Crispy skin, juicy chicken, and tons of flavor! Start with a soak in a briny herb marinade and finish with a salsa full of olives and tomatoes. This recipe for grilled Mediterranean chicken may be your new summer favorite.
I don’t know about you, but the heat and the humidity this summer has had me turning on my grill as often as possible! Luckily I have a pile of great grilling recipes which have kept my kitchen cool as I whip up dinner in the evening.
From Sicilian swordfish to pincho morunos (pork kebabs 🙂 ), to Mediterranean grilled chicken thighs and beyond. My grill has been getting workout, not only keeping me cooler, but also giving me all sorts of summer recipes to share. Bonus!
While I’m pretty much up to grilling anything, bone-in chicken thighs are one of our family favorites, week in and week out. The crispy skin, forgiving dark meat, and wide range of flavor possibilities make them an easy meal which doesn’t taste like the same thing over and over. While my daughter is off with her grandparents this week (having a grand time!), chicken thighs will be back in the rotation again when she gets back.
This version of grilled chicken thighs was inspired by Grilled Oregano Chicken from Epicurious. I loved the idea of using the olive brine as the brine in the marinade (though I switched up the rest) and the smashed olive sauce (which I made even saucier with tomatoes and capers). It said Mediterranean flavors. It said summer. And it said no heating up the kitchen. All things I like and I hope you like them too!
How to Make Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
One thing I love about chicken thighs is how easy it is to put together a weeknight family meal. You just need a marinade, a sauce, and a couple of tips to make the best grilled chicken thighs you can.
Marinated and Grilled Chicken Thighs
First up – the marinade. This recipe uses a briny marinade, taking advantage of the olive brine left behind when you use the olives. Also, I like to use fresh herbs, heavy on the oregano, for a great Mediterranean flavor.
Mix together all the marinade ingredients – olive oil, brine, herbs, garlic, and anchovy. Toss the chicken with the marinade and let it all sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I like to do this in the morning and let it marinate all day for the juiciest chicken.
Once you’re ready to cook, wipe off the chicken (to reduce oil drip flare ups) and put it on a medium hot grill skin side up. Starting skin side up gives you more control over how brown the skin gets and help keep you from burning the chicken.
After the bottom of the chicken has browned, turn it over and let the chicken gently cook on medium until it is about 20 degrees away from done. Then close the grill and let it heat up until you are happy with how brown the skin has gotten. This will take 4-5 minutes.
Let the chicken rest and serve with the salsa.
Olive and Tomato Salsa
While the chicken is cooking, it’s time to chop shallots and herbs and smash olives!
Get out your serving bowl for the salsa and prep all the ingredients. Chop the herbs, mince the garlic, slice the shallots and tomatoes. Then smash the olives flat with your knife or hand and mix everything together with some olive oil, olive brine, capers, and anchovy paste.
Don’t worry too much about the shallots. They will mellow in the dressing and lose some of their bite.
You can also make the salsa ahead. If you make it that morning or the night before, the onions will mellow even more and become quite mild. If you want a little more bite, add a few more slices of shallots just before serving.
Other Grilled Chicken Recipes
While this is my first grilled chicken thigh recipe here on the site, I do have some other yummy grilled chicken recipes – from breasts, to wings, to a whole chicken.
- Tender and Juicy Grilled Breaded Chicken Breast
- Homemade Grilled Chicken Shawarma
- Grilled Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken Wings
- Grilled Chicken and Farro Caesar Salad Bowl
- Butterflied Grilled Whole Chicken with French Herbs and Shallot Butter
So pull up a chair, get a nice glass of wine (a bold white or a fruity red Zin would be great), maybe make a salad and have dinner without heating up your house at all. It’s summer and the grilling is easy.
If you try my recipe for Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Grilling, Annemarie
Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Olives and Tomatoes
- 4 medium chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive brine
- 2 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4-6 tbsp fresh chopped herbs, mix of oregano, parsley, and thyme
Olive Tomato Salsa
- 1 1/4 cups mixed pitted olives
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp olive brine
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved and sliced
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp capers
- 2 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped herbs, mix of oregano, parsley, and thyme
- Put the chicken thighs into a 9x9 baking dish or a resealable bag. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade over the chicken, turning to coat. Let the chicken marinate for at 4-12 hours.
- Preheat the grill.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Add the the thighs to the grill, skin side up. Lower the heat to medium and grill the thighs, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes.
- Turn the chicken thighs over and grill on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Check the temperature of the thighs. Once they are about 140F, close the grill to finish them off and crisp the skin.
Olive and Tomato Salsa
- While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa.
- Either carefully using the flat of a knife or the heel of your hand, smash the olives flat.
- Add the smashed olives and all the other salsa ingredients to a medium bowl, and mix to combine. Taste and see if it needs a little more of the olive brine and add if needed.
- When the chicken is done grilling, let it rest for about 5 minutes, then serve the chicken with the salsa.
- Grilling the Chicken: Starting the chicken thighs skin side up reduces flare ups and allows the chicken to cook more evenly. However, since the grill is cooler when you turn them skin side down, the skin doesn't get crispy. To crisp the skin, cover the grill to raise the heat, once the chicken is close to done.
- Menu: A mixed green salad and some crusty bread make great accompaniments to the chicken. If you're bored with salad, a cold soup, such as my Cucumber Buttermilk Soup or my Tomato Gazpacho, needs no cooking and is a great spin on a summer vegetable option.