How to Grill Bone-In Chicken Breast: Easy Steps for Tasty Results

Discover the art of grilling mouthwatering bone-in chicken breasts to perfection with our step-by-step guide that simplifies the process for you.

Summer is here, and it’s time to fire up the grill! There’s nothing quite like the taste of juicy bone-in chicken breast fresh off the grill. But if you’re new to grilling or just looking for some tips on how to perfect your technique, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about grilling bone-in chicken breast, from preparing your meat to getting that perfect sear. So grab your tongs and let’s get started!

Choosing the Right Chicken Breasts

how to grill bone in chicken breast easy steps for tasty results

When it comes to grilling bone-in chicken breasts, choosing the right cut of meat is crucial. You want to select chicken breasts that are fresh and have a good amount of fat content for added flavor and juiciness.

Look for cuts that are plump with no visible signs of discoloration or bruising.

It’s also important to consider whether you want skin-on or skinless chicken breasts. Skin-on will give you a crispy exterior, while skinless will be leaner but still flavorful if seasoned properly.

If possible, opt for organic or free-range chicken as they tend to have better texture and taste due to their natural diet and living conditions.

Safe Chicken Handling Practices

Raw chicken can carry harmful bacteria like salmonella, so it’s crucial to take precautions when preparing and cooking your meat.

Firstly, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling raw chicken. This will help prevent cross-contamination of other foods or surfaces in your kitchen.

When purchasing bone-in chicken breasts from the grocery store or butcher shop, make sure they are properly packaged and refrigerated at a temperature below 40°F (4°C). If you’re not planning on using them right away, store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator for up to two days or freeze them for longer storage.

When thawing frozen bone-in chicken breasts, do so safely by placing them in a sealed container on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature as this can promote bacterial growth.

Use separate cutting boards and utensils when preparing raw meat versus other ingredients like vegetables or bread. This will help prevent cross-contamination during food preparation.

Preparing the Chicken

Begin by rinsing the chicken breasts under cold water and patting them dry with paper towels. Next, trim any excess fat or skin from the meat using a sharp knife or kitchen shears.

If you’re planning on marinating your chicken, now is the time to do so. Place your trimmed and cleaned chicken in a large resealable plastic bag with your desired marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Alternatively, if you prefer a dry rub seasoning instead of marinade, generously coat both sides of each breast with spices such as paprika, garlic powder or chili powder before placing them on the grill. By taking these simple steps to prepare your bone-in chicken breasts correctly beforehand will ensure that they cook evenly and taste delicious once grilled!

Seasoning the Chicken

Seasoning is an essential step in grilling bone-in chicken breast as it enhances the taste and aroma of the meat. You can use a dry rub or marinade to season your chicken.

For a simple yet delicious seasoning, mix together salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika in a small bowl. Rub this mixture generously over both sides of each piece of chicken before placing them on the grill.

If you prefer using marinades for added flavor, make sure to marinate your chicken for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Marinades typically consist of oil (such as olive oil), acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) and spices/herbs like rosemary or thyme.

Preparing the Grill

First, clean the grates with a wire brush or scraper to remove any debris from previous use. Then, oil the grates by dipping a folded paper towel in vegetable oil and rubbing it over the surface of each grate using tongs.

Next, arrange your coals for indirect heat cooking if you’re using charcoal. This means placing all of the hot coals on one side of the grill and leaving an empty space on the other side where you’ll place your chicken breasts later.

If you’re using gas, preheat all burners on high for 10-15 minutes before reducing them to medium-high heat when ready to cook.

Preheating the Grill

It ensures that your chicken cooks evenly and prevents it from sticking to the grates. To preheat your grill, turn all burners on high and close the lid for about 10-15 minutes.

This will allow the temperature inside to reach around 400-450°F, which is ideal for cooking bone-in chicken breasts.

While you’re waiting for your grill to heat up, take this time to prepare any seasonings or marinades you plan on using with your chicken. Once you’ve finished seasoning or marinating, it’s time to start cooking!

Setting the Correct Grill Temperature

This will ensure that your chicken cooks evenly and thoroughly without burning or drying out. The ideal temperature for bone-in chicken breasts is between 350°F and 400°F.

To achieve this temperature, preheat your grill on high for about 10-15 minutes before reducing the heat to medium-low or medium-high depending on how hot your grill gets. You can also use a thermometer to check if you’ve reached the desired temperature.

Grilling Techniques for Bone-in Chicken

How do you get that perfect sear without overcooking or undercooking the meat? Here are some grilling techniques for bone-in chicken that will help you achieve delicious results every time:

1. Direct Heat: Start by placing the chicken directly over the heat source (flame or coals) with skin side down.

This will give it a nice sear and crispy skin.

2. Indirect Heat: Once both sides of the chicken have been seared, move them away from direct heat and continue cooking with indirect heat until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

3. Lid On/Lid Off: Depending on how thick your cuts are, keeping the lid on while cooking can help retain moisture in thicker pieces while allowing thinner ones to cook faster.

4. Grill Marks: For those beautiful grill marks we all love so much, rotate each piece 90 degrees halfway through cooking each side.

Cooking Times

Cooking times for bone-in chicken breasts can vary depending on the size of the meat and the heat of your grill. As a general rule, bone-in chicken breasts take longer to cook than their boneless counterparts.

For best results, aim for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of each breast. This ensures that any harmful bacteria are destroyed while keeping your chicken moist and flavorful.

As a rough guide, expect cooking times between 30-45 minutes over medium-high heat or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork or knife. However, always use an instant-read thermometer as different grills may have varying temperatures which could affect cooking time.

Remember not to rush things by turning up the heat too high; this will only result in dry meat on one side while leaving other parts undercooked.

Flipping the Chicken

Flipping too early can cause the meat to stick or tear, while flipping too late can result in uneven cooking. As a general rule of thumb, bone-in chicken breasts should be flipped once halfway through cooking.

To ensure that your chicken doesn’t stick to the grill grates when you flip it over, make sure that both sides are well-oiled before placing them on the heat. Use tongs or a spatula with long handles for easy maneuvering and avoid piercing or cutting into the meat as this will release its juices.

When flipping bone-in chicken breasts, use caution as they tend to be thicker than other cuts of poultry and may require more time on each side. If possible, try not to move them around too much during cooking so that they develop an even sear.

Monitoring Internal Temperature

This ensures that your chicken is cooked thoroughly and safe to eat, while also preventing it from becoming dry or overcooked. To do this, you’ll need a meat thermometer – either an instant-read or a leave-in probe thermometer will work.

Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast without touching any bones for accurate readings. The USDA recommends cooking poultry to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safety reasons.

Remember that different parts of your grill may have varying temperatures, so it’s essential to check each piece individually before removing them from heat. Once you’ve reached 165°F (74°C), remove your bone-in chicken breasts from heat and let them rest for five minutes before serving.

Avoiding Undercooked or Overcooked Chicken

Undercooked chicken can be dangerous to eat, while overcooked chicken can be dry and tough. So how do you avoid these pitfalls? The key is to monitor your cooking time and temperature closely.

To ensure that your chicken is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching any bones or gristle.

Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before it’s safe to eat.

On the other hand, overcooking can result in dry and rubbery texture which nobody wants! To avoid this issue, keep a close eye on your cooking time as well as grill heat level throughout grilling process.

Basting for Extra Flavor

To baste, simply brush or spoon a liquid mixture over the chicken as it cooks. This can be anything from barbecue sauce or marinade to melted butter or olive oil mixed with herbs and spices.

To get started, wait until your chicken has been cooking for about 10-15 minutes before you start basting. This will give it enough time to develop some color and texture without washing away any of the seasoning.

When you’re ready, use a silicone brush or spoon to apply your chosen basting mixture evenly over both sides of each piece of chicken every few minutes throughout the remainder of its cook time. Be careful not to apply too much at once as this can cause flare-ups on the grill.

Resting the Chicken

Resting allows the juices in the meat to redistribute and settle, resulting in a more tender and flavorful final product.

To rest your chicken, remove it from the grill using tongs or a spatula and transfer it onto a clean plate. Cover loosely with foil or another heat-safe material like parchment paper.

Letting your chicken rest for 5-10 minutes will give you time to prepare any sides or sauces while ensuring that each bite is as juicy as possible.

Resist the temptation of cutting into your grilled masterpiece right away! Cutting too soon can cause all those delicious juices inside of the meat to spill out onto your plate instead of staying where they belong – inside every bite!

Serving Suggestions

One classic option is serving the chicken with a side of grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and onions. You can also pair it with a fresh salad or some roasted potatoes for a heartier meal.

If you’re looking for something more unique, try topping your grilled chicken breast with homemade salsa or chimichurri sauce. These flavorful sauces add an extra kick of flavor that will take your dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

Another fun way to serve bone-in chicken breast is by shredding the meat and using it as filling in tacos or wraps. Top them off with some avocado slices and cilantro for added freshness.

Side Dish Pairings

Whether you’re looking for something light and refreshing or hearty and filling, there are plenty of options to choose from.

For a fresh summer salad, try pairing your bone-in chicken breast with a simple arugula salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette. The peppery greens provide a nice contrast to the smoky flavor of the chicken.

If you’re in the mood for something heartier, consider serving up some grilled vegetables alongside your chicken. Zucchini, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms all grill up beautifully and make for an easy yet satisfying side dish.

And let’s not forget about everyone’s favorite BBQ staple: corn on the cob! Grilled corn pairs perfectly with juicy bone-in chicken breasts hot off the grill.

Leftover Recipe Ideas

Don’t let that perfectly grilled chicken go to waste! There are plenty of creative ways to use leftover grilled chicken in your meals throughout the week.

One easy option is to slice or shred the leftover meat and add it to salads for a protein boost. You can also use it as a topping for pizzas or flatbreads, or mix it into pasta dishes like fettuccine Alfredo.

Another great way to repurpose your leftover grilled chicken is by making sandwiches. Try layering slices of avocado, tomato, and lettuce on bread with some mayo and mustard for a classic sandwich combo.

If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, consider using your leftover grilled chicken in international cuisine recipes such as tacos al pastor (Mexican), stir-fry (Asian), curry (Indian) among others.

Storing Grilled Chicken

If you’re not planning on eating the chicken right away, let it cool down completely before storing. You can keep the grilled chicken in an airtight container or wrap each piece individually with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Make sure to label and date the container if you plan on keeping the leftovers for more than a day.

Grilled chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to three months. When reheating leftover grilled chicken, make sure that its internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) before serving.

Cleaning the Grill

Cleaning the grill may not be the most exciting part of grilling, but it’s essential for maintaining your grill and ensuring that it lasts for years to come. The first step in cleaning your grill is to turn off the heat and let it cool down completely.

Once cooled, use a wire brush or scraper tool to remove any leftover food particles from the grates. For tougher stains or buildup, you can also use a specialized cleaner designed specifically for grills.

It’s important to note that regular cleaning will help prevent rust and corrosion on your grill over time.


How long do you grill bone-in chicken breasts?

Grill bone-in chicken breasts for 5 minutes per side on high heat, then move them to indirect heat and cook for an additional 30-35 minutes, flipping 2-3 times, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long does it take to grill bone-in chicken on the grill?

It takes 30 to 40 minutes to grill bone-in chicken over indirect medium heat (350°F).

How to cook bone-in chicken on the grill without drying out?

To cook bone-in chicken on the grill without drying out, brine the chicken by submerging it in a salt-water solution before grilling, preventing overcooking and promoting great grill marks.

How do you grill chicken breast without drying it out?

To grill chicken breast without drying it out, brine it for 30 minutes in a solution of 1/4 cup kosher salt dissolved in 4 cups water to help retain moisture during grilling.

What temperature is best for grilling bone-in chicken breasts to ensure even cooking?

The best temperature for grilling bone-in chicken breasts to ensure even cooking is 375°F (190°C).

Are there any specific marinades or rubs recommended for grilling bone-in chicken breasts for optimal flavor?

For optimal flavor when grilling bone-in chicken breasts, it is recommended to use marinades or rubs containing oil, acid, and various herbs and spices.

What are some tips for flipping and handling bone-in chicken breasts on the grill to maintain their juiciness?

To maintain the juiciness of bone-in chicken breasts on the grill, ensure minimal handling with tongs, flip only once, and cook over indirect heat.