The secret to this easy perfectly moist and delicious healthy grilled chicken recipe is in the brine. No need to marinate! You won’t believe how simple this healthy grilled chicken is! Just brine, sprinkle with seasoning and grill! Don’t be scared away by brining, there’s nothing to it!
This healthy grilled chicken recipe really came about because of my husband. He is the grill master in the house. It was his idea in the first place to brine the chicken years ago and grill it on our Traeger (paid link) grill. Originally he just used whatever spice mix we had on hand, later we started using my own homemade chipotle seasoning (paid link) which is the best grilled chicken seasoning in my opinion.
What is brining? Is it hard?
Brining chicken is super simple! This brine recipe has only 2 ingredients – kosher salt (paid link) and water. And it makes a world of difference. Just mix it up, add the raw chicken and let it sit in the refrigerator- overnight is best but even an hour will work. Brining adds flavor but it also changes the chicken’s physical nature by allowing the protein cells to retain more moisture. You can read more about brining here.
How much sodium in in brined chicken?
It’s a bit hard to calculate how much sodium in in brined chicken. If you’re really watching your sodium intake, I would speak to your doctor about it. I did find an interesting article that gives some suggestions to the sodium count in brined chicken. Less than 1/8 t of salt for a 6 oz piece of brined chicken. But again, this is an estimate and it also depends on how long you brine the chicken.
What can I do with grilled chicken?
Having chopped grilled chicken in your freezer is like having gold in your freezer. When you need a quick meal or snack, it’s ready to go. Just microwave until hot and serve over salads, pasta, in tacos, enchiladas, sandwiches and more! I package my grilled chicken into 1 cup portions and use vacuum sealed bags (paid link). It’s so handy when you want cooked chicken for a recipe.
No time to grill? Use the Instant Pot instead!
You can also use this healthy grilled chicken recipe in the Instant Pot. See the directions here!
Healthy grilled chicken in pictures:
In a big plastic container (paid link) with a lid, or bowl mix 3 qts. of water with the salt.
You can use chicken thighs or breasts. Sometimes I trim off the fat on the chicken thighs.
Add the chicken thighs to the brine. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight is best.
Preheat grill to 350°-375°. You can use any kind of grill. When hot, lay chicken flat on grill. Try to spread the pieces out. You may have to do this in a few batches. Sprinkle with homemade chipotle seasoning (paid link) -the best grilled chicken seasoning or use a seasoning of your choice.
Grill for 20 minutes, then flip over and grill until temperature is at least 165°. For my Traeger (paid link) grill, it takes another 15-20 minutes. You can sprinkle more seasoning on the other side if you’d like.
Be sure and use a thermometer (paid link) and grill it to at least 165° and then take the meat off the grill. Brined chicken cooks differently than just placing breasts or thighs on the grill. The texture is different, so don’t just “guess” when it’s done.
Chop the chicken if desired and place in vacuumed sealed bags and freeze. Use in salads, pastas, tacos and more!
Best Healthy Grilled Chicken Recipe
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3 quarts water
- 1 large pack of chicken thighs or breasts about 7 1/2 pounds (or how ever much you want to make)
Additional Ingredients for the Grilled Chicken
- Homemade Chipotle Seasoning or any other spice you want to use - Cajun etc.
- In a big plastic container with a lid, or bowl mix 3 qts. of water with the salt.
- Add chicken. Cover with lid or plastic wrap.
- Allow to brine overnight or at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Overnight is best.
To Grill the Chicken
- Preheat grill to 375°. You can use a gas, charcoal, Big Green Egg, Traeger, whatever you have.
- When grill is hot, remove chicken from brine. Lay chicken flat on grill. Try to spread the pieces out. You may have to do this in a few batches.
- Sprinkle generously with Homemade Chipotle Seasoning or whatever seasoning you're using.
- Grill chicken for about 20 min, then flip over and grill until temperature reaches 165°.
- Cool. Then cut into bite sized pieces, freeze into vacuum sealed bags. I like to freeze them in about 1 cup packs.
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You don’t have to put a little oil on the chicken before putting it on the grill after removing from the brine to keep it from sticking to the grill grates? I noticed it looks like you put foil over the gas tubes, is that necessary to do?
Love your new book!!
Thanks Pam! So glad you love my book! No I don’t put oil on the chicken before I put it on the grill. But I do have a Traeger grill and it has a grate with a semi nonstick coating. I do have foil on the metal plate below so I can easily “clean” it by changing the foil. You can spray a little oil if you need to on the chicken but don’t move the chicken for at least 10 min, then flip it over. Sometimes if you keep moving it, it sticks more, so let it cook for 10, then flip. Depending on your grill, you may not need oil. Hopefully this helps!