Learn how to make delicious smoked chicken breasts using an electric smoker such as a Masterbuilt!
We take you step-by-step through seasoning your smoked chicken breasts, setting up your electric smoker for the cook, and smoking and saucing them to perfection.
We love smoking chicken around here.
We've also shown you exactly how to smoke a whole chicken in an electric smoker as well as on a Traeger and on a Pit Boss.
But we thought, what could be easier than some simply smoked chicken breasts right in the good old trusty Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?
You can really use any electric smoker, it doesn't have to be a Masterbuilt, and follow our step by step instructions below!
Our Favorite Rubs and Sauces for Smoked Chicken Breasts in an Electric Smoker
Best Store Bought Rubs for Smoked Chicken Breasts
Now, you can use ANY of your favorite BBQ rubs for smoked chicken.
Since we are only smoking these at 275°F (the highest many electric smokers such as Masterbuilts will go) we don't need to worry about burning any sugary rubs.
So choose any rub you like and sprinkle it on generously on both sides of each chicken breast.
Famous Dave's Chicken Rub is a great all around spice rub to use on any type of smoked chicken, and we especially like its dark color and deep flavors on our otherwise plain white meat smoked chicken breasts.
If you want a quality rub without ANY sugar, we are also big fans of Bad Byron's Butt Rub Seasoning.
Although we typically use it on cuts of beef and steaks where we are going for a more savory flavor, there is no real reason you can't apply it to your Masterbuilt smoked chicken breasts if you are looking for big flavor without all the sugar.
Homemade "In a Pinch" Rub
Sometimes, you forgot you ran out of your favorite rub, or don't have all the ingredients on hand to make a complex one from scratch.
If you just want to get a good classic BBQ rub on your electric smoker smoked chicken breasts before throwing them in, then we've got you covered with this simple rub recipe with seasonings most people have on hand in the pantry:
- 2 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Paprika
- ½ tablespoon Kosher Salt (Or ½ tablespoon table salt, go easy, you can always add more salt later)
- ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
We find this makes enough for about 4 medium sized chicken breasts, so double the amounts if you are making more.
Mix thoroughly, (using a re-usable plastic shaker works best), and then sprinkle directly on your chicken.
If you don't want that much sugar, you can replace with more paprika, smoked paprika. or increase the amount of chili powder and other savory seasonings.
Our Favorite BBQ Sauces for Smoked Chicken Breasts in an Electric Smoker
Blues Hog again wins the day here with their amazing lineup of sauces. While their rubs are great, their sauces are WORLD CLASS.
Their Original BBQ Sauce is VERY thick and incredibly heavy on flavor, so we think it works great on plain meats like smoked chicken breasts to really amp up the flavor
You can pick up both and mix them like we sometimes do, or mix some Blues Hog Original in with one of your other favorites (we'd suggest more savory sauces to balance the sugar, like this one from Aaron Franklin.)
The Best Wood Chips for Smoking Chicken Breasts in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
You want to go fairly easy with the woodsmoke on chicken breasts.
Poultry, especially white meat poultry, absorbs smoke fairly quickly and you don't want your smoked chicken breasts tasting like an ashtray when they come out of the electric smoker.
A subtle smokiness that sits in the back of the palate after taking a bite is what we are going for.
Mesquite and hickory will give a very aggressive smoke flavor and should probably be used only in combination with some other varieties of wood chips.
Pecan, apple, beech, alder, and cherry are all milder woods that great results on smoked chicken breasts in an electric smoker.
We especially like these apple wood chips from Western BBQ on smoked chicken.
Also no reason you can't mix a few different kinds together in your Masterbuilt!
For smoked chicken breasts, you will likely only need one load of wood chips in the electric smoker at the beginning of the cook and no more after that.
You will get plenty of smoke flavor without overdoing it.
More on that below.
Refilling Wood Chips is a Pain
Now, as we mentioned, you will not need to refill the wood chips for the chicken breasts, but other types of meat such as pulled pork or brisket, you DO need to refill the wood chips every 30-40 minutes as they smolder out.
Now, if you are using a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, we recommend you check out their Slow Smoker Accessory Attachment.
It allows you to preload the wood chips, much like a pellet hopper on a pellet grill like a Traeger and smokes them more slowly so that you don't need to constantly refill.
This works great for longer smokes like beef brisket in your electric smoker!
Using a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
Now, if you aren't quite familiar yet with how to use your electric smoker, don't worry, we've got plenty of good resources for you.
You can tell we are big fans of this great electric wonder, especially for beginner smokers and bbq enthusiasts.
Now that you know how to properly set up and use your smoker, we will go over what is needed to properly smoke chicken breasts step by step in an electric smoker.
How to Smoke Chicken Breasts in an Electric Smoker
Now that the chicken breasts are seasoned, all that left to do is smoke them in our electric smoker!
Let's jump into the details of time and temperature and how to know when your chicken breasts are done smoking.
What Temperature do you Smoke Chicken Breasts in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?
Set the temperature of your electric smoker to 275°F, and let the electric smoker come up to temperature.
275°F is the highest temperature many popular electric smokers, including Masterbuilt electric smokers will go.
Any lower than 275°F and you risk drying out the lean white meat chicken breasts before they fully cook.
If your electric smoker DOES go higher than 275°F, you can cook them as high as 325°F without burning any sugar in your BBQ rub.
Unless you are cooking skin-on chicken breasts where you dry air to keep the skin crispy, fill the water pan at the bottom of the electric smoker.
You can either fill the water pan that comes with your Masterbuilt electric smoker or place a disposable aluminum pan filled with water on the bottom shelf for easier cleanup.
How Much Wood Smoke to use on a Chicken Breasts?
Chicken, like most poultry, and fish for that matter, absorbs a lot of smoke in a short amount of time.
You don't want to overdo it, especially if you are new to smoking chicken in your electric smoker.
Once the electric smoker is up to 275°F, fill the wood chip loader with wood chips and turn to dump them into the wood chip tray.
But we wouldn't recommend refilling with any more chips after that, this will be plenty of wood smoke flavor for white meat chicken breasts.
Once the chips have smoldered out and stopped producing smoke you can empty them from the chip loading tray so that the now burnt and used up wood chips don't taint the flavor of the chicken while it is still cooking.
Target Internal Temperature for Masterbuilt Smoked Chicken Breasts
You HAVE to use a good instant read meat thermometer to know where the internal temperature is of smoked chicken breasts or any other chicken you are smoking in the electric smoker
If your smoked chicken breasts are big enough, you can use a good leave in probe thermometer like the Thermopro as well as a second instant read thermometer to spot check as you get close to pulling them out of the Masterbuilt.
If you don't yet own an instant read thermometer, ThermoPro makes a good one of these too.
While we have used and recommended ThermoPro for years, lately we have also become big fans of the MEATER leave in thermometer.
It is extremely accurate and has an incredible 165 foot bluetooth range and works right with your smartphone so you don't need to carry a separate controller around with you like many other remote thermometers require.
It's got a great free app that is constantly being updated and even has an algorithm to predict how much longer your type of meat will take to cook based on cooking temperature, target temperature, current internal temperature.
It's like a GPS for your meat!
Anyways, back to our smoked chicken breasts...
We are going to bring the internal temperature of our smoked chicken breasts up to 165°F.
Since the smoked chicken breasts are white meat, they don't need to cook as high as dark meat like legs and thighs.
If they are small chicken breasts, you can try taking them off at 160°F and letting the residual heat from the outside bring the inside up to 165°F while they rest so as not to risk overcooking them.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke Chicken Breasts in an Electric Smoker?
You'll want to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken breasts closely for doneness.
This is really the only way to know when they are close to being done.
Because chicken breasts come in a variety of sizes as well as whether they are boneless or skinless, the time it takes to smoke them can vary widely.
Remember, we are bringing them up to 165°F on your instant read thermometer.
In a 275°F electric smoker such as a Masterbuilt, it will take roughly 90 minutes to smoke boneless chicken breasts and closer to 2 Hours for bone-in.
Depending on the size of your chicken breasts, how often you open the electric smoker door, the humidity outside, your cooking time may be more or less, so be prepared.
For the fastest results, keep the door closed as much as possible, and use leave in temperature probes to tell you when they are done!
Pro Tip #2: If you're going to apply a BBQ sauce at the end to skin-on chicken breasts, wait as long as possible until the skin has fully crisped up. If you add sauce before the skin gets crispy, IT WILL NEVER GET CRISPY at that point.
Serving Smoked Chicken Breasts
Serve your smoked chicken breasts while they are still hot, with some extra warmed up BBQ sauce on the side if your guests wish.
Smoked chicken breasts are great on their own, or you can pair them with our maple bourbon smoked pineapple for a Hawaiian theme.
If you want something a little richer, check out our Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes to cook and serve alongside your electric smoker smoked chicken.
Electric Smoker Chicken Breasts
- Electric Smoker Such as a Masterbuilt
- Wood chips preferably a fruitwood like apple or cherry; or oak
- Disposable Aluminum Pan For Water Pan
- Instant Read and/or Leave in Probe Thermometer
- Grill Tongs
- Basting brush
- Cutting Board
- 8 Chicken Breasts boneless skinless
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoon Famous Dave's Chicken Rub, or your favorite BBQ rub for chicken, or our "In a Pinch" Recipe Below
- ½ Cup Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce
"In a Pinch" BBQ Rub for Chicken
- 2 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Paprika
- ½ tablespoon Kosher Salt
- ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Course Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper optional
Rinse and Season the Chicken Breasts
- Remove the chicken breasts from their packaging and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.8 Chicken Breasts
- Brush some olive oil on each side of each raw chicken breasts1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Mix the "In a Pinch" BBQ rub ingredients together and apply some to both sides of the chicken breasts. Or use some more of your favorite BBQ rub for chicken such as Famous Dave's Chicken Rub.2 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, 2 tablespoon Paprika, ½ tablespoon Kosher Salt, ½ tablespoon Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Course Ground Black Pepper, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1 teaspoon Onion Powder, ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, 2 tablespoon Famous Dave's Chicken Rub, or your favorite BBQ rub for chicken, or our "In a Pinch" Recipe Below
Start the Electric Smoker
- Open up the electric smoker door and make sure the racks are all cleaned off and oiled up and in their proper place. Remove any shelves you do not plan to use to make cleanup easier later. Leave one shelf in place at the bottom for your disposable aluminum water pan.
- Fill a disposable aluminum tray tabout half way with water and place it on the bottom shelf. Close the door.
- Plug in and turn on the electric smoker and set the temperature to 275°F.
- Once the electric smoker is up to temperature, put one load of wood chips in the chip loader and turn clockwise to dump them into the wood chip tray inside. There is no need to soak the wood chips in water. Do not add more wood chips throughout the cook.
Smoking the Chicken Breasts in the Electric Smoker
- Once the electric smoker is up to 275°F and the wood chips are producing some smoke, place the chicken breasts in the smoker. No need to flip during the cook.
- Continue smoking the chicken breasts, rotating occasionally if needed, until the internal temperature of each breast reaches 150-155°F internally. This may take about 90 minutes.
- Open the door and gently baste the sauce on each smoked chicken breast with a basting brush. Work quickly and do not leave the door open too long. Close the door and continue cooking.½ Cup Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce
- Once the internal temperature of the smoked chicken breasts reaches 165°F, remove them from the electric smoker and place on a cutting board or serving tray
- Serve immediately with extra sauce if desired.