Spicy BBQ Chicken Thighs

First, an exciting update:  On October 1st I reached 75 pounds lost since March when I began living a ketogenic lifestyle.  I am thrilled with my progress to date and I am looking forward to future successes as well.  I’ve been going to the gym 4-5 days a week, using the stationary bike for some cardio as well as working on strength training both with machines and free weights.  Keto has cured me of my cravings for bread, pasta and potatoes and has a long list of benefits in addition to the weight loss.  I’ve truly enjoyed my experience and only wish I had found it earlier, to be honest.

Today’s recipe is so easy I’m almost embarrassed to include it on my blog.  This is a no-fail 10 minute prep dish that comes out juicy, tender and full of robust flavor.  I’ve started branching out by using chicken thighs in addition to chicken breasts as they are a more keto-friendly option (more fat in the skin and dark meat than the lean white meat chicken breast).  My preference is usually white meat, but these chicken thighs are winners and so simple to prepare.  This is a delicious recipe that can be made on weekends or weeknights and can be converted into chicken wings for the big tailgate or football party.  The best part is the chicken re-heats really well and can be made into chicken salad or put in a low carb tortilla for a delicious bbq chicken wrap.

Chicken thighs are also a budget-friendly purchase in place of boneless skinless chicken breasts, which is another reason for incorporating them into your weekly meal planning.  I plan on experimenting more with different flavor combinations in the future and including them as recipes on this blog.  I started by gathering all my ingredients and pre-heating my oven to 375°F.

I combined all the seasonings together to make a flavorful dry rub for the meat.  I find the chili powder kicks the flavor palate into high gear and meshes really well with the bbq sauce on top.

Next I combined my bbq sauce, hot sauce and xanthan gum together to create a spicy, tangy paste that will be used to baste the chicken.  Xanthan gum is a great thickening agent for low carb dieters.  Last week I used it in a soup I made in my slow cooker to prevent it from being watery – a little goes a long way, so be sure to measure it out or risk making your wet ingredients too thick.  Xanthan gum has 7g carbs per serving (1 tablespoon) but also 7g of fiber, so its net carbs is 0g, which is why so many low carb food bloggers include it in their recipes.  I found the Bobs Red Mill brand at Whole Foods with all the other baking goods.

Speaking of bbq sauce, Guy’s Sugar Free sauces are my absolute favorite.  I order them off Netrition for a reasonable price and have enjoyed the original, spicy and garlic flavors.  This is a must-have staple in my kitchen as I love making bbq chicken salads and using it as a dip for my zucchini fries.  The best part about the Guy’s brand is that although these are sugar free, the great bbq flavor that I used to enjoy is not at all compromised.  The sauces are tangy and flavorful; my favorite is the spicy version which brings a surprising amount of heat in each bite.  Compared to traditional bbq sauces, Guy’s is low carb-friendly and is highly recommended.

Once my rub and sauce were ready, I laid the chicken thighs out on paper towels to dry them off.  I also used a paper towel to dry off the skin side of the chicken.

Next I took the dry rub and seasoned both the skin side and meat side of the chicken thighs.  You want to make sure to rub the seasonings into the meat so that each bite will be full of flavor.  I then placed the chicken meat-side down onto a greased baking sheet and evenly distributed any remaining seasoning on each thigh.  Another way to cook these would be to put them on a wire rack above a baking sheet (to catch the drippings) to let the bottoms crisp up just as well as the top.  I have not tried this, but plan to in the future.  They cook great on the baking sheet, in my experience, as well.

I took the bbq paste and evenly distributed it among the chicken thighs before putting them in the oven for 40 minutes.  So easy, right?  It takes less than 10 minutes to prep the chicken and then it’s just waiting 40 minutes while the delicious bbq smell permeates through your house as they cook.  I love the slightly charred edges and how the bbq sauce turns into a caramelized glaze on the chicken.  They are not wet when they come out of the oven, so you could add a touch more sauce before serving if desired, but I enjoy the bbq flavor without the traditional bbq mess on this chicken.  The meat is so tender it practically falls off the bone and the thighs are juicy and not dried out.   What are your favorite flavors on chicken?  Let me know in the comments below!

Spicy BBQ Chicken Thighs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1

Spicy BBQ Chicken Thighs


  • 4 chicken thighs with skin, 1-1.25lbs
  • 2tsp chili powder
  • 2tsp garlic powder
  • 2tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1.5tsp pepper
  • 8tblsp Guy's sugar free bbq sauce
  • 1tblsp sriracha
  • 1/2tsp xanthan gum


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Incorporate all spices together to make the dry rub.
  3. Combine bbq sauce, sriracha and xanthan gum to make bbq paste.
  4. Dry both top and bottom of the chicken thighs on paper towels.
  5. Rub the spices into both the skin and meat sides of the chicken thighs.
  6. Place the thighs onto the baking sheet and coat evenly with the bbq sauce mixture.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle rack until fully cooked.

Nutrtional Information

Per serving: 269 calories, 4g total carbs, 3g net carbs, 19g fat, 21g protein (Note: Please remember these numbers are based on the brands I used and may vary slightly with other brands.)


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One Comment

  1. Linda Chudej

    Wow! I’m just now discovering your website & I’m SO excited to know about your success with the ketogenic lifestyle. I’m diabetic and 100 pounds overweight. I’ve researched the ketogenic eating plan including information from the American Diabetic Association so I’m ready to focus on switching to it. Your recipes are going to be of great assistance to me. Thank you!

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