Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors.  Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls (Bun Ga Nuong) or on its own over rice. There is a secret ingredient that makes this especially delicious and authentic! Gluten-free. 

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors . Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls ( Bun Ga Nuong )or own its own. Amazing flavor! #lemongrasschicken #vietnamesechicken #grilledchicken #lemongrass #lemongrassmarinade #vietnamesenoodlebowl

Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor. ~Marianne Williamson

Our trip to Vietnam a few years back was completely eye-opening for me. One of the most valuable things I took away from that trip is that physical borders are not barriers when it comes to food and cooking. For example, I kept tasting this beautiful whisper of Five Spice in so many of the dishes around Vietnam and wondered why, until it dawned on me that China is right next door.  Food and flavors are fluid, flowing through walls and barriers like air.

This recipe for Grilled Lemongrass Chicken is one we used a lot in our catering business. I can’t tell you the number the times I’ve made it. And it is the addition of Five Spice that makes this recipe really authentic and special. My husband enjoys the lemongrass chicken served simply over rice. I love the chicken served over rice noodles with fresh crunchy veggies and Nuoc Cham -how they serve it in Vietnam, called Bun Ga Nuong. 

No matter how you serve it, I know you will love it.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors . Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls ( Bun Ga Nuong )or own its own. Amazing flavor! #lemongrasschicken #vietnamesechicken #grilledchicken #lemongrass #lemongrassmarinade #vietnamesenoodlebowl

The first step is making the delicious lemongrass paste or marinade.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors . Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls ( Bun Ga Nuong )or own its own. Amazing flavor! #lemongrasschicken #vietnamesechicken #grilledchicken #lemongrass #lemongrassmarinade #vietnamesenoodlebowl

You can pound or grind this into a paste, but I find that using the food processor so much easier.  The base of the paste is shallot, lemongrass and garlic. Then add oil, salt, sugar and the five-spice powder. If you want heat, add a little chili garlic sauce.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors . Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls ( Bun Ga Nuong )or own its own. Amazing flavor! #lemongrasschicken #vietnamesechicken #grilledchicken #lemongrass #lemongrassmarinade #vietnamesenoodlebowl

Coat chicken thighs well. I like using boneless, skinless thighs here, which stay nice and moist when grilled.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors . Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls ( Bun Ga Nuong )or own its own. Amazing flavor! #lemongrasschicken #vietnamesechicken #grilledchicken #lemongrass #lemongrassmarinade #vietnamesenoodlebowl

Grill both sides well, then cover and lower heat to cook through.

You can also finish them in a warm oven ( uncovered).

Also- feel free to grill this on a grill pan on the stove.

With all the lemongrass in the marinade, the grill can be a get a bit messy, so try not to move the chicken around too much. The grill gives it a better flavor.

While the lemongrass chicken is grilling, cook the rice noodles, make the nuoc cham dressing and cut up some crunchy veggies like cucumber and radish. Serve with fresh mint and Thai Basil for the best flavor.

I hope you enjoy this Grilled Lemongrass Chicken recipe…it’s one of my personal favorites. And do not leave out the five spice. 😉

Use this in the Bahn Mi Noodle Bowl!

Related: 30 Grilling Recipes from around the Globe!

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Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavors . Use this in Vietnamese Rice Noodle bowls ( Bun Ga Nuong )or own its own. Amazing flavor! #lemongrasschicken #vietnamesechicken #grilledchicken #lemongrass #lemongrassmarinade #vietnamesenoodlebowl

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 18 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: chicken, main, grilling
  • Method: grilled
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


An authentic recipe for Grilled Lemongrass Chicken- bursting with Vietnamese flavor! Simple, Easy and delicious!


Units Scale
  • 22 1/4 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless


  • 2 stalks lemongrass (1/2 cup chopped)
  • 1 medium shallot, rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce ( or GF Bragg’s Amino Acid)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar ( or alternative sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon Five-Spice powder
  • 13 teaspoons Chili Garlic Sauce ( optional, for heat)

Serve with rice noodles, sliced cucumber, Nuoc Cham dressing, and fresh herbs ( mint and Thai basil) sprouts and lime wedges to create the bowl, or serve with rice.


Preheat Grill to Med-High.

Make the lemongrass paste. Thinly slice the tender white parts of the lemongrass stalks and place in the food processor. ( You do need to slice it first, otherwise, it will be stringy.) You should have roughly 1/2 cup. Add the garlic cloves and rough-chopped shallot. Pulse repeatedly until lemongrass gets broken down. Add oil, soy sauce, salt, sugar and Five-spice and optional chili garlic sauce and process into a paste, scraping down sides as needed. Process for a couple of minutes, until lemongrass is really chopped up finely and it looks like a paste. See photo.

Coat all sides of the chicken with the paste. You can do this ahead and refrigerate up to 48 hours. Or grill right away.

Oil the grill well. Grill chicken over medium-high, or medium heat, until deep grill marks appear, 3-4 minutes.  The grill marks help naturally release the chicken from the grill, so wait for them. Do not move chicken around too much or you will lose the lemongrass. I like to use a thin metal spatula to flip.  Then cook 3 more minutes, check for grill marks, then lower heat way down, cover with lid, and cook all the way through.  You can also finish in a 350 F oven, uncovered.

Serve over rice noodles with cucumber, mint, Thai basil and nuoc cham dressing. Or simply over rice.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 416
  • Sugar: 1.8 g
  • Sodium: 1615.3 mg
  • Fat: 26.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.8 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 25.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 143.6 mg

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  1. I made this chicken recipe several times already. Yesterday I really wanted to eat this. I decided to make skewers and grill them in the oven. We ate them with the nuoc cham sauce, cucumber slices, red cabbage, marinated carrots and daikons and rice noodles. So delicious !

  2. I needed a new idea for chicken thighs, and BOY OH BOY was this ever a good find! Delicious! Served with a salad of shredded napa cabbage, red cabbage, shredded carrots, red peppers, cucumbers, basil, mint, and chopped peanuts. I can hardly wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

  3. Grilled and enjoyed for a tasty dinner with homemade spring rolls, rice noodles, chopped green leaf lettuce and your yummy nuoc cham dressing. Used chicken thighs for the best flavor and the lemongrass paste held up well on the grill. Who needs takeout? Thank you Sylvia, love your recipes!

  4. This recipe is so good and easy, I make it several times a month. I often have trouble finding fresh lemongrass so sometimes I substitute with lemongrass paste in a tube, which my local supermarket carries. If all else fails, I omit the lemongrass and add a little lemon juice. Honestly, I find it just as good with or without the lemongrass so much so that I would rate this as my #1 go-to dinner recipe.

  5. Really want to try this recipe and was thinking of making this for my chicken option at a BBQ… Would this chicken be good on its own served with BBQ sides like coleslaw and potato salad?

    1. Well, it certainly is delicious and flavorful, but it’s Vietnamese-inspired- so pretty different from traditional BBQ Chicken that typically goes with those sides. Maybe think about who you’re serving and if they like these flavors?

  6. What a great dish. It was so good. I can only imagine if I had been able to marinade it for 24 hours. We did about 6 hours. The marinade takes no time at all to make. I was going to do Rice Noodles, but when I opened the box they were broken into millions of pieces – I had some frozen wheatberries and lentils, so that became the base for the bowl with spinach, carrots, radish, red onion and scallion. I made the Nuoc Cham for the dressing. So tasty. Can’t wait to make it again for friends.

  7. WOW!!! Okay this was a HUGE surprise! The chicken is the most moist, tender and best-tasting chicken breasts I have EVER had. There were so many levels of flavor. I was mesmerized by the aroma of the marinade. Since foreign travel is out of the question, due to Covid, my husband and I are enjoying our travels via your recipes. Honestly, everyone of your recipes are so wonderful. Kindly, Sissy.

  8. Hello: I don’t have a food processor or grill, could I still make it? 🙂 I do have a myrtle and pestle , a blender, and a pan! Also, would chicken breasts work with the sauce? Thank you.

    1. Chicken breasts would work. You would have a lot of chopping to do, if you are ok with that?! I haven’t tried this in a pan, but dont see why it couldn’t work. Dying to hear know how it turns out!:)

  9. This was such a great recipe for the grill! The char gives it such a great texture/taste. I served with sushi rice– I definitely will make this recipe again.

  10. This Vietnamese chicken was a huge hit at our family reunion- thanks so much for sharing. The flavor is incredible!

    1. Thank you so much for the recipe! Regarding the nutritional facts, it says serve 6 does it mean I will need to divide it by 6 if I want to know how much sodium it has per serving?? Thanks!!

  11. Great recipe lovely flavors and easy to make. Made chicken for the family and tofu for myself and served with the Vietnamese vermicelli bowls again able to spice it up for those who like spice and tone down for who can’t take the heat. Nuoc Cham dressing is also a winner


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