Spicy Asian Marinated Chicken Thighs

I’m not a huge fan of just eating a roasted chicken. Sure, if you roast it and use the meat in other dishes like soup, pizza, etc. then yeah, it’s good. But if I’m just reaching for a piece of meat, I like mine marinated. And preferably for 24 hours. Marinating meat is a great way to infuse it with flavor and to tenderize it. Plus, it’s pretty hard to mess up.

So what goes into a marinade? Three ingredients: (1) a fat, usually oil; (2) an acid, for example, vinegar, wine or citrus; and (3) flavorings, usually spices, herbs and garlic. Proportionally, since the base of the marinade should be the oil, the mixture should be about 2/3 oil to 1/3 acid. Keep in mind that the acids work to tenderize the meat by denaturing proteins. Marinades that contain a lot of acid, like citrus juice (zest is okay) or vinegar, should only be used for a few hours since it will start to chemically cook the meat.

To store marinated meat, use a non-reactive container (no metal!). Plastic tupperware and ceramic dishes are good choices. I like using a ziploc bag since it’s easy to mix and turn the meat, ensuring all surfaces get coated. I place the bag in either a container or just double bag in case of leaks.

Cook the marinated meat as you would regular meat; but, discard the marinade since the raw meat juices get mixed in with it. If you want some extra marinade to drizzle over the finished product, reserve some at the very beginning before you start marinating.


  1. Stir together all the marinade ingredients.
  2. In a small container, reserve and refrigerate 3 tablespoons of the marinade to drizzle over the cooked chicken.
  3. Wash the chicken thighs and pat dry with a towel.
  4. Place the thighs in either a container with lid or large ziploc bag.
  5. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken and mix well.
  6. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  7. To broil the chicken, adjust the oven rack to the top third, about 8 inches from the top heating element.
  8. Place thighs skin side down on a broiling pan.
  9. Broil, 16 – 18 minutes.
  10. Flip the thighs so the skin side is up.
  11. Broil, 12 – 14 minutes.
  12. Serve with the reserved 3 tablespoons of marinade.

Cook’s Notes

Since I don’t have a grill, broiling is great alternative. Grilling is cooking the meat from the bottom up and broiling is basically cooking it from the top down. You need to use a broiling pan and place the oven rack about 5 -8 inches from the top heating element. If there is skin on the meat, I broil skin side down first for a longer period of time and then flip over to finish it up since the skin can burn easily.

If you don’t want to broil, you can bake it at 375F for about 35 minutes. Reduce the cooking time if the chicken thighs are boneless.

This marinade also is great with other types of meat like beef and shrimp.

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