Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs

Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs are so flavorful and delicious! Chicken thighs are marinated in beer, spices and grilled to perfection.

In my 30 years on earth I never really thought of myself as a dark meat kind of gal. At Thanksgiving I naturally skip over the dark and just go for the white meat… but I’ve been wrong all along. Lately I have found myself going for that dark meat and passing over the chicken breasts because, truthfully, it’s extremely juicy, flavorful and more tender! Everyone is all hung up on chicken breasts because they’re “lean”, and “better for you”… pah! Don’t get me wrong I like chicken breasts too, but I think thighs get overlooked quite a bit.

They are under utilized! Chicken thighs need a comeback and the definitely could use beer marinating love!

And who doesn’t like the sound of chicken soaked in beer anyways!?


So here is a recipe for you to try on some chicken thighs. These thighs marinate in beer, spices, lime juice and cilantro for a few hours then you slapped onto the grill for some crispy charred goodness. In theory you could try this on chicken breasts, but give thighs a try… please? You’ll be glad you did!! Oh and the beer in this recipe works as a tenderizer {not that thighs really need that or anything} so please don’t expect beer tasting chicken mmm-kay? Sorry to let you down… but look on the bright side… there is a little leftover beer after measuring so CHEERS {just drink responsibly okay}!!

Some of my favorite ingredients…

And some of my favorite spices! I get my Ancho-Chile Pepper and Cinnamon through Penzy’s Spices… because it’s the bestest!!

Start off by pressing a few garlic cloves into a large bowl.

It should measure out to be about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half.

Dump in the spices…

Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Grab some fresh cilantro and chop it up. Seriously folks, I can’t get enough of cilantro in the summertime. I just love it oh-so-much!

Drizzle in two tablespoons sesame seed oil.

Oh yeah and add the cilantro! How could I forget??

Squeeze in the juice of half a lime. And slice up the rest of the lime and squeeze a wedge into your beer! That’s if you like that sort of thing. Me, personally, I LOVE that sort of thing!!

Measure and pour in a cup of beer.

Watch it bubble and fizz.

Then whisk until all the spices are well mixed throughout.

Place the two pounds of chicken thighs into a large re-sealable bag or large bowl. I trim off any excess fat before I stick them in the bag.

Pour the marinade over the top.

Seal the bag and squish the chicken around to coat evenly. Place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours, tossing around every now and again.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken and discard the marinade. Lay the chicken on the grill grates and cover for a few minutes per side until cooked all the way through.

I love how the cilantro sticks to the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, remove and let rest for a few minutes under foil. I have a recipe I’ll be posting this week showing you just how you can use this marinated chicken in some delicious soft tacos! Stay tuned!

Enjoy! And if you give these Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 4 servings

Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs

Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs
Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs are so flavorful and delicious! Chicken thighs are marinated in beer, spices and grilled to perfection.
Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or about 8 to 10)
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, grated or squeezed through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon ancho-chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) Beer, any kind should do
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • juice of a lime, or about 2 tablespoons


  1. Combine the garlic, spices, cilantro, sesame seed oil, beer and lime juice into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Place chicken thighs in a re-sealable bag or a large bowl, pour the marinade over top and toss to coat. Seal and place into fridge for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat, and place the chicken thighs onto the grates.
  4. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side {depending} until cooked thoroughly.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 184mg Sodium: 626mg Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Protein: 38g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

[this post contains affiliate links.]

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43 Responses to “Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs”

  1. #
    April — June 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Quick little editorial comment: Your written recipe says chicken breasts. I think you meant chicken thighs.

  2. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — June 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Phew! Good catch April!! Can I send you all my stuff to proof read?? I can't be trusted! LOL! thanks 😉

  3. #
    Kristy Lynn — June 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    What beer did you use? I know you say any beer will do but there's a big difference between the flavours of a rich dark chocolate porter, amber ales, and corona… Just curious 🙂

  4. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — June 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    You're absolutely right… I used a light beer… but now I'm curious on what a richer dark beer would taste like in this marinade… hmmm! I'll have to play around with that one! 🙂

  5. #
    Aarthi — June 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    That is terribly good..

  6. #
    Nichole — June 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Oh man, that sounds fantastic!!

  7. #
    Ma What's 4 dinner — June 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Oh wow!!! Those look fantastic. You've made me a believer…to hell with the breast. Ok, well to be honest you had me at beer and by the time you got to the sesame oil I was going to leave my husband and switch teams! 😉

    First timer here…can't wait to poke around some more. I already love what I see! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Lots of yummy love,

  8. #
    Jennifurla — June 8, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Suck lovely coloring once cooked, I love it. As always I really enjoy step by step pics.

  9. #
    Sabrina — June 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    my husband would love these! I totally agree, I've always stayed away from the dark meat but its really a shame to miss out! love your recipe and can't wait for your tacos!

  10. #
    Erin — June 9, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Bookmarking right now! These look amazing! I love the marinade! I love my chicken breasts, but it is good to switch up and use thighs sometimes too!

  11. #
    Duong Nguyen — June 9, 2011 at 2:33 am

    This looks fantastic!

    I love chicken thighs and make a big batch at the start of every week to eat for the whole week!

    I never thought of using beer to marinate the chicken thighs…I'm going to try this recipe tomorrow 🙂

  12. #
    Judith — June 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I just love chicken thighs and am sure I will give this recipe a try soon. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

  13. #
    RadiantShari — June 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    YUM! I just finished eating this for dinner. It was storming outside so we pan fried it and it was quite very tasty. My husband used a stout beer that was delicious. We also had a strawberry vinegar salad that was a great contrast to the chicken. Thanks for sharing! I'm loving your blog!

  14. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — June 11, 2011 at 2:24 am

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I spooned a little dollop of sour cream on top and enjoyed every single bite. The thing I enjoyed to most while cooking the chicken was the aroma of the cinnamon. It was awesome! Next time I think I'll cut it up and use it for chicken tacos.

  15. #
    Kita — June 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Chicken thighs are under utilized! This sounds like an awesome way to use up some of the thighs I have in the freezer

  16. #
    Christine — June 18, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Marinade is so flavorful!! I put my thighs in the fridge in the morning and they were so tender!! I think I might try chicken breasts next time just to see how they turn out!!!
    I did use an IPA (Sierra Nevada) and it was great!!!

  17. #
    Allison at Novice Life — July 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I have some bone-in chix breast (no thighs:/ ) marinating in this right now 🙂 Can't wait to try!

  18. #
    Bthree21 — July 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Tried it last night and the turned out awesome! They will be making an appearance next taco night.

  19. #
    mestorey — September 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Simply Scratch!

    I was wondering if I could feature your recipe on is a website by the Brewers Association that works to educated people on craft beer (cooking with it, pairing with it, tasting it, etc.)

    I would create a post similar to this one:

  20. #
    Anonymous — October 1, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Wow making it this weekend, love that you can get this cut of meat so cheap, we need to keep this a secret if it tastes as good as it sounds it will be great, thanks for the recipe

  21. #
    Casey — March 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    This was absolutely delicious. After throwing the chicken on the grill I reduced/boiled the marinade and poured it over some toast (rice would have been nice too). Ate it all with Ina Garten's roasted carrots, subbing white pepper for black ( I can't remember a home-made meal this good!

  22. #
    Chadbag — June 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I made this last weekend. Our family is a tee-totalling family, but I have a few bottles of beer and a bottle of tequila and some cheap red wine for cooking. I had more than the specified amount of chicken so I doubled the spices, used a 12oz beer, 3 tablespoons of sesame oil (black sesame oil — my wife is Japanese Korean so we have lots of sesame oil in the house), and unfortunately had to use dried cilantro, not having fresh on hand. I also added 1 tablespoon of Hornitos Tequila, and 2 teaspoons of Agave Syrup to add a slight amount of sweetness. For beer I used a bottle of Kirin.

    The wife really liked the chicken and I thought it was awesome as well. We used boneless skinless thighs from Costco. We are a “thigh loving” family anyway, and only ever buy thighs so that was perfect. The kids are in the “everything is gross” stage but the 4 year old said she liked it and ate a good amount. Our 9 year old ate what he had to to get dessert.

  23. #
    Stacey — July 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Holy moly! I marinated my chicken over night in this delicious concoction and it was absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much! This is company worthy! I will be sharing this with friends for sure 🙂

  24. #
    kris — October 15, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I made this tonight for dinner. Really great flavor! Will definitely make again!

  25. #
    Cara — April 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I made these for dinner tonight – delicious!
    I didn’t follow all of the measurements; added way more cilantro, way more sesame oil (maybe only a tbsp more), and used regular chili powder because I cannot find Ancho Chili Powder anywhere. They went really well with mashed sweet potatoes. This will definitely be a go-to recipe for me 🙂 Thanks!

    • simplyscratch replied: — April 12th, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

      Yay! So glad to hear it 🙂

  26. #
    replica hermes wallet — May 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Hello, your articles here Simply Scratch » Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs to write well, thanks for sharing!

  27. #
    Viktoriya — May 8, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Can I marinate it overnight? I have a big party to do and would like to marinate something overnight so I have one less thing to do

  28. #
    mikes — July 8, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    99% of Mericans’ would rather eat white meat, for whatever reason I do not know. It always come out like crap *unless* you “velvet’ the cutlets. I learned about the sublime beauty of legs and thighs from Indian food, especially Tandoori Chicken, which cannot be done with anything but legs and thighs

  29. #
    abbie — April 21, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    This was sooooo crazy good!!! I used some gluten free beer and added turmeric (I add it to basically everything). I’m so glad I doubled the recipe because now I have tons of leftovers! We had these as tacos but honestly the chicken was so good on its own it probably would have been better over rice. Next time I’m definitely cooking down the marinade into a sauce. Yum!

  30. #
    Marie Militello — February 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Im looking forward to trying this recipe – but would like to try it in oven – under broiler before summer on the grill! Hope this is a possibility. Thank you!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 24th, 2017 @ 8:24 am

      Hi Marie! I would bake at 425 for about 20 minutes and then flip the broiler on for a few once the chicken is fully cooked. Enjoy!

  31. #
    Erica — March 6, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Loved this. Had to use parsley because I was out of cilantro and it was still a hit. Thank you for sharing.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 10th, 2018 @ 9:00 am

      I’m glad Erica!

  32. #
    SARAH — October 8, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Hi!!! New follower here with a quick question; could this be made without cinnamon, and not lose it’s integrity? I’m unfortunately allergic! ( I know, I weep for myself as well around the holidays)

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 18th, 2018 @ 8:42 am

      Hi Sarah! Sorry for the delay. Yes! Omit it, you should be fine. Enjoy!


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