Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

If you’re looking for a delicious, easy Honey Mustard Chicken recipe, look no further! The marinade is a perfect blend of tangy and sweet, and the honey mustard glaze adds just the right amount of caramelization. These are the best, juicy grilled chicken thighs and everyone loves them!

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken on a plate.

Bone-in chicken thighs are made ultra juicy thanks to a tasty, powerful tenderizing ingredient, and the taste of this honey dijon mustard chicken marinade is second to none. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Juicy and Flavorful: Say goodbye to dry, bland chicken and hello to juicy, tender chicken thighs that you’ll want to eat all year round. It’s golden brown and caramelized with a mouthwatering glaze. They are totally packed with flavour with lots of irresistible crispy bits.
  • Easy and Versatile: With only a handful of ingredients and simple steps, this recipe is perfect for the grill OR the oven. Serve leftovers in chicken sandwiches.
  • Satisfying and Crowd-Pleasing: Whether you’re feeding your family on a weeknight or hosting a backyard BBQ with friends, this dish is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters and leave everyone asking for seconds (and thirds!).

Ingredients for This Easy Honey Mustard Chicken

This easy recipe breaks the flavoring down into two parts: A marinade and a glaze.

  1. First, make a flavor-packed mustard and yogurt marinade with spices. This creates incredible silky tenderness in the chicken, layering it with richness.
  2. Second, combine some more mustard with the honey to brush on at the end of cooking. It will caramelize to sticky perfection, creating crispy bits galore. Sugars burn quickly making it very difficult to cook the chicken through without charring it black. It is best to save the sweet ingredients until the very end.

This glaze and marinade honey mustard chicken combination is so incredible. Expect the best honey mustard chicken of your life.

Mustard Marinade on Chicken in a dish

Ingredients for the honey mustard marinade and glaze:

  • Dijon Mustard: The base of both the marinade and the honey mustard glaze, dijon mustard adds tanginess and depth of flavor to the dish. Mustard with chicken is so yummy.
  • Honey: The sweetness in the honey mustard sauce comes from, you guessed it, honey! Use a good quality honey for the best flavor.
  • Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is the secret to a creamy and tangy marinade that keeps the chicken moist and flavorful.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to the marinade, balancing out the richness of the yogurt and the sweetness of the honey.
  • Garlic: A generous amount of minced garlic adds aromatic flavor to the marinade.
  • Paprika: Paprika adds a smoky and slightly sweet flavor to the marinade.
  • Cayenne Pepper: A touch of cayenne pepper adds a subtle heat to the dish.

If mustard and yogurt sounds like an odd combination, trust me. Mustard pairs so well with chicken and dairy ingredients like cream and butter, and yogurt is no different. I love to use dijon in this recipe but basic yellow mustard or grainy mustard would work, too.

Making Honey Mustard Sauce For Chicken

Ingredients for the rest of the recipe

  • Chicken Thighs: Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are the star of this dish. They’re juicy and flavorful, forgiving to distracted cooks (as they don’t dry out quickly), and the skin crisps up beautifully in the honey mustard marinade.
  • Oil: Use a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, like avocado or canola oil, to prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill and to help it cook evenly.
  • Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is the best salt for seasoning meat. It adheres well to the surface of the chicken and helps to tenderize the meat.

Grab these Tools

Ready to cook up a storm? Here are the tools you’ll need to make this mouthwatering honey mustard chicken.

  • A sharp chef’s knife: for trimming any excess fat from the chicken and mincing garlic like a pro.
  • Mixing bowls: at least two mixing bowls – one to marinate the chicken in, and another to mix up the honey mustard sauce.
  • Whisk: for mixing the ingredients of the honey mustard sauce until smooth and silky.
  • Baking sheet: to cook the chicken on if baking. Make sure it’s large enough to hold all the chicken pieces without overcrowding.
  • Parchment paper: to line the baking sheet before adding the chicken. This will prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan and make clean-up a breeze.
  • Cooking thermometer: to ensure the chicken is cooked through and safe to eat. No guesswork needed!

How to make Honey Mustard Chicken: Grilled or Oven Baked

Whether you prefer to fire up the grill or bake this honey mustard chicken in the oven, the first marinating steps are the same.

To Grill the Honey Mustard Chicken

  1. Prepare the Grill: Time to heat things up! Preheat your gas grill to medium heat and oil the grates so the chicken doesn’t stick. (Pro tip: Use long tongs and a paper towel dabbed in oil to do this safely.)
  2. Grill the Chicken Thighs: Now comes the fun part! Grill the chicken skin-side down for about 7 minutes or until they release easily from the grates without sticking or tearing. Then, turn off half of the burners and flip the chicken pieces over onto the unlit side. Turn the side with no chicken on to high heat. This is like creating an oven to finish cooking the chicken without burning it. Cover the grill and continue cooking the chicken until it reaches 165ºF internal temperature.
  3. Brush with the Honey Mustard Sauce: Time for that delicious honey mustard glaze. Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with the reserved honey mustard sauce and continue cooking over indirect heat (unlit side) with the cover closed for 5-10 minutes more until the glaze is caramelized and the internal temperature reaches 175ºF.
  4. Rest the Chicken: You’re almost there! Once your chicken is cooked to perfection, let it rest on a plate, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will help the meat retain its juices and become even more tender and flavorful.

To Oven Bake Your Honey Mustard Chicken

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the marinated chicken thighs from the fridge and place them on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other. (Pro tip: Discard any leftover marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination.)
  3. Bake the chicken thighs in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  4. Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with the reserved honey mustard sauce and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes or until the glaze is caramelized and the internal temperature reaches 175°F (79°C).
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest on a plate, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.

And there you have it – perfectly cooked and delicious honey mustard chicken thighs on the grill or baked in the oven.

Cook Chicken Thighs to a Higher Temperature for Tender Results

Now here’s the pro tip you’ve been waiting for: you are going to want to overcook the chicken. Pardon me, WHAAAT did she just say?

Let me explain.

While poultry needs to reach 165ºF for food safety (so you could call it done at that point), a higher temperature is required for the dark meat’s tough collagen to melt.

Ever notice how quickly-cooked chicken thighs have a firm, rubbery texture, while slow-cooked chicken thighs (like in my Crockpot Chicken Tacos) are silky and so incredibly tender they fall apart?

That’s because the collagen has reached the temperature it needs to break down. When grilling chicken thighs, aim for at least 175ºF for that fall-apart tender texture everyone loves.

Trust me. Do this, you’ll be shocked at the difference.

Juicy Grilled Mustard Marinated Chicken with lemon slices

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Shouldn’t You Marinate with the Honey?

 

Sugars burn quickly making it very difficult to cook the chicken through without charring it black. When you’re grilling chicken, it is best to save the sweet ingredients until the very end.
This is why we mop the honey part of the sauce over the chicken at the end instead of making a honey mustard marinade. This logic is also the reason you should not actually marinate chicken in BBQ sauce.
When brushed on in the final few minutes, a sweetened sauce like this one (or BBQ sauce) will cook down to a glossy, delicious glaze without burning unpleasantly.

 

How Long Should You Marinate Chicken?

 

You can get away with a quick 30-minute marinade, but (up until a certain point), the longer you let the chicken marinate, the more flavorful the results will be. Chicken that’s marinated for 24-48 hours is perfect. Longer than that and the acid can start to break down the proteins, resulting in a mushy texture.

 

 

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Can’t get enough of this mouth-watering honey mustard chicken? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these make-ahead and storage tips:

     

      • Marinate Ahead: If you’re short on time, you can marinate the chicken thighs in the fridge for up to 48 hours before cooking. This will give the flavors plenty of time to meld together, and the marinade will help tenderize the meat even more!

      • Freezer-Friendly: Did you know that you can freeze marinated chicken thighs for up to 3 months? Simply place them in airtight freezer bags or containers and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook. Just make sure to thaw them completely before grilling or baking.

      • Leftover Love: Save any leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. They’re delicious cold straight out of the fridge, or you can reheat them in the oven or microwave for a quick and easy meal.

      • Meal Prep Magic: Looking to meal prep like a pro? Grill up a batch of these honey mustard chicken thighs ahead of time and portion them out into meal prep containers with your favorite sides. They’re perfect for a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner on-the-go.

      • Saucy Solutions: Have some leftover honey mustard sauce? Try using it as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders or fries, or drizzle it over roasted vegetables for a burst of flavor. It’s also great as a salad dressing or marinade for other proteins like pork or tofu.

    So go ahead and enjoy this delicious honey mustard grilled chicken any time you want – whether you’re making it ahead, freezing it for later, or storing leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. You’ll never get tired of its irresistible flavor and juicy tenderness!

    Honey Mustard Chicken Variations and Substitutions

       

        • Switch up the sauce: try using whole grain mustard instead of dijon for a more textured sauce, or add a splash of hot sauce to give it some kick.

        • Chicken swaps: not a fan of thighs? No problem! Boneless skinless chicken breasts will work, too, but they tend to dry out more easily. You could swap in wings or drumsticks if you prefer a different cut of chicken.

        • Marinate with a twist: swap out the yogurt for buttermilk or sour cream (for an even creamier marinade) or use plant yogurt if you avoid dairy. Feel free to use apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon if you prefer.

        • Spice it up: if you’re a heat-seeker, double the amount of cayenne in the marinade for some extra fiery flavor. Want something milder? Simply leave it out altogether.

      What Should I Serve with Honey Mustard Chicken?

      If I’m having people over for a BBQ, I love to keep the sides pretty simple with a crisp green salad, my tried-and-true Classic Macaroni Salad or my Ultimate Creamy Potato Salad (or both, depending on the size of the group), plus store-bought fluffy dinner rolls (to pacify my anxiety that I haven’t made enough food – and honestly, they always get eaten).

      Some steamed broccoli or green beans are nice.

      Use up leftovers in sandwiches or make honey mustard chicken wraps with lettuce and bacon.


      Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken on a plate with lemon slices.

      Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

      Prep Time 20 minutes
      Cook Time 30 minutes
      Servings 6
      Dinner
      American
      Keyword Bone in chicken thighs, Dijon marinade for chicken, Grilled chicken thighs, Honey Mustard Chicken

      Ingredients
        

      For Honey Mustard Sauce

      • ½ cup dijon mustard divided use
      • ¼ cup honey

      For Mustard Marinade

      • ¼ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
      • ¼ cup lemon juice
      • 2 tbsp minced garlic
      • 2 tbsp cooking oil like avocado or canola oil - don't use a low smoke-point oil like olive oil
      • 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
      • 1 tsp paprika
      • ¼ tsp ground cayenne
      • 3 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

      Instructions
       

      Make the Honey Mustard Sauce

      • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the mustard and the honey. Set aside. (Refrigerate it if you are doing a marinade longer than a couple of hours.)

      Marinate the Chicken

      • Whisk remaining mustard with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt, paprika and cayenne in a large baking dish. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinade chicken for 30 minutes at room temperature (or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator - the flavour gets even better if you can do this!). Either way, let the chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes just before cooking for best results.

      Prepare the Grill

      • Turn burners on a gas grill on to medium heat and preheat the grill for 5-10 minutes with the lid closed. Then, carefully oil the grates using long tongs and a paper-towel dabbed in oil.

      Grill the Chicken Thighs

      • Remove chicken from the marinade letting any excess drip off (then discard it). Grill chicken skin-side down for about 7 minutes or until the pieces lift easily from the grates without sticking or tearing.
      • Turn off HALF of the burners and flip the chicken pieces over and onto the unlit side. Then turn the side with *no chicken* on to high heat. (You're basically creating an oven to finish cooking the chicken without burning it).
      • Cover the grill and continue cooking the chicken until it reaches 165ºF internal temperature.

      Brush with the Honey Mustard Sauce

      • Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with the reserved honey mustard sauce and continue cooking over indirect heat (unlit side) with cover closed for 5-10 minutes more, until glaze is caramelized and internal temperature reaches 175ºF.

      Rest the Chicken

      • Let chicken rest on a plate, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving for juiciest results. The cooking time will be 25-35 minutes in total (see note below).

      Video

      Notes

      The cooking time is truly an estimate as grills vary widely in how close the food is to the gas/coals, how well heat circulates inside, how much heat is lost when you open the lid, etc. 
      Cook chicken dark meat (like thighs and drumsticks) to at least 175ºF because that's temperature the touch collagen has to reach to break down. Aiming for at least 175ºF will get you that that fall-apart tender texture everyone loves.
      You can make this using a charcoal BBQ.  Create two cooking zones by piling all of the charcoal on one half of the grill to make a direct heat zone (and indirect heat zone over the other side). 

      To Bake Your Honey Mustard Chicken

        1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
        1. Remove the marinated chicken thighs from the fridge and place them on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other. (Pro tip: Discard any leftover marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination.)
        1. Bake the chicken thighs in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
        1. Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with the reserved honey mustard sauce and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes or until the glaze is caramelized and the internal temperature reaches 175°F (79°C).
        1. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest on a plate, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 532kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 33gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 1353mgPotassium: 477mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 365IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2mg
      Keyword Bone in chicken thighs, Dijon marinade for chicken, Grilled chicken thighs, Honey Mustard Chicken


      Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

      5 1 vote
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      Michelle
      Michelle
      7 months ago

      5 stars
      I love honey mustard, especially on chicken and grilling it is so perfect for summer!

      Gina Abernathy
      7 months ago

      The perfect weeknight dinner. My family loves these honey flavored chicken thighs. So delicious!

      Dannii
      Dannii
      7 months ago

      5 stars
      The honey and mustard flavours were amazing. Perfect with the chicken.

      Biana
      Biana
      7 months ago

      This grilled chicken looks amazing! Great for a summer summer, served with corn and a salad.

      Katherine
      7 months ago

      5 stars
      This was a hit! My family loved them, especially the mustard yogurt marinade.

      Maggie
      Maggie
      7 months ago

      5 stars
      Oh, I absolutely loved this Honey Mustard Chicken recipe! The marinade was spot on, and that honey mustard glaze was a game-changer—it added a delicious caramelized touch to the juicy grilled chicken thighs. My whole family couldn’t get enough of it, and they’ve been asking me to make it again, haha!!

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