Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken

Grilled chicken is the perfect meal for summer! Add a simple marinade of the best flavors, and you’ll be making this Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken all summer long! It is a healthy and easy chicken recipe your whole family will enjoy!
A photo of grill honey lemon basil chicken thighs with fresh basil chiffonade on top.
Our easy grilled lemon pepper asparagus or our simple roasted garlic veggies make the perfect side dishes for this easy grilled chicken.
The marinade is made with just 4 ingredients and produces tender, juicy and plump chicken that is delicious on its own, or it can be sliced up and added to your favorite salad or pasta. Try it in our Lemon Chicken Caesar Panzanella Salad or in our 20 Minute Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta!

One thing I like about Utah is that there are definitely 4 distinct seasons. While I enjoy certain seasons more than others (winter, I’m looking at you!), there is at least one thing I love about each season. Grilling is one of the things I love about summer!
Pulling the grill out or the Traeger just makes me happy! I love the smoky flavor of food on the grill, and I love getting friends or family together for a fun BBQ. Let’s get to the details of making this simple grilled chicken!

How to Marinade Chicken?

Creating perfectly grilled chicken starts with a good marinade. A marinade infuses the chicken with flavor and helps the chicken stay tender. For this easy grilled chicken recipe, just a few simple ingredients are needed. You probably have them in your house already. No need for a trip to the grocery store!

  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Montreal seasoning

Combine all the marinade ingredients together and reserve a couple of tablespoons for later. Place the chicken thighs in a glass dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Flip the thighs over so they get coated on each side. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour (up to overnight).


A photo of a blue plate with several grilled chicken thighs on it with a side of grilled asparagus and slices of lemon.


Is it Healthy to Eat Grilled Chicken?

Yes! Skinless chicken is a healthy protein, though a chicken thigh is going to have more fat than a chicken breast. If you want a lean meal, go with a chicken breast. Our motto is balance and moderation in all things. Eating grilled chicken for every meal everyday wouldn’t be a healthy practice and pretty extreme, but a nice piece of grilled chicken paired with some healthy fruits and veggies makes a well-balanced nutritious meal. Try this Fruit Salad with Lemon Dressing…to die for! If you’re looking for more chicken recipes, we have you covered!


How Do You Keep Chicken Moist on the Grill?

There are few tips that help keep chicken moist while grilling it.

  • First, place the thighs between two sheets of wax paper and pound them with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin so that each piece has a uniform thickness. Then they will cook evenly and not dry out in the thinner areas while the thicker parts are still cooking. No duh, right?! But it really makes a huge difference and is a step that is often skipped.
  • Second, marinate the chicken! I know we just talked about the marinading process, but if you want juicy chicken, then marinading is a must. Don’t skip it!
  • Third, set your grill to medium high heat. People often cook their chicken at a temperature that is too high so it gets totally dried out by the time it cooks through. Low and slow is the name of the game here. You want a nice sear on the outside while the inside gets cooked through perfectly.
  • Fourth, baste the chicken while grilling. This is where that reserved marinade comes in. Use it to baste the chicken while it is cooking. It will add extra flavor!
  • Fifth, and most important of all- LET IT REST! I promise this is life-changing. Let the chicken rest for 3-5 minutes on the counter before you ever serve it up and it will be perfection!


A photo of a blue plate with several grilled chicken thighs on it with a side of grilled asparagus and slices of lemon.


How Long Do You Cook Chicken Breasts on the Grill?

For these grilled chicken thighs, 4-6 minutes on each side should do the trick, but always check the internal temperature to be sure it is 165 degrees. You can also head to our post on cooking chicken in a pan, and all the same principles apply to cooking on the grill.

How Do You Know When Grilled Chicken Is Done?

The most precise way to tell if chicken is done is to use a thermometer. Chicken should be grilled to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Another way to tell is to slice into it. When cut, the juices should be clear. This should only be done as a last resort because slicing the chicken always precious juices to drip out. We want to keep all those juices inside if possible!

One last tip for knowing when you’re grilled chicken is done…it will release from the grill naturally. If you go to move it and it is still stuck to the grill, it isn’t ready yet.


Why Does Grilled Chicken Need to Rest?

When the chicken is done on the grill, move it to a plate and tent the chicken with some foil. Allow the chicken to rest for a couple of minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute through the meat making it more juicy. Once it has rested, you can top each piece with fresh basil that has been chiffonade. Chiffonade is a fun and fancy way of saying it has been sliced very thinly into ribbons.

We did a quick and easy post on what is chiffonade- how to chop herbs so for sure take a quick peek over there. 


A close up photo of grilled chicken thights with fresh basil chiffonade on top.


Can I Use Chicken Breasts Instead of Thighs?

Chicken breasts can definitely be used instead of thighs. We love this recipe with both. Thighs have a richer and deeper flavor that we prefer, but breasts are a little healthier. The meat tenderizing step is especially crucial when you use chicken breasts so that each chicken breast has a uniform thickness. You will still want an internal temperature of 165 degrees.


Will Honey Go Bad?

Honey will never go bad on its own.

Honey has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs and it is still perfectly good.


Can You Eat Grilled Chicken When Pregnant?

If the chicken has been cooked properly, it is safe to eat while pregnant.


A photo of grilled honey lemon basil chicken thighs with fresh basil chiffonade on top.


Can You Freeze Grilled Chicken?

Grilled chicken freezes quite well as long as you follow a few simple tricks.

  • Freeze the thighs whole. Do not cut them up before freezing them. This reduces the surface area of the chicken that could get freezer burn.
  • Freeze the thighs separately so that they aren’t touching each other. This will allow the chicken to thaw more evenly. Stick them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them for 4-5 hours. Once they are frozen, you can throw them all into a ziploc back. Get as much air out of the bag as possible or even better, use a Food Saver!
  • Store frozen chicken for up to 1 month. Anything past that is going to start losing its flavor.


A photo of grilled honey lemon basil chicken thighs with fresh basil chiffonade on top.


What to Eat with Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken

Grilled chicken goes with just about anything, but these are some of our favorite things to eat with this dish:


The combination of honey, lemon and basil is one of my favorites! You have your sweetness, your acid and your seasoning which are the three thing you need to make the best grilled chicken recipe in town. This dish is simple enough to make the fam on a busy weeknight but spectacular enough to impress your friends at your next BBQ. Happy grilling!

Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken

Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken


  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Basil, Chiffonade
  • 6 Boneless Chicken Thighs


  1. Whisk together the zest, lemon juice, honey, montreal chicken seasoning and place in a large glass dish.
  2. Remove a couple of tablespoons to a bowl.
  3. Add the chicken thighs to the glass dish and turn over in the marinade.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour or up to overnight.
  5. Heat the grill to medium heat and place the thighs on the grill.
  6. Cook for 4-6 minutes and then turn over.
  7. Baste the chicken with the small bowl of the unused marinade and cook an additional 4-6 minutes.
  8. Remove to a platter and tent with foil.
  9. Allow to rest for 2 minutes and then serve with the basil sprinkled over.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6, Serving Size: 1

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 392 Calories
  • Total Fat: 24.8g
  • Cholesterol: 146mg
  • Carbohydrates: 17.7g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Sugar: 16g
  • Protein: 24.9g
All images and text ©Carrian Cheney for Oh Sweet Basil.

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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32 comments on “Grilled Honey Lemon Basil Chicken”

  1. Pingback: Meal Plan Monday- Week of April 2 – That Lemonade Life

  2. Pingback: Meal Plan Monday- Week of March 26 – That Lemonade Life

  3. Pingback: Honey Lemon Chicken Rice Bowls Recipe - Crunchy Creamy Sweet

  4. What do you do with the basil? Is it just sprinkled on the cooked chicken?

  5. I have everything I need for this minus that Montreal chicken seasoning. I couldn’t find it! Is there a substitution that would be good or multiple spices that equal this one?

  6. This recipe is exactly what’s happening tonight…thank you!

  7. I know several of those suckers in my life, and it’s unfortunate because they are extended family. 🙁 Why can’t we all just get along and live in harmony together!? By the way, this chicken looks delicious. We eat a lot of chicken and we get tired of the same ol’ flavors, this seems like the perfect chicken to try out next!

  8. Amazing!!! I love grilling season!!

  9. This sounds and looks so tasty and fresh for these hot summer nights!
    Life breathers <3

  10. Where is the recipe please?

  11. Pingback: Mellifera Bees | My Garden Footprint - Local. Sustainable. Social.

  12. Pingback: 50 of the Best Grilled Chicken Recipes | Six Sisters' Stuff

  13. can’t find this recipe anywhere, clicked the link above and takes me to pinterest

  14. I simply want to mention I am beginner to blogs and definitely loved your page. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You actually have superb article content. Many thanks for sharing your web page.

  15. Aw Deborah is so sweet and she has a great blog! Maybe I'll be able to meet her in real life one day… not just through emails and blogging!

  16. My kids will love this! LOVED seeing all your photos on instagram yesterday! You look fabulous as always

  17. I agree about the types of people and totally agree about sweet Deborah. She's one in a million!

  18. I love this post! I have a constant fear that I am a life sucker! that chicken looks delicious!

  19. Lovely post! Yay for life breathers 🙂

  20. I've only talked with Deborah 2 times in person, but there is something about her that lightens your load. It might be her genuine smile?

  21. 1. Lemon & Basil are a match made in heaven… can't wait to try this!
    2. YOU, my dear, are a life breather! It has been an absolute JOY getting to know you & your big heart! 🙂

  22. I so wanted more time with Deborah at EVO this year. Guess we'll need a girls' night out to catch up. She is amazing and an inspiration (like you).

  23. Glad to meet both you and Deborah, Carrian. Ridding your life of negative influences and life suckers certainly makes more room for positives 🙂

  24. Glad to meet both you and Deborah, Carrian. Ridding your life of negative influences and life suckers certainly makes more room for positives 🙂

  25. Glad to meet both you and Deborah, Carrian. Ridding your life of negative influences and life suckers certainly makes more room for positives 🙂

  26. Love Deborah too! Such a sweet post.

  27. Oh, Carrian… You are making this pregant girl cry first thing in the morning!! I feel the exact same way about you. In fact, you are the one the makes me feel like what I am doing is worthwhile. I could go on and on about you and what you have done for ME!! Love ya – and I'm so grateful for our friendship.

  28. This is so wonderful, and so true. A great reminder for the day!