Tender and juicy, sweet and smoky, this Baked BBQ Chicken will shake up your weeknight dinner routine with big, bold flavor. You won’t believe it came from your oven!
Why You’ll Love This Baked BBQ Chicken Breast Recipe
- Double the BBQ Flavor. This isn’t your ordinary barbecue chicken! By marinating the chicken in my BBQ Chicken Marinade and then slathering it in Homemade Barbecue Sauce you get maximum BBQ flavor. The sweet and tangy marinade infuses every bite, while barbecue sauce locks in the moisture and adds an extra layer of lick-your-fingers deliciousness.
- Tastes Like Grilling. The smoky flavors in the marinade and sauce are the next best thing to Grilled Chicken!
- Ideal for Busy Evenings. When it comes to weeknight dinners, this baked BBQ chicken breast recipe is a dream meal. You can prep it the night before and then have it cooked and ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
- Healthier Than Your Favorite BBQ Restaurant. Like my BBQ Chicken Salad and Crockpot BBQ Chicken, this baked BBQ chicken is much lighter than the barbecue chicken you find on restaurant menus. Using homemade BBQ marinade and sauce means there’s no high-fructose corn syrup and you can control the amount of sodium in the recipe, but still get that classic BBQ flavor.
- Everyone Will Love It. Kid-friendly! Adult-approved! No one can resist juicy oven baked BBQ chicken breasts. The technique in this BBQ chicken recipe is based on my wildly popular Baked Chicken Breasts, so it’s guaranteed to be a winner winner chicken dinner.
How to Make Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts. You can use boneless or bone-in.
- BBQ Chicken Marinade. My recipe has all the flavors of a good barbecue sauce, but in marinade form!
- Barbecue Sauce. Or use your favorite store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce.
This recipe works for a variety of cuts of chicken, both bone-in and boneless. You can make barbecue chicken wings, chicken drumsticks, skin-on chicken thighs, dark meat—whatever! Just note that the cooking times will vary.
- Prepare the Chicken. Pat the chicken dry, then pound it and place it in a zip-top bag or dish.
- Make the Marinade. Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Marinate. Pour the marinade over the chicken, turn to coat, and refrigerate. Marinade BBQ chicken for 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- Bake. Place the BBQ chicken breasts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until they reach 155 degrees F.
- Rest and Serve. Transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board. Let it rest, covered, for at least 5 minutes, then serve and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate baked BBQ chicken breasts in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Leftover chicken can be reheated in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. Brush with fresh BBQ sauce before reheating and to serve.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the directions above.
Meal Prep Tip
The chicken marinade and barbecue sauce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
What to Serve with Baked BBQ Chicken
- Grains. Keep it simple with brown rice or cooked quinoa.
- Potatoes. Complement your protein with some carbs! Roasted Red Potatoes and Air Fryer Baked Potatoes would both work well with baked BBQ chicken.
- Fries. Make your baked BBQ chicken into a sandwich and serve it with a side of Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries or Zucchini Fries.
- Vegetables. You can’t go wrong with a simple vegetable side like Roasted Asparagus or Grilled Corn on the Cob.
- Salad. Keep it light with Healthy Coleslaw or Black Bean Corn Salad on the side.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. Duralex mixing bowls will last for decades, and they’re easy to clean and store.
- Baking Dish. Just the right size for making baked BBQ chicken.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to prevent over-cooked chicken.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Pound the Chicken. This allows you to make sure your chicken is the same thickness throughout, which means that all of your chicken breasts will finish cooking at the same time and each breast will be juicy and tender throughout, instead of rubbery on the ends. (The meat will be more tender too!)
- Marinate Overnight. If you have time, marinating the chicken overnight will help make it extra flavorful. That said, you don’t want to marinate it much longer than this—after 24 hours, the marinade will begin to break down the fibers in the chicken, making it mushy and unappetizing.
- Use a Meat Thermometer. Don’t watch the clock! The best way to know when your chicken is done cooking is to use an instant-read thermometer. I remove the chicken from the oven when it reaches 155 degrees F, as the internal temperature will continue to rise during the resting time, eventually reaching the perfect (and safe!) 165 degrees F.
- Let It Rest. If you cut into the chicken too soon, all the juices will run out, leaving your chicken dry. Loosely cover the BBQ chicken breast with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve and cut.
Baked BBQ Chicken
For the Baked Chicken:
- Pat the chicken dry, then place chicken breasts on a cutting board; if desired lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top to keep things tidy. With a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound the breasts into an even thickness. Place in a sturdy ziptop bag or a small dish that will hold it snugly.
In a small bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients: ketchup, maple syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Add the marinade to the chicken (either the bag or the dish). Seal the bag (if using), squeezing out as much air as possible. Turn to coat the chicken in the marinade. Marinade the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the chicken without it touching with parchment paper.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the parchment paper. Bake BBQ chicken for 14 to 16 minutes (for small/medium breasts that are about 6 to 7 ounces), 16 to 20 minutes (for medium/large breasts that are 8 to 10 ounces), or 20 to 25 minutes (for larger breasts). For best results, use an instant-read thermometer. When the breasts reach 165°F, they are done. Note that the chicken’s temperature will rise as it rests; I prefer to remove mine at 155°F. If desired, when the chicken has about 5 minutes left, brush it liberally with BBQ sauce.
Transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board. Cover and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes. Enjoy hot with a side of barbecue sauce as desired.
- This recipe works for a variety of cuts of chicken, both bone-in and boneless. For cooking times, for other cuts, see Baked Bone In Chicken Breast and Chicken Thighs in the Oven.
- Adapted from my Baked Chicken Breast and BBQ Chicken Marinade
- TO STORE: Refrigerate baked BBQ chicken breast in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Leftover chicken can be reheated in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the directions above.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve tested a whole range of temperatures for baking chicken and 425 degrees F consistently produces the best results, with tender, juicy chicken and a nicely browned exterior.
Small to medium chicken breasts take 14 to 16 minutes, medium to large take about 20 minutes, and extra large chicken breasts can take as much as 25 minutes. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer rather than setting a timer, which is much more accurate.
When I’m making BBQ chicken breasts in the oven, I apply the first coating of sauce when the chicken reaches 150 degrees F, then I slather more BBQ sauce on after serving. The marinade already infuses the chicken with BBQ flavor, so the sauce is just a bonus!
Applying the sauce after the chicken has been in the oven for a while is key to getting the sauce to stick. I apply it when the chicken reaches 150 degrees F, but if you don’t have a thermometer, brush it on about 10 minutes before the chicken is done baking.
The texture of baked chicken lends itself better to dicing than shredding. For a shredded version, check out my Crockpot BBQ Chicken.