Quick and easy Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs are juicy, inexpensive and a total crowd-pleaser. From the flavorful BBQ rub to the tangy barbecue sauce, this bbq chicken thighs recipe is a year-round favorite.
Making oven baked chicken thighs requires minimal ingredients and only 30 minutes of cook time (+10 minutes of prep).
BBQ Chicken Thighs In Oven
While we love making BBQ chicken recipes on the grill, it’s not an option year-round for most of y’all. So, oven baked bbq chicken thighs it is!
While we tend to use bbq boneless chicken thighs, you can use any chicken cut you prefer.
There are only a few ingredients required, to make barbecue chicken in the oven:
- Chicken – we use boneless and skinless thighs, but bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs also works.
- BBQ Spices – (alternate: store bought or homemade BBQ rub)
- BBQ Sauce – (Homemade BBQ sauce or store bought)
- Olive Oil
How to Make Baked BBQ Chicken
There aren’t many steps to make bbq baked chicken thighs. Here’s a brief overview of the key steps. The full list of instructions are in the recipe card below:
Season the Chicken- Generously season the chicken thighs with olive oil, BBQ rub and half the BBQ sauce.
Bake the Chicken- Transfer to a shallow baking dish and bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F.
Apply BBQ Sauce – Generously brush the chicken again with your favorite BBQ sauce and cook until the baked BBQ chicken thighs internal temp is 162°F. It will rise to 165°F after a 5 minute rest period.
Remove the chicken from the oven when the internal temp is 162°F. If using bone-in chicken thighs you can go up to 175°F internal temperature without worry.
Chicken has minimal carry over cooking, think 2-3°F, so keep that in mind when pulling from the oven.
A little dry brining always leads to a juicy chicken. To brine, pat dry the thighs, coat in kosher salt (or the dry rub you’re using) and let sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, a minimum of 6 hours, up to 24 hours.
Check out the recipe card below for the “how to dry brine a chicken” instructions. Not familiar with brining? Here’s a great article on the subject.
There are a ton of different ways to customize oven baked bbq chicken thighs; here are a few of our favorites:
Spicy – Add cayenne pepper to the bbq rub or sauce.
Dry – Omit the bbq sauce. You’ll still get the bbq flavor from the rub.
Sweet – Add extra brown sugar to the bbq rub.
Less Sweet – Omit or reduce the brown sugar from the bbq rub.
Dry Rub and Sauce Ideas
Here are a few dry rub recipes and/or sauce combos to consider using when baking chicken, if you’re looking to mix it up from the classic BBQ mix. The cooking instructions will stay the same.
- Chicken Taco Seasoning
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
- Creole Seasoning
- Honey Lemon Pepper Wings
- Honey Sriracha Sauce
Other Cuts To Use
This recipe for baked BBQ Chicken thighs works with almost any cut of chicken. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time based on the cut you select. Any of the below chicken cuts would work:
- Bone-in thighs with skin
- Bone-in chicken breasts with skin
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- BBQ chicken wings
Tip – Baked bone-in chicken thighs is the way to go if you love crispy skin and dark meat. Just make sure to put the chicken thighs skin side up when baking.
Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs Tips
- When we’re not in the mood to make a homemade BBQ sauce, we use our favorite barbecue sauce: Sweet Baby Ray.
- As with all chicken recipes, do not leave out at room temperature for more than two hours. If you have leftover store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To re-heat leftovers, pre-heat the oven to 350°F and cook for 5-7 minutes, until heated throughout.
- Always use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches the proper temperature.
How Much Chicken Per Person
Boneless skinless chicken thighs average about 3 oz of meat per piece. When making this bbq chicken recipe estimate serving two thighs per person for healthy eaters, or one thigh per person for light eaters (or if you’re having a nice selection of side dishes).
Side Dish Ideas
Here are our favorite sides to serve with oven baked barbecue chicken thighs
Baked Chicken BBQ Thighs
- 2-2.5 lb chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (*Note 1)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt (*Note 2)
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
OPTIONAL STEP: DRY BRINE
- Up to 24 hours before smoking: Pat dry the chicken with paper towels and generously coat with kosher salt (or your dry rub). Transfer the uncovered chicken to the refrigerator and let dry brine for 6-24 hours.
PRE-HEAT THE OVEN
- Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
PREP THE CHICKEN
- Pat dry the chicken and evenly coat with olive oil. Add the kosher salt, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Toss to evenly coat and transfer to the baking sheet.2-2.5 lb chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat1 tbsp olive oil1 tsp kosher salt½ tsp onion powder½ tsp black pepper½ tsp garlic powder½ tsp paprika
- Evenly coat the top of the chicken with half the barbecue sauce.1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
COOK THE CHICKEN
- Bake for 20 minutes then flip over the chicken and brush with the rest of the barbecue sauce. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Optional: Set the oven to broil and bake for a final 2-4 minutes (recommended if using skin-on chicken).
- Remove the chicken and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.