This Ginger Chicken recipe showcases tender, juicy chicken thighs covered in a marinade of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and lime. It’s incredibly easy to prepare and quick to cook on the grill, making it an ideal option for summer get-togethers or even busy weeknights.Jump to Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Full of flavor: Marinating the chicken thighs keeps their texture ultra-moist and juicy. And grilling them adds the perfect smoky, charred flavor.
- Versatile: Ginger chicken pairs well with all sorts of sides, allowing you to create a complete meal that caters to your audience.
- Good for you: Chicken thighs provide lean, high-quality protein. Plus, ginger, garlic, and lime all contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, antioxidants, and zinc.
- Perfect for entertaining: Chicken was made for grilling in the backyard with friends and family during the summer months! The exotic flavor profile of ginger chicken will surely impress your guests at your next gathering.
The best ginger chicken recipe
This recipe brings a whole new meaning to the saying “winner, winner, chicken dinner!” The taste of grilled ginger chicken is nothing short of incredible. It’s become one of my new go-to recipes, amongst others like grilled bruschetta chicken and grilled cilantro lime chicken thighs, especially as the weather turns warmer.
Ginger provides a warm, spicy undertone, balanced by savory soy sauce, sweet brown sugar, and tangy lime juice. The chicken thighs are first marinated and then cooked on the grill, resulting in a deliciously smoky char.
Serve your ginger chicken hot off the grill, garnished with a sprinkle of green onions and cilantro. Pair it with sides like fluffy jasmine rice and a crisp Asian cabbage salad, then finish your meal off with grilled peaches and ice cream!
Ingredients & substitutions
- Lite soy sauce: Adds a salty, umami flavor. If you’re gluten intolerant, use tamari, gluten-free soy sauce, or liquid aminos.
- Brown sugar: Balances the saltiness of the soy sauce while adding a deep, complex flavor profile. You can replace brown sugar with honey or maple syrup if you prefer.
- Sesame oil: Imparts a nutty, toasted flavor. Make sure to use sesame oil made with 100% sesame seeds. Olive oil will work as an alternative in a pinch.
- Fresh ginger: Adds a spicy, slightly sweet taste. Powdered ginger will technically work, but I really suggest using fresh ginger root for the most intense flavors.
- Lime: Provides a bright, citrusy freshness. Lemon will also work, or you can try rice vinegar if you don’t have any limes on hand.
- Garlic: Gives the dish a pungent, spicy note. Garlic powder can be used as a substitute, but remember to reduce the amount added.
- Chicken thighs: I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs since they are ultra-tender, juicy, and perfect for grilling. Boneless chicken breasts work too, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking times as they may cook faster.
- Avocado oil: To coat the grill and prevent the chicken from sticking. You can also use any neutral vegetable oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil.
- Garnishes: Add green onion and cilantro for a fresh and vibrant touch to your ginger chicken. If those are unavailable, try parsley or basil instead.
How to make ginger chicken
- Mix the marinade: Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, lime juice, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Pour it over the chicken in a freezer bag and let it chill in the fridge. This really helps tenderize the meat, so don’t skip marinating!
- Grill the chicken: Preheat your grill to high heat, then brush the grates with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Discard the marinade and place your chicken thighs on the grill, cooking each side for about 5 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Serve the ginger chicken: Transfer the grilled chicken to a platter, garnishing it with green onions and cilantro for a fresh, vibrant touch. Pair it with your favorite sides for a balanced meal.
Serve your freshly cooked ginger chicken with some flavor-rich sides for a complete backyard barbecue spread. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted cauliflower, oven roasted cabbage steaks, broccoli or broccolini, bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.
- Grains: Fluffy jasmine rice, Instant Pot quinoa, or lemon risotto.
- Salads: Raw carrot salad, Asian cabbage salad, or Asian cucumber salad.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use boneless chicken breasts instead of boneless chicken thighs. Just keep in mind that the cooking times will vary since breasts tend to cook faster.
Absolutely! Just bake the ginger chicken thighs at 400F for about 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F with a meat thermometer.
Yes, this marinade would work well with pork or beef too. Just make sure to make a fresh batch because you should never reuse a marinade from raw meat.
Storage & reheating
If you have any leftover ginger chicken, here’s what to do:
- Fridge: Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer: You can freeze the cooked and cooled ginger chicken thighs in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Thaw the thighs overnight in the fridge if frozen. Reheat them in a skillet over medium or in the microwave until warmed through.
- Prep ahead: You can prepare the marinade ahead of time, then marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Spicy: Add chili flakes, sriracha, or diced Thai red chilies to the marinade for a spicier version.
- Skewers: Marinate chicken skewers for a fun, easy-to-eat version.
- Orange: Use orange juice instead of lime for a sweeter citrus flavor.
- Soy-free: Swap out the soy sauce for coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
- Marinate: Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but longer if you have the time.
- Use fresh ginger: Use fresh ginger for a more intense and vibrant flavor. Powdered ginger just doesn’t quite taste the same.
- Invest in a meat thermometer: I highly suggest using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, especially if you don’t grill often.
- Brush with oil: Don’t forget to brush the grill with oil to prevent the chicken thighs from sticking.
- Rest: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to let the juices redistribute.
Looking for more chicken recipes?
If you enjoyed this ginger chicken recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorites like these:
- Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Grilled Salmon Skewers
- Chicken Piccata Meatballs
If you try this Ginger Chicken, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Easy Ginger Chicken
- ½ cup soy sauce or Tamari for gluten-free
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons ginger freshly grated
- 1 medium lime zested and juiced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil for grill
- 4 green onions chopped for garnish
- 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped for garnish
Make the marinade
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, lime zest and juice, garlic, and salt.
- Pour the marinade in a freezer bag with the chicken. Press out the air and seal shut. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Cook the chicken
- Preheat the grill to high heat. Carefully brush the grill grates with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Place the chicken on the hot grill and discard the marinade. Cook for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3-5 minutes (check the smaller pieces after 3 minutes, thicker pieces will take about 4-5 more minutes), the internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
Serve the chicken
- Transfer the chicken to a platter and garnish with sliced green onions and cilantro. Serve with a side of rice and asian cabbage salad or your favorite sides.