Maple Chipotle Barbecue Chicken
These simple Maple Chipotle Barbecue Chicken with amazing homemade sauce are summer grilling perfection. The sauce is brushed on at the very end of grilling just to caramelize it a bit, but it doesn’t burn. The sweet, tangy, tender, juicy and smoky results are smokin’ good!
Table of contents
Why We Love These Healthy Maple Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Thighs
I knew I had a winner with this recipe from the get go. When Stephanie and I shot this video a couple of weeks ago, she asked me to send her the recipe even though it wasn’t on the blog yet because she couldn’t wait and was “craving it.” Yeah, it’s that good. It’s can’t-wait-good. (If that’s not a level of goodness, it should be.)
If you need a go-to recipe for grilling season, then this Barbecue Chicken is your recipe! It has just the right level of sweet plus heat.
The interplay of sweet maple syrup and smoky and spicy chipotle is an all-time favorite pairing. Try our Maple Turkey Chili, Maple Chipotle Crockpot Pulled Chicken and this Maple Chipotle Flank Steak Tacos. In today’s recipe, we love how the smoky taste the chipotle adds to the barbecue sauce and really plays up the natural smokiness from the barbecue grill.
This chicken recipe is great for entertaining and cookouts because it makes enough for eight pieces of chicken. But it takes less than 40 minutes to make so you can make it for a weeknight meal too.
Pure Maple Syrup
The barbecue sauce is sweetened and flavored with maple syrup. We recommend using pure maple syrup for all of your recipes. It is far superior to pancake syrup and is an all-natural and unrefined sweetener. For the best maple taste look for Grade A, Dark Robust syrup.
Chipotle chili powder
The spicy and smoky taste in this sauce comes from ground chipotle chili powder. Look for it in the spice section of large supermarkets or health food stores.
We used skinless chicken thighs with the bone in. Not only does this make the recipe more healthy, but it helps to prevent the chicken from burning. Since most stores don’t sell bone-in thighs without skin, you’ll need to purchase bone-in thighs and then remove the skin by hand.
Steps To Make Barbecue Chicken
Step 1: Prepare Grill and Chicken
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove the skin from the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper all over the chicken.
Step 2: Make Barbecue Sauce
Whisk maple syrup, tomato paste, cider vinegar, chili powder, chipotle and granulated garlic in a medium bowl.
Step 3: Grill Chicken
Soak a paper towel with oil and set near grill with tongs. Just before grilling, hold the oil-soaked towel with tongs. Drag gently along grill grates, pulling toward you. Immediately add chicken to the oiled grill. Grill chicken, turning often, until the meat is cooked through to the bone and no-longer pink inside, 18 to 25 minutes.
Step 4: Brush Chicken With Sauce
Brush barbecue sauce all over the tops side of the chicken, and turn over and allow the sauce to caramelize and char ever so slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. While it chars, brush barbecue sauce all over the other side of the chicken. Turn over again, to caramelize the second side. Remove from the grill to a serving platter or carving board and allow chicken to rest 4 to 6 minutes before serving.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Can you make this with boneless chicken thighs?
We’ve actually had this Barbecue Chicken with maple chipotle sauce a bunch already since the grill came out for the season, and I even tested it with boneless thighs since I knew the question would come up.
I prefer it with the bone, so that’s what I recommend, but if you use boneless, the cook time will just be shorter about 10 to 14 minutes total.
How To Avoid Flare-Ups On The Grill
When making this recipe, make sure you remove the skin from the chicken. You’ll save 50 calories just like that. So that’s a good reason, but it also causes flare-ups, and the exterior texture of the chicken will be too crusty and charred.
Coat the Chicken at the End of the Cook Time To Prevent Burning
And one last note: the maple chipotle barbecue sauce goes on the chicken at the end of grilling.
I did this after the chicken is cooked through and waited for a few spots to show charring. Just enough to caramelize the sugars in the maple syrup and give it that classic barbecued flavor, without making the chicken burnt and bitter.
What To Serve With This Maple Chipotle Barbecued Chicken
- Classic barbecue sides like Cornbread, Grilled Corn on the Cob and Coleslaw would be appropriate and a big platter of tomato and anchovy salad would be great!
- My Italian Pasta Salad is the next thing that comes to mind.
- When fresh corn is in season, this Simple Succotash Recipe is a great side to serve with barbecue.
- Or a delicious Panzanella recipe would also be great as a side.
- We have been devouring bean recipes this year, and this Mexican Four Bean Salad is a favorite. We also love this Chickpea Salad too!
- No barbecue would be complete without burgers or Sweet and Spicy Ribs.
- For dessert check out this yummy No Bake Apple Pie. It’s gluten-free and vegan!
Make sure to check out our collection of Healthy Barbecue Recipes for more ideas!
9 More Easy Chicken Thighs Recipes You’ll Love:
- Crispy Roasted Chicken Thighs is one of my family’s favorite meals of all. It’s a must try.
- My Chicken Cacciatore recipe is one of the most popular recipes here on Healthy Seasonal Recipes!
- We just had this 5-ingredient Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs recipe this week, and it is so good!
- If you like curry, then you’ll love this Yogurt Curry Chicken Thigh recipe.
- This basic recipe for Simple Italian Balsamic Chicken is a great meal prep recipe.
- And my one pan recipe for Chicken and Brussels is super easy and tasty.
- These Lemon Artichoke Chicken Thighs from Heidi look so good! I adore artichoke hearts!
- My mouth waters at the idea of this Holy Yum Chicken from Julie. She had me at Maple and Dijon!!
- Our Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs have a delish Greek marinade to give them amazing flavor!
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Maple Chipotle Barbecue Chicken
- Total Time: 34 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
These maple chipotle barbecue chicken recipe is summer grilling perfection.
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup, preferably dark
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, about 2 ¾ pounds* see ingredient note
- oil for grill
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Whisk maple syrup, tomato paste, cider vinegar, chili powder, chipotle and granulated garlic in a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the chicken. Soak a paper towel with oil and set near grill with tongs.
- Just before grilling, hold the oil soaked towel with tongs. Drag gently along grill grates, pulling toward you. Immediately add chicken to the oiled grill. Grill chicken, turning often, until the meat is cooked through to the bone and no-longer pink inside, 18 to 25 minutes.
- Brush barbecue sauce all over the tops side of the chicken, and turn over and allow the sauce to caramelize and char ever so slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. While it chars, brush barbecue sauce all over the other side of the chicken. Turn over again, to caramelize the second side. Remove from the grill to a serving platter or carving board and allow chicken to rest 4 to 6 minutes before serving.
*Ingredient note: If you prefer to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, the cooking time will be 10 to 14 minutes total.
- Prep Time: 16 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh
- Calories: 127
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 417 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 8 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 13 g
- Cholesterol: 43 mg
Keywords: healthy barbecue chicken, grilled barbecue chicken,barbecue chicken,maple chipotle barbecue chicken
I like the way you provide information, and I think that you have some fantastic thoughts.
Thanks a lot. Have a great day!
We made these for company a few weeks ago and they were fantastic! Everyone loved them. We’re making them again for company this week and they’ll be on regular rotation. On a side note, I’ve had such great success with your recipes that I’ve tried many for the first time for company — I always know they’ll be a hit!
Simply the best chicken ever! The flavor is out of the world!
The part about dragging the oil soaked paper towels on the hot grill (towards you no less) sounds dangerous. Doesn’t a fire flare up?
It may sound scary, but this is the safest way to oil the grill grate. I learned this in Culinary School and have always done it this way. I have never had any issues with it.
You are right that there are flare-ups. This is precisely why it is important to a) use tongs to hold the towel and b) pull it toward you.
If you were pushing it away you would be pushing your hand right over the flare up as they occur. When you pull the tongs toward you they happen long after your hands are safely out of the way.