Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Thighs with Soy-Vinegar Sauce & Cilantro


Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Thighs with Soy-Vinegar Sauce & Cilantro
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 large, 10 medium, or 12 small), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; more for the grill
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Mix the five-spice powder, the 1 Tbs. sugar, the garlic powder, and the salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp. sugar.
  2. Put the chicken in a shallow pan, drizzle with the vegetable oil, and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken; toss and rub to coat thoroughly.
  3. Prepare a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill with all burners on medium high for 10 min. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked paper towel. Put the chicken on the grate and grill (covered on a gas grill or uncovered over a charcoal fire) until one side has dark grill marks, 5 to 6 min. for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through, 5 to 6 min. longer for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs.
  4. Move the thighs to a serving dish. Drizzle with about half of the soy mixture, sprinkle with the cilantro, and toss to coat. Let rest 4 to 5 min., tossing once or twice. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with the remaining soy mixture passed at the table.


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  1. says

    You’ve changed your website! It looks great! I just grilled up some thighs the other day (marinated in beer) for tacos. Those were good, but these look better!! Definitely a good mix for a marinade.

  2. Tami_StP says

    Is Asian sesame oil the toasted or not toasted? Or should I be looking for a bottle that is just labeled that? Just thought I would ask since the toasted and not toasted are distinct flavors.

  3. Pam says

    Good question, Tami. You’re looking for toasted sesame oil, although in most cases it doesn’t appear to be labeled. Just look for nutty colored sesame oil. I’ve seen the un-toasted variety and it’s pretty colorless.

  4. Terri A. says

    I have everything to make these except the chicken and I have to stop by the grocery store on my way home anyway, so it looks like these might be on the menu tonight!

  5. peter says

    This was excellent. I made my own 5-spice powder from a recipe elsewhere on the web and I subbed cider vinegar for rice vinegar. And I forgot the cilantro (darn!). But really, the spicerub carried the dish.

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