold the clove down against the cutting board with the flat side of a broad knife. With the heel of your other hand, pound the knife, crunching down on the garlic. When you lift the knife the skin on the clove will be loose and you can just pull it off.
The Turks are credited with bringing yogurt to the world. The word “yogurt” comes from the Turkish word “Yogurt.” The invention of yogurt likely came about by chance, many centuries ago, in the process of trying to figure out how to store dairy products. Yogurt has always been an important ingredient in Turkish cuisine.
Here are a few more delicious Panning The Globe recipe with yogurt marinade:
- Spicy Yogurt-Marinated Turkey
- Indian Chicken Biryani
- Ras El Hanout Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Spicy Chicken Shawarma
GRILL THE CHICKEN
Turkish BBQ often involves threading the meat on a skewer before grilling – the kebab – and serving it with rice. Part of my love for this recipe is the ease of preparing it but if you want a more authentic presentation, you can cut the chicken and thread it onto skewers before grilling.
Preheat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Rub oil over the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 6 minutes per side.
Enjoy these amazing grilled chicken thighs and don’t forget to serve the grilled lemons and garlic alongside. They are delicious!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
Here are a few of my favorite Panning The Globe side dishes for grilling season:
- Out Of This World Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Raw Kale Salad with Honey Lemon and Parmesan
- Mediterranean Rice Salad
Here’s the recipe for Aleppo Pepper Chicken. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
Grilled Aleppo Pepper Chicken
The most tender and delicious grilled chicken thighs. Very easy and always a huge crowd pleaser.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Total Time: 22 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 3 tablespoons Aleppo pepper (crushed or flakes) or substitute Maras Pepper, or substitute 4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 4 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 2 cups plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt (16 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10–12 garlic cloves, flattened and skins removed
- 2 unpeeled lemons, sliced into thin rounds.
- 4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
- In a large bowl combine the 3 tablespoons Aleppo pepper with 2 tablespoons warm water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes for the water to be absorbed. (if using red pepper flakes and paprika, combine 4 teaspoons of each in the bowl with 4 tablespoons warm water)
- Add the next six ingredients to the bowl: Yogurt, oil, vinegar, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Next mix in the garlic and lemon slices. Add the chicken and stir to fully combine all ingredients.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour (and up to a day)
- Preheat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Rub oil over the grates. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken about 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
- Serve with grilled lemons and garlic. Enjoy!
Keywords: barbecued chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs, marinated grilled chicken thighs, grilled boneless chicken thighs
[This post was first published on September 26, 2012. It was updated on July 13th, 2018. It’s the same delicious recipe with new photos and added nutritional information.]