Crispy & Juicy BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs

BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs are rubbed with a simple seasoning, then basted in your favorite barbecue sauce. The result is the best most crispy, juicy and flavorful baked barbecue chicken ever!

A close up of bbq chicken thighs

BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs

I used to be a total breast girl; that was the only chicken I would ever eat. It’s really hard to get a juicy chicken breast in the oven though, and forget about crispy. You can’t have it both ways. Unless of course we’re taking chicken thighs into consideration because then you definitely can produce crispy, juicy and tender chicken in just a few steps!

To make these chicken thighs in the oven, I use a simple rub that I use for all kinds of chicken recipes, like my Baked Chicken Breasts and Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs. I use my favorite barbecue sauce that I always have on hand, Sweet Baby Ray’s. I really love their Hickory and Brown Sugar flavor. You can really use any that you like, or use a homemade sauce if you’ve got one you love.

How to bake BBQ Chicken Thighs in the Oven

This BBQ chicken recipe is super simple, easy to customize with your favorite sauce, and needs just a few minutes of prep.

  1. To start, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. This is the best way to ensure even cooking.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. You do not need to rinse your chicken. In fact, that can actually spread harmful bacteria rather than eliminate it.
  3. Mix up the seasoning rub, which is just salt and pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken, even under the skin. Arrange chicken thighs skin side up on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil.
  4. Brush chicken thighs with a thin layer of the barbecue sauce on both sides, ending skin side up. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then baste with more sauce. Bake for another 15 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.
  5. If the skin isn’t as crispy as you want it to be, move the oven rack up and flip on your broiler. Keep a close on it, the bbq sauce caramelizes quickly and can burn fast. Just a couple of minutes should do the trick.

chicken thighs on a baking sheet as someone brushed one with barbecue sauce

Do I need to flip the chicken while baking?

No this isn’t necessary for BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs. Keeping the skin side up the whole time allows the skin to get crispy as it bakes.

What cut of chicken is best for BBQ baked chicken?

If you want exceptionally juicy baked BBQ chicken, bone-in thighs are the way to go. Dark meat is more flavorful by default and having the skin and bone not only add extra flavor, but keep it moist and juicy. Boneless thighs will be tender, but not quite as juicy.

What to serve with BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs

Most times I’ll throw together a big Garden Salad and some Best Ever Cheesy Garlic Bread to just keep it simple. We also love to have serve them with Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes or my Grandma’s Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. Of course some delicious 5-Minute Parmesan Ranch Broccoli is the perfect match and even simpler than a salad!

What to do with leftovers

If you happen to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. They can also be placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 6 months.

Leftover chicken is always great shredded and added to salads, sandwiches and wraps.

An overhead image of bbq baked chicken thighs on a white plate net to a bowl of bbq sauce

More chicken recipes you’ll love:

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BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs

BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs are rubbed with a simple seasoning, then basted in your favorite barbecue sauce for the best baked barbecue chicken ever!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 336kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 chicken thighs about 3 pounds, skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce or 2 cups homemade

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Line a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub in the seasoning blend, then arrange chicken skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Pour about ¾ of a cup of bbq sauce into a small bowl and brush the chicken lightly with the sauce on both sides, finishing with the chicken skin side up. Set the remaining bbq sauce aside to use later (do not leave the brush in the sauce).
  • Bake in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven and, using a clean brush, baste with the reserved sauce. Bake for 20 minutes more. Chicken should register 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.
  • Switch to the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce caramelizes.
  • Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 25gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 894mgPotassium: 333mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 446IUCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bbq chicken thighs

BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs on a plate. Text overlay to make pinterest friendly

BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs from overhead on a plate and covered with a text overlay

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. I don’t have kosher salt. I only have table salt and sea salt. Which one would you prefer and how much

    1. Hi Bobby, Sea salt is probably coarse and comparable with the kosher salt. You can use table salt, I recommend using a light touch with it. Remember that you can always add more salt at the end but you can’t take it away.

  2. Hi!!

    I’ll be making this for the 2nd time today. So simple to make but, gosh is this perfect. It’s easy to follow, moist, juicy, tender, craveable. I love this recipe. Thanks for this.

  3. Definitely 5 stars!! Made it for the first time tonight, and added just a little cayenne for fun. My family adored it although we would appreciate a bit less salt. This is going to be my go-to summer meal!

  4. This simple seasoning is a keeper. I did however lower the salt by 1 tsp. I’ll no longer have tasteless bbq chicken. Thanks Kristin

  5. Is the skin supposed to get crispy? The sauce caramelized and the chicken was moist and delicious, but the skin was soggy even though i put it in the broiler for 3 min. I’d love to figure out how to get the skin crispy in the oven.

    1. It should. It won’t be fried chicken crispy, but it shouldn’t be soggy. If you try it again, just add the sauce at the end.

  6. These were fantastic! My husband said to forget the grill and always do BBQ Chicken this way. The meat was perfectly cooked, juicy, and tender. I’ve been looking for a perfect recipe for this dish for years and you absolutely nailed it!

  7. Making this recipe again tonight! Love it, so easy and so good! It’s become a regular in our dinner rotation. Need to try some more of your recipes – they all look good!???‍?

  8. Hi Kristin
    Made these thighs last night, exactly according to directions. The 2 tsp of salt made it almost uneatable. I would only put the pepper, onion powder, Garlic powder, and paprika. If you like things salty and sweet, I would stick to 1/2 tsp salt at the most. But then this is California. we do not salt our food very much. When I went to Texas last year, noticed food was much saltier there. So I guess it’s up to what you’re used to.

    1. Hi Linda, I’m from California too, and we like salt on our food. It’s really a personal taste. Were you by chance using table salt? It’s much finer and isn’t the same as kosher salt. 2 teaspoons of table salt would definitely be overpowering.

  9. Oh how delicious this looks! We all love chicken thighs so will have to make this very soon. I love Baby Ray’s and we always have that on hand. Cannot wait to make these! Thank you!