Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven

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Baked BBQ Chicken in Oven! Works with any barbecue sauce. Ready in an hour, including marinating and cook time.

Photography Credit: Elizabeth Stark

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Baked BBQ Chicken

Grilling might not be for everyone. But delicious, tender BBQ chicken legs certainly should be.

If you don’t have a grill or the weather is keeping you inside, this easy technique for making baked bbq chicken in the oven is all you need.

baked bbq chicken in the oven

How to Make BBQ Chicken in Oven

Taking cues from the grilled version of this recipe, the chicken gets a quick sear under the broiler to brown the skin, and then a longer roast in the oven until the chicken is completely tender.

A quick marinade in the barbecue sauce before roasting helps enhance the flavor and improve the tenderness of the chicken. The barbecue sauce bakes into the skin and caramelizes during cooking.

BBQ Chicken in the Oven

Baked BBQ Chicken Tips

  1. I like to cook the chicken on a metal rack over a baking sheet to allow even heat and continuous airflow on all sides. This helps prevent soggy skin. (Note that while the chicken picks up a nice “grilled” flavor from the broiler, the skin probably won’t get quite as crispy.)
  2. I usually make this recipe with chicken legs, but you could also make it with a mix of legs and thighs. For optimum baked bbq chicken flavor, I recommend you stick with these dark meat cuts and avoid breast meat.
  3. You can use any variety of thick, tomato or mustard-based sauce with this method, so use your favorite! For this baked bbq chicken recipe, I used a spicy store-bought tomato barbecue sauce made with vinegar and sugar.

More Baked Chicken Recipes!

Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven Recipe

  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Marinating time: 30 minutes or overnight
  • Yield: 4 servings

Liquid smoke adds a hint of smokiness to the chicken. Look for it with the condiments in the grocery store.

You can easily double or triple this recipe for a larger crowd; just make sure there is a little space between each chicken leg on the pan and work in batches if necessary.


  • 2 pounds (skin-on, bone-in) chicken legs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (any tomato- or mustard-based sauce), divided
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

Special equipment:

Special equipment:


1 Marinate the chicken: Set the chicken legs in a shallow dish and sprinkle both sides with salt. If you're using liquid smoke, mix it into the barbecue sauce. Brush the legs all over with 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce, reserving the rest.

Cover, and set in fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven

2 Prepare the chicken for cooking: Set the broiler to high with a rack positioned a few inches below. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a metal cooling rack (like the ones used for baking) inside (or use a broiler pan).

Arrange the marinated chicken legs on the wire rack with a little space between each leg.

3 Sear the chicken: Slide the pan under broiler, and broil chicken on one side until you begin to see dark brown charred spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip, and sear the second side until also browned, another 3 to 5 minutes or so.

Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven

4 Turn the oven to 350F and reposition the rack in the middle of the oven.

5 Finish cooking the chicken: Brush chicken all over with all but a tablespoon of the remaining sauce. Slide into the oven and bake 15 minutes. Flip chicken, and brush with the remaining sauce anywhere it's needed.

Continue baking until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F when testing with a meat thermometer, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Easy BBQ Chicken in the Oven

6 Serve chicken right away while hot, with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

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how to make bbq chicken in the Oven

Elizabeth Stark

Elizabeth Stark, along with her husband Brian Campbell, shares her passion for simple, seasonal recipes on the award-winning food blog, Brooklyn Supper. Though Brooklyn will always have a place in her heart, she now lives with her family in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

More from Elizabeth

29 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Maria

    They came out wonderful I had pulled out these chicken drumstick didn’t know what to do with them who called you grandchildren husband loved it thank you you’re a lifesaver


  2. Monica

    I always love oven barbecue chicken. Somehow, my sauces never stick to the chicken. I like to add mines after the chicken has cooked. I wished, I had learned sooner to use the broiler. As I’m posting this review, I have some in the oven. Thanks.!


  3. Wanda

    Delicious! I made half without skin and half with skin. Our meat was juicy inside and just enough crisp on the outside. The recipe adapted well with no salt and 0 sodium bbq sauce. It may be a bit better by baking it slowly for a half hour or so prior to serving to be sure the fat cooks off the drumsticks. We will definitely make this recipe again!


  4. Sonya out of Austin, TX

    So good! I’ll be making this again and will play with different sauces. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfect. Broiling the chicken before baking makes all the diffence.


  5. Tina Marie Allen

    Making this today…can’t wait

    Show Replies (1)
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baked bbq chicken cooling before servingEasy BBQ Chicken in the Oven