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Grilled Chicken with Chile Butter
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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This recipe is great if you need to prep ahead of time. The butter can be made weeks ahead and the chicken seasoned the night before.

Technique tip: Save the liquid from the dried chiles. You can use the "juice" to add to chicken or beef stock when making chili, chicken tortillas or enchilada sauce.

Swap option: You can use bone-in thighs instead of boneless, skinless thighs, but the cooking time will increase threefold.


  • Chile butter

    • 1 ancho chile
    • 2 chiles de arbol
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • Kosher salt
  • Chicken

    • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
    • 1 lime, zested
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil


For the chile butter:

1. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles, and then soak in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the liquid (save for another use), and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the chiles into small pieces.

2. In a small food processor or clean coffee grinder, add cumin, garlic, salt and chiles. Grind until well blended. If using a coffee grinder, transfer to a medium bowl and whisk together well to completely incorporate. If using a small food processor, add butter to mixture and blend until well incorporated.

3. Using a small scooper, scoop finished butter into small dollops and store in your refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

For the chicken:

1. In a large bowl, season the chicken with the thyme, lime zest, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder and parsley. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Add the oil and toss to coat the chicken, seal and set in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

2. If using charcoal, light the grill at least 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Remove butter from refrigerator or freezer as well.

3. When coals are ready (red and glowing) or gas grill is hot, place chicken on the hot part of grill for 3 minutes, turn chicken over and place on a cooler part of the grill for another 3 minutes or so, until just cooked through. Transfer chicken to a resting rack.

4. Top chicken with a dollop of room temperature chile butter.

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Make grilled chicken with chili butter to spice up your summer

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