Skillet Chicken with Barbecue Onion

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 25 min.


4 servings

Updated: Apr. 24, 2022
Barbecue chicken is a sure bet with guests, but it’s also messy at times. My stovetop BBQ chicken recipe lets you savor that flavor without a pile of napkins. —Evelyn Cleare, Miami, Florida
Skillet Chicken with Barbecue Onion Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup honey barbecue sauce


  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 4-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165°. Remove and keep warm.
  2. Add onion and red pepper to same pan; cook and stir 5-6 minutes or until tender. Add barbecue sauce; heat through. Serve with chicken.

Skillet Chicken with Barbecue Onion Tips

Can you put BBQ sauce on raw chicken?

Yes, you can put BBQ sauce on raw chicken; however, most barbecue chicken recipes add the sauce in the later stages of cooking for several reasons. Browning chicken simply seasoned with salt and pepper or a dry rub as a first step gives it a crispy, flavorful surface. When pan-cooking, that browning step leaves flavorful bits in the pan to be used in the rest of the recipe. That browning can’t happen if the surface of the chicken is wet or coated in sauce. Also, BBQ sauce usually contains sugars and other ingredients that make it vulnerable to burning; when it’s added later in the cooking process, it’s less likely to burn. Check out a variety of sauces to find one that suits your needs.

How do you keep BBQ chicken from drying out?

There are a few ways to keep BBQ chicken from drying out. First, let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking it. Don’t try to cook it from cold, and never from frozen. Second, salt is your friend, as it seals in moisture. You can use a simple brine for 2-3 hours before cooking or season your raw chicken with salt. Learn everything you need to know about brining.

Also, try to get your chicken to as even a thickness as you can; if you’re using boneless breasts or thighs, you might want to pound them flat, like a cutlet, to ensure they cook quickly and evenly. And finally, don’t overcook; the best way to make sure is to use an instant-read thermometer. Chicken is considered safely done at 165°; remove it from the heat at 160° and let it rest. The meat’s internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes, and the resting stage will let the juices reabsorb into the meat rather than escaping. Read more about the safest internal temperature for chicken.

Can I marinate chicken in BBQ sauce overnight?

Yes, you can use BBQ sauce as a marinade for chicken, especially thinner sauces. Treat it like any other marinade—when you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the marinade and discard the used sauce. If you’re using BBQ to cook, use fresh sauce. For more, see our guide to marinades.

Research contributed by Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 chicken breast half with 1/4 cup sauce: 250 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 657mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 1g fiber), 23g protein.