This perfect grilled chicken breast has the most delicious spice rub! Plus how to get the juiciest grilled chicken with just three simple tips.
After seeing how much you guys love this perfect baked chicken breast recipe, it makes sense to share this perfect grilled chicken breast!
It took some experimentation to find the best method for juicy grilled chicken, and I think I've finally cracked the code!
This post will cover three simple tips so that you can have the juiciest grilled chicken...every time.
No more dry, tough, overcooked chicken this summer, OK?
Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later!
How to get perfect grilled chicken breast
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1. Pound your chicken
Chicken breasts are not even in thickness, and if you grill them as is, by the time the middle is cooked to perfection, the edges will be dry.
The better bet? Pound your chicken breasts to an even thickness!
Here's how to pound your chicken breasts without a mallet:
- sandwich between plastic wrap
- pound with a rolling pin until they are ¾ inch thickness all the way across
It only takes 3 minutes to do this and I promise, it's worth the effort!
After pounding the chicken breast, we brush with oil and add a delicious rub OR you can place the chicken into a marinade (I have 7 Chicken Marinade Recipes here!)
2. Check Internal Temperature (and take chicken off the grill early!)
Let's get one thing straight: all barbecues cook differently, which is why it's hard to write a recipe for grilled chicken breast. In fact, many grills have 'hot spots' meaning that even placing your chicken in a different spot on the same grill will have a different cook time.
The solution to this confusion? Check the internal temperature of your chicken, and don't be afraid to check it often towards the end of the cook time.
Here's the digital thermometer I own. I know some fancy grills have built-in probes (how awesome is that?!)
When to take chicken off the grill? Most people say 165°F, but let's not forget about carryover cooking.
Your chicken breast will continue to cook for several minutes after you remove it from the grill, so I prefer to remove when it reaches a temp of 155°F.
How long to grill chicken?
This depends on your grill, and the size of your chicken breast.
- start with a hot barbecue (500-600°F)
- sear chicken 2 minutes per side, then continue to cook, 2-4 more minutes, flipping as needed. Total time for 7 oz chicken breast on my grill is 6-8 minutes.
- chicken breast is ready to come off the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F
3. Rest the chicken breast- covered
Just like in the oven or the Instant Pot, it's crucial to rest cooked chicken breast. This helps all the juices settle so that they don't rush out everywhere when you cut into the chicken breast.
I recommend covering when resting your grilled chicken breast. I cover with a bowl or baking dish on a clean plate or cutting board. The chicken will continue to cook through as it rests.
Rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing up that chicken.
Bonus tip: slice against the grain
Even if you cook the juiciest chicken breast, if you do not slice it against the grain, it can still end up tough and chewy!
Slicing against the grain can be easier said than done and I found this really confusing until I got practice with it.
To find the grain, I look for the pointy tip of the chicken breast and slice diagonally across it and to the upper left. If you can see the lines of the fibres, slice directly diagonally to them.
Here's a video that helps show how to slice against the grain!
Serve it with
This is a great 'base' recipe and goes well with so many other recipes:
- grilled potatoes- these unbelievably crispy grilled potatoes (pictured above) are a family favorite- they taste just like fries but without all the grease! We also love grilled sweet potatoes
- side salad- we are loving this 10 Minute Rainbow Thai Salad and this Summer Couscous Salad!
- grilled veggies- these Grilled Brussels Spouts with Garlic Butter and this Grilled Broccoli with Lemon & Parmesan are both easy and delicious!
- Rice- try this perfect brown rice or one of these 7 Easy Rice Recipes! Here are 7 Easy Cauliflower Rice Recipes if you are low carb.
Tips & equipment
- start with a clean grill, I use a no-bristle brush similar to this one. It doesn't work as well as a bristle brush but it's much safer!
- carefully spray or brush the grill with oil before placing your chicken breast down
- use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature
- I use a Napoleon Grill
Perfect Grilled Chicken Breast
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (roughly 2 average-sized chicken breasts)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat grill to high heat (5-600°F).
- While grill is heating, pound chicken breasts flat: sandwich between layers of plastic wrap, then pound to an even thickness of ¾ inch using a rolling pin.
- Stir together spice blend.
- Brush chicken breasts with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with the spice blend.
- Carefully grease the grill with spray oil (you can also brush the grill with olive oil), then place the chicken on the greased grill.
- Cook chicken for 2 minutes per side, then reduce grill heat to medium (roughly 450°F).
- Continue cooking chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F. Remove chicken from the grill and cover with a bowl or baking dish. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Chicken will continue to cook while it rests.
- Slice chicken against the grain, and serve.
- This grilled chicken is best served fresh, but leftovers can be kept for up to 4 days in the fridge.