Baked BBQ Chicken Breast

4.81 from 21 votes
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This baked BBQ chicken breast recipe is a quick and easy 30-minute meal. Each piece is coated with savory seasonings and a sweet and tangy sauce. The oven yields tender and juicy results!

If you’re a fan of everything BBQ like I am, then I think you’ll enjoy my recipes for BBQ chicken wings and BBQ chicken pizza.

Oven baked bbq chicken breast served on a white plate with broccoli and rice.

Unlike my grilled BBQ chicken recipe, you don’t have to wait for the summer to enjoy a delicious barbecue-inspired meal. Turn on the oven and cook succulent chicken in under 20 minutes. The pieces are layered with flavor! First, I use a savory paste to season the meat, then coat it with a thick sauce.

The key to oven-baked BBQ chicken breast is to flatten the pieces. This ensures even and quick cooking, preventing dried-out slices. The sweet and tangy sauce clings to the meat, making each bite delicious. For a complete meal, serve with crispy potatoes, rice, and your favorite vegetables.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients needed to make bbq chicken breast in the oven.
  • Chicken: Purchase boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 8 ounces in size. Larger and thicker pieces can be cut into two smaller cutlets.
  • Seasonings: Use simple pantry staples that are concentrated in flavor. I use a combination of smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Combined with olive oil, it creates a sticky seasoning paste.
  • Sauce: Make my sweet and tangy homemade BBQ sauce if you’ve got time. Otherwise, your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce can be used for convenience. You’ll need one cup.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425ºF before preparing the ingredients. For the most effortless cleanup, line a large-rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease it to prevent the meat from sticking. Alternatively, you can use a large baking dish.

Flatten the pieces

Flattening a chicken breast sealed inside a plastic bag and hitting it with a meat tenderizer.

Step 2: Cooking boneless skinless chicken breast can be tricky because one side is thicker. Similar to my stovetop chicken recipe, it’s important to flatten the meat to an even thickness. This ensures that the meat stays juicy and tender throughout. Place the chicken inside a large plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Use a meat pounder or rolling pin to flatten the thicker end until each piece is about 3/4-inch thick. Alternatively, the grocery store sells thinly sliced pieces. Those can be used without pounding.

Season the meat

Step 3: The seasoning can be kept simple with salt and pepper. However, I like to incorporate more flavor by making a paste. Mix olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

The oil draws out the fat-soluble flavor molecules in the ingredients to intensify the taste. Coating the pieces in the mixture adds more flavor directly to the surface of the meat. The salt seasons the meat as it cooks.

Add the barbecue sauce

Barbecue sauce poured into a bowl with pieces of seasoned chicken breast.

Step 4: I used my homemade honey barbecue sauce. I like to make a batch to store in the refrigerator for meal prep. Alternatively, grab a bottle of your favorite thick sauce from the store for a quick option. Add a ½ cup of the sauce, turning it until it coats the chicken. You’ll add more on top after the initial 10 minutes of cooking.

Bake the chicken

Several chicken breasts on a foil-lined sheet pan and brushing them with bbq sauce.

Step 5: Add the seasoned breasts to the lined and greased pan. Bake at 425ºF (220ºC) for 10 minutes. This cooks the meat about 70 to 80% through. Remove the chicken from the oven and brush or spoon the rest of the barbecue sauce evenly on each piece.

Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165 degrees, about 5 more minutes. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing to redistribute the juices.

Flavor variations

  • Chicken: Bone-in chicken breast can be used. Add more cooking time as needed. If using bone-in or boneless chicken thighs, cook until the internal temperature reaches about 170ºF (77ºC) on a meat thermometer. The dark meat requires a higher temperature to tenderize.
  • Spice: Add cayenne, chili powder, or chipotle pepper to the blend if you want a spicier taste. I like to use my cajun seasoning mix for a savory and hot blend.
  • Herbs: Add fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or herbs de Provence.

Serve this with

Bbq baked chicken breast on a sheet pan.

Frequently asked questions

Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking?

The breast cooks very quickly in the oven. Add the sauce twice before baking and the rest halfway through cooking. This ensures that the sauce will coat and flavor the chicken.

How long does it take to cook barbecue chicken in the oven?

In a 425ºF (218ºC) oven, chicken breast will cook in less than 20 minutes. Cooking times will increase if not flattened to an even thickness.

Should chicken be marinated in BBQ sauce?

Marinating is not required before cooking the chicken. The meat can be marinated for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight to infuse more salty flavor. This works well if baking. However, I would avoid grilling the meat. The sugars in the barbecue sauce will char quickly.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?

Yes! The meat does not have to be flattened. Follow the instructions, but cook the thighs until they reach between 165 to 170ºF (74 to 77ºC).

How do I bake bone-in barbecue chicken?

Breasts, thighs, or drumsticks can be used. Leave the skin on, coat in the seasoning paste, then bake for 10 minutes. This renders some of the fat from the skin, so it’s not flabby. Brush the surface with half the sauce, and bake for 10 minutes. Add the remaining sauce and bake until cooked through.

Delicious baked chicken breast topped with barbecue sauce and served with vegetables and rice.

Add the barbecue sauce in two additions

A light coating of barbecue sauce is added to the chicken breasts to season the meat. However, after baking for 10 minutes, some of the juices are released from the meat, making the coating less thick. A second layer of sauce is added. As some moisture evaporates, the sauce will concentrate and cling to the surface. This also prevents the sugars in the sauce from burning if exposed to the hot oven for too long.

Baked BBQ Chicken Breast

Juicy and flavorful BBQ chicken breast, marinated and baked to perfection. A perfect summertime meal or year-round favorite.
4.81 from 21 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 425ºF (218ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Flatten the Pieces – Thoroughly dry each chicken breast with a paper towel. Place one breast between two plastic sheets or inside a large plastic bag and use a meat tenderizer to pound to an even thickness, about ¾" thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
  • Season the Surface – In a large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Add the chicken to the seasoning mix. Turn to coat evenly.
  • Add Barbecue Sauce – Add ½ cup of the barbeque sauce. Turn to coat evenly. Transfer the chicken to the greased baking sheet.
  • Bake – Bake for 10 minutes, then brush the remaining barbecue sauce on the surface. Continue baking until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC) on a meat thermometer, about 4 to 7 minutes.
  • Serve – Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. If desired, serve with additional barbecue on the side.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Storing: The chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Individually wrap the cooked chicken breasts. Store in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container for up to 4 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating. Add more sauce when serving.
  • Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 348kcal (17%)Carbohydrates 30g (10%)Protein 25g (50%)Fat 14g (22%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0.01gCholesterol 72mg (24%)Sodium 2031mg (85%)Potassium 600mg (17%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 24g (27%)Vitamin A 319IU (6%)Vitamin C 2mg (2%)Calcium 33mg (3%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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8 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Mary Luck Dodge says

    Nomnomnomnom. I’m lousy at cooking chicken. This recipe is a winner! I used Bill’s Eye bbq sauce. Sooooo good.

  2. Amy Messimer says

    This recipe is soooooo delicious! Thank you 😊. I also used sweet baby Ray’s and because I couldn’t find my tenderizer I forked holes and used my hands to flatten. Not the most fun way, but it worked!