Chicken Thigh Marinade Recipe – baked chicken thighs made with the BEST pineapple chicken thigh marinade is one of the easiest ways to make incredibly flavorful chicken that tastes just like a Hawaiian getaway!
When YOU make this Chicken Thigh Marinade Recipe please tag us on @munchkintimeblog on Instagram, we would LOVE to see your creation!
The sweet and savory combination of flavors is made from a simple marinade made with pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. The secret ingredient of sesame oil just takes it over the top!
There are some chicken thigh recipes that don’t require any long marinating time, but this isn’t one of them. I highly recommend marinating the thighs overnight to get maximum flavor. Once they’re done marinating it’s simply a matter of throwing them in the oven! How easy is that?!
The sugars from the pineapple juice and brown sugar caramelize giving the outer skin a beautiful crispy coating. The insides remain juicy and succulent because we’re using bone-in chicken, and the dark meat and marinade combined give it so much extra flavor.
It’s one you can serve with a variety of different sides. White or brown rice, a simple side salad, mashed potatoes, grilled pineapple or veggies are all great choices. You can’t go wrong no matter what, because this finger licking chicken thigh marinade is always a hit.
Ingredients for Chicken Thigh Marinade Recipe
- Chicken Thighs: I use bone-in and skin on chicken thighs, about 2 lbs worth. You can use boneless if you prefer, however you’ll need to cook them for about 5 minutes less.
- Pineapple Juice: Delicious pineapple juice from a can is what I use. You can also use the juice from canned pineapple chunks and reserve the chunks for the sauce later on.
- Fresh Ginger & Garlic: Adds a delicious zippy pungent element that always pairs well with soy sauce and sesame oil. They always help to brighten up flavors.
- Soy Sauce: This gives the marinade that dark color, a bit of salty umami flavor, and a beautiful balance to the sweetness in this chicken thigh marinade.
- Sesame Oil: Adds an earthy, nutty, warm flavor to the marinade. It’s a common flavor in many Asian-inspired marinades and sauces and pairs well with sweet, savory, and spicy flavors.
- Light Brown Sugar: Gives extra sweetness, color, and caramelization to the marinade and glaze.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Green Onion: Sliced for a pop of color!
How to Marinade Chicken Thighs
Step 1: Trim any excess fat off the thighs and pat them dry with paper towels. I know you’re adding it to a liquid marinade anyway, but any excess moisture will dilute the yummy flavors and we don’t want that!
Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine pineapple juice, fresh ginger, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, and salt and pepper. Mix to combine then remove ½ cup to reserve it for the sauce.
Step 3: Add chicken thighs to the bowl and toss to coat, making sure all the pieces are covered in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then transfer it to the fridge to marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Step 4: When you are ready to cook the thighs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a baking dish or cast iron skillet and place the chicken thighs in a single layer skin side down. Do not overcrowd the dish.
Step 5: Bake for 20 minutes and then flip the pieces over. Pour the reserved sauce overtop and bake for another 15 minutes until they are cooked through. Broil on high for 5 minutes to finish them off with beautiful dark crispy skin.
Garnish with green onions and enjoy with your favorite sides. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top if green onions aren’t your thing.
Tips for Making Pineapple Marinade for Chicken Thighs
- If you’re using boneless chicken thighs, remember they take less time to cook. Start with 5 minutes less cooking time and go from there.
- You can also use chicken breasts if you prefer, however because it’s leaner meat it’s easier to overcook and dry out. Keep an eye on them as well, and cook for less time.
- Since you reserved the marinade before adding the raw meat, it’s fine to use it again. After you’ve added more before broiling, you can use whatever is left to drizzle it on top before you serve it.
- Add a little sriracha or red pepper flakes for spice.
- Grill it in summer for those beautiful char marks!
- Use some pineapple chunks for extra flavor on the side. You can grill pineapple slices too. Or make a pineapple salsa!
How do I know when my chicken is cooked through?
The best way to tell is by using a digital thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the thigh and it should read 165 degrees F when it’s done. The juices should run clear as well.
Can I make the sauce a bit thicker?
Sure you can. Once the chicken has been marinated, you can add a bit of ketchup to it before baking it.
How long does it take to marinade chicken thighs?
If you have the time, I recommend the full 6 hours or even overnight, but if you are short on time, 1-2 hours is fine and it will still be delicious!
What to Serve with chicken?
Rice or mashed potatoes are always a simple go-to. I like to add a simple refreshing salad on the side. Something like this carrot salad with garlic, cabbage salad recipe, or cucumber tomato salad.
The Best Baked Pineapple Chicken Thigh Marinade
- cast iron or baking sheet
- 8 chicken thighs about 2 lb total
- 6 oz pineapple juice can
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3-5 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt + black pepper to taste
- green onion sliced
- In a mixing bowl combine pineapple juice, 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, 3-5 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt + black pepper, to taste. Mix with a spoon. Reserve 1/2 cup for sauce. Add chicken thighs, cover and marinade overnight or at least 6 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Place chicken thighs skin side down on a baking dish or cast iron skillet, bake for 20 minutes. Flip on the other side and pour 1/2 reserved sauce over the chicken thighs, rechurn back to the oven bake for 15 more minutes or until chicken thighs are cooked. Broil on high for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with sliced green onion. Enjoy!
Q. Do YOU like this Chicken Thigh Marinade Recipe?
Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Thank YOU for YOUR Comment, Share & Recipe Review!
Have a blessing day!
Can you make this with boneless skinless chicken thighs? If yes, how long would you cook it? Thank you
Yes you can, I would bake it the same way, or maybe 5 minutes less, and I would use food thermometer to make sure it reads 160°F.
I made this recipe tonight and turn out delicious. I also added the the pineapple chunks . so good!! Thank you!!
Thank you Wanda for your great recipe review!
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I made this recipe tonight and it was so delicious! My family loved it! I added more garlic than called for because we are garlic fiends and a little extra ginger as well. I think next time I’ll try it with pineapple tidbits added. I served it with white rice and roasted broccoli. There are no leftovers!
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This is definitely a family favorite, I also add pineapple chunks to it. Makes it so good.
Delicious! Added pineapple chunks at the end of cooking time but had to eliminate ginger due to allergy. Any suggestions for a substitute?
Maybe allspice or nutmeg or Szechuan Peppercorn.
I made with boneless chicken thighs and also added crushed pineapple. I didn’t have ginger so I used about a tablespoon of ground ginger, came out great 🙂
This recipe is amazing! Followed to the letter except I added 1/2 can of pineapple chunks when chicken was turned to skin up and it turned out great. Also served with white rice and peas.
It will be a recipe I will use over and i
Rosiet, You are the best for writing this pineapple chicken recipe review! I appreciate you sharing it! Pineapple chunks on top of the chicken sounds super delicious, I am going to try it next time I make this recipe! 🙂
Making right now! Can’t wait to eat it tonight.
I think I will serve with Rice and grilled pineapple slices.
Thank you for giving this recipe a try, Rosiet! 🙂
Can’t wait to try this, wanted the BBQ thigh instructions but it would not print.
It is super delicious and worth a try! Thank you, Nettie, for letting me know about the recipe not printing I will look into it and will try to fix it as soon as I can!
Pinned!! This sounds amazing!!
I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/
Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!
Thank you, Jess! I would love to share this chicken thigh recipe in your facebook group, thank you for inviting me!
This will be great marinade for the chicken thigh, I love the pineapple flavors! Hope you are having a wonderful week and thanks so much for posting with Full Plate Thursday!
Thank you, Miz Helen! The pineapple flavor is incredibly delicious in this chicken recipe!
I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love pineapple. And to answer your question my favourite place to go camping is Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville, Ontario
Thank you, Alisa! You will love this chicken thighs recipe! It is so good with pineapple and sesame seed oil, incredibly delicious! Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville, Ontario looks breath taking, I would love camping there, too!
That sounds delicious!! I often buy chicken thighs but then I’m never quite sure how to prepare them. Pinned.
Thank you, My girls and my hubby loved this recipe, I am sure you & your family will like it too! Thank you for pinning it, I appreciate it!
Those are foods looking just amazing and too yummy! Really I need to made it right now.
Thank you, Alicia! You should totally make it right now! It is worth it! =D
This is so delicious. This baked pineapple chicken recipe is amazing. My family loved it. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
Thank you so much for the recipe review, Sheila! I am so glad you & your family like this chicken thighs recipe!
Congratulations on the feature on Foodie Friday. This baked pineapple chicken looks and sounds fabulous.
Thank you so much, Amy, for the feature, this is so exciting!=D
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Where and when you used the pineapple juice?
That’s a very good question! You add pineapple juice in the first step with the rest of the ingredients, Thank you so much for noticing, I will add it to the recipe!