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Vietnamese grilled chicken

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  • Author: Emily Roselyn
  • Prep Time: 6 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 1x



The Vietnamese Grilled Chicken is delectable. This spice rub makes your taste buds sing with only a few ingredients! This garlic pepper chicken with a hint of sweetness is perfect for banh mi’s noodle bowls or just over rice!


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • garnish (optional) – 2-3 green onions

Vietnamese Chicken Marinade

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice (about 1 small lime)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon neutral or vegetable oil (vegetable, canola, olive oil-but not extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium is fine)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Fish sauce (Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger – or more if you like (or pinch of ground ginger)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (medium to medium-mild heat)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (and more for garnish if desired)


  • PREPARE THE CHICKEN: Trim the fat from the larger pieces of chicken (don’t worry about the smaller pieces; they’ll burn off). To ensure consistent cooking, pound the chicken to an even thickness. I use the pot’s bottom or the heal of my hand.
  • MARINATE CHICKEN: In a ziploc bag or airtight container, combine all marinade ingredients. To blend well, mix or squeeze the bag. Add chicken, Seal bag/container and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in fridge.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Using a paper towel or spray, lightly oil the grill.
  • REMOVE THE CHICKEN FROM THE MARINADE AND GRILL IT (reserve marinade for sauce if desired Note 2). If using a low-sodium soy sauce, season the chicken lightly with salt. Depending on the thickness of the chicken, grill it for 3-5 minutes per side. The instant thermometer should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If using, add green onions for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Place the chicken on a plate. Allow to rest for 5 minutes after loosely covering with foil. If preferred, garnish with green onions and chopped fresh cilantro. Note 3: Baking


  • Substitutes for Fish Sauce. Fish sauce is created from fermented fish and shellfish combined with salt. If you can’t or don’t want to eat fish sauce, here are some alternatives:
  • Worcestershire (note this has anchovies in it). Use only 1 -1 1/2 teaspoons. 
  • Soy sauce (but it won’t have the same depth of taste).
  • Recipe for Vegan Fish Sauce from Food52.
  • Recipe for Vegetarian Fish Sauce using mushrooms by Cook’s Illustrated.
  • To make sauce from marinade: While chicken is resting, boil reserved marinade in small microwave safe measuring cup or bowl for 90 seconds. Or boil in small pot on stove. This will remove any bacteria. Drizzle over chicken or use as a dipping sauce.
  • To bake the Vietnamese chicken (instead of gas grill), heat oven to 425F/218C, place chicken on pan lined with parchment (or even better, on a wire rack over the pan), then bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches says 160F/71C with an instant read thermometer. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Make Ahead: 
  • The chicken can be marinated a day ahead, then grilled for 6-10 minutes before serving.
  • The cooked chicken is also delicious cold or at room temperature. Use the marinade (cooked) as a dipping sauce if you like.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


  • Serving Size: 2-3
  • Calories: 429kcal
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Sodium: 1569mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 46g
  • Cholesterol: 215mg

Keywords: Vietnamese Grilled Chicken, Grilled Chicken, Chicken, Dinner