This Orange Basil Barbecue Chicken embodies the smoky and tangy flavors typical of this classic summer staple – but with a few fun twists: a pop of sweet orange juice and a sprinkle of peppery basil. You’ll come back to this easy and flavorful recipe again and again during hot summer nights!
It feels a tad weird coming back into the week for good (meaning holiday mode set aside) on a Wednesday, no? But hey, I’ll take it! Our weekend was a perfect mix of soaking up the sun outside and socializing with friends. If you missed it, check out a brief recap of what I did plus a pretty and healthy Banana Berry Layered Smoothie recipe here. <– I want another one of these now! So refreshing and fruity! Did you have any fun 4th of July plans?
I’m continuing the fun this coming weekend: my husband and I leave for a trip to San Francisco, Sonoma (wine tasting, here I come!), and the Redwood Forest! This Sunday happens to be our first wedding anniversary (we got married on the beach in Aruba last July 9th!), and I suspect this will be an excellent way to celebrate. Any recommendations for what we should see and eat while there?
Before I go off to the West Coast, I want to share this incredibly summery recipe for Orange Basil Barbecue Chicken with you all so you can add it to your summer dinner rotation ASAP. Tangy and smoky barbecue sauce is a staple come grilling season, and this is a fun and unique way to mix things up.
The orange juice and honey add a slightly sweet and highly addicting kick, and the fresh basil lends a peppery and delicious flavor. I prefer to use chicken thighs with this recipe simply because they are more moist (sorry, I know some of you hate that word!) and flavorful than chicken breasts, but you can certainly substitute the latter if they’re what you prefer and I think it would still be delicious.
As a bonus, I think this recipe would be perfect for meal prep! It will hold up well in the fridge all week long, and you can easily serve it different ways to keep things fresh. A few suggestions:
- Served simply with a green salad and veggie on the side (corn on the cob would be great)
- Chopped up in a salad with romaine, red onion, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce and/or ranch dressing (there are some great yogurt-based ranch dressings out there!)
- Over quinoa with grilled zucchini and mushrooms (just toss the vegetables on the grill with the chicken)
- With brown rice tossed with olive oil and lemon with steamed broccoli on the side
- Over spiralized zucchini noodles with corn, tomatoes, and black beans
- In a whole wheat quesadilla with shredded Mexican cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and Greek yogurt (substitute for sour cream!)
Definitely give this one a go for your next barbecue and let me know what you think!
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: additional chopped basil to garnish
- Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste and place in a large ziplock bag.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the barbecue sauce, orange juice, honey, ketchup, and 3 tablespoons basil until well combined.
- Add ⅓ cup of the barbecue sauce mixture to the bag and seal shut (reserve the rest for later). Shake the bag and move chicken around until all pieces are coasted with sauce. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Grill the chicken thighs on an indoor or outdoor grill and use a basting brush to coat each piece of chicken with the barbecue sauce. Flip and brush the other side with barbecue sauce. Grill until cooked all the way through.
- Remove chicken from grill and place in a serving bowl. Add the rest of the reserved barbecue sauce mixture to the chicken and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with additional chopped basil, if desired, and enjoy!
This recipe makes 2 pounds of chicken, so it's a great option to put together during meal prep! If you would like to use 1 pound of chicken instead, simply cut the recipe in half.
Don't skip the orange juice - it really adds a unique sweetness and tang!