Grilled Balsamic Chicken

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Making the perfect grilled chicken breasts may be easier than you think! Fire up the grill, because today’s Grilled Balsamic Chicken recipe is a classic! Glazed with homemade thick and tangy balsamic vinegar barbecue sauce, this tender grilled chicken is a tasty way to spend time outdoors.

sliced grilled balsamic chicken on a plate garnished with fresh rosemary.

Last summer, we discovered the fail-proof method for perfect grilled chicken. The secret is to start with a HOT grill, lightly brush both sides of the chicken with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Also, try not to overcook the chicken breasts — four to five minutes on each side should be the right time to cook the chicken all the way through (depending on the thickness of the breasts).

Making this homemade balsamic barbecue sauce is just as easy. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and simmer — super simple and super delicious!

Other than with today’s favorite, try this this fail-proof grilling method with my Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Salsa or Grilled Chicken with Caramelized Lemon Vinaigrette recipes. Both are delish!

ingredients for grilled balsamic chicken on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Grilled Chicken

  • Chicken breasts — This balsamic barbecue sauce is perfect for tender boneless skinless chicken breasts. Keep in mind that when you choose thicker cuts of chicken breasts, you’ll need to increase the grilling time. You may also use boneless chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Olive oil — The olive oil helps the chicken not to stick on the grill while cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil works better with high temperatures than other oils or butter.
  • Salt — As I mentioned before, I prefer low-sodium lite salt for this recipe to make it a little healthier. Nevertheless, any salt you have on hand will do.
  • Pepper — Freshly ground black pepper is always a wise choice when you desire the most flavorful and fresh results. If you don’t have it on hand, pre-ground pepper also works well.

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

  • Balsamic vinegar — Choose a high-quality balsamic vinegar to get the best taste in your final barbecue sauce. 
  • Ketchup — Any brand of ketchup will work well for this recipe. However, choose quality ketchup over a generic or cheaper product if you want to create a delicious and flavorful sauce. 
  • Chili sauce — Turn up the heat by adding a few drops of chili sauce. If you don’t have chili sauce on hand, you can use some siracha. Or, if you prefer to keep this barbecue sauce sweet and tangy, you can omit the spicy chili sauce altogether. 
  • Honey — Honey cuts the tangy flavor of the ketchup and vinegar with the perfect amount of sugary sweetness. Suppose you aren’t a fan of honey. In that case, you can try substituting it with molasses, corn syrup, or brown sugar, depending on the final taste you want to achieve.
  • Garlic — While you can use garlic powder in its place, freshly minced garlic cloves will produce the tastiest results.
  • Salt — I like to use lite salt, which is low in sodium, to make this recipe healthier. However, you may use your typical table salt if you prefer.
  • Pepper — Freshly ground black pepper is always best, but pre-ground pepper will do the trick.

How to make Balsamic Glazed Chicken

I like to keep our grilling menus simple—and the prep time to a minimum—so we have plenty of time to enjoy being outdoors! The weather is delightful when Fall is approaching, and I really try to soak it all in.

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

ingredients for basalmic barbecue glaze on a table.

STEP 1 | Combine ingredients and boil

While the grill is heating up, combine all your tasty barbecue sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. *If you have a burner on the side of your grill, you can even make this sauce outside!

STEP 2 | Simmer until sauce is thickened

Once your sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to glaze the chicken when it has thickened to a typical barbecue sauce consistency.

Easy Grilled Chicken Recipe

STEP 1 | Prep the grill

Ensure the grill is all cleaned up and ready for use. Then, preheat the grill while you prepare the tangy balsamic barbecue sauce. It will only take a few minutes, just enough to heat up those grilling racks.

prepping chicken breasts for the grill; seasoning with salt and pepper.

STEP 2 | Season and cook chicken

When you finish simmering the tangy homemade sauce and the grill is nice and hot, brush the raw chicken breasts with olive oil. Then sprinkle the salt and pepper on to taste. 

Grill on each side for about 5 minutes. Now, don’t turn it too much, or the grill marks will not get as bold! Then, if your chicken is particularly thick, increase the time some.


  • Boneless chicken breasts are not uniform in size, so you want to pound them so they are an even thickness for even cooking. To do this, either place them in a large ziplock plastic bag or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rubber meat mallet to gently pound the chicken to about a 1/2-inch thickness. You may also use the palm of your hands or a rolling pin to pound the chicken.

STEP 3 | Baste and glaze

Next, baste the chicken with a small bowl of the balsamic barbecue sauce by gently brushing the sauce onto the outside of the breasts on both sides. 

Continue grilling for about five more minutes, turning and basting the chicken often until it is well glazed. It is okay to turn more when you are saucing.


  • Remove the chicken from the grill once it reads 155 degrees, then tent with foil for about 5 minutes to ensure that the chicken retains all those wonderful juices, keeping it moist.

grilled balsamic glazed chicken on a cutting board with fresh rosemary.

Frequently asked questions

How do you know the chicken is done?

The best way to determine if your chicken is fully cooked is by using a meat or instant-read thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken breast to get the most accurate reading. 

If you don’t have a thermometer at home, you can cut into the chicken breast to see if the center is opaque and the juices run clear.

Can you bake the chicken in the oven?

Absolutely! If you don’t have a grill at home, you can bake these balsamic glazed chicken breasts in the oven or even on the stovetop. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast the chicken for about 25 to 30 minutes, and brush on the barbecue sauce a little over halfway through the baking time.

What other meats can you grill and baste with the balsamic barbecue sauce?

Boneless skinless chicken thighs are the next best option for this delicious grilled recipe. 
However, you can also use drumsticks and thighs with the bone in.

Even better, pork chops or tenderloins pair beautifully with the balsamic barbecue sauce. Just remember to adjust your grilling times accordingly.

grilled balsamic glazed chicken on a cutting board with fresh rosemary.

Serving suggestions

Complete your backyard barbecue with more recipes on the grill that you can serve alongside these tangy and sweet balsamic glazed chicken breasts, like my Grilled Corn in Foil with Parmesan Butter or even French Fries on the grill!

Or prepare a scrumptious potato salad in the kitchen. Check out my Red Potato Salad or Fresh Herb Potato Salad

sliced grilled balsamic chicken on a plate garnished with fresh rosemary.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken

Classic grilled chicken glazed with a thick and tangy balsamic vinegar barbecue sauce
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Grilling & Smoking
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 220.8 kcal


  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 4 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon lite salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce


  • Preheat grill to medium high. While grill is preheating, prepare balsamic barbecue sauce.
  • Brush chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 5 minutes.
  • Baste chicken with the balsamic barbecue sauce and continue grilling for about 5 minutes, turning and basting often, until the chicken is well glazed.

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

  • Combine all barbecue sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Use to baste grilled chicken.


  • Remove the chicken from the grill once it reads 155 degrees, then tent with foil for about 5 minutes to ensure that the chicken retains all those wonderful juices, keeping it moist.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check for doneness by looking for these things:
  • Check the juices. When you pierce the chicken with a fork or knife, the juices should run clear without any visible pink.
  • Check the size. Chicken gets smaller as it cooks. If it looks the same size as when you started, it’s not done yet.
  • Check the texture. Chicken should be firm and not rubbery or jiggly when it is done.


Calories: 220.8kcalCarbohydrates: 15.9gProtein: 32.1gSaturated Fat: 0.8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 478.1mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 10.1g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword balsamic glaze, chicken, grilled
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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  1. 5 stars
    This was great and so quick and easy! I did make a tweak that I wanted to share. I used some Mike’s Hot Honey that I had (it isn’t great on biscuits!) instead of the regular honey and left out the chili sauce/sriacha. It was really good!

  2. This was really good, it will be our new bbq chicken recipe. Thank you for sharing this recipe. We didn’t make the cauliflower mash.

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