Here’s how to make BBQ chicken breasts that turn out juicy and delicious. No grill? No problem! I give options for making this recipe on an outdoor grill, with a grill pan or in the oven.
I’ve got a staple recipe for you today because I feel like even the most beginner cooks need to know how to make grilled BBQ chicken breasts. And there are so many ways to eat BBQ chicken – on a sandwich, in a wrap, on a salad, with a side of veggies… the options are endless.
Whip up some BBQ chicken during your next meal prep session for a variety of meals all week long!
Here’s What You Need
chicken breasts – I recommend boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts if you want the leanest option, but you can also do bone-in, skin on chicken breasts if you prefer.
sea salt and pepper – to season the meat before you grill and add the sauce.
BBQ sauce – homemade BBQ sauce is delicious, but store bought works too! See my notes below.
Homemade vs. Store Bought BBQ Sauce
I love making homemade BBQ sauce! While it does have quite a lengthy ingredient list, most of the items are pantry staples! It’s super easy and satisfying to make your own.
Having said that, I totally understand wanting to take a shortcut and use store bought sauce! I recommend Primal Kitchen’s BBQ sauce because there is no sugar added and they use minimal ingredients.
What If I Don’t Have a Grill?
No grill? No problem! I love the flavor that a grill adds to this chicken recipe but you definitely don’t need one! Here are other ways to make this:
On a grill pan – make this recipe on the stovetop using a grill pan or traditional sauce pan. Follow the recipe directions below, adjust the cooking time as needed.
In the oven – you can also make this recipe in the oven! Bake the seasoning chicken at 375º for 20 minutes, then brush on the BBQ sauce and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
What Temperature Do I Need to Cook Chicken To?
My meat thermometer is one of my prized possessions when cooking meat! It’s super helpful for making sure your meat is cooked enough – you don’t have to guess and potentially overcook your meat! The meat thermometer should read 165º when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast.
Sandwich or wrap – Make a BBQ chicken sandwich or wrap by adding greens and any veggies you’d like.
On a salad – I’ll be sharing a recipe for a grilled BBQ chicken salad this week, but grilled BBQ chicken breasts work as a topper for just about any salad!
How to Store Leftovers
Like I mentioned, this BBQ chicken recipe is so versatile and great for meal prep! You’ll want to store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 5-7 days. I haven’t tried freezing leftover BBQ chicken, but that should work for longer storage.
Heat grill to medium-high. Liberally season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Once hot, clean and lightly oil grill grates. Place chicken on grill on the top rack. If you’re using skin-on chicken, place skin side down on grill rack. You can place chicken on the direct heat portion of the grill, but we swear by the top rack for grilling because your chicken stays moist and still gets that grilled flavor, but doesn't get charred.
Grill chicken for 5-6 minutes or until the underside of the chicken has grill marks and easily pulls away from the grill grates, use tongs to flip the chicken breasts and grill for another 5-6 minutes. Brush BBQ sauce on the chicken breast, flip and brush sauce on the other side. Let chicken cook for 3-4 more minutes or until cooked through. Chicken is done when it's firm to the touch, opaque all the way through and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of meat registers 165 degrees. Cook time will vary based on the size of your chicken breasts.
Discard any sauce that came in contact with raw chicken and remove chicken breasts from the grill. Let rest for 1-2 minutes and then serve with additional (fresh) BBQ sauce for dipping.
I prefer this chicken grilled on an outdoor grill, but here are some other options if needed:
On a grill pan – Heat a grill pan to high heat for about 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high and coat the pan with olive oil to prevent sticking. Add seasoned chicken breasts to pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on the first side without moving so it can develop grill marks. Using tongs, flip the chicken breasts using a and cook the other side for 5-6 minutes. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and brush BBQ sauce onto both sides of the chicken and serve.
In the oven – Bake the seasoned chicken at 375ºF for 20 minutes, then brush on the BBQ sauce, cook for an additional 5-10 minutes and serve.