This easy Oven Baked BBQ Chicken makes a sweet, tangy, smoky, sticky barbecue chicken that is perfect for a summer party or dinner, or when it is too hot or cold to grill outside.
Baked BBQ Chicken
In this post, you will learn lots of tips and tricks for baking the best Baked BBQ Chicken, which is tangier than my other chicken recipes. However, if you would like to go straight to the Baked BBQ Chicken printable recipe, just scroll to the bottom of the post.
To Bake Or Grill BBQ Chicken
I know, usually, during the summer, everyone wants to grill, grill, grill! However, when it is 106 degrees F outside, I’m either staying nice and cool inside or in the pool
That means as much as I loved barbecue on the grill, I’m barbecuing my chicken inside the house, in the oven, and it will still be Fabulous!
It also means that I can have this Oven Baked BBQ Chicken all year round and not just in the summer.
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use for Oven Baked BBQ Chicken?
The nice thing about Oven Baked BBQ Chicken is that it works for all types of chicken pieces. You can use any of the following pieces:
- Chicken Breasts
- Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Wings
- Chicken Legs, or as I like to call them chicken drumsticks.
So you can use whatever type of chicken you have on hand. My favorites are Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs or drumsticks.
For the BBQ chicken, I like to use bone-in chicken, but you could certainly use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
In this recipe, I used chicken legs or drumsticks. However, the main thing is if you use a different cut of chicken, be sure to adjust the cook time. In general, the bone-in chicken will take longer to cook than boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
What Kind of Barbecue Sauce Should I Use?
Well, having lived my whole life in Texas, my recommendations would be to use a Texas-style barbecue sauce. However, I realize that those are fightin’ words because people also love their Carolina sauce and Kansas City style Barbecue sauce as well.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce. Therefore, use whichever style barbecue sauce that you like! It can be store bought or homemade, like the homemade barbecue sauce used for these Barbecue Chicken Kabobs.
Doctor Up Store-Bought Barbecue Sauce. Another option you can do, which is also easy, is to doctor up a store-bought barbecue sauce like I did in this Maple Chipotle Barbecue Pork Tenderloin.
Use Store-Bought Barbecue Sauce. For this Oven Baked BBQ Recipe, I used Stubbs Barbecue sauce. This is not a sponsored post. We just like their barbecue sauce.
Should I Marinate Baked BBQ Chicken?
Two things should be considered when determining whether or not to marinate the chicken:
- Do you have time to marinate the chicken? Marinading requires that you plan ahead. You need to start usually the night before so the chicken can marinate overnight. If you don’t have enough time to marinade overnight, at least marinate for a few hours.
- What chicken pieces are you using? Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts tend to dry out easier and benefit the most from marinating first to keep the chicken moist and tender.
What Chicken Marinade Do I Use?
That is also like what is your favorite barbecue sauce. Everyone is going to have their favorite and they will all be different. Again, it depends on how much effort you want to put into it.
Italian Dressing. If you want an easy marinade that you may already have on hand, then use a bottle of Italian dressing to marinate the chicken.
Homemade Oil & Vinegar Based Chicken Marinade. Like the Italian dressing above, you can make your own Italian-like vinaigrette using oil & vinegar, and herbs and spices, like I did in this Lime Chicken Tacos Recipe.
What Spices Do I Use for a Spice Rub for Baked BBQ Chicken?
I kept the spices pretty simple for this recipe. However, here are some popular spices people use in a spice rub for barbecue chicken
- Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt
- Chili Powder
What Ingredients Do I need for Baked BBQ Chicken?
- Marinade. If you choose to marinate the chicken, you will need Italian dressing or your own homemade marinade recipe.
- Barbecue Sauce. See above for options for the type of barbecue sauce you want to use.
- Spice Rub. See above for the common spices used in a spice rub for barbecue chicken.
- Chicken. You need chicken, whether you use chicken legs, drumsticks, chicken thighs, or chicken breasts, it requires some type of chicken.
How Do I Bake BBQ Chicken in the Oven?
It does not get much easier than Baked BBQ Chicken because the oven does most of the work. You do have to do some preparation.
- First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil.
- If you have one, add a baking rack inside the baking sheet so that the chicken is lifted off of the pan. This helps air get underneath the chicken to cook more evenly and prevents the chicken from sticking to the foil or the pan.
- Marinade chicken. (Optional)
- Rub chicken with spices as mentioned above.
- Place the chicken on the baking rack in the baking sheet pan.
- Place the pan with the chicken in a preheated oven.
- After 20 minutes, brush the chicken with barbecue sauce.
- After 10 minutes, brush the chicken again with barbecue sauce.
How Long Should I Bake BBQ Chicken?
- Bake the chicken legs in a 375 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (determined by using a meat thermometer.)
- Please note that oven temperatures vary from oven to oven and different sizes and cuts of chicken vary and require different cooking times. So your actual cooking time may vary.
Tips for the Best Baked BBQ Chicken
- Marinate the chicken. If you have time, marinate the chicken overnight the night before to make the chicken as moist and flavorful as possible, especially if you are using chicken breasts.
- Use Bone-In Dark Meat Chicken. For oven-baked BBQ Chicken, I recommend using chicken legs and bone-in chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts because they remain moist and tender, and are less expensive. Yes, you can use chicken breasts, but if you do, I recommend marinating the chicken breasts the night before.
- Use a Baking Rack. Use a Baking rack inside of a foil-lined baking sheet to lift the chicken pieces off of the pan and allow the airflow under the chicken.
What Should I Serve With Baked BBQ Chicken?
Below are some of our favorite sides to serve with Baked BBQ Chicken.
- Ramen Noodle Salad – a make-ahead coleslaw, made with broccoli slaw and ramen noodles, that is perfect for a side dish for a potluck, bbq, or picnic.
- Mexican Street Corn Salad – is deconstructed Elote or Mexican Street Corn, a popular Mexican street food, served in a bowl, instead of as corn on the cob, and covered with a fantastic chili lime cream sauce and cotija cheese.
- Easy Picnic Potato Salad – makes your classic American potato salad that is perfect to take to a picnic or potluck this summer.
- Rice Pilaf – This fluffy, buttery Rice Pilaf, infused with incredible flavor from sauteing in butter and cooking in seasoned chicken broth, with vermicelli (or orzo), creates a classic side dish for a holiday meal or weeknight dinner.
For a dessert with Baked BBQ Chicken, I recommend these summer favorites.
- Strawberry Crumb Bars – with a buttery crust, sweet fresh strawberry filling, and crunchy butter crumb topping make wonderful dessert bars for an afternoon snack, or to take to a summer party, picnic, or potluck.
- Easy Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream – rich, creamy no-churn ice cream with fresh strawberries and only 4 ingredients and no ice cream maker are required.
- Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Mini Parfaits – a lightened up version of the traditional Strawberry Pretzel Dessert (or Salad) made with Greek yogurt and served in portion-controlled sized mini mason jars.
When Should I Serve Baked BBQ Chicken?
When you bake your BBQ Chicken, it allows you to have BBQ Chicken all year long. There is no limitation due to weather.
However, this Baked BBQ Chicken is especially good for summer holidays when BBQ is often on the menu, such as the following:
- Memorial Day
- Father’s Day
- July 4th
- Labor Day
What To Make With Leftover Baked BBQ Chicken?
Just debone and shred the chicken to make BBQ Chicken Pizza or BBQ Chicken Tacos, Barbecue Chicken on Garlic Toast, or any other recipe where you would use leftover chicken.
For which occasion will you make this Baked BBQ Chicken?
If you like Baked BBQ Chicken, check out these recipes:
- Oven Baked Chicken Breast
- Oven Baked Chicken Thighs with Bacon and Ranch
- Cajun Blackened Chicken
- Chicken Vesuvio
- Easy Kung Pao Chicken
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Baked BBQ Chicken
- 12 chicken drumsticks (See note 1 below)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup Barbecue Sauce (Use your favorite)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place a baking rack inside the baking sheet on top of the foil.
- Season the chicken drumsticks (chicken legs) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
- Place the seasoned chicken on the baking rack in the baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.
- Brush barbecue sauce on all sides of each piece of chicken and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Brush barbecue sauce on all sides of each piece of chicken again and cook for 15 more minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
- You can use other cuts of chicken but you may have to adjust the cooking time. If you are using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, then you won't need to cook the chicken as long. However, if you have very large pieces of chicken then you may need to cook longer.