How Long to Grill Chicken Breast So It's Juicy Every Time

No more dry chicken for you!


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Grilled chicken breast is majorly delicious, versatile, and easy to make. It’s also easy to overcook and dry out, whether you’re using a boneless or bone-in breast. However, once you master the grilled chicken breast, whether you’re using a charcoal, gas, or electric gill, you can enjoy juicy, tasty poultry that even makes for good leftovers.

First, some prep. “Brushing your chicken breast with grapeseed oil, or an oil with a similarly high smoke point, will help you get a better sear and really lock in those juices,” suggests Sean McLendon, Farmer Focus Vice President of Research and Development and a James Beard nominated chef. From there, season the chicken breast with salt and pepper, or your own spice preferences. Hot sauces and marinades, like Korean gochujang or Italian dressing, or seasoning blends such as mesquite or applewood spices, can help boost the flavor profile. 

Once it’s seasoned to your liking, here’s how long to grill chicken breast so it stays juicy. 

How Long to Grill Boneless Chicken Breast

“A 7-9 ounce boneless breast should cook for around 12-16 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill,” says McLendon. “For gas or electric grills, the sweet spot is usually between high and medium-high [heat] or between 475-525 degrees. Typically, a good rule is to flip your chicken breasts within the first 5 minutes, let them cook for another 3-4 minutes, and then flip them again and cook them until they hit 165 degrees and the juices run clear on the bottom of the breast.”

How Long to Grill Chicken Breast With a Bone

“Bone-in breasts generally need to cook about 3-5 minutes longer than boneless breasts—or until all portions hit the 165-degree threshold,” notes McLendon

How to Tell When Chicken Breast Is Done

“It’s always best to use a thermometer to make sure your protein is cooked above 165 degrees,” adds McLendon. To properly use a meat thermometer, make sure the probe is inserted into the thickest part of the breast, and isn’t touching a bone.

“However, if you don’t have a thermometer handy you can use touch as a backup. Just make a tight fist with one hand and use a finger to press on the area between your thumb and the top of your fist; when pressing on the thickest part of a chicken breast gives you the same resistance, that’s a good indicator that it’s done. Visually, you also want to ensure the juices are running clear from the bottom of the breast.”

Keeping your chicken juicy will take just a bit of patience. “Cutting into chicken fresh off the grill will release a lot of its juices, so give your chicken a couple of minutes to rest before cutting it,” says McLendon. “For even juicier chicken, transfer it from the grill to a glass food storage container and cover with aluminum foil to lock in the moisture until you’re ready to serve it.”

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