January 10, 2023| By

Smoked Chicken Breasts

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr
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This easy Smoked Chicken Breast recipe is tender, juicy, and seasoned with a homemade dry rub that's packed with flavor. It's one of those easy chicken recipes that's perfect for any occasion – eat it alone or add a few sides for the perfect meal.

For more easy smoker recipes, you have to try my Smoked Chicken Thighs and Easy Smoked Mac and Cheese next!

smoked chicken breasts on a silver plate with a fork.
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Whether you're preparing for a weekend barbecue, a simple weeknight dinner, or weekly meal prep, smoked chicken breasts are the go-to!

This succulent and moist smoked chicken is super easy to make, cook time is only an hour, and that homemade chicken rub combines different flavors to make every bite tasty and delicious.

If you are new to smoking meats, this is a great introductory recipe! Master the skill of smoking chicken because it's a crowd-pleaser that everyone will enjoy. Dip these in my honey barbecue sauce (my favorite bbq sauce) for the best smoked chicken breast ever!

sliced smoked chicken breasts on a cutting board with a fork inside a piece of meat showing the inside.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

  • Cook time is only an hour! Have super moist and tender meat in just an hour.
  • It goes with everything! Smoked chicken breasts are the perfect protein to pair with just about any side dish.
  • You won't find dry chicken over here! Who knew the key to moist chicken breasts was the smoker? This dish has that deep smoky flavor you love, while still being nice and juicy on the inside.
  • Ideal meal prep dish! This recipe is an easy way to only have to cook once throughout the week. Make these smoked chicken breasts on Sunday and have a healthy meal to enjoy all week long!
  • Naturally gluten free and dairy free! This chicken recipe fits a multitude of diets which allows it to be enjoyed in a variety of ways!

Ingredients

ingredients to make smoked chicken breasts - garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, chili powder, brown sugar, parsley, cayenne pepper, cumin, and boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Chicken breasts - I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. It cooks faster without the bone and removing the skin saves us some calories. Ideally, this chicken will be chopped up and used to make various meals so it's a convenient option.
  • Seasonings - My blend includes smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, thyme, parsley, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. It's the perfect blend of sweetness, smoke, and spice. This is my favorite rub for smoking because it enhances the smoke flavor. However, you can also create your own seasoning mix.
  • Olive oil - This will help the seasoning stick to the chicken. It also gives the chicken a little extra fat since boneless chicken breast tends to be a leaner meat.

Tips for the Best Smoked Chicken Breasts

  • Try to use chicken breasts of the same size and thickness so they cook at the same rate.
  • The size of the chicken breast determines how long it will take to cook. If the chicken breasts are smaller, they may cook faster. Larger pieces of meat may take a bit longer. Use a meat thermometer or temperature probe to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should be 165 degrees F.
  • For best results, leave the marinated chicken breasts in the fridge until you are ready to place it in the smoker. Cold meat will better absorb the smoke flavors.
  • You can use any variety of wood chips (or wood pellets, if that's what your smoker uses). For a mild, fruity flavor, try apple or maple. If you prefer a stronger taste than Jack Daniels or hickory wood chunks would be great. A blend will result in even more flavorful chicken.

How to Start a Fire in a Smoker

You can't make the best smoked chicken breasts recipe if you don't know the basics of using a smoker. If you're a pro and know how to work a smoker, skip this part!

  1. Make sure all of the vents are open.
  2. Place fire starter in the charcoal starter/chimney and light. At the beginning, the coal smoke will be cloudy. Allow the fire to burn from cloudy to clear to burn off all of the chemicals.
  3. Once the smoke is clear, pour the coals from the chimney into the smoker and add wood chips on top. The wood chips will burn black or white - this is referred to as dirty smoke. Similarly to the coals, allow the wood chips to burn until the smoke is translucent or clear.
  4. Depending on the smoker, place the lid on top to maintain the temperature.
  5. Ensure the smoker is preheated to 225 degrees F.

How to Make Smoked Chicken Breasts

a piece of sliced chicken breast on a fork.
  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, combine seasonings and mix together.
  • Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Place chicken breasts onto a baking sheet and drizzle oil on top. Coat all sides of the chicken with the seasoning blend and season with salt and black pepper. Optional - let chicken sit uncovered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours prior to cooking. This will give you a nice and crispy skin. (Image 1 and 2)
  • Add chicken breasts to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat gets to 160 degrees F, about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the meat.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker and place back onto a baking sheet and cover with foil. Let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
sliced smoked chicken breasts on a serving plate.


Variations

  • Brine - This step is totally optional and based on preference. I smoked chicken breasts without brining but you can use salt and water to brine chicken breasts. If you brine, omit salt from the marinade to avoid too much sodium.
  • Sauce - These chicken are super flavorful but you can definitely add a sauce or glaze in the last ten minutes. I'd suggest BBQ, jerk or teriyaki.
  • Bone-In Chicken Breasts - This option takes a bit longer but if you prefer it, just watch the internal temperature to determine doneness.

What to eat with Smoked Chicken Breasts

Nothing is more versatile than smoked chicken breasts. Here are some delicious side dishes to enjoy with smoky chicken:

Storing Leftovers

Leftover smoked chicken breasts should be placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy within four days.

If you want to freeze them, make sure the chicken has cooled to room temperature before placing it in the freezer. It will last up to 3 months when stored in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Thaw in the fridge the day before you plan to reheat it.

The oven is the best way to reheat leftover smoked chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F and place the chicken in a skillet or loosely wrapped foil for about 10 minutes.

Recipe FAQs

How do you keep chicken moist when smoking?

Each step of this recipe ensures that the chicken will retain mositure; from the marinade to letting the meat rest after it's done cooking. However, the most important step to remember is to cook at a lower temperature for an extended amount of time so that the chicken breasts don't dry out.

Do you turn chicken breasts when smoking?

No. Smoking uses indirect heat so both sides cook evenly, without flipping.

Is it better to grill or smoke chicken breast?

It truly comes down to preference. Both methods result in different flavors. However, if you have some time, I highly recommend smoking your meat! It produces a unique smoky flavor that can't be replicated in an oven, stove, air fryer, or grill.

More Chicken Recipes!

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

a piece of sliced chicken breast on a fork.

Smoked Chicken Breasts

Smoked Chicken Breasts are tender white meat seasoned with a blend of herbs, spices, and a hint of brown sugar. It's quick, easy, and perfect for any occasion – just add some sides to make it a meal!
Serving: 6
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr
Resting Time 20 mins
Calories: 278kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tsps Smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 6 Chicken breasts
  • Olive oil

Directions

  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, combine seasonings and mix together.
  • Add chicken breasts to a baking sheet and drizzle oil on top. Coat all sides of the chicken with the seasoning blend. Optional - let chicken sit uncovered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours prior to cooking. This will give you a nice and crispy skin. 
  • Add chicken breasts to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat gets to 160 degrees F, about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the meat.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker and place back onto a baking sheet and cover with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Notes

Tips for the Best Smoked Chicken Breasts
  • Try to use chicken breasts of the same size and thickness so they cook at the same rate.
  • The size of the chicken breast determines how long it will take to cook. If the chicken breasts are smaller, they may cook faster. Larger pieces of meat may take a bit longer. Use a meat thermometer or temperature probe to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should be 165 degrees F.
  • For best results, leave the marinated chicken breasts in the fridge until you are ready to place it in the smoker. Cold meat will better absorb the smoke flavors.
  • You can use any variety of wood chips (or wood pellets, if that's what your smoker uses). For a mild, fruity flavor, try apple or maple. If you prefer a stronger taste than Jack Daniels or hickory wood chunks would be great. A blend will result in even more flavorful chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 895mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 549IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Chicken, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American

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