Grilled Sweet and Spicy Basil Chicken – EASY, amazing, PERFECTLY grilled chicken that’s sweet-and-spicy with tons of FRESH basil flavor! Learn how to make the BEST grilled chicken and serve it with a side of lightly charred grilled vegetables! Perfect for summer barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and grilling season!
Easy Grilled Sweet and Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe
This is potentially the best grilled chicken I have ever made. I am not exaggerating. And I have made a lot of grilled chicken in my life! Over 25 different grilled chicken recipes on my blog and this is my current Number One, without a doubt!
The chicken is so moist, tender, juicy, and the flavor is a little bit sweet with a little bit of heat. The finish is like the finest barbecue sauce of your life, with no fake liquid smoke type flavors thanks to the Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce I used from Sauce Goddess. My family devoured this chicken, raved about it, and begged for more.
Alongside this scrumptious grilled chicken that just melts in your mouth, I also grilled a variety of vegetables including broccoli, red bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and red onion. But of course, use what you have on hand.
I crave something crisp-tender and from the plant family when I’m dining on a protein-packed meal like grilled chicken. And these perfectly charred veggies are seasoned to perfection with Spicy Barbecue Sweet Heat Seasoning, also from Sauce Goddess.
I promise your whole family, friends, and your entire neighborhood block will come running when they get a whiff of what you’re grilling!
Whether you want to make the barbecue chicken and grilled vegetables for the unofficial kickoff to summer for Memorial Day Weekend, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day. Or for casual get-togethers in the backyard and barbecuing with a cold drink in hand, or a simple easy weeknight meal just for your own family, it’ll be a slam dunk with everyone who tries it.
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Ingredients in Grilled Basil Sweet and Spicy Chicken
Now let’s get back to cooking!
To make this easy and super scrumptious grilled basil sweet and spicy chicken, you only need a handful of ingredients – as in just 5 items!
But don’t the lack of ingredients fool you. This is some of the best grilled chicken I have ever made or tried.
You’ll need the following easy-to-find ingredients:
Note: All ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card section when you keep scrolling down.
Ingredients in Sweet Heat Grilled Vegetables
Rounding out your grilled chicken or any protein you throw on the grill from steaks to Grilled Pork Chops to Kabobs or Honey Barbecue Grilled Shrimp, it’s nice to have some grilled veggies on the side!
Crunchy, healthy, and super easy.
For this version of grilled veggies I used the following:
Note: All ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card section when you keep scrolling down.
How to Make Grilled Spicy and Sweet Chicken with Basil
To make my new favorite grilled chicken recipe, follow these simple and foolproof steps and you too will be enjoying your new favorite grilled chicken.
Step 1: Pound your chicken to an even thickness, slice into palm-sized pieces, and place them in a large ziptop bag.
Step 2: Pour some Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce into the baggie along with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, seal, and squish everything around to coat evenly.
Tip: Make sure to shake your Sauce Goddess sauce well since there is no xanthum gum added to any of their products to thicken it.
Step 3: Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
Step 4: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
Step 5: Grill the chicken on the first side for about 4-5 minutes.
Step 6: Grill for about 3-4 minutes on the second side. The time varies by grill heat intensity and output of course.
Step 7: After the chicken is basically cooked through, brush on a generous layer of Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce to the top side of each breast, turn down the heat to medium-low, close the lid, and allow it to cook for another 1 minute or so.
Step 8: Remove chicken from the grill, garnish generously with fresh basil, and serve with the grilled veggies!
While your chicken is marinating, especially if you only plan on marinating about 30 minutes, start chopping, slicing, and dicing your veggies for the grilled vegetables portion of the recipe.
How to Grill Vegetables
Making grilled vegetables is a cinch. I don’t know why restaurants charge so much for grilled vegetables when they’re one of the most inexpensive and easiest side dishes you’ll ever make!
Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Trim broccoli into large bite-sized florets, dice the zucchini and yellow squash into chunky bite sized pieces, slice the bell peppers in 1/2-inch vertical strips, and slice the onion vertically into chunky wedges.
Step 2: Place everything in a large grill basket.
Step 3: Evenly and generously drizzle with olive oil, shake on Spicy Barbecue Sweet Heat Seasoning, salt, pepper, and toss well to coat evenly.
Step 4: Grill for about 10 to 15 minutes, flipping and tossing with grilling tongs intermittently.
Step 5: Serve with the grilled chicken!
Not Enough Grill Space?
No worries if you don’t have enough grill space. I have a pretty big grill and I needed to cook in stages. First I grilled the veggies in the grill basket with the red pepper strips and some of the onions next to the basket (they wouldn’t all fit in my basket).
I took those off the grill, let them rest, and then grilled the chicken. The chicken actually cooks a little faster than the veggies – in about 9-10 minutes total vs. about 13-15 minutes for the vegetables.
Can I Make Sweet and Spicy Basil Chicken Without a Grill?
This recipe was developed to use on an outdoor grill.
You can use a gas grill, or charcoal, or a smoker. I am an outdoor gas grill person all the way so you’ll need to adapt the cooking methodology to suit your needs if you have a charcoal grill or smoker.
If you want to make this on an indoor grill pan, you potentially could.
I suggest scaling down the recipe for both the chicken and the veggies otherwise the amount of batches you’ll need to make will be exhausting. And watch the cooking times since they will differ from an outdoor grill.
No Grill but Love the Recipe?
For those of you who don’t have a grill but love the idea of this basil chicken recipe, I suggest making my Sticky Basil Chicken recipe on your stovetop.
You can even try using one of the Sauce Goddess sauces rather than making the homemade sauce I call for in the recipe. Lots of ways to create Thai basil chicken!
Serving Suggestions for Grilled Sweet and Spicy Basil Chicken
It should be obvious by now that I strongly recommend the crisp yet tender and spicy-sweet grilled vegetables be served along this picture-perfect grilled chicken. It’s a match made in grilling heaven!
If you need other side dish ideas for what to serve with your grilled basil sweet and spicy chicken, either in lieu of or in addition to these easy grilled vegetables, here are some other easy side dishes (no grill needed for the final 3):
- Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote) – Learn how to make this EASY and FLAVORFUL grilled Mexican street corn at home in minutes! Fresh sweet corn is covered in crema, cheese, and finished with chili, lime juice, and cilantro! One of my most popular summer recipes.
- Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad — An EASY and HEALTHY salad that’s ready in 10 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Juicy corn, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice is a FIESTA in your mouth!
- Creamy Mexican Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad — A healthy, easy salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and so flavorful! Corn, zucchini, cilantro, queso fresco and more are tossed in a delish creamy lime sauce!
- Grilled Mixed Vegetables with Basil Vinaigrette — Grilling gives these simply prepared vegetables the perfect amount of SMOKY flavor! The basil sauce is LOADED with layers of flavor and ready in 1 minute! Healthy, fast, EASY, minimal cleanup = the PERFECT recipe!
- Grilled Vegetables With Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce — Grilling gives these simply prepared vegetables the perfect amount of smoky flavor and the dipping sauce accentuates that lovely smokiness!! Healthy, fast, EASY, zero cleanup, and ready in 5 minutes!
- Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad – Two kinds of beans, juicy corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more tossed in a light chili-lime-cumin vinaigrette! Healthy, easy, ready in 5 minutes, and loaded with flavor!
- Mango Chickpea Corn Salad — An EASY salad that’s ready in 5 minutes, HEALTHY, and full of Mexican-inspired flavors!! Great as a meatless lunch, dinner side dish, or for picnics and potlucks!
- Blueberry Corn Salsa — The salsa is packed with fresh blueberries, corn, strawberries, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, and hot sauce!
Storing Leftover Grilled Chicken and Grilled Vegetables
The recipes for both the grilled basil sweet and spicy chicken and the sweet heat grilled vegetables makes a hefty quantity and you can serve about 8, give or take, depending on appetites.
Should you find yourself with leftovers, both the chicken and the vegetables will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months, noting the texture of the vegetables will change if you freeze them.
Make Extra Chicken and Vegetables on Purpose
Planned leftovers are great and when grilling, even though I don’t have a big family, I always intentionally make more than I need.
Having leftover grilled chicken and vegetables on hand makes lunch or dinner the next day or two so easy.
Not to mention, if you’re trying to work in more protein and vegetables into your diet, if they’re staring back at you from a container in your fridge, it’s a lot easier to reach for when they’re there and prepped.
How to Use Your Leftovers:
- Toss that leftover grilled chicken and grilled veg over a salad
- Wrap them up in a tortilla
- Make a burrito by adding shredded cheese inside and zap in the microwave
- Try a grilled chicken sandwich on toasted bread and slide in some bell pepper strips
- For breakfast, adding leftover grilled vegetables really jazzes up scrambled eggs or omelets
Grilled Chicken FAQs
I tend to use boneless skinless chicken breasts almost exclusively when I grill. It’s just the easiest and what my family asks for.
However, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Or use cuts of chicken with the skin on.
If you’re using bone-in chicken, you will need to play around with the cooking times a bit since chicken can take longer to cook with the bone still in, but it will vary based on the cut and your grill.
I recommend cooking the chicken at medium-high heat until the final minute or so until after you’ve applied the Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce. Then you can turn the heat down to medium-low while the sauce is thickening and setting up.
I have a Weber Genesis Gas Grill. My model is a bit older, I purchased it in 2016, but it’s still going very strong and is a total workhorse.
No, we don’t find the chicken to be spicy but in full disclosure my family loves spicier food. However, use Sticky Sweet Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce if you’re concerned about adding heat for very sensitive folks.
Grilled Vegetable FAQs
Of course you can! I chose the vegetables that I did because I had them on hand and they’re common summertime veggies. They also cook in about the same amount of time, based on how I chopped them.
But feel free to incorporate other vegetables including asparagus, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, or whatever you love.
Note that some of those will cook much faster such as the asparagus and cauliflower will take the longest. Keep an eye on them and pull them off when they’re done.
I absolutely adore this Large Weber Deluxe Grill Basket. It’s larger than most other models, it holds much more food than others I’ve tried, and I like the the sides are higher in the “basket” than they would be in anything labeled a “pan”. I’ve had mine for year and while it’s charred and looks abused (it has been!), it’s still got lots of life left.
Yes and no. I don’t like to grill broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts on grill grates and prefer them contained in a grill basket.
Based on how I chopped the zucchini and summer squash, they are best grilled in a basket so they don’t fall through the grates. If you slice them how I did in this post with Grilled Vegetables and Basil Vinaigrette, you can grill them directly on the grates because they’re less likely to slip through.
I grilled the red bell peppers and some of the chunkier cut red onions directly on the grill grates both the save space in my grill basket and to get some nice visual char markings.
If you choose to grill directly on grill grates, make sure the food is well oiled (or the grates are), the food is cut big enough to not slip through (remember it shrinks as it cooks), and it will cook faster than it will if it were in a basket.
Similar to the chicken, no the vegetables are not really “spicy” in my opinion but rather they have great depth of flavor from allspice, coriander, cloves, and more used in the spice blend. If you want to eliminate any chance of heat, you can always use Moroccan Twist Seasoning or just use plain ‘ole salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Tips for the Best Grilled Sweet and Spicy Basil Chicken
There’s nothing I love more than warmer weather because it means that grill season is in full force and these easy recipes for the best grilled sweet and spicy basil chicken and sweet heat grilled vegetables really are just that – easy!
Here a few final pointers and tips and make sure to read over the FAQs above, too.
Even Thickness of Chicken – It’s normal for chicken breasts to be thicker on one end and thinner on the other. But this isn’t ideal for cooking, baking, or grilling chicken. One side will cook through faster than the other. I suggest you pound the chicken to even out the overall thickness.
Thinner Cuts of Chicken – In general thinner cuts of chicken are easier to manage because you don’t have to worry about raw interiors with burnt exteriors, especially if you’re new(er) to grilling.
Therefore I recommend:
- Pounding your chicken with a meat tenderizer to an even thickness. It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) paper thin, but it needs to be uniform.
- Slice thick or overly large chicken breasts in half horizontally.
- Buy chicken breasts labeled “thin-sliced” and/or “chicken tenders”. Both of these options are the least economical but also no other work on your part.
All of these tricks will help ensure your chicken cooks perfectly!
Grill Heat – If you’re newer to grilling, you may be tempted to rev it up, as hot as it can go. This isn’t ideal however because what’ll happen is the outside of your chicken will be charred but the inside still raw.
Therefore, I recommend keeping the heat in the medium-high range but not screaming hot. My grill gets up to over 800F degrees if I have it cranked up on high with the lid closed which is way too hot for chicken breast recipes.
Sauces with Sugar Burn Faster – Another reason we don’t want a screaming hot grill is that if your marinade or finishing sauce has sugar in it (white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, honey, agave), it’ll be more prone to caramelizing and ultimately burning.
The Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce does have brown sugar so be mindful of this.
Keep the heat lower and slower if in doubt. That way the chicken has a chance to cook through in the interior and the exterior doesn’t just char.
Don’t Peek, Don’t Disturb – Resist the urge to open the grill lid and check on and keep peeking at your chicken. Don’t lift it up with a tongs, either.
Keep the lid closed to allow the internal temp in the grill rise sufficiently and quickly, and after about 4 minutes (depending on the thickness and size), you can gently try to lift up one corner of the chicken. If it releases pretty easily, it’s ready to be flipped. But if it doesn’t, it likely needs another minute or to.
You can’t achieve pretty grill marks if you keep moving it around.
Let it Rest – I always let my proteins rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into them and grilled chicken is no exception.
The chicken will taste better if you allow the natural juices to stay sealed in rather than cutting in too soon and the juices and flavor run out.
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness or sliced thin
- 1/2 jar of Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce, divided
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (lemon or lime juice may be substituted)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/3 cup finely minced fresh basil leaves, for garnishing; or as desired
- 1 medium to large head broccoli, with florets trimmed
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium yellow squash (summer squash), cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper (or any color), seeded and sliced into 3/4-inch wide strips
- 1 medium red onion, sliced vertically into chunky wedges
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Spicy Barbecue Sweet Heat Seasoning, or as desired
- 1 to 2 teaspoon salt, or as desired
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or as desired
- Chicken – Pound chicken to an even thickness with a meat tenderizer (or use thin-cut chicken breasts). Tip – It’s important that chicken is a uniform thickness so it cooks evenly. If you’re newer to grilling, working with thinner-cut breasts is often easier to judge when the chicken is done.
- To a large ziptop bag, add the chicken, add about 1/3 cup of Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce (use Sticky Sweet Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce instead if you’re concerned about spiciness), the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, seal bag, and squish the contents around to evenly coat all the pieces of chicken. Tips – Always add salt to your taste preferences. However adding enough salt + the acidity of the vinegar in the marinade mixture really helps the chicken to not only taste good, but it will absorb essential moisture as it marinates and be juicier in the end.
- Place bag in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to about 6-8 hours.
- Vegetables – To a large grill basket, add all the vegetables, liberally drizzle olive oil over them, evenly sprinkle the Spicy Barbecue Sweet Heat Seasoning (use Moroccan Twist instead if you’re concerned about spiciness), evenly sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste, Tips – I am pretty generous with salt and pepper for grilled vegetables because some of it is lost to the grill, and in this case you’re seasoning many pounds worth of vegetables and they will taste best when properly seasoned so don’t be shy.
- Grilling – Please read over the FAQs in the blog post for all my tips and tricks. Preheat your outdoor gas grill to medium-high heat. Tips – I start by grilling the vegetables because they may take a bit longer to grill than the chicken. Plus it gives the chicken a chance to marinate longer. If you have a very large grill, you may be able to do it all at once, but I can’t quite fit everything easily and I can keep an eye on things better if I grill the veg and chicken separately.
- Place the grill basket on the grill with the vegetables and grill for about 10 to 15 minutes, with the lid closed. Every 3 to 5 minutes or so, stir and flip the veggies in the basket with a tongs and close the lid again. Tip – If you don’t have enough space in your grill basket, it’s ok to grill the red peppers and chunky onion wedges on the grill grates, but note they will cook faster when directly on the grates so pay attention so they’re not burning.
- Place the grilled veggies on a platter or in a bowl, optionally cover with a sheet of foil to keep warmer; and set aside while you grill the chicken.
- Tip – Make sure the heat level of your grill is in the medium to medium-high range, but not on high or you will burn the chicken due to the sugar content in the marinade and sauce!
- Place the chicken breasts on the grill grates, close the lid, and leave the chicken breasts there about 4 to 5 minutes before you open the lid and gently lift one corner of one of the breasts with a tongs. If it releases easy, it’s ready to be flipped. If not, let it cook for another minute or two. Tips – Always cook chicken based on how long it needs to be cooked based on the heat intensity and output of your grill, the thickness and size of your chicken, etc. Times will vary and so use my time estimates as a guideline only.
- Grill the chicken on the second side for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until nearly done.
- Evenly brush a generous amount of Sweet and Spicy Cayenne Grilling Sauce over the top of each chicken breast, close the lid, turn the heat down if necessary, and allow it to sit for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it’s a bit thicker and has set up a bit.
- Remove the chicken from the grill, place it on a platter, and I always recommend allowing the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing it so the natural juices stay sealed in.
- Garnish liberally with fresh basil and serve warm with the grilled vegetables. Extra chicken and vegetables will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months, noting the texture of the vegetables will change if you freeze and then thaw them.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 253Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 1180mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 15g
More Easy Grilled Chicken Recipes:
Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Guacamole — EASY, ready minutes, and the chicken is tender, juicy, and full of Mexican-inspired flavors!! Chunky guacamole pairs PERFECTLY with this grilled chicken! A family favorite recipe everyone loves!!
Grilled Sriracha Lime Chicken – EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the chicken is SPICY, tender, and juicy!! Put this HEALTHY chicken recipe on your summer menu when you want to kick things up a notch!!
Grilled Pineapple Chicken — EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the flavor of the juicy chicken makes you feel like you’re on a TROPICAL island!! Grilled peppers on the side makes for the PERFECT summer meal that’s HEALTHY and DELICIOUS!!
Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Skewers — Fast, easy, and loaded with sweet-and-savory pineapple teriyaki flavor! Made with just a handful of basic ingredients, these grilled chicken skewers will be a family FAVORITE!
Hawaiian Grilled Chicken and Pineapple — Transports you to Hawaii with every bite of this tender, juicy chicken and the grilled pineapple seals the deal!!
Grilled Honey BBQ Chicken — Tender, juicy, full of FLAVOR, and a great recipe to jazz up grilled bbq chicken. EASY, healthy, ready in 10 minutes, zero cleanup, perfect for backyard barbecues or easy weeknight dinners!
Grilled Spicy Garlic Chicken — An EASY homemade marinade made with everyday ingredients that produces super FLAVORFUL, juicy chicken!!
Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken — Tender, juicy, and full of FLAVOR from the sweet chili sauce!! EASY, healthy, ready in 10 minutes, zero cleanup, perfect for backyard barbecues or easy weeknight dinners!!
Grilled Lemon Chicken — EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the chicken is so TENDER, juicy, and full of LEMON flavor!! With grilled broccoli on the side, this is a HEALTHY recipe perfect for swimsuit season that tastes AMAZING!!
Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Kabobs — Juicy chicken and crisp vegetables coated in a sweet-and-tangy sauce!! Great for parties or easy weeknight dinners! Everything tastes better grilled!!
Easy Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce — Look no further from this FAST and EASY recipe for authentic-tasting Thai chicken satay. The chicken is so tender and juicy and there’s plenty of homemade PEANUT SAUCE to dip it into!
Grilled Cajun Chicken and Pineapple Foil Packs — EASY, tasty, ready in 15 minutes, HEALTHY, and since it’s made in a foil pack on the grill, there’s ZERO cleanup!! Perfect for easy-breezy summer meals!!
Grilled Tandoori Chicken — Recreate this Indian favorite QUICKLY and EASILY at home! If you’re looking for a new spin on grilled chicken, this is THE recipe to try. It’s super juicy, flavorful, and you’ll LOVE IT!!
Grilled Chicken Berry Salad — Big, hearty, healthy, and chock full of juicy grilled chicken, blueberries, blackberries, creamy avocado, hard-boiled eggs, and more!
Post is brought to you by Sauce Goddess. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own.