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Grilling Times for Chicken and Poultry

Here's how long to grill chicken so it's not overcooked or undercooked.

Chicken is one of the all-time most popular choices for grilling. This handy chart shows you how long to grill different cuts of chicken, including grilled whole chickens, grilled chicken breasts, grilled chicken kabobs, grilled chicken thighs, and grilled chicken wings and drumsticks. We'll also share top-rated grilled chicken recipes so you can try out the different grilling methods.

Glazed Chicken with Wilted Spinach R231121

Simple grilled chicken on wilted spinach | Photo by Meredith

Safety Note:

Chicken and other poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Keep in mind, clear juices are not always a good indicator of doneness. Depending on the age of the bird, juices might not run clear until it's overcooked. Also, as you see from the chart, boneless cuts of chicken cook faster than bone-in pieces of chicken.


Grilling Times for Chicken and Poultry

Cut Method Heat Time Internal Temp. (minimum)
Whole Broiler or Fryer ---- ---- ---- ----
3 to 4 pounds Indirect Medium 60 to 75 min. 165 F (75 C)
Whole Roasting Hen ---- ---- ---- ----
5 to 7 pounds Indirect Medium 18 to 25 min./pound 165 F (75 C)
Capon ---- ---- ---- ----
4 to 8 pounds Indirect Medium 15 to 20 min./pound 165 F (75 C)
Cornish Hens ---- ---- ---- ----
18-24 ounces Indirect Medium 45 to 55 min./side 165 F (75 C)
Breast ---- ---- ---- ----
6 to 8 ounces Direct Medium/High 10 to 15 min./side 165 F (75 C)
Boneless Breast ---- ---- ---- ----
4 ounces Direct High 6 to 8 min./side 165 F (75 C)
Legs or Thighs ---- ---- ---- ----
4 to 8 ounces Direct Medium/High 10 to 15 min./side 165 F (75 C)
Drumsticks ---- ---- ---- ----
4 ounces Direct Medium/High 8 to 12 min./side 165 F (75 C)
Wings ---- ---- ---- ----
2 to 3 ounces Direct Medium/High 8 to 12 min./side 165 F (75 C)


A Note on Chicken Kebabs: Whether you're threading skewers with chicken breast or thigh meat, cook your chicken kebabs until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Grilled Whole Chicken Recipes to Try

Chef John's Calabrian Chicken

Chef John shows you how to spatchcock (aka butterfly) and grill a game hen. Butterflying a whole game hen or chicken makes it easy to grill in about 40 to 45 minutes. Watch the video to see how it's done.

Rotisserie Chicken

With this rotisserie method, you'll cook the whole chicken over high flames for the first 10 minutes, and then turn the heat down to medium and go another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Beer Can Chicken

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Stand the chicken on the can, directly on the preheated grill. Close the lid and grill the chicken for about an 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Grilled Chicken Breast Recipes to Try

Rosemary Lemon Grilled Chicken

These grilled skinless, boneless chicken breasts cook over high, direct heat for just 4 minutes per side, basting with the rosemary and lemon mixture as they cook to keep them moist.

Rosemary Lemon Grilled Chicken
Photo by Dianne

Spicy Tarragon Yogurt Chicken

Cook your Greek yogurt-marinated chicken breasts over medium-high heat until dark grill marks appear, about 7 minutes per side.

Spicy Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breast Sandwich

Grill the chicken breasts over high heat for 7 minutes; turn, brush with BBQ sacue, and cook for 5 more minutes; turn once more, apply more BBQ sauce, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes to Try

Rusty Chicken Thighs

Cook chicken thighs smooth-side down on a hot grill until grill marks show, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until grill marks show on the other side, about 5 minutes. Keep coooking, turning over every 2 minutes, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Delectable Marinated Chicken

Grill the boneless, skinless thighs on a preheated grill until the chicken is firm and opaque, about 12 minutes per side.

Shoyu Chicken

Grill the marinated chicken thighs on a preheated grill over medium heat for about 15 minutes per side.

Grilled Chicken Drumstick and Wings Recipes to try

Grill Master Chicken Wings

Cook marinated wings on the preheated grill, turning occasionally, until the chicken is well browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Caesar Grilled Chicken Wings

Chicken wings with a tangy twist! Cook chicken wings, covered, over a medium-heat grill, turning several times, about 20 to 30 minutes and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).

Southern BBQ Chicken

"Slow-grilling over indirect heat keeps this chicken moist and tender," says rachelu. "Always baste at the end of grilling to prevent the legs from burning."

Grilled Chicken Kebab Recipes to Try

Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs

Preheat the grill for high heat. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto skewers and cook on the grill, turning frequently, for 12 to 15 minutes.

Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs
Photo by balsdon_21

Turkish Chicken Kebabs

Place kebabs of marinated chicken thighs on a medium-high-heat grill. Do not try to turn them until they begin to unstick from the grill, 3 or 4 minutes. Turn kebabs and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. Turn again, and cook, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes, when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs

Grill skewers of marinated chicken breast pieces over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Grilled Cornish Game Hen Recipes to Try

Chef John's Grilled Game Hens

Cook marinated game hens on a preheated grill, turning occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Grilled Game Hens with Blood Orange and Rosemary

This is a great recipe for charcoal grills. Cook the marinated birds breast-side down, covered, with the vents open, for about 7 to 10 minutes until the breasts are evenly browned. Then flip the birds and cook about 30 minutes more.

Grilled Cornish Game Hens

Cook your marinated hens for about an 1 hour on a medium-heat grill, brushing occasionally with the marinade.

Check out our complete collection of Complete Grilled Chicken Recipes.


More Grilling Times and Tips

Grilling times for beef.
Grilling times for lamb.
Grilling times for duck and goose.
Grilling times for venison.
How to grill pork.
How to grill seafood.
How to grill kabobs.
How to grill vegetables.
How to grill fruit.
How to Grill: Top Tips for Successful Grilling

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