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Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Sweet & Sour Orange Dipping Sauce


Serves 4-6

Chicken thighs offer all the benefits of boneless, skinless chicken breasts—convenience and fast cooking—without the tendency to turn tasteless and dry, thanks to their slightly higher fat content. The hearty flavor of thighs and their ability to stay juicy on the grill is sure to win over anyone who claims to be dark-meat averse. This recipe can easily work for kebabs (see variation), as chicken thighs lend themselves to kebabs, which make a nice change of pace on the grill.

  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil; more for the grill
  • 2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 large, 10 medium, or 12 small), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

In a small bowl, mix the 1 Tbs. rosemary with the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. In a shallow pan, drizzle the oil over the chicken and toss to coat. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the rosemary mixture.

Warm the marmalade, vinegar, and remaining 1 tsp. rosemary in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm; set aside in a warm spot.

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill with all burners on medium high for 10 min. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked paper towel. Put the chicken on the grate and grill (covered on a gas grill or uncovered over a charcoal fire) until one side has dark grill marks, 5 to 6 min. for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through, 5 to 6 min. longer for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs.

Move the thighs to a platter and let rest 4 to 5 min. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with individual bowls of warm marmalade dipping sauce.


To prepare as kebabs: Trim the thighs and then slice them lengthwise into 1-1/2- to 2-inch-wide strips. Toss with the flavorings; then thread the chicken onto six 8- or 12-inch skewers (soak wood skewers in water for at least 20 min. first), folding each strip in half as you skewer it. If some strips are very thick, cut them in half crosswise rather than folding them so that all the pieces of chicken are roughly the same size. Grill the kebabs, turning them every 4 to 5 min. as dark grill marks form, until cooked through, 12 to 15 min. total

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : with 2 Tbs. sauce per serving, Calories (kcal): 380, Fat (kcal): 19, Fat Calories (g): 170, Saturated Fat (g): 4.5, Protein (g): 34, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7, Carbohydrates (mg): 19, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 5, Sodium (g): 500, Cholesterol (g): 125, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I had all the ingredients to make the chicken thighs but unfortunately did not have the makings for the dipping sauce. As usual I ran to the market without my list which was on the counter when I got home. It was mocking me along with the toaster! I cooked them using the kabob variation and was very pleased with the results. I did use 1 + 1/2 seasoning for the thighs as I like a lot of flavor and with the smaller pieces seemed to need more to cover. I will definitely make again!

Great recipe, and very easy to prepare ahead of time. It's awesome with semi-boneless quail also, if you have it available to you.

This was delicious, and super easy to boot! Definitely will make it all summer. I used both breast and thigh and they were equally tender and very flavorful. I let the chicken marinate in the rub for about an hour while making sides which worked out great but wouldn't go longer as the salt in the rub might affect the texture of the chicken. I served it with coconut rice and some oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower. I made extra to freeze for lunch but they were all eaten! The dipping sauce was just ok and seemed unnecessary.

This was a fine recipe, the mods I made were as follows: 1, sub veg oil for coconut oil 5⭐ 2, sub rice vinegar, 3⭐ made it sweeter, sauce sweet enough alone. 3, full bonless thighs, ran out of time to make shish kabobs. 4, used homemade apricot marmalade, I would use something less sweet, more tart. Only because I made this recipe on the fly, that's what I had on hand, and good thing! Thighs are good, sauce a little sweet for my taste, but my husband loved it.

The seasoning on the chicken was outstanding, and so easy to make. We liked the sauce, but thought it was a little runny. I used apricot preserves instead of orange and it tasted great. Next time I will cut back a little on the vinegar.

Wow! I didn't have high expectations for this recipe (it just looked like an easy recipe). Instead, it turned out to be a huge hit with my family! My son said "this is the best BBQ'ed chicken I've ever had" and my husband called it "outstanding"...definitely a keeper! I'm thinking of using this recipe to make chicken sandwiches for school lunches. BTW, I didn't make the sauce and it was still great without it. Thanks, Fine Cooking, for letting the less-talented chefs among us look like rockstars!

We love this chicken, cook it often, especially for a crowd and we are constantly asked for the recepie. Tonight we cooked it for 207 people, 450 thighs in all, there was not a single morsel left. We used the recepie multiplier at, lightened up on the chili flakes and halved the salt and it turned out perfectly. We like to serve it with Orzo & Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta, Olives & Oregano.

This is very easy to throw together. I didn't love it but did like it. Not a big fan of marmalade so that might be part of it.

Really easy to throw together in minutes. Delicious! The only thing I changed was using just 1/8 cup of rice vinegar for the dipping sauce. My family doesn't care for vinegar that much but after reducing it by 50%, the sauce was perfect. Oh, and one more detail, I also ground the spices in my Bamix food grinder. Thank you, Fine Cooking, for an easy and enjoyable chicken recipe!

Excellent. Made as stated, no substitutions except reduced by a tad the red pepper flakes as I had less chicken than called for. But delicious nevertheless. Sauce is ample and sweet; used in moderation is delicious. Highly recommend, and yes, easy.

I was asked to bring the "chicken" for a bbq of 16 persons. This recipe did the trick! I used the Costco boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut each of them in 3 strips (they are huge) and pounded them out to an even thickness. I then threaded them on skewers. Doubled the recipe for everything and I used peach preserves. They were all gone!

Great, easy delicious...... would not change anything!!!!

esay and tasty. Family asked that we do this again.

These were good, but the orange dipping sauce was a little too sweet. Also, it made a lot of sauce, I think we could have made less than half the recipe and had plenty. My daughter really enjoyed them, but my husband and I both preferred them without too much of the sauce. Super easy recipe and I had almost all the ingredients in my pantry.

Superb and simple savory-sweet chicken thighs recipe! Wouldn't change a thing about it. My dinner guests always love this one, it is a keeper.

Simple and Excellent!

This is a wonderful and simple recipe - just as good without sauces as with them. The blend of sugar and spice is great. One word of caution, however. Do not put the spice rub on the chicken in advance. The salt seems to turn the meat to rubber, and the sugar loses it's abilty to help the chicken brown. I only made this mistake once. But I've made the chicken many times and have served it to a crowd.

This recipe has it all - it's economical, quick, easy and absolutely delicious. I make whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs and always take the time to make the sauce -- scrumptious and very quick. A go-to regular for me that is easy for a week night and also has the WOW! factor for guests.

Really good!! We all enjoyed this chicken..It was quick, easy and delicious. This is the kind of recipe I like when I am cooking for a family of seven. I will absolutely make this again. Big Hit!!!!

These were not as flavorful as the other recipes in the article but still good.

Loved this recipe! I definately recommend making the sauce. I used peach preserves and I think it really complimented the spice of the red pepper flakes. Yum!

This is a dish that you will be excited to make. Very, Very tasty. Easy to make, and everyone will love it. A unique combination of flavors that scintillate your taste buds. This recipe is sure to be added to your favorites.

I used 2 chicken breasts and apricot jam. Was delicious and easy.

I fixed this recipe last night on my new charcoal grill. It was very easy... almost brainless. The chicken thighs were not only tender but had fantastic flavor! The red pepper flakes and fresh rosemary gave the chicken a real boost. I think this combination would also be great for grilled pork chops.

Good, easy recipe. Yes, the sauce is good with apricot as a substitute. I also did a few of the breasts without pepper flakes and they were good as well.

If you have the time, don't skip the sauce -- it takes a pretty good chicken recipe and makes it really delicious. Planning to try the sauce with apricot preserves, as another reviewer suggested.

Yum!! I served this at a party and not one kebab was left. I love the simplicity of the dip and why skip it when it takes only 1 minute to make?

Fantastic way to make chicken. This has become a regular staple for my family, and when time is tight I leave out the dipping sauce and the chicken stands fine on its own.

This recipe was a big hit with the family - including teenagers. It was spicy and sweet - a good combination. The second time I used Apricot preserves, instead of the orange and everyone thought it was better. I cut the pieces in small strips and grilled them on my George Foreman Grill, rather than putting on skewers. Would also make a great appetizer - cut into smaller pieces and use toothpicks for people to dip the chicken into the dipping sauce.

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