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Baked BBQ Chicken Breasts are perfect when you want that sassy, saucy flavor but don’t want to fire up the grill. This easy recipe gives you all the barbecue chicken flavor you love with a technique that ensures it turns out perfectly juicy right in the oven.
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Easy BBQ Chicken Breasts in the Oven
We are definitely barbecue sauce lovers in our house. Whether we are using it to coat BBQ Turkey Meatballs or slathering it over Instant Pot Ribs, that sweet and smoky and tangy flavor always gets mouths watering in my house.
And while I love grilling in the summertime, I don’t want to wait for the warm weather to enjoy juicy barbecue chicken breasts. Or maybe it’s just too hot to stand over an open flame.
So if you are anything like my family, you need a baked barbecue chicken recipe so that you can enjoy this dinnertime staple any time of the year. And with the right seasonings, a simple method, and your favorite sauce, you’ll end up with perfectly moist results every time. No dry chicken here!
How Do You Keep Chicken Breasts Moist?
Before baking, you’ll coat the chicken in a mixture of olive oil and spices to start to infuse some flavor. Baking at 375°F is hot enough to quickly seal in the juices while ensuring that it isn’t too hot to dry the chicken out before it is cooked through.
Cooking the chicken in a heavy cast iron pan or casserole dish helps to insulate it and conduct the heat so it can cook through before it gets dry on the outside.
And the barbecue sauce is added after the chicken has already baked for 10 minutes. This will allow the sauce to glaze the chicken, but it won’t burn.
Finally, an instant-read thermometer is an essential tool to make sure you reach the perfect 165°F which means the chicken is safe to eat, but not dry.
And don’t forget to let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it so the juices redistribute and don’t leak out.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make the tasty baked BBQ chicken breasts. You are just minutes away from a family-friendly dinner the kids and adults will enjoy!
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Many packages in the grocery store have three chicken breasts that are a total of 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. This is perfect for this recipe, though you can double it and use a larger baking dish.
- Olive oil: You’ll use this to make a seasoned oil mixture to coat that chicken.
- Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder: Of course, you get a lot of flavor from the sauce, but seasoning the oil to coat the chicken really infuses it into the chicken. If you want it more mild and smoky, you can use paprika instead of chili powder.
- Barbecue Sauce: Whether you go for storebought or homemade, you can use your favorite based on whether you prefer it more sweet, smoky, or spicy. For BBQ sauce in a bottle, Stubb’s Original is my favorite, but I also enjoy making my own.
How to Bake BBQ Chicken Breasts
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Stir together the olive oil, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder or paprika. Place the chicken in a cast iron skillet or a glass or ceramic baking dish and cover with the seasoned oil, rubbing it into the surface of the chicken.
Bake and Sauce
Bake for 10 minutes, cover in barbecue sauce, and return to the oven until it is cooked through. Once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the oven and rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.
Tips for Success
A few simple recommendations and the right equipment will ensure you end up with perfectly moist and tasty chicken! Here’s what you’ll need…
Use the Right Baking Pan
I like to use a cast iron skillet to evenly distribute the heat. But you can also use a heavy glass or ceramic baking dish.
Don’t Burn the BBQ Sauce
While you can put barbecue sauce on chicken in the oven, you don’t want to do it right away or it will burn and leave a charred, bitter flavor. So you’ll bake the chicken for about 10 minutes before adding the sauce. You do want to give the sauce some time on the chicken in the oven so that it can thicken and caramelize a bit.
Use a Thermometer
Yes, you want the middle to be cooked through and the juices to run clear. But cutting it open to check will just cause all of those juices to run out of the chicken. So I highly recommend having an instant-read thermometer to check that it has reached 165°F. This is the perfect temperature to ensure it is safe to eat nut not sry.
Let it Rest
Again, back to those juices. Since you don’t want them to run out of your perfectly cooked chicken, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. This gives the juices the chance to redistribute so you don’t lose all of the moisture.
How to Store Leftover BBQ Chicken Breasts
Let the chicken cool, then place in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 or 4 days. You can also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a plastic freezer storage bag to freeze for up to 2 months.
How to Reheat Leftover Chicken Without Drying it Out
No matter which method you use, you’ll want to add a little bit of liquid to whatever dish you are reheating the chicken on. This can be water or even chicken broth. It is also helpful to let the chicken come to room temperature if you have time.
In the oven, you can place the chicken back into a baking pan, add the water, and cover. The place in an oven at 350°F until it once again reaches 165°F internal temperature.
You can also add the chicken and liquid to a pan on the stove, place the lid on top, and warm over medium heat.
Or wrap the chicken in a damp towel and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 2 minutes, then check it at 30-second intervals to see if it is hot.
Make it a Meal
You can serve any of your favorite barbecue side dishes with these Baked BBQ Chicken Breasts to enjoy a yummy ‘cue dinner any time of the year!
Baked BBQ Chicken Breasts
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in a casserole dish or oven-safe skillet.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and chili powder or paprika and mix together.
- Pour the olive oil mix over the breasts and rub it into the surface of the chicken.
- Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and pour the BBQ sauce over the breasts.
- Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until their internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.