It couldn’t get any simpler than this laid-back recipe for 2 ingredient baked BBQ chicken. It’s incredibly juicy and the meat is fall off the bone tender. 

Baked BBQ Chicken in a baking pan.

Nothing says summertime like a plate of baked BBQ chicken to share with your friends and family. Tangy, sweet, and with just the right amount of heat, it’s a backyard classic, and for good reason. In this simple recipe, you can make it using just 2 simple ingredients. It’s truly our best-kept secret for hosting a big crowd! 

Choosing the Right Kind of BBQ Sauce

If you’re up for it, make homemade BBQ sauce with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, honey mustard, and Worcestershire sauce (throw a little hot sauce or chili powder into the mix if you like it spicy). The beauty of making it homemade is that you can adjust the flavors and spices as you see fit! If you want to supercharge the cooking process, we love this store-bought version. That said, feel free to use whatever bottled variety you love best!

How to Make Baked BBQ Chicken with Just 2 Ingredients

All you need to make this recipe is chicken thighs and BBQ sauce. It’s really that easy… 

  • Marinate the Chicken: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and toss it with the BBQ sauce in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Assemble the Chicken Thighs: Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, leaving a bit of room in between each piece.
  • Bake the Chicken Thighs: Bake the chicken at 425°F for 25 minutes on the center rack. Flip it over and roast the chicken for another 25 minutes. Dig in and enjoy! 

3 Tips for Nailing this Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe

To get perfectly moist chicken that never comes out dry, follow these simple pointers. 

  • Opt for bone-in chicken thighs. We prefer using dark meat over white meat like chicken breasts. It’s a much more flavorful cut of chicken in general! You can also use chicken drumsticks or chicken wings if you’d like.
  • Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. The chicken will be awesome after a 30-minute marinade, but you can kick this up to overnight if you have the time and they will be FABULOUS.
  • Use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness. If you’re unsure if your chicken thighs are fully cooked through and safe to eat, take the guesswork out by enlisting the help of an instant-read meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F, it’s ready!
Baked BBQ Chicken with herbs and a pan.

BONUS! Prepare the BBQ Chicken in the Air Fryer

Short on time? Prepare the baked BBQ chicken in the air fryer instead. Here’s all you need to know. 

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Air Fry the Chicken: Place the chicken thighs skin-side down and cook for 10 minutes. Brush the chicken with barbecue sauce and air fry it for another 5 minutes.
  3. Flip the Chicken: Flip the chicken over and brush the skin with BBQ sauce. Air fry it for another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Need an air fryer recommendation? Check out this model from Cosori. We love how sleek and quiet it is. 

Serving Suggestions 

There’s nothing like a classic, all-American BBQ chicken meal. Our favorite sides to serve these juicy thighs with are grilled corn, creamy mashed potatoes or quick mac and cheese, and cheesy bread. If you want to go lighter, serve them with a corn tomato avocado salad, caesar salad, or a Frito chili cheese salad.

Storage & Reheating 101

To keep your baked BBQ chicken on hand for up to 5 days, store your leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. This will prevent the chicken from drying out in the cold air of the fridge and help it retain its juices. Avoid popping the chicken in the freezer, as it doesn’t tend to thaw and reheat very well.

Reheating Tip: To reheat the baked BBQ chicken, pop it back in the oven in a baking dish covered with foil or in an air fryer if you have one. 

FAQ

Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking?

When making baked BBQ chicken, you can put the sauce on before the baking process. It’s much less likely to burn than grilled BBQ chicken, so it’s perfectly fine to slather it right on.

How long does it take for baked BBQ chicken to cook?

In an oven set to 425°F, it takes just under an hour to prepare baked BBQ chicken thighs. This timing will vary depending on how thick your thighs are, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can you grill baked BBQ chicken thighs instead?

Yes, you can grill baked BBQ chicken thighs instead. If you’re using bone-in chicken thighs, cook the chicken skin side down at 300°F for 30 minutes with the lid closed over medium-low heat. In the last 10 or so minutes, brush the BBQ sauce on the chicken.

Is it safe to marinate raw chicken thighs in barbecue sauce?

Yes, it’s safe to marinate raw chicken thighs in barbecue sauce. Once you pop them into the oven, all the bad bacteria will bake out and the thighs will be perfectly safe to eat.

Why did my baked BBQ chicken thighs come out so chewy?

Your baked BBQ chicken thighs came out so chewy for two main reasons. The first is that you didn’t marinate them long enough. The second top reason is that you overcooked them. The longer they bake in the oven, the more they lose their tenderness.

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About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.