Summer is here and that calls for the best BBQ Chicken Burgers with Homemade BBQ Sauce. Perfectly seasoned and dripping in deliciously sweet and tangy homemade BBQ sauce, these BBQ Chicken Burgers are perfect for your next backyard get together. And they can even be made in your Air Fryer!
It’s memorial day weekend which means the start of all things grilling, and after a long, cold spring, I am here for it friends!
We love making Burgers + Fries all summer long, and these Chicken Burgers are a new favorite!
And we aren’t taking boring, dry, flavorless chicken burgers, either. This recipe ensures your chicken comes out mouthwateringly juicy and full of flavor. Filled with surprise chunks of melty cheddar cheese, sprinkled with savory smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powders, and a BBQ sauce that outperforms the store bought every time. These BBQ Chicken Burgers will make you the hit of the summer picnic!
Bonus? These Chicken Burgers can also be made in your Air Fryer!
Ingredients for Ground Chicken Burgers
Delicious and juicy, these ground chicken burgers are a lighter take on a summer time classic!
- ground chicken – So much leaner than red meat without skimping on any of the flavor or juiciness! Feel free to sub ground turkey!
- BBQ sauce – Check out the homemade recipe below! Store bought can be substituted.
- smoked paprika – I love the smokey flavor as opposed to regular paprika. I find it really elevates the flavor of the burger.
- onion powder – A classic staple for any burger recipe.
- garlic powder – You can never have too much garlic powder.
- salt – Enough to taste.
- dash of black pepper – This is optional but I like to throw in enough to taste.
- sharp cheddar cheese – This can be diced up into small cubes or shredded. Just omit this part for a dairy free option or sub in your favorite dairy free cheese!
- olive oil cooking spray – Because we don’t have the fat from a traditional hamburger, this keeps the chicken burger from sticking.
- whole grain gluten free buns – I like Canyon Gluten Free or Udis, but lettuce wraps are also a great low carb and gluten free option! I hardly ever use a bun for my burgers, lol.
- additional BBQ sauce – Reserved from the homemade recipe or store bought. Of course you can opt for additional condiments depending on your preference.
- slice of sharp cheddar – Or the cheese of your choice and/or avocado.
- lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions or red onion – Just your favorite go to burger toppings. Feel free to substitute and experiment.
- tomato paste – The base for any good homemade BBQ sauce.
- coconut aminos – You can substitute low sodium soy sauce if you’re not adhering to gluten free options.
- maple syrup – Maple syrup lends a much more natural sweetness and is so much better than refined sugars.
- apple cider vinegar – This will balance the sweetness and give a unique and tangy flavor to your sauce without being too overpowering.
- yellow mustard – You could swap for another mustard if you don’t have yellow.
- garlic and onion powder – Classic seasonings once again. You can’t go wrong with this combination.
- sea or Himalayan salt and black pepper – For taste and to enhance the sweetness of the sauce.
- water – This will help keep your sauce from thickening up too much.
How to make BBQ Chicken Burgers
Full of flavor and enhanced with homemade BBQ sauce, you’ll be serving these at every backyard BBQ from Memorial Day to Labor Day!
- In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, BBQ sauce, smoked paprika, onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Mix until just combined, then form 4 patties. Try to ensure the cheddar chunks are evenly distributed. Foodie Tip: This mixture will be wet, but it does hold together! It helps to wet your hands before forming the patties so the mixture won’t stick to your hands.
- Spray the burgers with the olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Decide your cooking method!
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees. Place your chicken patties at the bottom of your air fryer (don’t forget to spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with olive oil cooking spray if your basket is sticky) and cook for 16-18 minutes, flipping halfway. During the last minute of cook time, add a slice of cheese.
- Preheat your grill to high heat. Grill until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes on each side. During the last minute of cook time, add a slice of cheese to melt over top.
Grill Pan | Skillet:
- Preheat your grill pan/cast iron pan on medium high. Grill until cooked through, again, about 3-5 minutes on each side. During the last minute of cook time, add a slice of cheese.
With ground chicken, how can I tell when these have cooked through?
With ground chicken it’s important to ensure the meat has been thoroughly cooked through. Ground chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit before eating. The cook time should be around 3-5 minutes per side of these burgers, but depending on how thick or thin you make the patties, the time can vary. Always check the chicken with a meat thermometer before serving – I love mine and use it daily when I cook!
What should I top the burgers with?
We love adding a little more cheese on top, some addition BBQ sauce, pickles, and even some avocado! This would also be delish with caramelized onions if that’s your thing!
How long will these BBQ Chicken Burgers stay fresh?
If you happen to have any leftovers, store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to three days. You may want to brush these burgers with additional BBQ sauce when reheating.
I also sometimes prep double of these and freeze! Just prep the patties, then place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and freeze. Once they are fully frozen, place them in a ziplock or Stasher bag and separate layers with wax or parchment paper.
What should I serve with these BBQ Chicken Burgers?
These chicken burgers are delicious with Homemade French Fries or Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries and a simple veggie like Sautéed Zucchini. It’s also a great addition to summer potluck favorite like Broccoli Salad and Greek Pasta Salad.
I also love to meal prep Roasted Sweet Potatoes to have on hand for an easy side dish. Want more ideas? Check out these recipes to serve alongside your burgers at your next backyard BBQ:
Healthy Copycat Philly Crab Fries with Cheese Sauce
Easy Gluten-free Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
Cucumber Tomato Salad with Avocado + Feta
Instant Pot Deviled Eggs with Bacon, Cheddar, and Chives
Zucchini Fritters [Gluten-free]
Looking for more Healthy Burger Recipes? Check these out:
My Fave Burger Recipe + Burger Sauce
Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese and Citrus Maple Dijon
Balsamic Onion Turkey Burgers | The Foodie and The Fix
BBQ Chicken Burgers
- 1 lb ground chicken
- ¼ cup BBQ Sauce recipe below, can sub store bought + more for serving
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Dash black pepper optional
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese diced up into small cubes or shredded (omit for dairy free)
- Olive oil cooking spray
Optional Burger Toppings:
- More BBQ Sauce
- Sharp cheddar or cheese of your choice and/or avocado
- Lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions or red onion
- Gluten free or Whole Wheat Bun or lettuce wraps GF: I like Canyon Bakehouse or Udis
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos can sub low sodium soy sauce if not gluten-free
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Sprinkle sea or Himalayan salt and black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons of water
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, BBQ sauce, paprika, onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Mix until just combined, then form 4 patties. Try to ensure the cheddar chunks are evenly distributed. (Note: The mixture will be wet, but it holds together. It helps to wet your hands before forming the patties.)
- Spray burgers with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Preheat the grill to high. grill until cooked through, 3-5 minutes on each side. During the last minute of cook time, add a slice of cheese.
- Preheat grill pan or cast iron pan until cooked through, 3-5 minutes on each side. During the last minute of cook time, add a slice of cheese.
- Preheat to 380 degrees. Place chicken patties at the bottom of your air fryer (spray bottom of air fryer basket with cooking spray if your basket is sticky) and cook for 16-18 minutes, flipping halfway. During the last minute of cook time, add a slice of cheese.
What’s the process to re-heat after they have been frozen?
I would thaw them in the fridge and then reheat in the air fryer, or heat in a pan on the stovetop. They should turn out great!
These were more like meatloaf consistency for us, but really great taste! I’m excited to bring them back into my menu rotation after learning that my kiddo ate 100% of the chicken burger that the daycare served for lunch the other day! I love your homemade bbq sauce, Nancylynn!!
That is a winner, for sure! Thank you!
I had the same problem & I’m so upset. I used my own bbq sauce but it wasn’t watery at all.
This is such a bummer! Trying to problem solve – was your chicken previously frozen?
Not sure what I did wrong here. These were super wet and fell apart. The cast iron skillet was full of liquid too. Any suggestion?
Hmmm…did you use the recipe for the BBQ sauce or your own? That is so strange! There is no liquid in the recipe?
I’m wondering if they made the bbq sauce first in a small skillet before adding to meat. Would that make a difference? Versus just adding all ingredients together but not cooking it down to a BBQ consistency?
Ps. Made tonight. So yummy!! Thank you for the recipe!
Did you only use a 1/4 cup of the sauce? I messed up the first time and dumped the whole thing I made of it and had the same result. I did it right the second time I made them and it was much better!
Oh, Cheyenne, this is a great thought – thanks for trying to help Christi problem solve!