You can make this tangy, 4-Ingredient BBQ Chicken in less than an hour! It's easy to make a quick barbecue sauce with household ingredients.
We don't know the origin of Nonna's 4-ingredient BBQ chicken. It's safe to say, however, that this is an American dish, one of maybe three in her repertoire. Otherwise, it was all Napoletana food, all the time.
Before I was born, Nonna used to work as a cook at a local parish. (Lucky priests!)
We assume she served this chicken there, and maybe even learned from a co-worker how to prepare it. Whether she made it up herself or was taught the recipe, its simplicity and deliciousness were right up her alley.
Chicken (that counts as one ingredient) is baked with a tangy BBQ sauce consisting of three household ingredients — ketchup, mustard and vinegar. It's an unassuming dish that's packed with flavor and reminds me of my childhood.
And although I can't stand raw mustard, a little bit cooked in a recipe like this adds a nice touch.
(By the way, if you want to use a recipe with bottled BBQ sauce, you might like these Cheesy Baked BBQ Chicken Breasts.)
As with all of Nonna's food, though, no recipe was written down.
Even Mom can't recall the ratio of sauce ingredients Nonna used. She probably eyeballed everything (I never saw her use a measuring cup or spoon) and tasted as she went.
I made this a couple of times in the past, long before I had a blog, and didn't bother documenting anything. (Who has the patience for that?)
Anyway, I remember the first time I served Nonna's 4-Ingredient BBQ Chicken to my kids, on one of those evenings I didn't feel like cooking and had no idea what to make. Suddenly, I felt inspired to throw this dish together and hope for the best.
My kids loved it. I got such a kick out of their reaction, and sensed that Nonna's spirit was thrilled.
I like to think Nonna was in the kitchen with me over the past few weeks as I made this dish a handful of times, until I was able to replicate that familiar taste from long ago. Mmmm.
I'm so glad I did.
More chicken recipes to love
- One-Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs and Vegetables
- Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks with Garlic Butter
- Shredded Buffalo Chicken Nacho Salad (Crockpot)
- Italian Chicken Cutlets
(Recipe Source: I did my best to replicate Nonna's chicken through trial and error.)
Nonna's 4-Ingredient BBQ Chicken
- 8 chicken thighs
- ⅓ cup ketchup (I use Simply Heinz)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- salt (to taste)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the skin from the chicken (it helps to grasp it with a paper towel and tug it off.) Discard the skin.
- Place your chicken in a roasting pan or a sheet pan lined with greased foil for easy cleanup. Lightly salt the chicken.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the ketchup, vinegar and mustard until blended. Pour all the sauce over the chicken and brush it over the pieces to cover them completely.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Then, broil the chicken in the pan on the center rack of the oven for 2 minutes to 2 ½ minutes to caramelize the sauce a bit. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
Nice, easy, flavorful-Thanks Nonna!!! Are they not the greatest-and I miss mine too. Mom was speaking about her the other day (because of Mother's Day I am sure). Fond memories, traditions carried doesn't get better than that Andrea! Have a great weekend! xo
Nonnas are the best! Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Cheryl. Have a great weekend. xo
Well, Andreuccia - I definitely agree that your nonna was in the kitchen with you these past few weeks...and how comforting is that thought?! This dish would be a favorite with my kids, too! Nothing like something so simple being a big hit!! Your nonna knew what she was doing! Just like you!
Aw, no one has called me that in years! Yes, Nonna rocked it in the kitchen. Thanks, Annie!
I love how simple this is, I could totally make this after a busy day, no problem!
Absolutely! And really, if you don't say anything, no one will know that it was so darn easy. 🙂
Simple recipes are usually the best recipes! 🙂
I agree! It's one of the principles in Italian cooking, carried over to this American dish.
Tracy | Baking Mischief
Ha, when I saw "Nonna's," I was not expecting that to be followed by BBQ chicken. Your nonna had range! 😉 I had a similar experience transcribing my Japanese grandmother's fried rice recipe earlier this year. I went to both my parents to ask how much shoyu was in the dish and they both made identical sweeping hand gestures to indicate how much, as though that told me anything.
This chicken looks so good. I can never seem to get BBQ chicken quite right, so I will have to give this one a try, especially since it uses ingredients I always keep on hand!
Haha! She had range! I am cracking up about you trying to pin down a recipe from your parents, Tracy. Story of my life over here! 🙂
Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma)
Love how simple the ingredients are for this BBQ chicken! I yummed this for later! Great recipe!
Thanks, Cindy! This one really comes in handy when you haven't planned ahead.
Looks incredibly easy and delicious. I've had the same predicament... Recipes before blogs. It's hard to make it into an official recipe when it's just been in your head all these years.
I know, right? Thanks, Hanady!