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The best summer meal! Whether you’re entertaining friends for a cookout or just preparing a quick weeknight meal, this Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast always wins rave reviews. Season the boneless, skinless chicken breast with a simple rub, throw it onto a gas or charcoal grill, and baste with barbecue sauce. Served with pasta salad, mac and cheese, cornbread or coleslaw, this grilled chicken recipe is a picnic favorite!

Grilled BBQ Chicken Recipe

There’s nothing better than grilled BBQ chicken breast on a warm summer evening. It’s flavorful, light, and versatile — and with a few simple tips it stays juicy and moist (not dry or tough). Plus, this easy meal is incredibly fast! You only need about 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes to cook the meat, so the entire dinner is ready in 20 minutes. Serve the grilled bbq chicken with your favorite sides, slice it on top of a crisp green salad, or tuck it into a sandwich. Leftovers are great, too!

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for grilled bbq chicken breast. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast: you can also substitute with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Olive oil: helps the chicken brown, adds flavor, and prevents it from sticking to the grill.
  • BBQ dry rub: we always use this simple homemade BBQ seasoning blend, which we keep in a big jar in our pantry for easy access. It includes brown sugar, smoked paprika, kosher salt, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. If you prefer, you can substitute with your favorite store-bought BBQ rub or just use kosher salt and black pepper (the chicken will get a lot of flavor from the BBQ sauce).
  • Barbecue sauce: use your favorite homemade bbq sauce or pick a high-quality store-bought sauce. We like Stubb’s sauce.
Horizontal shot of a tray full of homemade bbq rub for ribs and chicken

How to Make Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast

I’ve included instructions for both a charcoal and a gas grill below, so pick your favorite method. An indoor grill pan on the stovetop will also work, but you can’t beat the smoky char from a classic outdoor grill!

  1. Pound chicken breasts until ½-inch thick. You don’t want them as thin as cutlets, but pounding them to an even thickness will help the chicken cook quickly and evenly so that it stays tender and juicy.
  2. Rub chicken with olive oil and season with bbq rub.
  3. Charcoal Grill: Open the bottom vent completely. Light the large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes. When the top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  4. Gas Grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
  5. Place the chicken on the grill and cook (covered if using gas) until the chicken has nice grill marks, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165° F, about 3-5 more minutes.
  6. Baste the chicken with the bbq sauce during the final 3 minutes.
  7. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Overhead shot of boneless skinless chicken breast pounded flat with meat mallet
Chicken breasts seasoned with a bbq dry rub
Side shot of grilled bbq chicken on a table with a brick wall in the background

What to Serve with Grilled BBQ Chicken

This versatile grilled chicken is delicious when served on top of a green salad or when tucked inside a grilled bbq chicken sandwich. You can also pair the meat with any of your favorite picnic sides. Here are a few easy ideas:

Close up shot of grilled bbq chicken sliced on a platter

Storage

  • Prep ahead: pound the chicken and rub with seasoning up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  • Wrapped tightly, the grilled chicken breast will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can also store the chicken in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Use leftover chicken on sandwiches, wraps or salads for easy lunches or dinners throughout the week!

Recipe Variations

  • Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs: substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast shown here. Thighs are generally more of an even thickness, so you don’t need to pound them flat. Thighs will cook in about 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Use homemade bbq rub, pick your favorite store-bought bbq rub, or just season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • For a shortcut, baste the chicken with a high-quality store-bought barbecue sauce (we like Stubb’s brand, but any similar variety is great). You can also make your own barbecue sauce if you prefer.
Square image of grilled bbq chicken on a plate with sides and a drink in the background

Tips for the Best Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast Recipe

  • Pound the chicken breast to an even thickness. This will help to ensure that the meat cooks evenly and quickly so that you don’t end up with half of a breast that’s too dry, while the other half is still raw.
  • Get the grill nice and hot. Chicken breast is a very lean meat, so it stays juiciest when cooked quickly over high heat.
  • Wait to baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce until the final 3-4 minutes of grilling. This will prevent the chicken from burning on the grill. Serve additional sauce on the side.
  • The total grilling time will vary depending on a number of different factors, such as the temperature of your grill, the temperature of your chicken when it goes on the grill, and the size and thickness of your chicken. As a result, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to know exactly when your chicken is done. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165° F for chicken breast.
  • Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. The juices will redistribute throughout the meat so that the chicken breast stays nice and juicy.
Side shot of grilled BBQ Chicken breast on a platter with cornbread and coleslaw

More Grilled Chicken Recipes to Try

Close up side shot of grilled bbq chicken breast on a platter with sides and bbq sauce

Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 317 kcal
The best summer meal! Whether you're entertaining friends for a cookout or just making a quick weeknight meal, this Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast always wins rave reviews.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 (6-8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed (or substitute with about 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons BBQ rub seasoning (or substitute with just kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste)
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving

Instructions

  • Cover chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound gently with meat mallet or rolling pin until ½-inch thick.
  • Rub each piece of chicken with olive oil; season on all sides with BBQ rub (or kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste).
  • FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open the bottom vent completely. Light the large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes. When the top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  • FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
  • Oil the cooking grate. Place the chicken on the grill and cook (covered if using gas) until the chicken has nice grill marks, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165° F, about 3-5 more minutes. Baste with barbecue sauce during the final 3 minutes.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with additional sauce on the side.

Notes

  • Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs: substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast shown here. Thighs are generally more of an even thickness, so you don’t need to pound them flat. Thighs will cook in about 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Use homemade bbq rub, pick your favorite store-bought bbq rub, or just season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • For a shortcut, baste the chicken with a high-quality store-bought barbecue sauce (we like Stubb’s brand, but any similar variety is great). You can also make your own barbecue sauce if you prefer.
  • Pound the chicken breast to an even thickness. This will help to ensure that the meat cooks evenly and quickly so that you don’t end up with half of a breast that’s too dry, while the other half is still raw.
  • Get the grill nice and hot. Chicken breast is a very lean meat, so it stays juiciest when cooked quickly over high heat.
  • Wait to baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce until the final 3-4 minutes of grilling. This will prevent the chicken from burning on the grill. Serve additional sauce on the side.
  • The total grilling time will vary depending on a number of different factors, such as the temperature of your grill, the temperature of your chicken when it goes on the grill, and the size and thickness of your chicken. As a result, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to know exactly when your chicken is done. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165° F for chicken breast.
  • Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. The juices will redistribute throughout the meat so that the chicken breast stays nice and juicy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken breastCalories: 317kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 36gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 565mgPotassium: 712mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 131IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: grilled bbq chicken breast, grilled chicken, grilled chicken breast, oven BBQ chicken breast
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

    1. Hi, Nicolette! Sure, it just won’t have the “grilled” flavor or the smoky char. That said, I would bake boneless, skinless breast at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, basting with the sauce towards the end. The total baking time will vary, though, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken, and on the temperature of the chicken when it goes into the oven. As a result, your best bet is to use an instant read meat thermometer to know when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Hope you enjoy!