Calling all barbecue lovers! This easy BBQ Chicken sandwich will satisfy all of your barbecue cravings. This recipe uses boneless breasts that are dry-rubbed in a tasty spice mixture and grilled to juicy perfection. And the sauce will take your chicken to a whole new level of flavor!
What’s in this BBQ Chicken Sandwich Recipe?
Juicy grilled chicken breasts covered in a homemade dry rub and lots of BBQ sauce? Talk about flavorful!
- Dry Rub: A mixture of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, onion and garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
- Olive Oil: Helps the rub stick to the chicken and helps the chicken cook without burning.
- Chicken: I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but thighs also work.
- Barbecue Sauce: Use your favorite!
- Burger Buns: I love a brioche or potato bun!
- Lettuce: Romaine, iceberg, or green leaf work best.
- Red Onion: Adds a bit of crunch and a pungent flavor that offsets the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
- Sweet Pickles: Sweet, salty, and a bit acidic– the perfect compliment!
Pro Tip: You can marinate your chicken breast overnight to ensure it stays moist while cooking.
Variations on BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
I love these sandwiches as is, but you can really make them your own by getting creative with the ingredients. Add some heat by mixing some hot sauce into the BBQ sauce, or create a smoky BBQ sauce by adding some adobo sauce. For a zestier sauce, add some mustard to the BBQ sauce.
Try swapping out the lettuce for coleslaw for some extra crunch, or add some grilled pineapple for a refreshing sweet and sour twist. For extra creaminess, add some sliced avocado.
While you can use shredded pre-cooked chicken as a shortcut, I don’t recommend it because you miss out on all the extra flavor that the rub adds to the chicken. If you’re looking for pulled chicken, try my crockpot BBQ pulled chicken recipe.
If you don’t have smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika or mix 2 parts paprika to 1 part cumin to approximate the flavor.
Yes, you can. Rub the chicken all over with the spice mix, place in a 9×13-inch baking pan, brush all over with barbecue sauce, and bake in a 375°F oven for 30 minutes total, or until 165°F internally. Halfway through baking, flip the chicken breasts and baste with more barbecue sauce to keep them moist.
The best barbecue sauce for these sandwiches is your favorite barbecue sauce! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even try making your own barbecue sauce!
I like cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or Havarti cheese!
How to Store and Reheat
For best storage, store all components of BBQ chicken sandwiches separately. The BBQ chicken will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat the chicken in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until 165°F internally, then assemble the sandwiches.
How to Freeze
Freeze BBQ chicken breasts on a lined baking sheet until solid, about 1-2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container or Ziplock bag to store for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
These grilled chicken sandwiches are so tasty. Add your favorite toppings, like red onions, pickles, and lettuce, and dig in!
More BBQ Chicken Recipes We Love
- Stovetop BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Breast
- Baked BBQ Chicken
- Grilled BBQ Chicken
- Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- BBQ Chicken Foil Packets
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches Recipe
For the Chicken
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup barbecue sauce plus more for serving
- 4 burger buns
- 4 pieces lettuce
- 4 rings sliced red onion
- 8 slices sweet pickles
- In a small bowl, stir the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oil together.1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pat the chicken dry and rub all sides with the spice and oil mixture.4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Heat a grill pan or barbecue on medium high heat until warm. Oil the pan or grill grates to prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Grill the chicken until it has nice grill marks, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and baste with BBQ sauce. Cook until the second side has grill marks, another 2-3 minutes. Flip, baste with sauce and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, flipping and basting as needed.½ cup barbecue sauce
- Remove from the pan and set aside to rest.
- While the chicken is resting, grill the bottom side of the buns until golden, about 10-30 seconds.4 burger buns
- Assemble sandwiches with lettuce, red onions, pickles, and extra barbecue sauce.4 pieces lettuce, 4 rings sliced red onion, 8 slices sweet pickles
- You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts.
- You can use a pre-mixed BBQ chicken seasoning/rub instead of measuring out all of the individual spices.
- You can use store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce.
- Use your favorite type of burger buns. I love brioche or potato buns!
- You can use coleslaw instead of lettuce.
- You can use sweet onion in place of the red onion, or make decadent sandwiches by using onion rings instead.
- You can use dill pickles or relish in place of the sweet pickles.