Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken
This Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken is slathered in an easy homemade sauce you’ll want to make again and again! Use boneless and skinless breasts or thighs for this family favorite entree.
Update: This recipe was originally published in 2017 and has been republished with all new photos and instructions.
When I first began paying attention to the ingredient lists of the food products I was purchasing I was genuinely surprised by all the unnecessary junk thrown into barbecue sauce. So many of them are filled with high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. In fact very first ingredient is usually sugar or corn syrup! I knew right away that I wanted to create my own that was free from these things.
This Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken is the result of lots of trial and error. It’s simply sweetened with no sugar, corn syrup, honey, or molasses. That means that enjoying it won’t compromise your healthy lifestyle. Plus it’s Whole30 compliant!
You can use boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Either way the chicken comes out juicy because it bakes in the sauce.
I hope you enjoy this delicious saucy chicken as much as my family does!
For this recipe you’ll need (full list of ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below):
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Olive oil
- Coconut aminos
- Apple cider vinegar
- A few seasonings
Chicken thighs or chicken breasts?
Feel free to use boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs. I use breasts most often simply because that’s what my family prefers but I’ve tested both and you’ll be happy with the results either way.
If cooking thighs you may need a little extra time because of the higher fat content and greater thickness.
Why slice chicken breasts horizontally?
I love to slice my chicken breasts horizontally to create thinner cutlets. This means your chicken will cook faster and you’ll have more opportunity to cover the chicken in sauce.
Can this entree be Whole30 compliant?
Absolutely! Just check the label on your ketchup to make sure it’s allowed on Whole30. Many ketchup brands include sugar. Here are a few brands that offer compliant ketchup at the time of this recipe posting.
Whole30 Ketchup: Tessemae’s Organic Ketchup, Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup, Good Food for Good Organic Ketchup
Is this barbecue sauce spicy or sweet?
The barbecue sauce we’re making isn’t spicy at all. It’s mildly sweet. You can add crushed red pepper flakes or chipotle seasoning to increase the heat if you like.
This sauce has a mild sweetness but it isn’t over the top. If you’d like a sweeter sauce add honey.
Is this barbecue sauce thick?
The sauce is smooth and thick. You’ll notice that it thins a bit as the chicken cooks because chicken releases juice during baking. Let your chicken rest for a minute or two and it will thicken again.
How to store leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to serve this
I like to serve this chicken with a green side + a carb + a salad. A few sides I recommend are my Garlic Green Beans, Baked Herb Potato Rounds, and a simple salad with Homemade Croutons. That’s a pretty perfect meal!
More recipes like this:
Sugar Free BBQ Grilled Chicken
Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless & skinless, about 4 chicken breasts or can sub 8 chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add all sauce ingredients to a bowl and stir until well combined.
- Spread oil on the bottom of a baking dish.
- If using breasts, slice chicken in half horizontally so you have 8 cutlets. (Or just use 8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs).
- Place the chicken in a single layer in baking dish. Sprinkle salt on top of each cutlet or thigh. Use a spatula, spoon, or brush to spread 1/2 of the barbecue sauce on top of chicken.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and flip the chicken over. Spread remaining sauce on top. Bake for another 15 minutes. (You may need a bit more time if using thighs instead of chicken cutlets.)
23 Comments on “Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken”
Wow! Who needs a grill! This looks amazing. Will share in my W30 group!
Thank you so much, Linda! <3
This chicken looks so moist and flavorful. I want to make this for dinner!
That chicken looks delicious! And I absolutely love the use of apple juice and dates in the bbq sauce! So much more nutritious than ‘regular.’
Chrissy could you please give me the recipe for your cauliflower rice recipe. Thank you
Here you go, Della! https://thewholecook.com/2017/07/07/cilantro-lime-cauliflower-rice/
Wow, this looks SO tender and delicious! Love that you used fruit to sweeten the sauce.
Thank you, Jean! I love fruit as a sweetener too. <3
Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot wait to make this!!! All of that BBQ sauce slathered over the chicken, now that’s my kind of chicken. I’m totally a sauce girl. YUM!!!
I am absolutely a sauce girl too! Thank you so much, Emily!
I can’t agree more about the unnecessary ingredients in foods. I have multiple food allergies so always read every label, and more times than not I decide I’d rather not eat it because it should really only be 4 ingredients but is somehow over ten! This BBQ sauce sounds great! I’m always on the look out for one that is soy free (allergy).
Yes yes YES. It’s so disheartening to see what’s put in our “food”. My son has a peanut allergy but he had several more allergies that he’s thankfully grown out of over time. It makes you really pay attention!
This sounds great! For the BBQ sauce, are you supposed to heat and/or blend the ingredients to make the sauce? Can’t wait to try it! 😋
You blend the sauce but no need to heat it because it will heat in the oven. Thanks, Dee!
Mmmm that sounds so good! I can’t believe there’s dates and apple juice in there!
Two of my favorite sweeteners! Thanks, Julie! <3
What a fantastic and super useful recipe! I always tend to avoid anything “BBQ” because of the amount of crap you usually find in the sauce. This is so nice and simple and love that it uses basic dried herbs and spices!
I’ve had the same problem! Thanks, Monique!
One of the comments mentions the use of dates and apple juice in the sauce, but I don’t see those ingredients listed in the recipe for the sauce. Did the recipe get changed, or did the comment perhaps post on the wrong recipe?
This was so easy and so tasty!! Made it with chk thighs and it came out perfect!!c
This recipe is delicious.! the sauce is very tasty.
Loved this recipe! Definitely a keeper. I used Whole 30 spicy ketchup because I had it on hand, and it gave the sauce a little kick. Looking forward to making it again.
Love the spicy ketchup addition! Thank you, Lissa!