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Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

A simple, quick homemade BBQ sauce is the secret to this oven-baked BBQ chicken thigh recipe. It cooks to sticky, sweet-savory perfection and makes them as deletable as they are easy.

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Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs on a platter

The Very Easiest BBQ Chicken Recipe Ever, Baked in the Oven for Year-Round Feasting.

Finger-licking good is just the tip of the iceberg with this baked BBQ chicken recipe! Cooked in the oven, these chicken thighs couldn’t be easier to make any time of year—no grill (and no sunshine) necessary. Chicken thighs are much more moist and juicy than chicken breast, and nutritionally—they’re a bit more fatty (but using skinless chicken thighs keeps them on the healthier side) but they’re also more nutritious. Coated generously in BBQ sauce and then baked in a hot oven, they become absolutely fall-apart tender. You can serve them with corn on the cob, a big salad, or build a wonderfully messy BBQ chicken sandwich around those perfectly roasted, saucy chicken thighs. However you eat them, we promise you’ll be deeply satisfied.

ketchup, spices, brown sugar apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce for homemade bbq sauce, next to raw chicken thighs

The Best BBQ Sauce for Chicken Is this (Easy) One You Make Yourself.

Nothing beats homemade BBQ sauce, and our recipe couldn’t be easier. We built is around everyone’s favorite “secret” ingredient—regular old ketchup! Ketchup is a magical pantry superpower, and if you’re not in the habit of adding a little (or a lot) of ketchup to sauces and marinades, well, get in the habit! You see, ketchup isn’t just puréed tomatoes and sugar. It is loaded with spices and cooked until the flavor is super concentrated. In other words, ketchup offers a major bang-for-buck in terms of flavor! Adding spices to it just enhances the existing deliciousness. Our BBQ sauce takes ketchup and makes is into the world’s best BBQ sauce by adding:

  • Brown sugar

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Black pepper

  • Chili powder

  • Regular sweet paprika

homemade BBQ sauce ingredients in a saucepan
Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs 3
homemade BBQ sauce made in a saucepan
raw boneless skinless chicken thighs in a bowl with homemade bbq sauce

How to Make BBQ Chicken in the Oven

Roasting BBQ chicken thighs in the oven is such an easy process, and with some foil protecting your baking sheet, the clean-up is a breeze. A lot of people wonder if you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking and we firmly believe that the correct answer is that you do BOTH! More BBQ sauce is always a good thing. Plus, start to finish (including making that BBQ sauce) our BBQ chicken recipe takes only about 25-30 minutes. Lots of that time is downtime, too, so while the chicken bakes, you can be tossing a salad or boiling some corn. In other words, dinner doesn’t get much easier or more sure-to-please than this BBQ chicken! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Make the BBQ sauce! Simmer the BBQ sauce ingredients for a few minutes until the brown sugar has fully dissolved and the flavors have had a chance to meld.

  2. Prep the chicken! Salt the chicken thighs and coat them with sauce.

  3. Bake the chicken thighs! On a wire rack on a sheet pan in a 425°F degree oven for about 15 minutes. Half way through, flip the chicken and brush it with extra sauce and bake for another 15 minutes.

  4. Broil the chicken thighs! This will get them nice and brown on the edges and will really make the sauce concentrated and a little sticky—just the way it’s supposed to be!

  5. Eat the chicken thighs! With extra BBQ sauce on the side, because YUM!

BBQ Chicken Thighs baked on a wire rack in the oven
BBQ Chicken Thighs baked on a wire rack in the oven

Our Favorite BBQ Chicken Sides

You could go so many directions with your BBQ chicken sides—there’s no real “right” answer to this one. A green salad and some chips, or some macaroni salad, even, would be so good. You could use the chicken to build a super great sandwich, in which case sides aren’t even necessary. But, if you’d like to build a really classic BBQ chicken dinner, these side dish recipes are the way to go:

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs on a white platter

Tools You’ll Need

More Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes to Try

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs on a white platter
Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs on a white platter

Pass The Napkins, Please.

Messy dinners are the very best kind of dinners, if you ask us. They’re fun to eat and convivial and (bonus!) no one can be fussing with their cell phones if their hands are covered in BBQ sauce. BBQ chicken is a full-body kind of meal, and we just love that. If you make this recipe, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 262

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a metal wire cooling rack inside of it.

  2. In a medium saucepan, set over low heat, combine the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and pepper. Whisk together to combine. Increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat. Reserve 3/4 cup of the sauce for serving.

  3. Place the chicken in a large bowl and season it all over with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the chicken on the prepared wire rack. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven. Using a pastry brush, coat the chicken all over with half of the remaining bbq sauce, using tongs to flip over the pieces. Return the chicken to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove and brush with BBQ sauce again, then turn on the broiler. Cook the chicken until the edges begin to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

  4. Serve chicken with the reserved BBQ sauce alongside.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories262
  • Protein30 g
  • Carbohydrates23 g
  • Total Fat6 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium656 mg
  • Total Sugars23 g

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Jerrone

    How do you oven cook the chicken thighs and then apply the bbq sauce

    Hi Jerrone, All the instructions are listed. under the "method" at the very bottom of the post. Hope you enjoy!

  • Anne

    Can I marinate the chicken overnight?

    Sure! You just don't want to marinate chicken more than 24 hours.

  • Sue

    Can I bake the day before and do the broil step the next day before serving?

    That should work fine Sue! You'll want to reheat them a bit first in the oven before the broil step to make sure they are warmed through.

  • Barbara

    What goes good with BBQ CHICKEN....

    Our favorites to pair from our site are these: Classic Potato Salad, Dressed Up Baked Beans, Grilled Corn On The Cob, Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw. Hope you enjoy Barbara!

  • Allison

    How would I do these chicken thighs with bone in? They were so good boneless

    Biggest different will be cook time. Probably needs an additional 10 minutes of cook time. Hope you enjoy Allison, glad you loved the boneless ones!

  • George

    I made this homemade BBQ sauce tonight to put on my chicken thighs. I was worried it would burn but it didn't. I added a couple drops of Liquid Smoke for a hickory flavor. It was very easy to make with basic ingredients in already in your cupboard and fridge. It was a nice change from store bought BBQ sauce and you can change it up to your liking!

    Thanks George, so glad you loved it!

  • Lou

    Family of five all loved it! Sauce is yum

    That's so great! Thanks Lou Ann!

  • Conor

    Amazing chicken, came out so juicy and delicious

    Thanks Conor, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Jim

    Turned out awesome! I used bone thighs in so had to cook them about 10 min longer, but wow! Best baked BBQ chicken ever!

    Thanks Jim! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Jenn

    Excellent excellent excellent! If you plan to make a full balanced meal with veggies and sides, be sure to make them before the chicken is done because after just 1 taste of this chicken there is no stopping eating it. A lot of this chicken didn't even make it to the table.

    hahaha. Love to hear this! Glad you liked it.