Chicken on a charcoal grill is a delicious way to enjoy this versatile meat. However, knowing how long to grill chicken breast on a charcoal grill is important to ensure it’s cooked safely and to your liking. Overcooked chicken can become dry, while undercooked chicken can be a health hazard. In this article, I’ll share my expert advice on how long to grill chicken breast on a charcoal grill for the juiciest, most flavorful results.

Before you begin grilling your chicken, it’s important to prep it properly by marinating it or adding seasoning to enhance its flavor. Once your chicken is prepped, the next step is to warm up your charcoal grill and ensure that the grates are cleaned and oiled to prevent sticking. When grilling chicken breast on a charcoal grill it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature and turn the chicken frequently to ensure it cooks evenly.

So, how long should you grill chicken breast on a charcoal grill? The answer to that question depends on the thickness of your chicken breast, as well as the temperature of your grill.

However, as a general rule of thumb, grilling chicken breast for around 6-8 minutes per side is recommended, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. By following these guidelines, you’ll be sure to achieve delicious, juicy chicken breast every time you grill.

Preparing The Chicken Breasts For Grilling

Before we get to grilling the chicken breasts, it’s important to properly prepare them. Follow these steps to ensure your chicken is both flavorful and safe to eat:

1. Thaw the chicken breasts if they are frozen. This can take several hours in the refrigerator or a quicker method involves placing them in a sealed plastic bag and submerging them in cold water.

2. Remove any excess fat or skin from the chicken breasts. This not only makes them healthier, but also helps to reduce flare-ups on the grill.

3. Rinse the chicken breasts under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

4. Season the chicken to your preference. Whether you use a basic salt and pepper rub or a more complex marinade, fully coat both sides of each breast.

5. Allow the chicken breasts to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will help to infuse the flavors throughout the meat.

Once you’ve prepared the chicken breasts, it’s time to get them on the grill. In our next section, we’ll answer the all-important question of how long to grill chicken breast on a charcoal grill.

Setting Up The Charcoal Grill

Before I get into how long to grill chicken breast on a charcoal grill, it’s important to properly set up the grill for cooking. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Clean the grill grates with a grill brush or scraper tool. This will help to remove any leftover food particles and prevent them from sticking to your chicken breasts.
  • Next, fill a chimney starter with charcoal and place it on the grate of your grill. Light a few pieces of crumpled newspaper or a paraffin fire starter underneath the chimney starter, allowing the coals to heat until they are ashed over and glowing.
  • Once the coals are ready, use tongs to carefully pour them onto one side of the grill, leaving the other half empty. This creates a two-zone fire, ideal for grilling thicker cuts of meat like chicken breasts. The side with the coals is the direct heat zone, while the empty side is the indirect heat zone.
  • Check the grill’s temperature with a thermometer to ensure it’s at the desired temperature, around 375-400°F for chicken breasts. Adjust the vents on your grill to help regulate the temperature as needed.
  • Finally, lightly brush the chicken breasts with oil, season them to your liking, and place them on the indirect heat side of the grill. Cover the grill and let the chicken cook for the recommended time (which I’ll cover in the next section!).

Following these steps will set yourself up for grilling success and end up with juicy, flavorful chicken breasts.

How To Grill Ribs On Charcoal Fast

Chicken breasts on a charcoal grill is a great way to infuse the meat with smoky flavor and achieve those beautiful grill marks. But, the question on everyone’s mind is, how long should we grill the chicken breasts on a charcoal grill?

The answer isn’t as simple as how many minutes to grill per side. The cooking time of chicken breasts on a charcoal grill depends on several factors, such as the chicken breasts’ thickness, the grill’s heat, and even the weather conditions outside.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when grilling chicken breasts on a charcoal grill:

1. Preheat the grill and oil the grates. It’s important to preheat the grill for about 15 minutes and oil the grates before placing the chicken breasts on them. This helps prevent sticking and ensures even cooking.

2. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. Thicker parts of the chicken breasts take longer to cook than thinner parts. Therefore, pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness ensures they cook evenly.

3. Use the two-zone grilling method. Charcoal grills can get hot, really fast. Using the two-zone grilling method, you can sear the chicken breasts over high heat and then finish cooking them over indirect heat to prevent burning.

4. Use a meat thermometer. Checking the internal temperature of the chicken breast is the most reliable way to tell if it’s fully cooked. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone. The chicken breasts are done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

So, how long does it take to grill chicken breast on a charcoal grill? It depends on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts, as well as the heat of the grill. Generally, chicken breasts should be grilled for 6-8 minutes per side over direct heat at medium-hot coals (about 400-450°F or 204-232°C), then 10-12 minutes over indirect heat until fully cooked.

Remember to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the chicken breasts using a meat thermometer, and let them rest for a few minutes before cutting into them. Follow these tips and you’ll be grilling the perfect chicken breasts on your charcoal grill in no time!


Grilling chicken breast on a charcoal grill can be a delicious and healthy option, but getting the timing right is important. After conducting thorough research and testing, I’ve found that the perfect chicken breast on a charcoal grill should be cooked for approximately 6-7 minutes per side over direct heat. However, remember that the exact time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast.

It’s also essential to remember that grilling temperatures can vary depending on the type of charcoal grill you’re using. For example, if you’re using a traditional kettle grill, you’ll want to aim for a temperature of around 400-450°F. Alternatively, if you’re using a ceramic or kamado-style grill, you’ll want to aim for a slightly higher temperature of around 450-500°F.

To ensure that your chicken breasts are cooked perfectly, consider using an instant-read thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F. Once you’ve achieved this temperature, let your chicken rest for a few minutes before cutting into it to let the juices settle.

Grilling chicken breast on a charcoal grill can be a simple and delicious way to enjoy a healthy meal. With the right timing and temperature, you can create a mouthwatering dish to impress your friends and family at your next barbecue. Happy grilling!