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Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Sweet & Sour Orange Dipping Sauce

Scott Phillips

Servings: 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

Nutritional Information

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


  • 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


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Reviews (31 reviews)

  • Krispie | 05/30/2019

    We made this as kebabs. We loved the chicken but weren’t as big of fans of the orange sauce. I would make this for the chicken part again.

  • Hazbiker | 12/02/2015

    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!

  • dwegmann | 10/09/2015

    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.

  • rkjurk | 04/19/2015

    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.

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