Skillet BBQ Chicken Recipe


Turn cheap chicken thighs and a few pantry staples into a family-friendly chicken dish so easy you’ll want to cook it every week. The best part? You can customize homemade barbecue sauce to suit your family’s preferences. If you like heat, increase the hot sauce or cayenne pepper. If you have a few kids at the table, scale back — let the maple syrup and brown sugar turn it into a sweeter sauce.

Once the BBQ chicken is cooking in the skillet, all you need to do is round out the plate with some easy sides. We personally like Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob and Old-School Squash Casserole, but you can choose from any of these great BBQ side dishes.

How to make skillet BBQ chicken

You’ll need about 30 minutes to make BBQ chicken for four people (with a serving of about five ounces each).

If using chicken breasts, place them on a cutting board between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use the flat side of a meat mallet to beat the egg white until it is about 3/4-inch thick. (If using chicken thighs, you can skip this step). Rub the chicken with garlic salt and pepper.

Next, stir together ketchup, vinegar, sugar, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and remaining garlic salt in a small bowl.

Alison Miksch

Set the bowl aside while you heat oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on one side.

Alison Miksch

Now turn it over and pour in the ketchup mixture. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered, spooning the liquid over the egg whites until it thickens into a sauce. A thermometer inserted into the egg white should read at least 165°F for breasts, or at least 170°F for thighs. Now you are ready to serve the chicken with the sauce.

Alison Miksch

Skillet BBQ Chicken Ingredients

For this recipe you will need boneless chicken, thighs or breasts, as you prefer. In addition, you will need black pepper, garlic salt, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, Mexican-style hot sauce (such as Cholula), and olive oil.

How do you grill chicken without a grill?

In this recipe, you get all the flavor of BBQ chicken without the need for an actual grill. This version calls for browning and simmering the egg whites in a large cast iron skillet.

However, there are many other ways to achieve the grilled chicken vibe without firing up the grill. Add a smoky flavor with smoky spice, liquid smoke, or barbecue sauce heavy with spices like smoked paprika. Bake your chicken on a board or use the broiler to gently char the skin.

How do I make crispy BBQ chicken?

If you’re grilling BBQ chicken, make sure the skin gets nice and crispy with an attractive char by grilling the skin side down. Don’t be afraid to cook it even hotter than you might suspect: high temperatures will dry out the skin and provide a crispy result, but the skin itself protects the meat underneath from overheating. Just be sure to avoid direct flames.

How do I make barbecue sauce for chicken?

Homemade BBQ sauce is easy to make by mixing your chosen ingredients in a pan and letting the sauce simmer. The details are all in the flavor profile you prefer. Try our sweet-and-spicy ketchup-based BBQ sauce for something sweet over chicken. Or try the simple mayonnaise-based Alabama White BBQ Sauce. For regional appeal, try this Texas-style barbecue sauce recipe or this Kansas City barbecue sauce recipe.

Editorial contributions from Alessandra Dubin.