Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

5 from 3 votes
1 hour 10 minutes
Jump To Recipe

This sweet and spicy Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs recipe is a breeze to make in your oven for a quick, budget-friendly weeknight meal year-round or a gathering with friends. You can whip up the Apricot Chipotle Barbecue Sauce in just a few minutes using your favorite barbecue sauce for finger-licking goodness!

“My family loved this chicken. It was simple and it kicked store-bought bbq sauce up a few notches.”

Four Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs in white enamel serving dish.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Bone-in chicken thighs are a great economical protein option that’s perfect for any occasion, from weeknight family dinners to entertaining friends. In this oven BBQ chicken thigh recipe, this budget-friendly portion is baked until the skin is lovely and crispy, then brushed with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce no one will ever guess is not homemade!

The sauce starts with your favorite barbecue sauce. Add a few more simple ingredients like apricot preserves, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and apple cider vinegar for a kicked-up barbecue sauce sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

This Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs recipe is:

  • Effortless! Oven BBQ Chicken Thighs in the oven are super easy, and if you line your baking sheet or dish, clean-up is also a breeze!
  • Economical!
  • Easily modified! Use lower-sugar barbecue sauce, sugar-free apricot preserves and boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) to make this recipe healthier.
  • Easily scaled for additional servings.

Let’s make it!

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs in white enamel serving tray.

How to Make Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this oven BBQ chicken thigh recipe, along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Bone-In Chicken Thighs: Bone-in chicken thighs are ideal for this recipe; however, other chicken portions can be used. You can also use drumsticks, a combination, whole leg portions, boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts.
  • Apricot Preserves: You can also use peach preserves.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Use your favorite basic bottled barbecue sauce that doesn’t have additional flavorings like hickory smoke or added sweeteners such as brown sugar or honey. With the apricot preserves, the sauce could be over-the-top and cloyingly sweet. We love Corky’s Barbecue Sauce, a Memphis original!
  • Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce: Chipotle chiles are dried smoked jalapeno peppers. Canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are available in the international food aisle near Mexican foods. When using these hot chiles, be sure to read the recipe calling for them carefully. One chipotle chile is very different from one can of chipotle chiles.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a small rimmed sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil. (You may also use a ceramic baking dish–you want something easy to clean.)
  • Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, on the sheet pan (or baking dish). Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
Four uncooked chicken thighs on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Meanwhile, place the apricot jam and cider vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and heat for 20 seconds on HIGH.
  • Stir and heat again for 10-15 seconds or until the jam is melted and the jam and vinegar can be easily combined.
Apricot preserves and cider vinegar in glass bowl.
  • Remove all the seeds from the chipotle pepper (wear gloves if necessary). Finely chop the chipotle, then mash the chipotle with the blade of a large knife, such as a chef’s knife, until you have somewhat of a paste.
Mashed chipotle chiles on wood cutting board with chef knife.
  • Add the mashed chipotle chile and the adobo sauce to the melted jam/vinegar combination, then stir in the barbecue sauce.
Barbecue sauce in glass bowl.
  • When the chicken has cooked for 40 to 45 minutes, remove it from the oven. Drain the excess liquid and fat from the pan.
  • Check the temperature of the chicken. It should be 165 degrees in the center of each thigh or the juices should run clear.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Four baked chicken thighs on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Brush each chicken thigh with a generous amount of the Apricot Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.
Four chicken thighs being brushed with barbecue sauce on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
Four finished barbecue chicken thighs on aluminum foil-lined pan.
  • If you like it saucier, brush it with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
  • Serve immediately!
Four Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs in white enamel serving tray with bowl of barbecue sauce.
  • Sticky, spicy, sweet, tangy, delicious!
Baked BBQ Chicken Thigh being brushed with sauce in white enamel serving dish.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Bone-in chicken thighs take longer to cook than boneless skinless chicken thighs. However, the result is well worth the extra time. Chicken cooked on the bone is more flavorful and juicy.
  • Be sure not to touch the bone when checking the temperature. The bone retains more heat, resulting in an inaccurate temperature reading. Consequently, the meat may not have reached the required safe internal temperature of 165 in the case of chicken.
  • You can also use a mini food processor to combine the barbecue sauce.
Four Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs in white enamel serving dish.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 400 degrees?

To cook chicken thighs thoroughly and preserve their juiciness, baking them at 400 degrees is recommended. This temperature is optimal for baking chicken thighs to achieve crispy skin. Cooking them at a higher temperature can cause them to become dry and a lower temperature will take longer and the skin won’t get crispy.

How would I make this oven BBQ chicken thighs recipe with leg quarters?

You can do everything the same as outlined in this Baked BBQ Chicken Thigh recipe, but you may need to bake longer to achieve 165 degrees in the center. There, too, be sure not to touch bone when checking the temperature.

What goes well with Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs?

See my list of side dishes below but almost any salad such as potato salad, bean salad, vegetable salad, grain salad or pasta salad and you’re good to go!

Storage:

  • Store any leftover barbecue chicken thighs in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees until heated through in the center to 165 degrees.

For more great bone-in chicken thigh recipes, check out: 30 Best Bone-In Chicken Thigh Recipes.

Serve with:

More great baked chicken recipes you’ll love!

Get all my chicken recipes at: Chicken Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen

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Four Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs in white enamel serving tray with bowl of barbecue sauce.

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

5 from 3 votes

Click to Rate!

By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Sweet and spicy Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs are a breeze to make in your oven for a quick, budget-friendly weeknight meal year-round or a gathering with friends. You can whip up the Apricot Chipotle Barbecue Sauce in just a few minutes using your favorite barbecue sauce for finger-licking goodness!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 734 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken thighs - on the bone with the skin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce - plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce - basic without added flavorings

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small rimmed sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil. (You may also use a ceramic baking dish–you want something easy to clean.)
  • Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, on the sheet pan (or baking dish). Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the apricot jam and cider vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and heat for 20 seconds on HIGH. Stir and heat again for 10-15 seconds or until the jam is melted and the jam and vinegar can be easily combined.
  • Remove all the seeds from the chipotle pepper (wear gloves if necessary). Finely chop the chipotle then mash the chipotle with the blade of a large knife such as a chef's knife until you have somewhat of a paste. Add it and the adobo sauce to the melted jam/vinegar combination then stir in the barbecue sauce.
  • When the chicken has cooked for 45 minutes, drain the excess liquid and fat from the pan.
  • Check the temperature of the chicken. It should be 165 degrees in the center of each thigh or the juices should run clear.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Brush each chicken thigh with a generous amount of the Apricot Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.
  • Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 734kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 1287mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 458IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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