Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs make an easy dinner recipe any night of the week! Simple ingredients combine to deliver maximum flavour to the sauce and then we let the oven do its thing. The chicken thighs are succulent, juicy and tender and you can serve them with rice or quinoa for a fuss free pairing! Oven baked bbq chicken thighs are week night friendly, freezer friendly and require no marinade time!
Recipes like my Oven Chicken Kabobs and Air Fryer Chicken Skewers give us easy options that are not 'a roast chicken'. My Air Fryer Roast Chicken is a 'roast chicken' if that is what you are looking for.
❤ Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love about the recipe in the points below:
- BBQ chicken thighs: offer maximum flavour, yet require no marinade time. Simply brush the glaze/sauce/marinade or whatever you want to call it onto both sides of the chicken thighs and you are good to cook.
- Fast cook time: when using moderate oven, the chicken thighs will only take 30 minutes to cook. This saves spending hours in the kitchen after a busy week day and gets dinner on the table stat.
- Taste and texture: there is so much flavour in the sauce and this seeps into the chicken thighs contrasting with the juicy succulent meat. The honey BBQ sauce slips and slides over the chicken creating an absolutely delicious dinner dish.
- Simple serving suggestions: I haven't given you a meat and 3 vegetable combination with this one as I find that takes a long time. After work week nights, don't allow hours in the kitchen. With simple options such as precooked store bought rice, cucumber and limes, you can bring this together without spending an hour roasting potatoes.
- Alternative option to other meats: you might find yourself wanting to eat more protein, less carbs but still a whole lot of yum. Pork is a great option, however, chicken offers another option to give you variety as to not eat the same thing every night.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for exact ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions and oven temperature.
As you can see, the recipe calls for:
- Chicken thighs: skinless boneless chicken thighs. I find they are much more tender than chicken breast. We need approximately 6 of these which is around 1 kg, (2.2 pounds) depending on the size of the chicken thighs. Sometimes when you purchase the packaged version it can be hard to tell if they have the bone in or not. A solution to this is to purchase them from the delicatessen, as those ones are almost always skinless and boneless. You will be able to get from Walmart, Safeway, Tesco, Woolies or Coles. I have seen them at Aldi, but cannot be confident on the availability of skinless boneless chicken thighs, something to keep in mind when doing your shopping 😊.
- BBQ sauce: store bought is fine (I said week night friendly right 😉). This is the dominant flavour of the recipe, although we pair it with some additional ingredients for the sauce to achieve colour and a depth of flavour.
- Honey: sweet and sticky, I love using this ingredient in the kitchen! For this recipe we add it to the BBQ sauce and dark soy sauce creating the sticky yumness that we are going to slather all of the chicken thighs.
- Dark soy sauce: this is a different ingredient to regular soy sauce and is how we get the lovely golden brown colour into our chicken thighs. It will be in the same section of the supermarket as the regular soy sauce. Look for the label 'dark soy sauce'. If you hold the bottle up to the light, you will see that it is not translucent at all, whereas regular soy sauce will be light brown and somewhat see through when held to the light.
- Salt and pepper: we use a little bit of each of these for seasoning. You can either sprinkle directly over the chicken thighs (both sides), but as I feel that is sometimes a bit of overkill, I add to the sauce and utilise their mission in my own unique way (soon to be yours too 😉).
Tasty Tip: as there can be a rather wide variety when it comes to chicken thigh sizes, I have given you enough sauce in the quantities to cover you for all scenarios. I didn't want you to be left short without enough sauce ( 😭 oh no!). I also didn't want you to have to figure out the quantities to combine if you needed more. So you will find you will have more than enough sauce and if you have some over, you can drizzle it over the chicken thighs to serve.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by combining the ingredients to make the BBQ sauce mix that we brush onto the chicken thighs.
- Gather the BBQ sauce ingredients (Photo 1)
- Whisk to combine (Photo 2)
- Brush onto the chicken thighs (Photo 3)
- Flip to the other side (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
Start by spraying an oven dish with cooking spray. Set that aside for a minute so that you can whisk together the sauce. Combine the BBQ sauce, honey, dark soy sauce, salt and pepper in a mixing jug and whisk together. Then use paper towel to pat dry both sides of the chicken thighs. Transfer them into the baking dish using kitchen tongs, placing the underside facing up. Use a pastry brush to coat the chicken thighs with the BBQ sauce (be liberal my friend 🥰) , then use the tongs to flip the thighs to the other side. Use the pastry brush to coat this side also.
- Coat the chicken thighs (other side) with the BBQ sauce mix (Photo 5)
Once both sides are coated, the chicken thighs can be placed in a (preheated) oven. They will take 30 minutes to cook, although if your chicken thighs are larger in size, they will take closer to 40 mins to cook.
After 30 mins, you can use an oven mit to remove them from the oven, use kitchen tongs to take one out of the baking dish and place it on a plate. Flip it to the underside and use a knife to make a cut in the centre. If the meat is white with no pink bits and the juices are running clear, the chicken is cooked. If you want to use a kitchen thermometer, the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when fully cooked.
- Cook the chicken thighs for 30 mins or 40 for larger thighs (Photo 6)
Tasty Tip: the oven being preheated is important as it allows you to follow my timing instruction in a straightforward manner. If you were to place them into the oven and it is not fully heated, the chicken thighs will take longer to cook and you will wonder why that is. If you ensure that you wait will that light goes off and the oven is good to go, your chicken thighs will also be cooked to go! (❤ ❤).
🍽 Serving Suggestions
The best way to serve the chicken thighs (especially on a week night) is store bought cooked rice or quinoa. Or you can cook your own rice or quinoa in the microwave. I know on busy nights, there is not time for meat and 3 veggies. With these magnificently flavoured chicken thighs, some cucumber, chopped green onions, lime wedges and rice you have yourself a well rounded meal that hasn't taken hours to prepare! You can also throw some chopped chives or parsley on top for a herb if you want to.
If it is the weekend however, and you have more time and want to make a more time consuming side dish you could pair with my Creamy Garlic Potatoes, Skin on Roast Potatoes, Duck Fat Roast Potatoes or Air Fryer Potato Cubes (this one is the fastest of the 4).
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use regular instead of dark soy sauce, however, the colour of the chicken won't be as dark.
- You can use maple syrup instead of honey if you prefer.
- If you want to omit the honey and or dark soy sauce you can. The depth of flavour won't reach the same extent, however, I can understand that if you don't have these ingredients or if you want to keep it super simple, you might be considering that as an option.
- Where I am showing you how to serve the chicken thighs with cucumber ribbons, lime, green onions and chives, you might opt for zucchini ribbons, lemon wedges and parsley, that is totally fine, you don't have to go with everything I have done in the exact same manner ❤.
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Skinless chicken thighs are recommended to allow the sauce to seep into the chicken meat. Plus they are budget friendly and always available.
- You can use a rimmed baking dish, a casserole dish or glass pyrex baking dish. The rim (edge) will help keep the sauce in as it thins out as it cooks. (A flat baking dish is not recommended for this recipe). This is because the sauce would go absolutely everywhere and it would take you hours to clean the oven, would I do that to you my friend, nope, I wouldn't 😉.
- Spraying the baking dish with olive oil (or canola spray) helps to ensure that the clean up of that dish will be easy. The sauce is sweet and sticky, so it has the potential to stick, yet with the spray, it will rinse right off.
- Kitchen tongs are very helpful in terms of handling the chicken so that you can be hands free whilst you flip it.
- A pastry brush is the best utensil to use to coat the chicken thighs with the BBQ sauce. You can find budget friendly silicon ones are available at your local grocery store.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking?
Coat the chicken with the BBQ sauce before you bake it. This results in the most flavorsome chicken. You can also recoat it after the chicken has been cooking for 15 mins as well as drizzling some of the leftover sauce onto the chicken for serving.
How long does it take to BBQ chicken thighs?
It will take 30 mins for small to medium size BBQ chicken thighs to cook in a moderate oven. If the chicken thighs are large, check them after 30 mins and allow for an extra 10 minute cook time to ensure that they are cooked through.
Can you bake raw chicken in sauce?
Yes! You can bake raw chicken in sauce. It will cook just the same as being cooked without a sauce and the sauce will flavour the chicken from the outside in.
How do you keep chicken from drying out in the oven?
Coating both sides of the chicken with a thick layer of the honey BBQ sauce will ensure that they won't dry out in the oven. Also try to remove the baking tray from the oven as soon as the chicken thighs are cooked as to not over cook them.
Should baked chicken thighs be covered?
It is not necessary to cover chicken thighs before baking them in the oven. Simply place the baking tray into the preheated oven and check after 30 minutes to ensure they are cooked through.
😍 More Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes
If winner, winner chicken dinner is your thing, I get it! Here are some more ideas that you might like to try for fuss free convenience:
- Creamy Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Yaki Udon
- Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
- Mexican Lime Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Mince Stir Fry
- Chicken Sausage Rolls
- Easy Air Fryer Chicken Legs
You can also find all of my chicken dinner recipes in the one category for inspiration as needed when you have a minute to peruse.
Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 1 Baking dish large enough to fit the chicken thighs in one flat layer
- 1 Cooking spray to spray the baking dish
- 1 Glass jug to use to combine the sauce
- 1 Mini whisk to whisk the BBQ sauce
- 1 Kitchen Tongs to handle the chicken thighs
- 2 Oven Mits to remove the oven dish from the oven
- 6 chicken thighs skinless and boneless, Note 1
- 1 cup BBQ sauce Note 2
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce Note 3
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5. Note 4
- Baking dish: use an oven dish large enough to fit the chicken thighs with them laying flay in one layer, they can touch slightly, but not over lap. Spray this with cooking oil and set aside.
- BBQ sauce: add BBQ sauce, honey, dark soy sauce, salt and pepper to a jug, use a mini whisk to combine then set aside.
- Chicken thighs: pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel. Then use kitchen tongs to place each one in a flat layer underside up in the baking dish.
- Coat with sauce: use a pastry brush and coat the underside of each chicken thigh with a thick layer of the sauce. Use the kitchen tongs to flip each to the other side and coat this side with a thick layer of the sauce.
- Oven bake: place the baking dish into the oven and cook the chicken thighs for 30 mins. Option to recoat with BBQ sauce both sides after 15 mins if desired. After 30 minutes, use an oven mit to remove the baking dish from the oven and place on a heat proof surface. Use kitchen tongs to remove 1 chicken thigh, place on a plate and flip to the underside. Either use a knife and make a cut to visibly see that the chicken meat is white, the juices are running clear and that there is no pink visible. Or use a kitchen thermometer and test to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F (74°C).
- Serve and enjoy: serve the chicken thighs with cucumber ribbons, lime wedges, chopped herbs and some sliced green onions. Use rice or quinoa to round out the dish.
- Note 1 - Chicken thighs: skinless boneless chicken thighs. I find they are much more tender than chicken breast. We need approximately 6 of these which is around 1 kg, (2.2 pounds) depending on the size of the chicken thighs. Sometimes when you purchase the packaged version it can be hard to tell if they have the bone in or not. A solution to this is to purchase them from the delicatessen, as those ones are almost always skinless and boneless. You will be able to get from Walmart, Safeway, Tesco, Woolies or Coles. I have seen them at Aldi, but cannot be confident on the availability of skinless boneless chicken thighs, something to keep in mind when doing your shopping 😊.
- Note 2 - BBQ sauce: as there can be a rather wide variety when it comes to chicken thigh sizes, I have given you enough sauce in the quantities to cover you for all scenarios. I didn't want you to be left short without enough sauce ( 😭 oh no!). I also didn't want you to have to figure out the quantities to combine if you needed more. So you will find you will have more than enough sauce and if you have some over, you can drizzle it over the chicken thighs to serve.
- Note 3 - Dark soy sauce: this is a different ingredient to regular soy sauce. You will find it in the same section at the supermarket though. Also in the Asian foods section. It will be labelled 'dark soy sauce'. You may have seen me use this in my Japanese noodle recipes. It brings the lovely golden brown colour to the recipe. Whilst regular soy sauce will work, your chicken won't have the same colour.
- Note 4 - Preheated oven: the oven being preheated is important as it allows you to follow my timing instruction in a straightforward manner. If you were to place them into the oven and it is not fully heated, the chicken thighs will take longer to cook and you will wonder why that is. If you ensure that you wait will that light goes off and the oven is good to go, your chicken thighs will also be cooked to go! (❤ ❤).