The easiest, cheesiest baked BBQ chicken. This is basically tender cooked chicken breast doused in bbq sauce and topped with melty cheese, sliced red onions and pickled jalapeños. My baked bbq chicken takes roughly 30 minutes to throw together, making it ideal for weeknight dinners!

white dish with chicken in bbq sauce topped with pickled jalapeños, onion slices and melted cheese

Cheesy Baked BBQ Chicken.

Another new addition to our baked chicken dinner family! I’m out of control with these easy dinners. Okay, but before we talk about all of that, how is it Thursday already? This week has been such a crazy one! Lots going on behind the scenes at our house and I’m excited to share all things with you guys!

Okay, but right now, we’ve got a cheesy, bbq chicken dinner we need to discuss. For weekdays that seem to just skedaddle on by, I love making easy one-dish dinners that start and end in the oven with very little clean up on the backend and happy bellies all around. I’ve even made it a point to keep the sides extra simple on this one. It’s a little out of the box, I mean other than on a pizza, I’ve never had cheese and bbq sauce together, but I’m gonna tell you what I told myself when I was recipe testing this, don’t knock it till you try it. Boy am I glad I went through with this one!

Today’s recipe is a baked bbq chicken, very similar to the tomato version we’ve made in the past, minus the tomatoes, and cue the bbq sauce. 

spatula lifting cheesy bbq chicken prepared in white dish on white marble

Let’s think about this; really, this is my bbq chicken pizza — minus the bread. There’s no rolling or kneading so it’s a million times quicker to put together on a weeknight and you can serve it along with just about anything you like, and you’ve got dinner on the table in roughly 30  minutes.

When the week is crazy, I like to make sure I sprinkle in tons of quick chicken dinners that require minimum dishes but still fill you up. Being just the two of us, I still cooked up four chicken breasts and kept a bit of the bbq chicken on the side — for later in the week when the sudden craving for a homemade pizza could arise, ahem; here’s looking at you Friday night.

white dish with bbq sauce dipped raw chicken before cooking

What do you need to make cheesy bbq chicken?

  • boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs)
  • bbq sauce
  • garlic powder
  • shredded cheese
  • red onion
  • pickled jalapeños

What kind of bbq sauce works best for this recipe?

Honestly, any kind you like! I’ve tried this with Sweet Baby Rays original sauce and a few other brands as well, and frankly, they all tasted terrific in their own way. I’d choose whatever sauce it is you like best here.

bbq sauce with cooked chicken topped with shredded mozzarella cheese, pickled jalapeños, and raw red onions ready to go in the oven

Do I need to marinate the chicken?

I’ve tried it both ways. I’ve marinated the chicken as much as an hour, and then I’ve made this with zero wait time, and though the marinated chicken did taste a little better, I think you’ll love it all the same if you made this without factoring in marination time.

What kind of cheese should I use?

The first time I recipe tested my baked bbq chicken, I made this with smoked mozzarella, and oh lordy! It was so good! The applewood smoked mozzarella added to the overall flavor of the chicken. That said, if you aren’t a fan of the ‘smoky’ flavor, regular mozzarella or even shredded white/yellow cheddar works here. Just comes down to personal preference.

white baking dish with prepared cheesy bbq chicken being lifted by hand with metal spatula

Do I have to use jalapeno slices?

Nope, you don’t! However, if it’s the spice level you’re worried about, check the condiment aisle of your local grocery store. Some brands mark them as ‘tamed’ or ‘mild’ pickled jalapeños, and while those will give you all that yummy jalapeño flavor, they won’t pack on any of that unwanted heat. For those that prefer their meals on the spicier side, hot jalapeños or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes would kick this up a bit more.

How to serve cheesy bbq chicken:

  • with garlic bread and a big salad
  • over buttered egg noodles, if you’re all about that carb life
  • with roasted potatoes and a side salad
  • over quinoa along with a salad/ sautéed green beans
  • with rice and roasted veggies on the side

Honestly, there’s no right or wrong way to serve this.

You do you!

baking dish with bbq chicken topped with melty cheese being lifted from dish with metal spatula

Yield: 4 servings

Cheesy Baked BBQ Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

The easiest, cheesiest baked BBQ chicken. This is basically tender cooked chicken breast doused in bbq sauce and topped with melty cheese, sliced red onions and pickled jalapeños. My baked bbq chicken takes roughly 30 minutes to throw together, making it ideal for weeknight dinners!

Cheesy Baked BBQ Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see notes)
  • 1 cup EACH: bbq sauce AND shredded cheese (see notes)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅓ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10-12 sliced pickled jalapeños
  • chopped cilantro, for serving

Instructions

  1. PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x11 baking dish (or larger) with baking spray. In a bowl, add the bbq sauce and garlic powder and stir to combine, add the chicken breasts and stir so the chicken is evenly covered in the sauce. If you have time, you can allow it to marinate for an hour, if not, you can proceed immediately. Place the chicken breasts slide by side and pour any remaining bbq sauce over the chicken.
  2. BAKE: the chicken for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove the chicken from the oven. Add the shredded cheese over the chicken breasts, sprinkle with red onions and jalapeños. Place the baking dish back in the oven and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the chicken cooks all the way through. Using an instant read thermometer, make sure the chicken temperature reads 165ºF. If it doesn't, continue cooking for an additional 1-5 minutes.
  3. SERVE: Top with the chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Notes

  • I used a total of 1 1/3 pound of chicken. I had two huge chicken breasts so I split them lengthwise to make 4 pieces. Please keep in mind that baking time will vary based on the size of the chicken breasts you use.
  • I like to use applewood smoked mozzarella for this recipe, however regular mozzarella, pepper jack, or even a cheddar blend would work here. Just something that melts well!

Have you made this recipe?

I’d LOVE it if you could take a second to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR 🙂

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