An all time favorite meal, these Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken Breasts are a crowd pleaser and SO EASY to make! The flavors of tender chicken married with tangy barbecue sauce and smokey bacon make for a irresistible flavor combination. With just minutes of prep and one pan, this meal was made for busy weeknights!
BBQ Chicken – The EASY Way!
Barbecue chicken breast is a classic, and for a good reason! Those sweet and tangy flavors are a favorite that span age groups and coasts.
This BBQ Chicken Bake takes those classic flavors and transforms them into a quick to make, flavor packed, one pan dinner you can make at home to wow the family.
They may think this came from a restaurant or you ran to pick up Chilis Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken, because it is just so tasty, it is hard to believe it is that simple to make.
What I love about this recipe:
- SO DELICIOUS! It definitely has those restaurant quality flavors! It packs in layers of flavor and texture in one easy dish.
- Easy Clean Up– You really only need to get one dish dirty to make this one pan recipe.
- Goes well with everything! You can pair it with almost anything in your fridge- from veggies, to potatoes, to rice, to salad. It works with what you have!
- Less complaining- I hesitated to write this because it can be hard, but it is also very real and I am a mom as just like many of you! One of the most frustrating things is to get dinner on the table and then have your kids or spouse complain about it. This is the meal we can all be happy to eat!
- Quick to Make- It really only takes minutes of prep to get this in the oven to bake!
What to Serve with Cheesy BBQ Chicken
One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it goes well with so many things. That makes it easy to pair it with whatever you already have on hand in the fridge or freezer.
Here are some of our favorite ways to serve BBQ Chicken:
Sides for BBQ Chicken
- Potato Salad
- Buttermilk Cornbread
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Baked Potatoes
- BBQ Baked Beans
- Broccoli Slaw
- French Fries
- Squash Casserole
- Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken recipe is as simple as promised! Just a few ingredients and one pan for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Chicken breast – I prefer regular to thin chicken breasts for baking. You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenders if preferred.
- Onion– This is actually optional, but I love baking the chicken on top of a bed of onions. Not only does it add extra flavor to the chicken as it bakes, but by the time this dish is done, the chicken is nestled on top of a bed of tender, sweet cooked onions. They make a perfect compliment to the dish, and since they aren’t incorporated into the chicken itself, they can be easily separated for any pickier eaters.
- Seasonings – We use a simple blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder
- BBQ sauce – I like Sweet Baby Rays but you can use any brand you love!
- Cheddar cheese – Sharp cheddar is my favorite, but colby jack, mild cheddar or even Mexican blend work well with this dish.
- Crispy crumbled bacon– For the best flavor, you can make this fresh, or you can use a high quality store bought pre-cooked bacon (or bacon bits) as well.
- Green onions– These are also optional. Chopped green onions will add fresh flavor and texture to the dish.
- Use thin chicken breasts– Using chicken breast that is too thick can increase the baking time substantially. Also, a thinner more even chicken breast will cook more evenly resulting in more tender and juicy chicken.
- Don’t over crowd the pan – On the same note, try to use a pan big enough to allow the chicken breasts to sit flat without touching too much. This helps them to cook more quickly and evenly! Try using a larger pan if you have larger or more chicken breasts so that they cook better.
- For more crispy cheese, bake uncovered. If you like a more tender gooey cheese topping, bake covered (as directed), but if you prefer a crispier cheese topping, you can bake uncovered the whole time.
- How to to Cook BBQ Chicken Breast – The time as directed will be around 35-45 minutes at 400˚F. This can vary based on the thickness of the chicken breast, the size of the pan you use, and how your oven is powered. It is common to have some variation.
- Don’t over cook! The number one enemy of tender, juicy chicken is over cooking it. This will cause it to become more dry, tough, and hard to chew. Chicken should be cooked to 165˚F to be cooked through and maintain its juicy and tender texture. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer for this.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Pre-slice onions– This will save you a couple of minutes of prep time and can be done up to 3-4 days in advance. You can also use frozen sliced onions in this recipe.
- Make bacon ahead of time– You can make the crispy crumbled bacon for this recipe in a skillet, griddle, oven or microwave up to 4-5 days in advance.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs– Make the recipe as directed using boneless, skinless chicken thighs in lieu of chicken breast.
- Cheesy BBQ Chicken with Potatoes– If you prefer, you can make this recipe with potatoes instead of onions. To do this, cube 2-4 yukon gold potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and toss them with salt and pepper. Then spread them on the bottom of the dish in place of the onions. Continue as directed. Make sure not to over crowd the dish with potatoes or it can prevent them from fully cooking through in the allotted time.
- Pineapple Bacon BBQ Chicken- Make the recipe as directed adding small chunks of pineapple between the BBQ sauce and the cheese. This gives the dish a delicious sweet and savory twist!
Freezer Meal Instructions
This Baked BBQ Chicken Breast recipe can be prepared as a freezer meal to make on another busy night, or give to a friend in need.
- Prepare the recipe as directed through step 4.
- This works best packaged in the casserole dish it will be cooked in. Cover or wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze.
- When ready to make, thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.
- Remove plastic and bake completely thawed dish as directed adding 5 minutes to the covered cooking time.
For the best flavor, this meal can be frozen for up to 6 months.
BBQ Chicken Leftovers
This Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken is one of my favorite dishes to have leftovers from, because they make such amazing starters for another dish. They can be refrigerated or frozen to use on another night.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
- in the freezer up to a month
Leftover BBQ Chicken Recipes
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken Sandwich– Toast a bun with butter on a griddle. Reheat the leftover BBQ chicken with toppings. Pile the chicken and cooked onions on top of the bottom of the bun and top with leafy lettuce. Add a slather of ranch dressing to the top of the bun and serve.
- Cheesy BBQ Chicken Potato Skins – Split a cooled baked potato in half and hollow out the middle. Chop leftover BBQ chicken and onions and fill the potatoes with the mixture. Top with additional cheese and bacon if desired and bake at 400˚F for 25-35 minutes or until heated through. Once done drizzle with extra BBQ sauce and top with sour cream and chopped green onions.
- Cheesy BBQ Chicken Pizza– On a prepared pizza crust, spread BBQ sauce to the edges. Chop leftover BBQ chicken and onions and spread over the crust. Top with either cheddar or Italian blend shredded cheese and bake as directed. Once done, drizzle with additional BBQ sauce and top with freshly chopped cilantro.
- Bacon BBQ Chicken Nachos– Chop leftover cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken. Spread tortilla chips over a sheet pan. Add a light layer of shredded cheese. Top with chopped BBQ chicken and onions, add rinsed black beans and corn. Top with another light layer of cheese and additional crumbled bacon (optional) . Bake at 425˚F for 8-12 minutes or until heated through.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my Easy Chicken recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Baked Catalina Chicken
- Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- EASY Alice Springs Chicken
- Crispy Panko Chicken with Honey Drizzle
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, 3-4 chicken breasts
- 1 sweet yellow onion
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
- 2 tbsp chopped green onions
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
- Thinly slice the onion and place it in the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and season both sides of the chicken. Lay the chicken on top of the onions.
- Spread the BBQ sauce equally over each chicken breast. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the dish.
- Cover and bake covered for 25 minutes, then uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temperature.)
- Top with crispy crumbled bacon and green onions. Enjoy!