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Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

by victor

Baked BBQ chicken thighs, beautifully crisped up, saucy, in a serving basket lined with wax paper.

These are absolutely the best baked BBQ chicken thighs I’ve ever made or tried anywhere. They are fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy inside, covered by a layer of crispy skin, which in turn is covered by deliciously caramelized, in some spots even slightly charred, BBQ sauce. It’s hard to believe that they are not grilled. Only lack of smoky flavor is what really gives away the fact that these chicken thighs are baked. Needless to say, when I make these tasty morsels they just disappear in the blink of an eye. People forget about side dishes, salads, bread and just munch on these chicken thighs, until they are gone. You can’t blame them.

How to make the best baked BBQ chicken thighs?

Making great tasting BBQ chicken thighs in the oven may seem like a simple thing, but it’s not. Just slapping some tasty BBQ sauce on some thighs and baking them won’t do the trick. You really need to build the layers of flavor and texture to get those amazing BBQ chicken thighs. That said, once you know a few tricks, the process becomes as easy as pie.

Well-browned chicken thighs glazed with BBQ sauce on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.

First, you need to bake the thighs on convection at a very high heat. This will do two things – the thighs will cook quickly, resulting in a very juicy meat, while the skin will be nicely browned and crisped up. Using a little bit of baking powder will help get an even crispier skin. According to Cook’s Illustrated, tossing chicken thighs with baking powder and salt helps break down the proteins within the skin, as well as aiding in browning. So, do not skip that baking powder. I’ve used it on chicken wings and chicken thighs before and it works like magic.

Second, once the skin is nice and crispy, you brush the thighs with the BBQ sauce and bake again for a short while. What this does is it thickens and caramelizes the sauce, making it more intensely flavored and tastier. Cooking on convection helps with caramelization of the sauce, creating some charred spots here and there. This makes chicken thighs taste almost like grilled ones.

BBQ sauce glazed baked chicken thigh split in half, showing juicy, moist meat.

That’s all there is to it. It’s not exactly simple but it becomes very easy once you know the process.

Looking for more great chicken thigh recipes? Check these out:

These are absolutely the best Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs. They are first oven fried on convection to get an extra crispy skin, then brushed with a special BBQ sauce and baked for a little longer on convection. This gives these BBQ chicken thighs an amazing flavor that is comparable to grilling. Once you try these chicken thighs you will be hooked for good. | ifoodblogger.com

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

4.79 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken wings, BBQ wings, crispy chicken wings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 563kcal
Author: Victor

Ingredients

  • 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp baking POWDER (do NOT use baking soda, it's NOT the same)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the BBQ sauce

  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (you can go up to 1 cup if you like more BBQ sauce)
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic (pressed)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven on 450F convection for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper and baking powder over the chicken thighs. Gently rub the thighs with your hands to evenly spread the seasonings.
  • Arrange the thighs on a baking sheet, lined with foil and fitted with a cooling rack. Using a cooling rack is optional but will help with keeping grease off the thighs.
    Baked BBQ Chicken Wings - Step 2 - rubs seasonings for even coverage.
  • Bake the thighs at 450F convection for 20 minutes. The thighs should be browned and have a crispy skin.
    Baked BBQ Chicken Wings - Step 3 - baked on convection until very crispy.
  • Combine the BBQ sauce, hot sauce and pressed garlic in a large bowl. Add cooked chicken thighs and toss. Transfer back to the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes at 450F convection.
    Baked BBQ Chicken Wings - Step 4 - smother with BBQ sauce.
  • Remove the thighs from the oven and serve immediately with your favorite side dish.
    Baked BBQ Chicken Wings - Step 5 - bake on convection for 10 more minutes until the sauce sets and slightly chars.

Nutrition

Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 1582mg | Potassium: 770mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 2mg

 

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25 comments

Francesco November 6, 2019 - 6:46 pm

Excellent family and friends loved it quick and easy too. 👍🏻🤤

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Barb October 26, 2019 - 3:11 pm

I used chicken legs and I think they are larger than might be appropriate for this recipe, so I baked them ten minutes longer at 450 before putting on the sauce. Nice and juicy and look and smell amazing. Taste? Excellent! Moist? Excellent!

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Kristen October 8, 2019 - 10:48 pm

Super good & easy. I love the bbq sauce with hot sauce & garlic. My picky kids liked it too!

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Barbara September 1, 2019 - 7:22 pm

I followed directions exactly and the chicken looked beautiful. Inside it was undercooked. I think the thighs were larger than usual. I put them back into the oven for a while longer at 350. A wonderful dinner!

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Judy August 14, 2019 - 9:49 am

I’ve made this dish twice now and both times have been delicious 😋Will DEFINITELY be adding this to my small but growing collection of favorites!

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Gretchen Hershey July 28, 2019 - 6:25 pm

Amazing! The chicken was so tender and juicy. The bbq sauce caramelized to perfection. This is a keeper for sure!

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D. Lawrence May 3, 2019 - 9:53 pm

I love this recipe. It looks delish! Don’t have a convection oven. Will this be the same baked in a regular oven? Thank you.

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victor May 4, 2019 - 12:43 pm

Won’t have the same crispiness but you can get close if you follow the instructions that I provided below in my comment on November 17, 2018. Good luck.

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CandeeLoredo February 21, 2019 - 1:07 pm

I loved this! Even my 4 year old ate all of her serving. I did make a couple of changes. I didn’t use the hot sauce or garlic, but instead mixed bbq sauce with a splash of liquid smoke. OMGOODNESS!! Sooo good. Thank you for the fantastic recipe! 😁

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victor February 21, 2019 - 1:51 pm

So happy to hear that and especially glad that you 4 year old like this chicken – young kids are very picky eaters. You are very welcome and please check out my other recipes.

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CToth December 10, 2018 - 6:06 pm

A++ Wow… these are soo good. I don’t know anything about BBQ sauce so I read several taste tests and decided to try Trader Joe’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce because it repeatedly rated high amongst BBQ lovers. I used chicken wings and didn’t put the hot sauce in (personal preference) but otherwise followed your instructions exactly. Next time, I will watch them closely that last 10 mins – as they did get dark fast, probably because I used wings. We LOVED these!!
Thank you SOO much for generously sharing all your experience, techniques and recipes. I have been reading all your chicken recipes and I will systematically try them all. You sure know your stuff!!
Much Gratitude
PS… I ordered one of those remote ThermoPro thermometers you mentioned in one of your recipes and my man loves it. Thanks for the tip.

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victor December 10, 2018 - 7:52 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind words. It gives me a lot of joy when people enjoy my recipes. Anything Trader Joe’s is awesome as my daughter says, so I am sure that BBQ sauce is awesome. Next time I am there I will pick up a bottle and give it a try as I’ve been using Duff’s BBQ sauce for too long;) And about those BBQ thermometers, I can’t imagine cooking without them any more… they are such help.

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Alice December 5, 2018 - 8:27 am

Easy to make and these turned out to be some of the best chicken thighs that I’ve ever tried. So tender and moist inside! And the skin is nice and crispy. The crispiness goes away a little after you put the sauce on but it’s super tasty.

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Kathy Yoshida November 19, 2018 - 7:46 am

This was the best recipe… so easy! It was just as described, crispy and so yummy! Thank you for the recipe!

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victor November 19, 2018 - 10:19 am

You are very welcome. Glad you liked it.

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Kathy Contreras December 18, 2018 - 12:50 pm

If I use chicken breasts, how long would I bake them? Same temperature?

Thanks

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victor December 18, 2018 - 11:07 pm

This recipe will not work for chicken breasts as convection will dry them out. To get crispy-skinned breasts, use this recipe – https://ifoodblogger.com/best-bone-in-chicken-breast-recipes/, only brush with BBQ sauce about 10-15 minutes before taking out.

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Rebecca April 9, 2019 - 1:53 pm

Could you use leg quarters for this recipe?

victor April 9, 2019 - 6:04 pm

Absolutely. It will work great for leg quarters.

Dana November 18, 2018 - 12:13 pm

Excellent! I rarely leave comments but I had to leave one for this. My hubby loved this so much that he asked me to make it again twice. The skin was exceptionally crispy before putting on BBQ sauce. If you season the thighs more from the beginning you can eat them like that. They taste exactly like deep-fried. BBQ sauce takes away some crispiness from the skin but the skin is not rubbery like when you put the sauce on from the beginning. This method is amazing! Will definitely be saving this recipe to make more in the future! Thank you!

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victor November 18, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Glad you guys liked it. You should also try my extra crispy chicken wings.

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Karen November 17, 2018 - 5:03 pm

This sounds delish! But I see this recipe calls for baking in a “convection” oven, what would you set the temperature on for a “conventional” oven, and bake for how long?

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victor November 18, 2018 - 12:07 pm

Convection is a requirement in this recipe as you get better results – as in noticeably crispier skin and a shorter cooking time. You can even easily get away without baking them on a wire rack. However, if you don’t have a convection oven try the method below originally suggested by America’s Test Kitchen. You should get somewhat similar results but not quite the same crispiness and texture.

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Arrange thighs in single layer on a wire rack placed over a backing sheet. Bake on lower-middle oven rack for 30 minutes. Move to upper-middle rack, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees, and roast until the thighs are golden brown and crisp, 20 minutes longer, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Brush with BBQ sauce and bake for another 20 minutes.

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Izzie November 16, 2018 - 10:30 am

Hi there! If I could give this recipe 10 stars I would have. My husband still thinks grilled are better but promptly asked for seconds. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe with us.

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victor November 16, 2018 - 11:26 am

You are very welcome! I have a similar recipe for chicken wings, you should try it.

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