4 grilled chicken breasts on a plate garnished with parsley, extra bowl of parsley in the background next to a red sauce and some chili flakes

GRILLED CHICKEN (ON THE BBQ)

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This simple Grilled Chicken on the BBQ is great for outdoor or indoor grilling and is so much easier to perfect than you might think! Eat it as is, on salads, part of bowls or as an addition to all your favourite chicken dishes!

We all need a reliable Grilled Chicken Recipe! One that is simple, easy to follow and comes out perfect every single time. Well, this one is it! Once you have this basic, foolproof method of grilling chicken down, you can customize ‘em however you like with different spices, sauces or seasonings. However, this Grilled Chicken on the BBQ comes out tender, juicy and flavourful, even if you only opt to use salt and pepper. They’re great to eat as an entrée for lunch or dinner or you can add them to salads, bowls, sandwiches, wraps and more! Either way, say hello to your new favourite way to grill chicken on the BBQ!

4 chicken breasts on a plate, 2 are sliced up, red sauce and chili flakes in ramekins on the side

I know you can probably tell by the amount of chicken recipes on this blog, that I’m no stranger to perfectly cooked, tender, juicy and flavourful chicken! Whether we’re talking about these Oven Baked Chicken Drumsticks or these perfectly crispy Air Fried Chicken Wings, I’m alllllways down for a good, easy and reliable chicken dish. And when we’re talking perfectly Grilled Chicken on the BBQ, you basically don’t have to say any more than that. Because, IMHO, there’s no bowl, dish, pasta, salad, wrap, sandwich, etc, etc, that isn’t made better with a perfectly grilled chicken breast. But hey, don’t get me wrong, you’ll catch me munching away on these grilled chicken breasts as is, too. With a side of Roasted Broccoli, perhaps?

This Grilled Chicken on the BBQ is so easy, I’m almost not sure I can even call it a recipe! Nothing screams Summer like firing up the grill so fire it up, baby! And let’s grill some chicken breasts to tender and juicy perfection!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THE PERFECT GRILLED CHICKEN ON THE BBQ

hand holding a meat mallet next to a plate of raw chicken breasts, salt and pepper grinders in the background
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

I wasn’t kidding when I said this Grilled Chicken Recipe is as simple as simple can be. Let’s talk about the few ingredients in a little more detail down below:

  • The Chicken: For this recipe, we’re talking Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast. However, if you switch it up and use bone-in, skin-on, just keep in mind that you will have to adjust the cooking time by 5 minutes or more. Either way, try and choose ones that are similar in size to each other. The size and thickness of the chicken will affect the overall cooking time. You want them to more or less take around the same amount of time to cook. The chicken is done when an instant read meat thermometer reads 165˚F (without touching the bone, if there is one).
  • Salt/Pepper: As you can see, I kept it pretty simple here. I used just salt and pepper to show you that YES, this grilled chicken recipe is still super juicy, flavourful and delicious with the basic of the basic spices. On that note, the sky’s the limit for how crazy you can get with these! Season them and spice them up however you like! Heck, change it up every single time if you want!
  • Oil (not pictured): To coat the chicken and help the seasonings and spices stick. I used olive oil but any neutral tasting (high heat) oil will do.
  • Meat Mallet: Have some anger you need to let out?! You’re in luck! Because the best way to ensure you get perfectly cooked grilled chicken is to pound the breasts out. This will make them thinner and ensure there is an even thickness throughout. A meat mallet will make this job extremely easy. But, if you don’t have one, get creative and use something heavy like a rolling pin. Use the flat side of the meat mallet instead of the rigid side intended for tenderizing meat.
4 grilled chicken breasts on a bed of greens on a plate

MARINADE/SEASONING FOR GRILLED CHICKEN

Don’t let these simply seasoned chicken breasts fool you! They may be basic and seasoned with just a little bit of oil, salt and pepper. But, trust me, there is no lack of flavour over here! As long as you season them generously and use the oil first to help the seasonings stick, you won’t have any issue when it comes to these simple chicken breasts turning out tender, juicy and down right delicious. So, if you’re following the recipe (or shall we call it “the How-To Guide”) for grilling your chicken exactly as is written in the recipe card down below, there is no crazy marinade, brine or seasonings necessary or required. Salt, pepper and a little bit of oil is honestly all you need.

However, with that being said, if you’ve got some extra time and want to get a little fancy with it, by all means, feel free and be my guest! You can allllways choose to brine the chicken (4 cups cold water with 3 tbsp salt) for 30-60 minutes before grilling. Or you can marinate it in advance for extra flavour. An example of a marinade that would be great for this grilled chicken on the BBQ recipe: some combination of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and dried or fresh herbs. You can also just use your favourite BBQ sauce or rub. Marinate the chicken from 3 hours to up to overnight. As is always the case with marinades, the longer the better. PRO TIP: If you marinate the chicken in advance, you can baste it as it grills for extra flavour.

plate of sliced grilled chicken, ramekins of red sauce and parsley in the background

HOW TO MAKE GRILLED CHICKEN ON THE BBQ COME OUT PERFECT EVERY SINGLE TIME (KEY TIPS)

sliced grilled chicken breast on a cutting board, plate with more in the background
  • Choose chicken breasts that are similar in size. This will ensure they all cook in the same amount of time without burning or drying out first. EXTRA TIP: If your chicken breasts are a little on the larger side, try cutting them in half lengthwise. This will make two even pieces. Then, pound them out and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Use (the flat side of) a meat mallet or another heavy/suitable object to pound the chicken breast thinner/into an even thickness. Doing so will not only ensure that the chicken cooks more evenly but will help ensure that it doesn’t dry out in certain spots before it cooks all the way through. EXTRA TIP: Place a piece of parchment paper or saran wrap between the meat mallet and the chicken breast. This will avoid the mallet from coming into direct contact with the meat. And more importantly, stop chicken juice from flying all over the place as you pound it (which I’m sure is as gross as it sounds).
  • Oil up the chicken first with a neutral tasting oil such as avocado or olive. Not only will this help with preventing the chicken from sticking to the grill but it’ll also ensure the seasonings and spices stick to the chicken.
  • Be generous with your seasonings. As always, don’t be shy! Even if you’re just using salt and pepper. You want to coat the entire surface of the chicken breast in the seasonings before they hit the grill. This means both front and back of the chicken breast!
  • Make sure the grill is well oiled/greased before placing the chicken breasts down. The last thing you want is for the chicken to stick to the ungreased grill.
  • Use two-zone grilling! Which is basically just a fancy way of saying make one side of your grill hot by turning the burners on to the desired heat and leave the other side cool or keep the burners turned off. This method produces perfectly grilled chicken time and time again! The hot side of the grill is for searing the chicken (and yes, this is where those beautiful grill marks come from!) and the cool side is for finishing off the chicken.
  • Don’t overlap the chicken on the grill and give it room to breathe. You want to promote even and proper cooking – work in batches, if you have to.
  • Don’t bother the chicken as it cooks. Have faith! You don’t want to move it around the grill too much or turn it too soon as remember, you want those beautiful grill marks. I know it’s tempting (especially when it’s on the side of the grill that’s ‘off’) but, trust me, just leave it alone!
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes on a cutting board before slicing and serving. This will lock in the juices and flavour ensuring you get a perfectly grilled chicken breast every single time! EXTRA TIP: Make a foil tent and place it over the cooked chicken. This will help retain the heat which is important as the carryover heat will allow the chicken to finish cooking. (See the recipe card down below for a photo)
hand holding up a slice of a grilled chicken breast, the rest of the breast in on a cutting board underneath
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DO I HAVE TO MARINATE THE CHICKEN BEFORE GRILLING?

No! The beauty of this recipe is that NO, no you do not need to pre-season, brine or marinate the chicken ahead of time. These chicken breasts can be seasoned right before being placed on the grill! You will still end up with tender, juicy and flavourful chicken. However, with that being said, and especially if you’re making a more complex spice combination or sauce, I won’t ever tell you not to marinate something. If you have the time (at least 30 extra minutes), you can always choose to marinate or brine the chicken in advance!

HOW LONG DO YOU GRILL CHICKEN BREASTS FOR?

As always, the time it takes to grill the chicken breast will depend on how hot the grill is and the size and thickness of the breast. That’s why pounding the chicken breast out thinner and to an even thickness is important to ensure proper cooking. Flattened out boneless and skinless chicken breasts won’t take too long to cook once they get that first sear on the hot side of the grill. They shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes per side using the two-zone grilling method.

WHAT TEMPERATURE FOR GRILLED CHICKEN?

The chicken is done when an instant read meat thermometer reads 165˚F (without touching the bone, if there is one). If you don’t have a thermometer, simply slice or cut a slit into the center of one breast. If there is no pink and the flesh is a nice, bright white colour all the way through, the chicken is done.

Since we’re using the two-zone grilling method, it is important to note that the temperature of the chicken will differ from stage to stage. It should read 150˚F when you pull it from the direct heat to the indirect heat. 160˚F when you pull it off the grill and onto the cutting board to rest. And 165˚F after it has rested under a foil tent on the cutting board for 5-10 minutes (the carryover heat will finish the cooking). The chicken should be 165˚F before slicing and serving.

plate with a couple grilled chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper, bowl of sauce in the background beside a small ramekin of peppercorns
sliced grilled chicken on a plate, garnished with fresh chopped parsley, ramekin of red sauce on the plate

GRILLED CHICKEN (ON THE BBQ)

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Perfectly grilled chicken for entrées or for adding to salads, bowls, sandwiches, wraps or any and all of your favourite chicken dishes!

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Pepper (or other seasonings of choice)
  • Olive Oil (or other neutral tasting oil), for coating

Instructions

  1. Place each chicken breast, one at a time, on a piece of parchment paper or saran wrap.
    chicken breast on a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board, salt and pepper grinders in the background
  2. Fold over one side, so that the chicken breast is entirely covered, and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or other heavy/suitable object until you reach an even thickness throughout. Repeat until all the chicken is flattened out. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
    hand holding a meat mallet pounding a chicken breast in between parchment paper on a cutting board, salt and pepper grinders in the background
    hand patting chicken breasts in a plate dry with paper towel, salt and pepper grinder in the background
  3. Generously coat the chicken breast with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper (or other seasonings of choice).
    hand pouring a cup of olive oil over a plate of raw chicken breasts, salt and pepper grinders in the background
    plate of raw chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper
  4. Oil the grill grates of an outdoor grill and set it up for two-zone grilling. Turn the burners on the left side of the grill to high heat (400˚F) and leave the burners on the right side completely off. Once hot, add the chicken breast in a single layer on the hottest side of the grill. Grill 8-10 minutes, undisturbed, with the lid down. If your breasts are really thin, you can start checking at the 5-6 minute mark to ensure nothing is burning.
    bbq with the lid open and 6 half cooked chicken breasts on the left side
  5. Flip the chicken (it should naturally release from the grill at this point) but instead of placing it back down on the hot side, move them over to the side with the indirect heat where they will finish cooking. Close the lid and leave them undisturbed for another 8-10 minutes.
    bbq with the lid open and 6 chicken breasts on the right side
  6. Once most of the chicken is cooked through and an instant read meat thermometer reads at least 160˚F, transfer it to a cutting board. Place a foil tent over the chicken and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. The chicken is done when the thermometer reads 165˚F (it will finish cooking while resting under the foil tent).
    4 cooked chicken breasts on a grill
    grilled chicken breasts on a cutting board
    grilled chicken on a cutting board underneath a foil tent
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 37g

Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

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