Our Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs are all about combining simple ingredients to create a mouthwatering oven-baked dinner. There’s something irresistible and delicious about the combination of juicy, tender chicken with a rich, smoky BBQ glaze.
Full Recipe Ingredients/Instructions are available in the
recipe card at the bottom of the post.
You can find important tips/tricks in the
I’ve always believed that the best recipes are those that bring people together, and this one is no exception. It’s a personal favorite in my household because it’s SO delicious and also incredibly easy to prepare. This foolproof recipe is soon to be a highlight at your dinner table as well.
Ingredients For Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Chicken thighs: Fresh bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are used in this recipe. Frozen chicken thighs, or even boneless would be a great option as well.
- Seasonings: A delicious combination of kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
- BBQ sauce: My homemade BBQ sauce is my go-to sauce for this recipe. For other tasty options, my Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, Vinegar BBQ Sauce (North Carolina Style), or a spicy Jerk BBQ Sauce will surely be a hit! If using store-bought, I recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.
Tools needed for this recipe
- Basting brush
- Sheet tray with baking grate insert
- Parchment paper
How To Make Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
Preheat your oven to 425°F (200°C). Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are well-coated. Allow the chicken to sit with the spice mixture for 20 minutes. Believe me, this spice mixture, or my homemade BBQ seasoning, is much better than just salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with cooking spray. Add a baking rack on top of the sheet tray and spray the rack with cooking spray. Place the chicken thighs on the rack in a single layer, skin-side up. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).
Remove the chicken thighs from the oven and brush the BBQ sauce generously over the chicken thighs.
Return the chicken to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the BBQ sauce is bubbly and starting to caramelize.
Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with additional BBQ sauce on the side, if desired.
How to store oven baked BBQ chicken thighs
Before storing, allow cooked chicken to cool to room temperature first.
Refrigeration: Place the cooled chicken thighs in an airtight container. You can also wrap them in foil first. This helps to keep them moist and prevents them from absorbing other flavors from the fridge. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: If you’re looking to store them for a longer period of time, you can freeze the chicken thighs. Wrap each individually in foil or plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. Store them for up to 4 months in the freezer.
Reheating: To reheat, place the chicken thighs in a 350F preheated oven until they are heated through. You can also reheat in the microwave, but this can sometimes dry out the meat.
Variations & Substitutions
- Different Chicken Cuts: If you don’t have chicken thighs, you can use chicken drumsticks, wings, or even breasts. Instead of chicken, using turkey is perfectly acceptable. Just note that you may need to change the cooking time depending on the cut.
- Spice Blends: Adjust the levels of smoked paprika or add chili flakes for a spicier version. Alternatively, remove some spice for a milder flavor. Add dry herbs like thyme or rosemary for an earthy, aromatic flavor.
- Swapping Sauces: You’ll truly love this recipe when you use the BBQ sauce you prefer. Whether it’s a homemade or store-bought sauce, I suggest a smokey-flavored BBQ sauce. For another layer of flavor, find one that has some spice, honey, or hickory flavors.
- Cooking Methods: This recipe can be made on the grill if that’s your preferred method of cooking. A slow cooker is another method. With either one, I recommend bringing it back to the oven to create that crispy-skinned top.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Choose the Right Chicken: Opt for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the best flavor and juiciness. The bone helps keep the meat moist, and the skin gets wonderfully crispy.
- Patting Dry is Crucial: Always pat your chicken thighs dry with paper towels before seasoning. This helps the skin get really crispy and ensures the spices stick better.
- Season Generously: Don’t be shy with the spice rub. A generous coating not only adds flavor but also helps to create a delicious crust on the chicken.
- Let the Spice Marinate: If time allows, let the chicken sit with the spice rub for at least 20 minutes or even overnight in the fridge. This enhances the flavor.
- Use a Wire Rack: Baking the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet helps air circulate around the chicken, cooking it evenly and helping the skin get crispy. If you don’t have a rack, simply flip the chicken halfway through baking.
- Apply BBQ Sauce at the Right Time: Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce only in the last 10-15 minutes of baking. This prevents the sauce from burning and allows it to become nicely caramelized.
- Rest Before Serving: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This allows the juices to redistribute, making the chicken more tender and juicy.
- Broil for Extra Crispiness: If you desire a more caramelized crust, pop the sauced chicken under the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking, watching closely to prevent burning.
If the chicken skin isn’t crisping as you’d like, try increasing the oven temperature slightly or placing the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes towards the end of cooking. Just keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
Yes, you can season the chicken thighs and keep them refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking. This can actually enhance the flavors as it gives the spices more time to penetrate the meat.
What to serve with Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Coleslaw Recipe
- Homemade Baked Beans (from Scratch)
- Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
- Creamy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Looking for more Chicken Thigh recipes? Try these out:
- Flavorful Braised Chicken Thighs – A Delicious Recipe!
- Lemon Pepper Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Five Spice Chicken Thighs
- Baked Turkey Thighs & Vegetables
If you have tried this recipe or any other recipe on my blog, please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (200°C). Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, mix the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are well-coated. Allow the chicken to sit with the spice mixture for 20 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with cooking spray. Add a baking rack on top of the sheet tray and spray the rack with cooking spray. Place the chicken thighs on the rack in a single layer, skin-side up. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Remove the chicken thighs from the oven and brush the BBQ sauce generously over the chicken thighs.
- Return the chicken to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the BBQ sauce is bubbly and starting to caramelize.
- Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with additional BBQ sauce on the side, if desired.
- Use a thick and smoky BBQ sauce with this recipe. My go-to is Sweet Baby Ray’s or my homemade BBQ sauce.
- Feel free to use a BBQ rub to season the chicken before baking.