Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken is quick, easy, and oh so delicious. Add lime for a citrus pop and fresh diced jalapeño and you have a lip smacking dish for your next grill night.
We can’t get enough grilled chicken recipes around here. It’s a weekly staple, and our kids love this healthy protein!
This version spends a couple hours in a buttermilk marinade to tenderize and flavor, then grilled hot and fast and finished with a sweet and spicy apricot lime glaze.
This is a fantastic way to do grilled chicken that’s likely to become your summer favorite.
How to make a buttermilk bath
Simply add buttermilk and your chicken pieces into a large gallon size bag and mix together and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours. After the bath remove the chicken and allow it to dry on a baking rack (in the fridge) for 1 hour. This will help get the skin ready for the grill (and ensure the skin gets nice and crispy instead of soggy from retaining that moisture).
Why is buttermilk a good marinade?
Buttermilk is an acid, and soaking chicken in a buttermilk bath will help to tenderize the meat. It also adds a nice tang to the flavor of the meat. This is a common practice when making fried chicken, but also works great for grilled chicken too.
Is the buttermilk bath necessary?
No. If you don’t have time you can skip this step. BUT if you do have time, we highly recommend it as it will help to create tender and juicy chicken once cooked over the grill!
Next up prepare your apricot glaze. This comes together very quickly. Soften up some shallots and jalapeños, in olive oil, then add garlic, apricot jam, and fresh squeezed lime and mix together to incorporate. Set aside.
Don’t have apricot jam? This works great with mango jam too! Mix and match and try it out with your favorite jam flavor.
To Grill the Chicken
Set your grill up for direct/indirect (or two zone) cooking. If you’re using a gas grill, set it to medium heat.
Place your chicken pieces over direct heat for 4-5 minutes per side, and once they’ve developed a nice crust, move them to the indirect side and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 155 degrees.
Once the meat is close to finish (when it reaches 155 degrees) it’s time to glaze the chicken.
You don’t want to glaze too soon, otherwise you run the risk of burning the chicken since the sauce contains sugar (sugar and flames create burn).
Once the meat reaches 160 – 162 degrees pull the chicken and apply one more layer of glaze on the meat and let it rest 10 – 15 minutes. This allows carry over cooking to bring the internal temperature to 165.
Next is the fun part… time to eat!
Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken
- 1 whole 4-5 lb chicken, cut into individual pieces
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 3/4 cup dry rub
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
For the Apricot Glaze:
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons shallots, diced
- 1/2 jalapeño diced, seeds and ribs removed
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
For the Buttermilk Bath:
- Pat dry chicken.
- In a large bowl or wide deep dish combine buttermilk, dry rub, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Place chicken into buttermilk bath, cover with plastic wrap, and place in fridge to marinate for 2-3 hours.
- Remove chicken from the marinade. Place on a drying rack (we used a drying rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet pan). Place back in fridge, uncovered, for one hour.
For the Apricot Glaze:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat sauté shallots and jalapeños in olive oil for 8 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and let cook 1-2 minutes. Add jam and honey, stir, and bring to a slight simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 additional minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in the lime, and let cool at least 15 minutes to set and thicken.
To Grill the Chicken
- Prepare grill for direct/indirect cooking. (If using a gas grill preheat grill to medium heat.)
- Place chicken pieces on grill over direct heat, but be careful of flare-ups. After 4-5 minutes (or when a nice crust starts to develop) turn chicken over and allow it to cook an additional 4-5 minutes per side. When the other side has developed a nice crust, move the pieces to indirect heat to avoid flare-ups.
- As the chicken nears appropriate finish temperature (165 degrees for breast, 180 for thighs) begin to brush chicken pieces liberally with the glaze.Apply all of the glaze between the chicken pieces, top side only!
- Allow the chicken to finish cooking to temperature (165 degrees), and then remove from the grill. Let the chicken pieces rest 10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute. Serve
Wine Pairing for Grilled Apricot Chicken
Grilled chicken can generally go both ways when finding a wine to pair (red or white wine). But for this recipe, with the sweet and spicy apricot glaze, we’re sticking with white or rosé. My favorite pairing, and your safest bet, is a semi-sweet Riesling or even a Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio. The high fruit flavors of the wine, along with any residual sugar left in it, will compliment the glaze quite well!
A fruity acidic rosé with good acidity will be able to cut through the tender and juicy meat without contrasting too much with the sauce.
Want more Grilled Chicken Recipes
- Perfect Grilled Chicken (your complete how to for great chicken on the grill every time)
- Grilled Sriracha Sweet Chili Chicken
- Grilled Chicken with a Cranberry Chipotle Citrus Glaze
- Grilled Chicken with Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- Grilled Chicken with Blackberry BBQ Sauce
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