Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Tangy Honey Barbecue Sauce

This lightened up BBQ sauce is a must try.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Tangy Honey Barbecue Sauce
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Barbecue sauce with no refined sugar? Sweet. For this weeknight-friendly recipe, our Test Kitchen wanted to put a healthier spin on a classic BBQ chicken sandwich. Now you know that Southerners take our barbecue seriously (every year, we publish a ranking of the best BBQ joints in the South), so this healthy-in-a-hurry version of a barbecue chicken sandwich had high standards to live up to. Luckily, it delivers. We have a feeling that this Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Tangy Honey Barbecue Sauce will be a new go-to recipe for grilling season.

It's always good to have some healthier options at the backyard barbecue, and this grilled chicken sandwich may be lighter than its fried counterparts, but it certainly doesn't skimp on the flavor. Grilled chicken on its own can be dry and bland, but a thick, tangy barbecue sauce gives the basic cut of meat new life in this summer-ready recipe. The honey-forward sauce has depth without being too spicy, and enough thickness to coat the simple grilled chicken. Leftover sauce can be chilled in an airtight container for two weeks. Reheat gently before using.

Opt for whole wheat hamburger buns and top your chicken with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles. This grilled chicken sandwich will leave you feeling refueled and recharged. While you've got the grill fired up, pair it with some Grilled Sweet Potato Fries and you've got a stellar barbecue supper.


  • cup honey

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder 

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 (10- to 12-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise

  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted 

  • Sliced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, for topping 


  1. Cook honey, tomato paste, ¼ cup water, mustard, Worcestershire, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and ¾ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar. Divide sauce into 2 small bowls; set aside.

  2. Sprinkle chicken with remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Open bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled halfway with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour them onto bottom grate of grill. Adjust vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of about 400°F. Coat top grate with oil, and place on grill. (If using a gas grill, preheat to medium [400°F].) Place chicken on oiled grate. Grill, covered, until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes per side. Using 1 of the bowls of sauce, brush on chicken evenly, a couple tablespoons at a time. Continue to cook, flipping and brushing every minute, until it is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Discard any remaining sauce used for basting.

  3. Place tomato slices, pickles, and 1 chicken piece on bottom half of each bun. Brush with sauce from second bowl, and add lettuce. Cover with bun tops.

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