Easy One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs

4.54 from 66 votes
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Delicious and simple year round favorite, these Easy One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs are a huge family favorite, great for picky eaters and those on low carb or keto diets, and are super simple, bursting with bbq flavor and crispy chicken thighs, in just one pan!

chicken thighs in a thick sauce with parsley
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Pan Cooked BBQ Chicken Thighs

Pan-cooked BBQ chicken thighs offer a delightful combination of crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior, all enveloped in a rich, smoky barbecue sauce. The high heat of the pan sears the chicken thighs, locking in their natural juices and creating a savory crust that is irresistible. The barbecue sauce, when added, caramelizes onto the surface of the chicken, providing layers of flavor that range from sweet and tangy to smoky and spicy, depending on the type of sauce used. This cooking method ensures that every bite is packed with a complexity of flavors and textures, making it a favorite for both weeknight dinners and casual gatherings.

One of the great advantages of pan-cooking BBQ chicken thighs is the ease and speed with which the dish can be prepared, making it an excellent option for those with busy schedules. To achieve the best results, it’s crucial to let the chicken thighs cook undisturbed once they hit the pan, as this allows the skin to crisp up and develop a golden-brown color. As the chicken cooks, it can be basted with additional barbecue sauce, building up a sticky, flavorful glaze that is characteristic of good barbecue. Serve these delectable chicken thighs with a side of coleslaw or roasted vegetables, and you have a meal that is sure to satisfy.

chicken thighs in a thick sauce with parsley

How to Make One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
4-6 chicken thighs – boneless and skinless or with bones/skin
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup BBQ sauce, whichever flavor you prefer

chicken thighs in a thick sauce with parsley

Use This Method

Cook Chicken. In a large, heavy pan, add olive oil and heat until shimmery. While oil is heating, sprinkle chicken with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add chicken to pan and let crisp on each side, about 6 minutes per side. Flip 2-3 times until chicken has reached internal temperature of 150 degrees internal temperature and is lovely golden brown on the outside.

Sauce. Add chicken stock to pan and let reduce until chicken has reached internal temperature of 150 degrees. Stir in bbq sauce and toss chicken in sauce, let cook down until chicken has reached 165 degrees internally when thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of meat (careful – don’t hit the bone or the pan!)

Serve. Serve immediately with salad, rice, vegetables, or in a sandwich or a wrap – or save for a delicious easy-to-heat lunch!

Tips To Perfect Easy One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs:

Preparation

  1. Choose the Right Cut: Opt for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the best flavor and juiciness.
  2. Season Well: Before cooking, season the chicken thighs generously with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings to enhance the flavor.
  3. Room Temperature: Let the chicken thighs sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking.

Cooking Process

  1. Preheat the Pan: Use a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast-iron pan and preheat it over medium-high heat to ensure a good sear on the chicken.
  2. Skin Side Down First: Place the chicken thighs skin side down first. This will help render the fat and create a crispy skin.
  3. Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure each chicken thigh cooks evenly and gets a nice sear.
  4. Let It Sear: Resist the urge to move the chicken around. Let it sear undisturbed for about 5-7 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy.
  5. Lower the Heat if Needed: If the skin is browning too quickly, lower the heat to prevent burning.
  6. Finish Cooking on Lower Heat: Once the skin is crispy, flip the chicken thighs and continue cooking on lower heat until they are cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165°F/74°C).

Adding BBQ Sauce

  1. Add BBQ Sauce at the End: Add your BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent it from burning.
  2. Brush It On: Use a brush to evenly coat the chicken thighs with BBQ sauce.
  3. Let It Caramelize: Allow the sauce to caramelize on the chicken for a minute or two, but be vigilant to prevent burning.

Resting and Serving

  1. Let It Rest: Once cooked, let the chicken thighs rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
  2. Serve with Extra Sauce: Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side for those who like it saucier.

Additional Tips

  1. Adjust for Thickness: Adjust cooking time based on the thickness of the chicken thighs.
  2. Keep an Eye on the Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure proper doneness without overcooking.
  3. Clean Pan for Multiple Batches: If cooking in batches, wipe the pan clean between batches to prevent burnt bits from sticking to the chicken.
Chicken breasts cooked in a skillet with barbecue sauce.

Easy Chicken Dinners You’ll Love:

BBQ chicken thighs are a versatile main dish that can be paired with a variety of sides to create a satisfying meal. Here are some ideas:

Coleslaw: A classic choice, coleslaw adds a crunchy and tangy element that contrasts well with the rich and savory flavors of the BBQ chicken.

Cornbread: This sweet and moist bread is a southern staple that complements the smoky flavors of BBQ.

Baked Beans: Hearty and flavorful, baked beans are a traditional side for BBQ dishes and add a satisfying richness to the meal.

Grilled Vegetables: Vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms can be grilled for a smoky flavor that pairs nicely with BBQ chicken.

Potato Salad: This creamy and tangy side dish is a crowd-pleaser and goes well with BBQ chicken thighs.

Macaroni and Cheese: For those who love comfort food, a creamy macaroni and cheese can be a decadent and delicious side option.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes: The natural sweetness of sweet potatoes complements the smoky and savory BBQ chicken.

Green Beans: A side of steamed or roasted green beans can add a fresh and crisp element to balance out the meal.

Corn on the Cob: Sweet and juicy, corn on the cob is a summertime favorite that pairs well with BBQ chicken.

Garden Salad: A light garden salad with a variety of fresh vegetables can add a refreshing touch to the meal.

If you love this One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs recipe, be sure to check out some of my other easy chicken favorites! 

Easy One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs Recipe

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chicken thighs in a thick sauce with parsley

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Close up of keto BBQ chicken thighs in a sauce.
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Easy One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs

Delicious and simple year round favorite, these Easy One Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs are a huge family favorite, great for picky eaters and those on low carb or keto diets, and are super simple, bursting with bbq flavor and crispy chicken thighs, in just one pan!
Course Chicken Thighs
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, bbq main, chicken, chicken thigh, dinner, poltry
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 368kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4-6 chicken thighs – boneless and skinless or with bones/skin
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce whichever flavor you prefer

Instructions

  • In a large, heavy pan, add olive oil and heat until shimmery.
  • While oil is heating, sprinkle chicken with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Add chicken to pan and let crisp on each side, about 6 minutes per side.
  • Flip 2-3 times until chicken has reached internal temperature of 150 degrees internal temperature and is lovely golden brown on the outside.
  • Add chicken stock to pan and let reduce until chicken has reached internal temperature of 150 degrees.
  • Stir in bbq sauce and toss chicken in sauce, let cook down until chicken has reached 165 degrees internally when thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of meat (careful – don't hit the bone or the pan!)
  • Serve immediately with salad, rice, vegetables, or in a sandwich or a wrap – or save for a delicious easy-to-heat lunch!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 547mg | Sugar: 8g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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4.54 from 66 votes (65 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. Katherine says:

    5 stars
    Yum

  2. Priscilla O says:

    Your recipe is excellent with so many great flavors! I will be cooking this again and sharing the recipe with others!

  3. productreferee says:

    Wow, This sound delicious. Such a mouth watering recipe. I will keep it in my mind and make it in our next BBQ party. Thanks for the sharing this yummy recipe.