Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl
Hands-on Time
1 Hour 10 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 10 Mins
Serves 6 (serving size: 2 thighs, 2 teaspoons sauce, and 1 lime wedge)

If you're using a charcoal grill, skip the foil pan and add the chips to the coals. Look for granulated garlic in the spice aisle, or substitute 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Amber agave syrup has a deeper flavor than the more neutral, light-colored varieties.

How to Make It

Step 1

Soak wood chips in water 30 minutes; drain well.

Step 2

Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on). Pierce the bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heat element on heated side of grill; add wood chips to pan. Let chips stand for 15 minutes or until smoking.

Step 3

Combine chile powder and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well. Add oil to bowl; toss well.

Step 4

Place syrup and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup and begins to thicken (about 3 minutes). Reserve syrup mixture.

Step 5

Place chicken, meaty side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over left burner (indirect heat). Brush chicken with 2 tablespoons syrup mixture; grill 15 minutes. Turn chicken over. Brush with 2 tablespoons syrup mixture; grill 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and move to direct heat; grill 5 minutes or until done. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve with remaining syrup mixture and lime wedges.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Ratings & Reviews

KathrynNC's Review

August 03, 2012
My husband repeatedly mentioned how much he loved this recipe for days after the fact and insisted I write a review giving it five stars. We made very minimal changes to the recipe. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (all the grocery store had on hand at the time), skipped the wood chips (as some other reviewers have suggested), and we put heavy duty foil down on the grill but lit the burners directly underneath (took about 20 minutes total cook time, turning and basting with syrup every 5 minutes). The heat was perfect for our tastes! One trick I have heard parents use before, is to leave the skin on for the children's portions then remove it prior to serving (that way most of the "hot stuff" is also removed). Served with black bean and rice salad. Would also pair with a green salad with cilantro-lime dressing, cojita cheese, tomatoes and tortilla strips toppers in the future.

psnewcomer's Review

June 27, 2012

culinaryclique's Review

July 09, 2012
This was awesome. We left it to grill over indirect heat. I used half tablespoon of sambal oelek in place of the hot sauce and ground red pepper. OH MY was it so good. We sliced the leftover chicken for sandwiches for lunch. Again, YUM!

PKcookin's Review

August 13, 2012
These are delicious and pretty easy. Forgot to skin chicken so probably not as light as intended but delicious all the same.

Zoesmom's Review

June 24, 2012
Made the recipe exactly as written. Excellent! Will definitely be using this for company.

AndoverCookie's Review

July 07, 2012

dmlutz's Review

June 30, 2012
Excellent flavor! The best Cooking Light recipe I have made in years!

Coombce31's Review

June 23, 2012

tonig692's Review

December 10, 2012
have made this many times and each time I love it.. I did try with Salmon tonight and baked for about 20-25 minutes and turned out moist and wonderful too. I sprinkled the spices on top of salmon and poured the sauce (I made a little more than what the recipe called for) over the salmon and saved some for when the fish was done. No leftovers

Lysnecook's Review

May 19, 2013
Fantastic chicken! We've made it exactly as written half a dozen times or more. It also freezes well. Don't freeze sauce. Just make extra chicken, freeze up dinner portions and make sauce while chicken is reheating down the road. I think it's even more flavorful after its been frozen.