Quick BBQ Chicken

$4.98 recipe / $1.25 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 5 votes
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We get a lot of feedback from readers who are trying to cook for families who all have different dietary needs and preferences, especially families with both vegetarians and meat eaters. So I wanted to make a series of a la carte proteins that can be cooked quickly and separately from a meal and added for those who want it. This Quick BBQ Chicken is an easy and tasty main dish that cooks up in under 30 minutes and is great for either serving as a main dish or topping several other dishes.

Overhead view of a plate with Quick BBQ Chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens

What to Serve with Quick BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken is so versatile. I have it pictured above with mac and cheese and collard greens, but it also goes great with Cowboy Caviar, Potato Salad, Spicy Sweet Potato Fries, Creamy Coleslaw, or Roasted Broccoli. You can also slice it up and use it to make a BBQ chicken pizza, BBQ chicken quesadilla, use it to top a loaded mashed potato bowl, or a salad.

What Kind of Chicken Can I Use?

This recipe is designed for boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR thighs. It works great with both, but thighs are definitely my favorite, since they are just so tender and crisp up nicely on the edges because of their extra fat. Since this recipe uses a quick skillet cooking method, it isn’t appropriate for bone-in chicken. Bone-in chicken takes much longer to cook, so it’s better for baking, braising, and slow cooking.

How Much Does This Recipe Make?

This recipe is good for about 1 lb. of chicken pieces, give or take a little. If you’d like to double the recipe, just make sure to cook the chicken in batches to prevent overcrowding the skillet, which will prevent the nice browning action that you want.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce Should I Use?

You can use whatever kind of BBQ sauce you prefer. I am not picky when it comes to BBQ sauce, so I just used a Kroger brand hickory smoke BBQ sauce that I happened to have on hand. Sweet Baby Ray’s tends to have pretty good BBQ sauces that are very affordable, too.

A Quick BBQ Chicken Breast on a cutting board with tongs, half sliced.

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Quick BBQ Chicken

5 from 5 votes
This Quick BBQ Chicken is an easy and tasty main dish that cooks up in under 30 minutes and can be paired with any number of sides. Perfect for weeknights!
BBQ sauce being brushed onto chicken in a skillet
Servings 4 ¼ lb. each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes


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  • If using chicken breasts, pound them to an even thickness to ensure quick and even cooking. To pound the breast, place them on a cutting board and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to pound the thicker areas to an even ½ to ¾-inch thickness. There is no need to pound chicken thighs.
  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with the spice blend.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the seasoned chicken and cook on each side until well browned and cooked through (an internal temperature of 165ºF), about 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Turn the heat off and brush both sides of the chicken with BBQ sauce. Let the chicken rest five minutes before slicing and/or serving.

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*You can use either chicken breast or thighs for this recipe. I used both in the step by step photos below, so you can see each type of chicken through the process.


Serving: 0.25lb. chickenCalories: 195.8kcalCarbohydrates: 6.95gProtein: 25.68gFat: 6.63gSodium: 419.55mgFiber: 0.4g
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How to Make Quick BBQ Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Chicken breast on a cutting board covered with plastic, pounded with a rolling pin

This recipe can be made with one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or a mix of both. If you are using chicken breasts, you’ll want to pound them to an even thickness of about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick to make sure they cook quickly and evenly. To do this, place the chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic to prevent splatter, then gently pound with a rolling pin or mallet until the thick end is even with the thinner end.

seasoning for bbq chicken in a small wooden bowl

Prepare the seasoning for the chicken by stirring together 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

seasoned chicken pieces on a cutting board

Season both sides of the chicken with the prepared seasoning blend. 

Chicken cooked in the skillet

Heat a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil, swirl the oil to coat the surface of the skillet, then add the seasoned chicken pieces. Cook the chicken on each side until well browned and cooked through (internal temperature of 165ºF), about 5-7 minutes each side.

BBQ sauce being brushed onto chicken in a skillet

Turn the heat off and brush each side of the chicken with BBQ sauce.

BBQ chicken thigh on a plate with mac and cheese and collard greens

Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving, or slicing. Enjoy!

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  1. Wow! Looks so delicious, my entire loved chicken, especially grilled chicken. Can’t wait anymore, I will definitely try it your way, looks seem easy to make :D. Thanks so much for this guide. Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Quick and delicious. This is a regular recipe in our house. We usually use thighs.