Pellet Grill Chicken Breast – Jazz up your weeknight chicken dinner with these smokey, succulent grilled chicken breasts! Tender chicken breasts smothered in a lively blend of herbs and spices are perfectly grilled. They’re finger-licking delicious and undeniably healthy!
Pellet grill chicken breast is a staple in my house, especially during the summer when we spend as much time outdoors as possible. And these guys are an all-time family favorite. It’s a simple recipe that delivers big-time flavor and never fails to liven up my weeknight dinner routine!
They can stand on their own, but they’re also fabulously versatile. Slice them up and stuff tacos, top pizza, and toss them in a veggies stir fry for more deliciousness. And they’re perfect for upgrading macaroni and cheese night! It’s a simple smoking recipe that’s anything but ordinary!
Choosing the Right Pellets for Your Grill
Which pellets are the right ones depends on your tastes. My son goes for bold, while my hubby leans toward something more subtle. Hickory, apple, or cherry are all good. Maple delivers delicate smokiness, while pecan is nutty but less intense than hickory.
- Chicken Breasts – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts provide the best results for this recipe.
- Olive Oil makes the spices stick to the chicken and keeps the meat from drying out as fast.
- Spice Rub – A delightful mix of 11 herbs and spices delivers big flavor in the chicken breasts’ every nook and cranny.
How to Smoke Chicken Breasts on a Pellet Grill
Prep the Chicken
- Prep the Chicken – Wash and pat dry your chicken breasts. You can also trim off excess fat from the chicken breasts.
- Make the Rub – In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, sage, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, paprika, celery seeds, and salt. Mix well.
- Season – Next, rub your chicken breasts with olive oil, followed by the seasoning. Make sure the chicken breasts are well coated with the seasoning.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours) to allow the flavors to penetrate. Once the chicken has marinated, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before grilling. This allows for more even cooking.
Get Ready to Smoke
- Prep the Smoker – Fill your Traeger pellet grill’s hopper with your preferred wood pellets, such as applewood or hickory. Preheat it to 375℉ (190℃). This may take 15 minutes. Lightly oil the grill grates to ensure the chicken breasts don’t stick.
- Smoke – For extra flavor, sprinkle more seasonings over the chicken breasts just before grilling. Place them directly on the preheated grill grates. Close the lid and smoke for 20-30 minutes, flipping them halfway.
- Check Doneness – An instant-read thermometer should read 165℉ (75℃) when inserted in the thickest part. To ensure juicy chicken breasts, do not overcook them.
- Rest – Once the chicken breasts reach the desired internal temperature, take them off the grill and transfer them to a plate or a cutting board. Tent the chicken breasts loosely with aluminum foil and allow them to rest for 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute, resulting in more tender and juicy chicken.
- BBQ Chicken – Season most chicken breast recipes with a BBQ dry rub. Then baste them with BBQ sauce 5-10 minutes before they’re done. Enjoy your favorite bottled sauce, or make your own sweet and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.
- Seasoning Swap – Substitute the rub with Creole or jerk seasoning for a new recipe every time you make it!
- Sweeten It – Add a little brown sugar to the rub for a touch of sweetness. Or rub some maple syrup on the chicken breasts for hints of caramel.
Tips and Tricks
- You can marinate the chicken breasts up to 24 hours in advance. Keep the marinated chicken breasts in the refrigerator in a sealed bag until ready to grill.
- Use an instant-read meat thermometer to ensure you cook the chicken breasts without overcooking them.
- If you want crispy on the outside, grill at a higher temperature (around 450°F/230°C) for the first 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375°F (190°C) for the remaining cooking time.
- Different pellet grill brands have different instructions, so follow your manufacturer’s instructions.
For easy meal prep, make the spice rub in advance and keep it on hand in an airtight container. You can start marinating the chicken the day before and refrigerate it until half an hour before grilling.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Grilled chicken breasts are delicious hot off the grill with your favorite sides. Or you can let them cool and serve them on a Caesar salad.
Leftover chicken lasts 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s super tasty cold in a salad or sandwich. But you can also reheat leftovers in a 350℉ (177℃) oven or stovetop in a skillet over medium until heated through. Add a little chicken broth to the skillet to keep them juicy and tender.
Definitely! One way is to use a cast-iron skillet filled with wood pellets at the bottom of the grill right over the heat source. Or you can wrap your dry wood chips or pellets in a foil packet and poke a few holes so the smoke can escape and penetrate your chicken breasts. A meat thermometer ensures they reach an internal temperature of 165℉ (75℃).
My Traeger pellet grill is awesome. I set it and forget it while getting on with other things. And when I pull the slow-cooked meat out, that robust, smokey flavor fills the air. Besides, you can customize the flavors depending on your pellets.
It isn’t necessary, but brining will give you a juicier chicken breast. A simple brine with water, salt, and sugar does a great job. More herbs and spices in the brine add more flavor layers.
What to Serve With Pellet Grill Chicken Breasts
For a healthy, tasty meal straight from the smoker, consider pairing the chicken breasts with grilled yellow squash and potato wedges. Or, for an easy lunch, slice the chicken breasts and make this creamy, tangy Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad.
More Succulent Chicken Recipes to Try
- Brussels Sprouts
- Juicy Burgers
- Rack of Lamb
- Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Beef Brisket
Enjoy an easy, no-fuss, flavor-packed pellet grill chicken breast recipe that will find a forever home in your meal rotation. How do you like to season your chicken? Leave your comments below!
Pellet Grilled Chicken Breast
- 2-4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons thyme, dried
- 1 ½ teaspoons oregano, dried
- 1 ½ teaspoons sage,
- ½ tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder, dried
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon celery seed, (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Prep the chicken – Wash and pat dry your chicken breasts. You can also trim off any excess fat from the chicken breasts.
- Make the rub – In a small bowl combine onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, sage, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, paprika, celery seeds, and salt. Mix until well combined.
- Season the chicken – Next rub your chicken breasts with olive oil, followed by the seasoning. Make sure the chicken breasts are well coated with the seasoning.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. Once the chicken has marinated, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before grilling. This allows for more even cooking.
- Prep the grill – Prepare your Traeger Pellet Grill by filling the pellet hopper with your preferred wood pellets such as applewood or hickory. Preheat your pellet grill to 375 F (190 C). This may take about 10-15 minutes. Lightly oil the grill grates to ensure the chicken breasts don’t stick.
- Cook the chicken – For extra flavor, you can sprinkle additional spices or herbs over the chicken breasts just before grilling. Place them directly on the preheated grill grates. Close the lid and grill the chicken breasts for about 20-28 minutes flipping them halfway. The internal temperature should reach 165 F (74 C). To ensure juicy chicken breasts, do not overcook them.
- Let it rest – Once the chicken breasts reach the desired internal temperature, take them off the grill and transfer them to a plate or a cutting board. Tent the chicken breasts loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute resulting in more tender and juicy chicken.
- You can marinate the chicken breasts ahead of time, up to 24 hours in advance. Keep the marinated chicken breasts in the refrigerator in a sealed bag until ready to smoke.
- For extra flavor, you can consider brining the chicken breasts before seasoning. This will help to keep them juicy while grilling.
- Feel free to adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Use an instant-read meat thermometer to ensure the chicken breasts are cooked through but not overcooked.
- I use the Traeger pellet grill for all smoking. If using a different brand of pellet grill, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for pre-heating and grilling times.
- You can store any leftover chicken breasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.