Introducing you to one of our FAVORITE summer dinners here at the PWWB House – Grilled BBQ Chicken Bowls!
These BBQ chicken sweet potato bowls came to be last summer, around the time I was testing & tweaking the Best-Ever Grilled BBQ Chicken recipe. Craving a simple, light, & veggie-filled meal, I tossed BBQ dry rubbed-chicken breasts on the grill alongside some veggies that I happened to have on hand (sweet potatoes, onions, & bell pepper, to be exact!). Once everything grilled, I threw it on a bed of greens + grains, finishing with a generous drizzle of BBQ sauce. And let me tell you, it was absolutely fantastic.
The interplay of juicy BBQ chicken & char-grilled veggies is somehow so satisfying & super light all at once, making for the perfect summer meal. In fact, we love these BBQ chicken bowls so much that we’ve had them on a weekly basis ever since! They’re quick & easy to throw together, you can make ’em with whatever you happen to have on hand, & very little clean up is involved since the grill does most of the work.
I mean…does a go-to summer dinner get much better than that?!
BBQ Chicken Bowl Recipe Highlights
These bbq chicken bowls are…
- TASTY. Dinner doesn’t get better than smoky, saucy grilled chicken & perfectly charred veggies piled into a satisfying rice bowl. It’s flavor-filled, texture-filled, & tastes like summer!
- EASY. Simply season some chicken, slice some veggies, & toss it all on the grill! The grill does all of the work for you, & you don’t even have to worry about turning on the stove or cleaning up a messy kitchen.
- VERSATILE. Think of this BBQ chicken bowl recipe as less of a recipe & more of a framework. There’s about a billion different ways you can change them up to suit your needs, using different proteins or veggies, to make the perfect bowl for you. I even have some easy variations listed out for you below!
Winner winner, (BBQ!) chicken dinner! ♡ Read on to learn more about these BBQ Chicken Bowls, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
BBQ Chicken Rice Bowls – Key Ingredients
- Chicken – Feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. If you use chicken breasts, be sure to either pound them out flat or butterfly them by slicing them in half lengthwise. This will help them grill more quickly & more evenly, keeping your grilled BBQ chicken totally juicy.
- Veggies – My favorite combination to date is what you see pictured throughout this post: sweet potato, bell pepper, & red onion. You can certainly use whatever you love most or happen to have on hand at the moment. Sweet corn, hearty mushrooms, summer tomatoes, & so on. Check out this A-Z Grilled Vegetables Guide for more inspiration & how-tos of grilling other veggies!
- Dry rub – My go-to BBQ dry rub is a combination of brown sugar & staple spices like chili powder, cumin, & smoked paprika. The brown sugar caramelizes on the grill, creating flavorful grilled chicken with perfect caramelly charred edges…so, so good!
- BBQ sauce – Use your fave! I love Lillie’s Q & the Burman’s BBQ sauces at ALDI, which both offer a variety for the major BBQ regions across the States.
- Bowl builders – AKA everything you want to pile into a hearty summer bowl! Rice or quinoa, greens or lettuce, grated cheese or smashed avocado, etc. This is where you can have fun with it & build the BBQ chicken bowl of your dreams!
Meal Prep Tip ⇢ Nearly all of the active prep work for these BBQ chicken bowls comes from prepping the dry rub & veggies. Take care of either or both of these in advance – it takes 10 minutes, tops! Check the Recipe Card, below, for full meal prep suggestions!
Grilling BBQ Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, & Veggies
The thing I love most about these BBQ chicken sweet potato bowls is the grill does all of the work. Sure, you have to slice up some veggies & season the chicken. But! After that 10 minutes of simple prep is out of the way, everything else happens on the grill. And, it couldn’t be easier!
Here’s what you’ll do!
- Prepare the grill – Preheat your grill for medium-high direct heat grilling, about 500-550 degrees F. Very straight-forward! Why ⇢ Since everything grills at a very similar rate, there’s no reason to worry about creating different temperature zones for this BBQ chicken bowl recipe. If you choose different ingredients with vastly different grill times, like heartier veggies or bone-in chicken parts, you will likely want to leverage zone grilling. Learn more about vegetable grill times & bone-in chicken grill times!
- Toss everything on! – Place the seasoned chicken & veggies on the grill grates. Grill over direct heat until the veggies are softened & charred as desired & the chicken is nearly cooked through, about 8-10 minutes total, flipping halfway through.
- Finishing touches: BBQ Sauce! – A couple minutes before the chicken is fully cooked, brush it with BBQ sauce & cook 1 minute longer per side. Why ⇢ The sugar in BBQ sauce gets gloriously caramelized on the grill! Brushing the chicken with BBQ sauce just before it’s fully cooked prevents the sauce from burning & the chicken from overcooking.
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BBQ Chicken Rice Bowl Assembly
Once the chicken is cooked through & the veggies are as charred as you like, remove from the grill & slice + dice everything into bite-sized pieces. Then, it’s BBQ chicken bowl time! 🙌🏼
My ideal bowl ⇢ Grab a shallow bowl & pile in your favorite greens &/or grains. I typically use spring mix or wild arugula & quinoa, but you can, of course, use shredded lettuce or make a BBQ chicken rice bowl…whatever you love! Then, add on the grilled chicken, veggies, & whatever other toppings you love. I typically toss some shredded cheese into the mix for some creaminess (this one is my obsession as of late!) & drizzle extra BBQ sauce over top to really drive the BBQ flavor home.
Easy Variations & Other Tips + Tricks…
My favorite thing about this BBQ chicken bowl recipe is its flexibility. Listed above & pictured throughout this post is my favorite combination to date (BBQ chicken sweet potato bowls!), though you can build your bowls around whatever you happen to have on hand or love most. Here are a couple of easy variations to try!
- ALTERNATE PROTEINS – BBQ shrimp is fantastic for a pescatarian bowl! Season with dry rub, then skewer & grill 2-3 minutes per side (more info about grilling shrimp). You can also make smoky BBQ chickpeas for a vegetarian/vegan bowl. Season chickpeas with the dry rub & grill in a grill basket until smoky & crispy.
- ALTERNATE GRAINS – I love the texture that quinoa adds to these bowls, though you can make BBQ chicken rice bowls or use whatever grains you love most. Farro is an awesome option, too! Quick tip! ⇢ Packets of 60-second grain blends are lifesavers for this type of recipe, lending tons of texture without any stove time!
- BBQ CHICKEN BURRITO BOWLS – Build a burrito bowl with your BBQ chicken & veggies! Add some hearty black beans to the mix & serve them up with diced avocado or guacamole. If you’re feeling fancy, whip up a batch of green rice – so good!
I can’t wait for you to try this Grilled BBQ Chicken Bowl recipe. It’s a total summer fave here at the PWWB House, & I know you’ll love them too! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!Print
Grilled chicken, sweet potatoes, peppers, & onions are loaded up in a flavorful & colorful BBQ chicken bowl with greens, quinoa or brown rice, & a little guac or cheese for good measure. A quick & easy dinner that’s always satisfying & perfect for weeknight grilling or summer meal prep – an absolute staple here at the PWWB House!
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (see Recipe Notes)
- PWWB BBQ Dry Rub, below
- 2 bell peppers, sliced from stem into 3–4 flat planks
- 2 red onions, peeled & sliced into 1/8ths (with root end in tact)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled as desired & sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (crosswise) or planks (lengthwise)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce of choice
- for serving, as desired: cooked quinoa or rice, mixed greens, shredded cheddar or pepper jack, diced avocado or guacamole, finely chopped cilantro, additional BBQ sauce, etc.
PWWB BBQ Dry Rub:
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- scant 1 teaspoon chili powder
- scant 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- scant 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- scant 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- scant 1 teaspoon onion powder
- scant 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- optional: pinch – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Prepare the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling, 500-550 degrees F.
- Mix the BBQ Dry Rub: Add all listed BBQ dry rub ingredients to a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside or store in an airtight container on your spice rack for up to 1 month.
- Prep the chicken & vegetables: Place the chicken on a plate or small baking sheet. Season with BBQ dry rub, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, & ground black pepper as desired. Use your hands to rub the spices into the chicken. Set aside. Place the bell peppers, onions, & sweet potato in a mixing bowl or on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Toss to coat. Set aside.
- Grill the BBQ chicken & vegetables: Place the chicken & vegetables on the preheated grill. Grill the vegetables for 3-4 minutes per side, or until nicely charred. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, or until nearly cooked through. Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce & flip the chicken such that the BBQ sauce side is in contact with the grill grates. Cook 1 minute to caramelize the sauce. Repeat, brushing & grilling the second side of the chicken. Transfer the grilled chicken & veggies to a plate or small baking sheet. Once cool enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Assemble the BBQ chicken bowls & serve: Serve the grilled BBQ chicken & vegetables over rice/quinoa & mixed greens, topping with grated cheese, avocado/guacamole, cilantro, & additional BBQ sauce as desired. Enjoy!
- Chicken breasts vs thighs: You can use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts for these BBQ Chicken Bowls. I always find thighs to be more flavorful & juicier, so that’s what I typically use. If you prefer to use breasts, be sure to either pound the chicken breasts out flat or butterfly them by slicing them in half lengthwise. This will help them grill more quickly & more evenly, keeping your grilled BBQ chicken totally juicy.
- Storage & Reheating: Store leftover BBQ chicken & vegetables in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through, then assemble BBQ chicken bowls as desired.
- Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for these BBQ chicken bowls comes from prepping the dry rub & veggies. Take care of these in advance – it takes 10 minutes, tops:
- 10-Minute Meal Prep:
- Prep the BBQ dry rub according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container on your spice rack for up to 1 month. (5 minutes active)
- Veggie prep: Slice 2 bell peppers into large, flat planks (pictured), slice 2 red onions into 1/8ths with root end in tact (pictured), & slice 1 large sweet potato into 1/2-inch rounds (crosswise) or planks (lengthwise). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (5 minutes active)
- 20-Minute Meal Prep: In addition to prepping the BBQ dry rub & veggies, cook a batch of rice or quinoa for your BBQ chicken bowls. Cook according to package directions, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve, up to 1 week. (10 minutes active)
- 10-Minute Meal Prep:
Keywords: bbq chicken bowl, bbq chicken rice bowl, nourishing, healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, meal prep, easy, easily vegetarian, easily vegan
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
Ready to Hit the Grill?
If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to Grilling 101, a compilation of tips & tricks for all of the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.
All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 15 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.
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