How to Grill Chicken Breast on a Pellet Grill

Finely cooked smoked chicken breast will always find its place on a dinner table. With a simple recipe and a couple of our recommendations, you can make use of your smoker to cook some smoked chicken breasts and enjoy it with your family.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts have a unique and juicy flavor that combines the sweetness, saltiness, and the taste of the seasoning blend. It has a lower amount of trans fat and nutrition calories so you don’t need to worry about health problems later.

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How to grill chicken breast on a pellet grill and what temperature is best for this? It’s not necessary to smoke the seasoned chicken breasts for more than one hour since it’s just enough time to prepare your meal and get ready for the weekend. You do not need to hurry while eating smoked chicken breasts since the dish remains reheatable and can be stored for later.

The key to preparing a perfect smoked chicken breast is to choose the right temperature. In this article, you’ll learn what is an optimal temperature for cooking boneless chicken breasts, how the cooking process look, as well as some little tricks that can help in cooking chicken significantly.

The value, recommended in most cases is 165F – so that’s a quick answer. The temperature values can vary depending on the time, method of cooking, and personal preference.

How long does it take to сooking chicken breast at 350 on a pellet grill?

If you still decide to cook reast at a higher temperature, for example at 350 degrees, then at this temperature сooking chicken breasts will take about 20-30 minutes. Сooking smaller pieces will take 10-12 minutes.

One of the most important details is what your cooking gear is.

Grilling equipment for boneless skinless chicken breasts

To get your smoked chicken breasts fully cooked and ready for serving, you will need:

A smoker

This is a special grill type that is fueled by wood pellets that produce smoke while burning. It doesn’t need additional fueling with propane or gas and thus, can be considered safer both for the user and the environment.


It also enhances the smoked chicken breast you cook by adding an aroma of wood to the flavor – which means that choosing the correct wood is another question we will work around later.

A temperature probe

It allows you to monitor the situation while your chicken is being cooked. Knowing the exact temperature and controlling it is important if you want your chicken of the best quality.


If possible, it’s better to get your hands on a temperature probe of the highest quality – otherwise showing the wrong temperature is the most innocent thing it could do.

Besides those, you will need a cutting board, a knife, some spoons, paper towels, and a mixing bowl to get your chicken chopped and ready for smoking.

Main ingredients for a smoked chicken

As for other ingredients – it’s mainly your choice what the dish will be. Still, when it comes to smoked chicken, it’s best to get a bottle of water, some olive oil, kosher salt, sugar, and your favorite rub ready. And don’t forget to add some boneless skinless chicken breasts, of course.

Among the seasoning blends, you won’t find anything better than a chicken rub. It consists of eight everyday spices, such as garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, seasoning salt, brown sugar, roasted garlic, and pepper seasoning.


You are free to change those to your liking and create your unique chicken rub that everyone can enjoy.

Choosing the smoker to cook smoked chicken breasts

When you’re choosing what smoker to use – there are no good or bad variations. They are just different, and so you’re free to pick any of them – whether it runs on gas or is electric.

Our recommendation is a pellet grill. When you’re using it, the food is being cooked by the indirect medium heat produced by a convection fan, just like in the oven. This also means that you’ll need electricity to get it working.

If we are to compare it to a gas grill – both offer fast and convenient use for their user, while a pellet grill gives more flavor to food and also requires a bit less attention to it.

It can be used as an “outdoors oven” where you set some parameters and forget about it until your dish is ready. It’s suitable for cooking at lower temperatures which enables the option of smoking the food in the first place but can also work well at mid to high temperatures.


There are a lot more advantages that a pellet grill can offer. It’s super convenient to use since all you need to do is to fill it with wood pellets and set the desired temperature.

The versatility of a pellet grill allows you to use it for roasting, baking, barbequing, smoking, and grilling – this variety enhances your kitchen significantly, enabling you to serve various dishes every day.

It’s relatively quick, as it will be ready for cooking in 15 minutes. Not to mention that cleaning up after the cooking is done will take even less time. There is no charcoal in a pellet grill so it doesn’t turn messy and only requires the firepot to be cleaned from time to time.

The price for a pellet grill is a bit higher than for its gas counterpart, but the result makes it all worth it. Pit Boss grill and Traeger grill offer all the benefits without compromising on a taste to make your meal prep both enjoyable and healthy.

What temperature do you cook chicken breast on a Pit Boss pellet grill – useful video

Are there downsides to a pellet grill?

As wonderful as a pellet grill can be, it still has some disadvantages. It was mentioned before that the grill needs electricity to work – which means it needs to be plugged in somewhere, which can be troubling during outdoor activities.

Besides electric power, you’ll also need to stock up on wooden pellets. They’re a good alternative to charcoal, but not the most common one. That’s why you might have trouble searching for places to buy pellets at first. This can be solved by ordering those online in advance.

Still, if you’ve chosen the comfort and flexibility of a smoker, then the following pieces of advice might come in handy when preparing your smoked chicken breasts.

Creating additional flavors for grilled chicken breasts

The smoker recipes for chicken are not all too flexible, but there is always room for creativity. You can sprinkle the chicken dry rub you prepared earlier and rub it in thoroughly. Our recommendation for the chicken breast recipe calls:

Pepper or sugar

Cayenne pepper or chili pepper flakes will add in some heat and spiciness when rubbed together with garlic powder and the rest of the spices. Just don’t overdo it – a pinch will be enough. And as you might’ve guessed, some brown sugar will make the dish taste sweeter.

Bbq sauce

Your favorite bbq sauce can add so much flavor to the whole dish when added in the last few minutes. No point in doing this earlier as the sauce would evaporate and lose its properties.


Some fruits or vegetables

Fresh seasonal herbs and lime juice will give your dish an amazing fragrance, as well as improve the taste.

How to grill chicken breast on a pellet grill

Making a skinless chicken breast juicier

If you want your smoked chicken breasts more juicy, it’s a good decision to brine them before cooking. Many people use marinades instead, but they are made from vinegar and oil, so adding those to the dish can change the taste from the one you’ve planned originally.

They do taste good most of the time, but it’s hard to make the smoke flavor perfect with so many flavor enhancers such as garlic and soy sauce. Besides, the marinade doesn’t necessarily make the smoked chicken breast juicier. Instead, it can turn rubbery if left marinated for too long.

That’s why we recommend you to try brine with a chicken breast instead. It works differently from marinade, by breaking down the proteins and saturated fat after introducing them to salt water.

The chicken breasts will relax after the procedure which allows them to absorb water. This will lead the dish to that juicy texture you’d like to see.

Brining chicken breast is also much healthier with olive oil. As a bonus, brine in a cooked chicken has fewer calories in case you’re worried about the aftermath in a hip size.

To brine the chicken breast, you will require some water, sugar, kosher salt, and seasonings. Take a tablespoon of each and mix it in one bottle of water at room temperature. Add a spoonful of “everything-rub” to your smoked chicken breast as well if you wish.

There is no need to heat the mixture since it will dissolve with time anyway. Place it in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Put whole chicken breasts in a ziptop bag and cover it with brine.


After sealing the bag, massage it so the mix rubs in the chicken breast. If you’re worried about the Ziploc bag leaking – place it in a bowl just in case.

The time in which you brine the smoked chicken breast is not crucial. You can do it for about half an hour, or maybe a whole day. More than an hour seems to give the best results, but in any case, the chef has the last word in this.

Seasoning the chicken breasts before grilling

Even though the brine makes the chicken breast portion look as if it’s ready to serve – it’s still early to put the smoky chicken breasts on the grill. You’ll generally want to add some more things to juicy chicken breasts to make sure both the texture and color will look great after you’re done.

Rubbing chicken breasts with a drizzle of olive oil will prevent them from sticking to the surface of the grill. You can cut the thickest part of grilled chicken into thin pieces.

What wood pellets to choose for the smoking chicken breast recipe?

Wood pellets that are used in a grill consist of compressed sawdust. They are shaped into little cylinders and might look like chicken feed. During the cooking process, they are placed inside of the hopper – a large container on the side or the back of the smoker, depending on which model you use.

Choosing the wood for pellets is choosing the smoky flavor the smoked chicken breasts will get, so the choice is important, but also very subjective – it’s better to try out different types of wood and see which one fits you the best.

The recommended type for pellet smoker chicken breasts is the one with a sweet smell of fruits. Maple, cherry, and applewood work very well in this case. Pecan wood is also popular.

Cooking process

The most fun part of the chicken breast recipe begins when the time comes for meal prep in a smoker of your choice until you get those appetizing grill lines on top of your seasoned chicken breasts.

Before putting large chicken breasts in the smoker, you need to preheat it at the temperature of 250 degrees (F).

Don’t forget to cover the chicken with olive oil – make sure that the surface of the chicken breasts is fully covered. When the pieces are ready, place them on a grill and turn them in at 225-250 degrees for up to one hour. The minimum is 10 minutes if the lid is closed.

If you have a meat thermometer – stick it inside of chicken breasts to control the temperature. Then you can stop the process when the cooked chicken reaches the temperature of 160 degrees.


It will rise to 165 degrees (the safe internal temperature) after you place the chicken breasts on a plate and cover it with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and it’s finished.

How long does it take to cook seasoned chicken breast on a pellet grill?

 As it was mentioned above, the chicken is usually ready to eat after one hour of smoking. But the exact cooking time depends on the size of a chicken.

This is why it’s also important to divide it into smaller pieces and pound them. It’s easier to cook the smaller chicken breasts evenly since the heat goes into every part of it and your meal prep requires less time overall. It wouldn’t be any good if you take the chicken halfway through the cooking process.

Also try splitting the chicken breasts in a way, where all the pieces are more or less the same size so the same time is needed to cook the chicken. Otherwise, a part of your dish will be either half-raw or burned and dry – and trust us on this, you wouldn’t like to see the raw meat on your plate.

Another trick is to add some bbq sauce for the last 10 minutes before the smoking ends. You can pick whatever sauce you want – the amount should be between 1/4 and 1/2. If you want to make your meal even more exquisite – try adding some grilled pineapples on top.

What can be served with smoked chicken breasts

Even though smoked chicken is bound to be the main dish of the day, there are a lot of side dishes that go well with it. Amongst them, the most notable are refried beans, frozen broccoli, air fryer carrots, waffles, and sweet potato fries, asparagus, tomatoes.


Tomato pasta salad or mushroom risotto is a good choice as well. Anything pairs well with chicken, so the best choice is to pick simple dishes with kinda healthy recipes which will not be set aside for later. But if you did not manage to finish the dish, it still won’t go to waste.

Can you store and reheat smoked chicken breast?

Smoked chicken can be safely left in the refrigerator for a couple of days. If you want a longer period, then it’s better to freeze it. Smoked chicken is also great for cooking a delicious chicken sandwich.

Slicing the smoked chicken breasts before storing them will allow you to reheat them more effectively, but you might as well put the entire chicken breast aside in a whole piece and do the slicing later.


Reheating of the frozen chicken is done in the oven at a low temperature (around 250F). Place the chicken on a sheet pan evenly and leave smoked chicken breasts in the oven until they reach a good internal temperature or until you’re satisfied with visual changes.

Alternatively, instead of the oven, you can use the air fryer for the same amount of time at a little higher temperature (300F is enough). If you’re in a hurry for some reason, the microwave is a last resort that will work just fine.

Read also our article How long to grill frozen burgers.


We recommend using a smoker if you want to treat yourself to some tasty smoked chicken. Before using it, find a place with electricity and get some wooden pellets as fuel.

To grill chicken evenly, slice it into pieces and cover it with the so-called “everything-rub” to enhance the flavor of smoked chicken breasts significantly. Optionally, brine chicken breasts for some time from one hour to one day before cooking.

Quickly heat your grill at a temperature around 250F so the food doesn’t stick to it. When cooking, keep up the 225F until the smoked chicken breast doesn’t reach the inner temperature of 160F.

After grilling is done, take the chicken off the plate and let it rest for 5 minutes under the plastic wrap or foil, so it reaches an internal temperature of 165F in the meantime.

Have a wonderful and healthy meal! Don’t rush, as the leftover chicken can be stored in a fridge and enjoyed at a later time.

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