Smoked Maple Chipotle Chicken Breast

It was Super Bowl this weekend and my smokers and pellet grills got a major workout! From ribs, to jalapeno poppers, sausages and more, I seemed to be smoking anything I could. I have a philosophy, that if the smoker is running, it might as well be full! It does not cost any more wood to have the smoker full of meat as compared to only halfway full. Then, if needed, I can freeze smoked meat for future feasts!! I have vacuum sealed bags of pulled pork in the freezer, ready any time I am craving some smoked pork.

Smoking boneless skinless chicken breasts is a delicate matter since they can easily become dry and totally tasteless. If done properly, they can be moist and have a wonderful smokey flavor. They are great on their own or sliced for a salad, pizza, nachos, wraps and more. The possibilities are endless and smoking the chicken breasts provides a unique spin on a meat that can otherwise be quite boring.

For this recipe I used a chipotle rub and created a maple syrup glaze which totally rocked!

Smoked Maple Chipotle Chicken Breast-5

I buy chipotle powder at my local bulk food store. It is smokey and spicy and has an outstanding flavour. It is like a mix of extra smokey paprika and cayenne pepper. I use it on many different things, but this was probably one of the most popular recipes I have made with chipotle powder. Brushing the chicken breasts with maple syrup during the smoking created a sweet glaze on the meat that was perfect with the spiciness of the chipotle rub.

Smoked Maple Chipotle Chicken Breast-3

Knowing when the meat is done in the smoker is so important. I never judge doneness based on how long the meat has been in the smoker. There are too many variables that affect the inside temperature of the smoker (wind, outside temperature, how much meat is in the smoker, how often the door is opened). Therefore, it is really important to have a thermometer so that you can know exactly how the meat is doing.

For the chicken breast, I stuck the thermometer probe in the fat portion of the largest chicken breast. That way I knew that once this portion of the meat reached the optimal temperature, all the other chicken breasts should be fine.

Smoked Maple Chipotle Chicken Breast-4

Brush the chicken breast with maple syrup after the first hour of smoking. Do this every hour until the chicken is done, about 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F. 

Smoked Maple Chipotle Chicken Breast-7

Brushing the chicken breast with the maple syrup is critical and I found that brushing them 3-4 times gave the best glaze on the chicken.

Smoked Maple Chipotle Chicken Breast

4.93 out of 5
14 reviews
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup


  • Start up smoker and get it to a temperature of 250F. I use hickory or maple wood, but many other kinds of wood work really well with chicken.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the chipotle powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken breasts.
  • Place chicken breasts in the smoker.
  • Brush with maple syrup every hour.
  • Remove the chicken from the smoker when it reaches 165F, about 3 hours.
  • Brush one last time with maple syrup.
  • Serve.



Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

4.93 from 14 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  • 5 stars
    We’ve been trying different chicken recipes in our smoker for a while and just haven’t found that right one until now. We took your suggestion and brined then die about 3-4 hours ahead of time. The only thing We changed was using bone in chicken breasts – it’s took two hours for breasts that were about 1.5 lbs each. So delicious! We will make again for a ‘social distance’ cookout next week and will use the boneless chicken. Thanks for making our guests think we are smoking experts!!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    I am new to smoking and was very pleased with the results! My whole family enjoyed them and have said to put this recipe on the “make again list”. I did not have chipotle pepper powder, so I substituted 2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. I smoked the breasts in my Bradley 4 rack digital using hickory bisquettes – delicious!

    As another reviewer stated, these chicken breasts were done in much less time than stated in the recipe – about 90 minutes. I’m very glad I had a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature.

    For this recipe I used seasoned (brined), frozen chicken breasts I had purchased from Costco. I will try with fresh breasts and brine them myself to see if there’s much of a difference. This recipe is a keeper!

    • Reply
    • Awesome. So glad you enjoyed them. They are one of my favourite ways to smoke chicken.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Hey, Steve thanks for sharing the Yummy piece of information.

    I am a lover of eating chicken breasts anytime & anywhere.

    Smoking chicken always adds extra flavor into it.

    This weekend the party will be organized by me with your shared recipe.

    Don’t know how it will be but your name will be at the party as a Master Chef from I learned (don’t worry I will try to make this recipe I never done).

    Keep sharing and I would love to come again on your blog.

    Thanks a lot

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    OMG this is delicious. The chicken has a great smoky flavour and the maple glaze just tops it off. Such basic pantry staples that I had on hand… how often does that happen when you’re looking at trying out a new recipe?

    All cooked on a gas smoker Down Under on a scorcher is a day.

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    I really appreciate this recipe… But there’s no way you could be smoking these at 250 for 3hrs.
    Mine were done in a 1/3 of that time.
    And it makes sense too.
    What temp were you smoking at for real? ☺️

    Thanks again


    • Reply
  • my chicken breast were a little dry and only took 2hrs to get temp. Any tips for moisture?

    • Reply
    • Try letting it rest for a few minutes once it comes out if the smoker. You can also try brining the chicken breast first. Keeping the skin on does keep some of the moisture in as well, but then the seasoning does not get on the meat. Unfortunately that is the challenge when smoking chicken breasts that are boneless and skinless. I try and watch the temp and find that bringing them out of the smoker right when they hit 165F and letting them rest for a few minutes afterwards works best at keeping them moist.

      • Reply
  • This looks absolutely delicious!! I cant wait to try it! Great recipe!!

    • Reply
  • Can you put the rub on the night before?

    • Reply
    • I am sure that would be fine and allow the chicken to marinate in those spices while in the fridge.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Saw this recipe and it sounded good. Decided to make it for my son’s birthday party with the whole family. Party is in a few days so I did a trial run tonight with a small batch ~3 lbs of breasts on the pellet smoker. Wow! It was a huge hit. Smoky, sweet and hot. A bit cold and windy tonight so three hours was perfect. Thanks for the recipe. Instant favorite!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    First time smoking with my new electric smoker and let me tell you this was phenomenal. Didn’t have chipotle so subbed chili powder. Also cooked at 260 because OT was 32 degrees outside and I would be opening the door a few time extras as first time smoking. Plus we were starving already. So it only took 2 hours to hit about 167.internal temps. Now that the smokers broke in and I feel more confident can’t wait to try this again and smoke other meats!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Worked like a charm. I used 9 chicken thighs instead of breasts (I’m cheap) and only needed 2 hours to get to temp and needed slightly more seasoning. This was probably the best chicken I have ever eaten with a perfect mix of sweet and spicy. Would give it 6 out 5 it was that good.

    • Reply
  • I used my smoker for the 1st time and smoked some chicken breasts. I set the temperature for 220 degrees and smoked for 2 hours, replacing the applewood chips every 45 minutes. When I checked the chicken temperature at 2 hours, I got a reading of 190 degrees. I removed immediately.

    I cooked at a lower temperature but my chicken was done way before yours. Was this due to my size of the chicken being smaller or the fact that I used wood chips and not pellets?

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    absolutely love this recipe! took less then 2 hours though using my masterbuilt electric smoker. i had water in the tray too, so i had no issues at all with it drying out.

    • Reply
  • I made this for the 1st time tonight and it was delicious. However I would warn people to be careful with the rub because it is spicy. I will definitely make it again!

    • Reply
  • These sound heavenly, I’m going to make this, this Saturday the 31st Halloween. YUM

    • Reply
  • How long do u leave the smoke on?

    • Reply
    • Generally, for chicken breast, I smoke the whole time.

      • Reply
  • Great article, beautiful photos! Can’t wait to give this recipe a try sounds absolutely mouth-watering delicious! 🙂

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Love the flavors you have going on with this chicken. 🙂

    • Reply

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