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BBQ Balsamic Baked Chicken Breasts are seasoned, tossed in the oven, then slathered with a savory homemade barbecue sauce. This easy technique ensures you end up with flavorful, juicy chicken. And the extra special but simple sauce is made with balsamic vinegar, giving it an extra rich and savory flavor with just a hint of caramelized sweetness.
Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts with Balsamic BBQ Sauce
I do love barbecue chicken on the grill. The flavor from grilling over an open flame, and that thick, rich sauce coating every bite makes it truly irresistible. In fact, I love it so much that I want to be able to enjoy it any time of the year.
But that doesn’t mean I always want it to taste the same. And it doesn’t mean I want to head outside to fire up the grill on the coldest or hottest or wettest days of the year.
I also don’t want dry chicken, which is often the biggest complaint people have about boneless, skinless breasts. And I want tons of flavor, but don’t want that sauce burning on the outside while I am waiting for the chicken to cook through all the way to the middle.
I know, that’s a lot of demands from an easy chicken recipe.
That’s the beauty of baking chicken breasts in the oven and coating them in a deliciously simple Balsamic Barbecue Sauce. You get none of the dried-out, charred chicken. There are no worries about the weather affecting your dinner plans. Yet you still end up with a mouthwatering meal the entire family will enjoy!
Why this Recipe Works
The chicken breasts are coated in a mixture of olive oil and seasonings to start to infuse some flavor while sealing in the juices. And 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.
Then the Balsamic BBQ Sauce isn’t added until 10 minutes into the cooking time. This will ensure it has a chance to thicken and caramelize. But it won’t be in the oven so long that it will burn while waiting for the chicken to cook through.
Using an instant read thermometer and letting it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it are the last to key steps to ensuring perfectly tender, moist chicken breasts.
- 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: Yes, the sauce is flavorful, but chicken breasts can be bland, so you want to season at every stage.
- Balsamic BBQ Sauce: Click that link for a full post on all the details of the recipe, but I do give the directions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. You only need a few pantry ingredients and it takes just minutes to make. Or make it ahead and keep it in the fridge for a week or two until you are ready to use it.
How to Make BBQ Balsamic Chicken in the Oven
- Make the balsamic barbecue sauce: You can do this ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you need it, or even make it while the chicken is in the oven. Simply whisk the ingredients together, bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened.
- Preparations: Preheat the oven to 375°F and place the chicken in a cast iron skillet or a glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Coat the chicken: Stir together the olive oil, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Pour over the chicken and rub it all over the surface.
- Bake and sauce: Bake for 10 minutes, cover in barbecue sauce, and return to the oven until it is cooked through.
- Let it rest: 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.
How do you bake chicken without drying it out?
Coating the chicken in the olive oil mixture helps to seal in the moisture, as does coating it in the sauce. But the real key is not overcooking the chicken. You’ll want to check it for doneness frequently to avoid drying it out.
Yes, you want the middle of your barbecue balsamic baked chicken 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.
Then once it comes out of the oven, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. Trust me, don’t skip this step!
How to store leftover chicken
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 an plastic freezer storage bag to freeze for up to 2 months.
- Add something a little different (and tastier) to your basic Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad.
- BBQ Chicken Tostadas will be even more flavorful if you chop up this leftover chicken and use the extra sauce, especially if you top it with mozzarella, and maybe even a little parmesan cheese.
- Make a Gluten Free Pizza Crust for some barbecue chicken pizza.
Make it a Meal
What to Serve with Balsamic BBQ Chicken
- Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes: Baked, roasted, mashed, or fried (even in the air fryer), spuds and sweet taters go great with barbecue chicken.
- Vegetables: You can roast, grill, steam, or saute your favorite vegetables, or keep it simple and heat up a bag of frozen veggies.
- Side Dish Casseroles: Whether it’s a veggie casserole or some mac and cheese, you can always pop one of your favorite casserole recipes in the oven with the balsamic baked chicken breasts.
- Salads: From a green salad with your favorite dressing to veggies, potato, or pasta salads, it’s always nice to have a nice, cool side dish to go along with barbecue chicken.
- I like to bake my chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet.
- If you want to double the recipe, make sure you have a large glass baking dish.
- An instant-read thermometer is the key to perfectly cooked chicken that is juicy but not dry.
- Keep your extra sauce in a glass mason jar for up to 1-2 weeks.
BBQ Balsamic Baked Chicken Breasts
- Cast iron skillet or glass baking dish
For the Balsamic BBQ Sauce:
For the Balsamic BBQ Sauce:
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk togther until smooth.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a slow boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened to the desired consistency.
- Use immediately, or cool and transfer to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1-2 weeks.
For the Chicken:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet or glass baking dish.
- In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, salt onion powder, and garlic powder. Pour over the chicken breast and rub it in to coat the chicken thoroughly.
- Bake the chicken at 375°F for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and pour 1/2 cup of the Balsamic BBQ Sauce over the breasts. Return to the oven an additional 15-25 minutes or until the internal temeprature reaches 165°F. Check the temperature at the thickest part using an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- If you don’t want as tangy or strong of a balsamic flavor, reduce the balsamic vinegar to 1/2 cup and increase the water to 1/2 cup.
- You can replace the molasses with brown sugar or add an additional 1/4 cup brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce.