Chicken thighs in a sweet, sticky, and savory Honey Garlic Sauce are made in under 20 minutes. Seasoned thighs are first seared in a skillet and then cooked with the sauce, which turns out to be juicy and tender.
This recipe has saved many a busy night. I had chicken thighs or breasts and little time to put something on the table for the family. This sticky garlic sauce on the chicken tastes excellent with rice and has been cleaned up by everyone each time. This recipe is a keeper, and I am sure you will love this as it has so much flavor.
In this dish, the chicken thighs are cooked in a pan, searing them to get that beautiful crust on the top. Many recipes which ask to bake the chicken still instruct to sear the chicken in a skillet first. You do not have to bake them in the oven in my recipe, as the chicken is first seared and then cooked with the sauce later.
A few of the reader's favorites with a honey garlic sauce - are Baked Honey Garlic Chicken Wings and Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken. Check out my Lemon Honey Glazed Salmon, Honey Soy Baked Chicken Drumsticks, and Sweet and Spicy Boneless Chicken Thighs, for that lustrous glaze sauce.
Honey garlic sauce
You think of sauces, and many come to mind, but this delicious honey garlic sauce is a keeper and on top of my favorite list. You may not find another sauce that is quick and easy to make with few ingredients. The best part is that there's a good chance you will already have these ingredients in your pantry.
This sticky, glazy, delicious sauce is an excellent tool in every home cook's arsenal. It goes well with other meats, like pork, beef, and fish. The sauce tastes great with a bowl of rice or noodles.
Soy sauce and sriracha are the ingredients that give this sauce its sweet and spicy Asian origins. Soy sauce is the ubiquitous Asian sauce used as a substitute for salt and gives that deep color and flavor. Sriracha to add some heat, giving that delicate spiciness.
Chicken stock gives body to the sauce plus adds a depth of flavor. Honey balances the sauce with its sweetness and lemon juice with its sourness and adds citrusy notes. This sauce is lick-worthy!!
Chicken thighs or chicken breast
Should you use chicken thighs or breasts in this recipe? The short answer is - either. Yes, both work in this recipe and do not make much difference in taste.
I have gone with thighs and not chicken breasts for two specific reasons. One, chicken thighs are the most flavorful part of the bird and do well with recipes that call for searing. It has to do with the extra fat in the thighs and the more worked-out part of the bird that provides flavor. As you can cook it for longer on the heat with the sauce, it absorbs the flavors of the sauce better.
Second, it is also quite forgiving as you leave it a bit longer on the heat, yet it comes with tender and delicious bits.
If this is what you have at the moment or you want to save time, chicken breast is the way to go. Cooking time isn't much of a factor here since this recipe asks for just 15 minutes of cook time, and with breast, you will save 3 minutes.
With chicken breast, you have less margin of error as you need to take them off the heat at precisely the right time when it is cooked. Any more, and you run the risk of dry and chewy chicken.
When using chicken breast, you must slice it horizontally to make two thin fillets out of one big one. You can pound thin fillets of the breast to ensure uniform thickness. This helps it cook evenly.
Boneless or bone-in, skinless or skin-on
You can go for bone-in chicken thighs, and they might be better for flavor but with more cooking time required. The thigh bone secretes some juices and adds flavor, but it is more effective with longer cooking methods to make stock, soup, or broth. With a quick recipe like this one, not that much.
I would not recommend leaving the skin on because the chicken thighs are cooked along with the sauce, and the skin tends to become soggy over time. Soggy skin isn't what you would want. The skin on the meat becomes crispy during the first part when you sear it on the pan. But the latter part is the problem when you cook it with the sauce.
If it is skin-on chicken breast, you may go ahead as the cooking time is short, and the crispiness will remain.
It would be best to serve it immediately when you cook with skin-on parts to enjoy the crispiness. It is not for storing and reheating, for you will surely get soggy skin all this time.
This honey garlic chicken requires few ingredients for such a sweet and delicious recipe. All you need is everyday pantry staples to make this Asian-inspired saucy chicken.
To prep chicken
Skinless, boneless chicken thighs - the best part of the chicken, which has a lot of flavors, is the thighs. Bone-in or boneless are both ok. It is better to get ones without the skin.
Butter - searing the chicken for a few minutes helps in browning.
Salt & Pepper - used to season the chicken thighs
For making sauce
Chicken stock - forms the base of the sauce. Make sure to get a good brand, preferably from the traditional long simmering process.
Soy sauce - A good quality soy sauce gives you that rich, deep color and depth of flavor. Opt for a low-sodium variety of soy sauce.
Sriracha - with its mildly spicy taste, sriracha brings some fire to the sauce and is quite a versatile sauce.
Honey - brings a level of sweetness to the sauce.
Lemon juice - sourness balances the other flavors and enhances the overall taste profile.
How to make - Instructions
Season the chicken
First, pat the chicken thighs with a kitchen towel or paper towel. Next, rub the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Allow it to rest for a while. If you can, leave the rub overnight to get more tender and seasoned chicken.
Mix ingredients of the sauce
Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, including the chicken stock, soy sauce, sriracha, honey, and lemon juice. Mix it well and keep it aside. This has to go to the pan later after the chicken is seared.
Sear the chicken
Add butter to a hot wide pan on medium flame. Since butter has a low smoking point, we need the pan just medium-hot, and we will be searing it for a short while, like 3 minutes. This helps us in browning the chicken before the butter starts to burn.
Flip the chicken thighs and leave for a minute. While flipping the thighs, you can push them to the edge of the pan. This leaves room in the middle where you can sauté the garlic for a good half-minute.
Cook the sauce
After a minute, add the sauce. Add the sauce in the middle rather than pouring it over the seared chicken thighs.
Let it simmer, stir it once in a while and allow the sauce to reduce by half. The sauce will bubble and become thick.
While the sauce simmers, flip the thigh pieces again. Take a spoon and pour the sauce over the chicken thigh pieces.
Allow it further reduce. Stop when you think the consistency is right. You need it a bit thick; by that time, it would also develop a nice glaze and look deep.
Serve it over rice & enjoy !!!
Frequently Asked Questions
Reducing sauce with chicken or other meat is the secret behind producing a glaze. Reducing the sauce over heat evaporates most of the water, and the volume of the sauce reduces, making it thick. It also caramelizes the sugar in it, honey, in this case, thus making it look glazy.
Such reductions are often made at the end, when the chicken is almost but not entirely cooked. Keeping it too long over heat might burn the sauce and make it taste bitter.
You might often add more liquids or find a sauce that isn't just reducing. It can be frustrating, but you need to understand this. There are two ways to thicken your garlic sauce - heat or/and thickening agent.
A thickening agent like cornstarch or flour is commonly used to thicken runny sauces. Make sure to add them one spoonful at a time, mix the sauce, and check the consistency. If you add more than required, you might have to add some more liquid and repeat the process.
Allowing your sauce to sit longer on the heat to reduce itself is the reduction technique. Let it simmer if your sauce is slightly runny until you get the desired consistency.
I have used Sriracha to provide some heat to the sauce. Sriracha is a hot sauce made from the paste of chili peppers and is mildly spicy. It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisines (Thai & Vietnamese) and has the consistency of ketchup. With garlic flavors, Sriracha has a tangy, hot, and sweet taste.
Add as much as you can tolerate. After adding and mixing the sauce, you can taste it and add more.
Yes, you can. You can substitute soy sauce in this recipe. Most soy sauces are made from wheat, soybeans, salt, and water and contain gluten. Soy sauces made from rice are gluten-free.
Other alternatives are Tamari sauces not made from wheat and coconut amino sauce, a dark-colored sauce made from the sap of the coconut plant and tastes like soy sauce but is slightly sweeter.
Storage & prep ahead
You can store it in the refrigerator using an air-tight container or zip-lock bag. You can refrigerate this honey garlic chicken for up to 4 days and as it is.
Before serving, you can take them out and reheat them in the microwave. You can also reheat it in a pan, allowing the sauce to bubble. Either do not reduce the sauce a lot before you refrigerate it, or if it thickens a lot, you can add a splash of water to thin it down and let it simmer for a minute.
The benefit of not using skinless chicken thighs is that reheating does not make the skin soggy. The skinless chicken will taste just as well the second time too.
Sticky chicken thighs with a savory honey garlic sauce can be best enjoyed with a bowl of rice or noodles. You may serve some greens with it to up the fiber, making it a complete meal.
Other Chicken Recipes
Have a look at some of the awesome dishes that you can make with chicken thighs -
Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Thighs
Oven Baked Creamy Chicken Thighs
Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken
Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- 500 grams Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Minced
- Salt & Pepper
For Honey Garlic Sauce
- 1.5 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- ⅓ cup Honey
- 1 tablespoon Chicken Stock
- 1.5 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- Pat dry chicken thighs using a kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Heat a skillet. Melt butter.
- Sear chicken thigh top side (skin side) down for 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and move it towards the edge of the pan making little space in the middle.
- Add minced garlic at the center and saute for 30 seconds.
- Pour the sauce into the pan ( avoid pouring it over the chicken, or else it will wash off the caramelized bits).
- Simmer and let the sauce reduce by almost half. The sauce will be slightly sticky and just thick enough to pour over some rice.
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