This budget-friendly honey garlic chicken recipe features crispy outside and tender inside chicken in a sticky sweet and savory sauce.
If you're looking for new ways to make chicken exciting, look no further. The whole family will love this!
This is the best fuss-free method for making honey garlic chicken. Simply stir together all ingredients for the sauce in a cast-iron skillet or other oven-safe dish. Then nestle in the chicken, and let it roast to perfection.
I love that there's no need to sear the chicken beforehand; at 400F, it effortlessly roasts up crispy outside!
Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are my favorite cut of chicken for this dish because they're tender and juicy every time. Not to mention, chicken thighs are an economical cut of chicken that will help you stick with your grocery budget.
However, if you want to make this dish faster or if you have other cuts of chicken on hand, I give directions on how to use chicken breasts and boneless, skinless thighs in this article.
Pair this sticky-sweet saucy chicken with steamed rice and broccoli for a delicious meal that's even better than takeout!
The Best Easy Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe
Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs Ingredients
In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
- Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs - chicken thighs are the perfect option here because the meat stays tender and moist, and the skin gets crispy
- Salt - to season the chicken and sauce and help create a balanced flavor profile
- Honey - adds sweetness and helps create the classic sticky-sweet honey garlic sauce
- Garlic - this isn't the time to go light on the garlic, friends
- Soy sauce - this is for salty, umami flavor (or you can use tamari sauce for gluten free or coconut aminos for paleo)
- Rice vinegar - adds a touch of sour flavor for balance
- Chicken broth - to thin out the sauce (or you can use water)
- White pepper - I like using white pepper here for its gingery bite, but black pepper will also work
- Scallion - this is an optional garnish; it adds a pop of green color and a touch of mild savory onion flavor
Do I Need to Add Butter Or Oil?
If you're using skin-on chicken thighs, there's no need to add oil. As the chicken roasts, the fat renders out of the skin and the drippings help create a rich, flavorful honey garlic sauce.
How to Make Honey Garlic Chicken
- Whisk together the honey, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth, and white pepper in a large cast-iron skillet.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and then season both sides with salt. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, nestling them into the sauce.
- Roast until the chicken is browned on top and fully cooked, about 40 to 45 minutes at 400F. If desired, you can baste the chicken by spooning some sauce on top of each piece halfway through.
Variations on This Recipe
- Ginger. If you like the flavor of ginger, add 1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger (or store-bought ginger paste) to the sauce. This way, the sauce reminds me more of teriyaki sauce!
- Crushed red pepper flakes. If you like a spicy kick, add up to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or 1 thinly sliced Thai bird's eye chili). With this addition, it reminds me of General Tso's Chicken.
- Use whatever cut of chicken you have on hand. In the FAQs section below under the question "Can I Use Chicken Breasts to Make Honey Garlic Chicken", I explain how to make this recipe with other cuts of chicken.
Honey Garlic Chicken FAQs
What is Honey Garlic Sauce Made Of?
The main ingredients in honey garlic sauce are honey, garlic, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. This creates a balanced flavor profile with sweet, savory, salty, and sour flavors.
Can I Use Chicken Breasts to Make Honey Garlic Chicken?
Yes! If you have chicken breast on hand, you can use it instead of thighs to make honey garlic chicken.
If you're using bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, follow the same cooking method as given in the recipe below for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.
However, the roasting time may be a little shorter for chicken breasts, which typically take 35 to 45 minutes at 400F. Chicken breast is done cooking when the internal temperature reaches 165F with an instant-read thermometer, and the juices run clear.
If you're using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you will need 2 tablespoons of avocado oil or olive oil. The cooking method is a bit different because it cooks entirely on the stovetop with no need to roast.
First, cut your boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips or bite-sized pieces.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and once hot add the chicken. Sear it on the first side (about 2 to 4 minutes), then flip it and cook until browned on the other side (about 2 minutes).
Add the sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, and then turn down and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is thickened, about 2 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
You can also use this method for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
And bonus, honey garlic sauce is also great on chicken wings! After the wings are cooked, just toss them in honey garlic sauce like you would with any sauce. Skip the blue cheese or ranch, and serve honey garlic chicken wings with yum yum sauce!
What Else Can I Use Honey Garlic Sauce For?
This sticky-sweet sauce has a punch of garlic, a hint of saltiness, and a touch of tangy flavor for a perfectly balanced sauce. It's incredible on chicken, but its uses don't end there!
Honey garlic sauce is also great on:
- Roasted vegetables
- Or as a dipping sauce for homemade eggrolls or dumplings
What Goes Well with Honey Garlic Chicken?
You might be wondering what to serve with honey garlic chicken to make this recipe into a full meal! It pairs well with any of the following:
- Steamed jasmine rice
- Fried rice
- Roasted or steamed broccoli
- Cauliflower rice to keep the carbs down
- Stir-fried vegetables
More Dinner Recipes Using Chicken Thighs
Easy Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe
Optional Serving Suggestions:
- Steamed jasmine rice
- Steamed broccoli
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and then season both sides with salt.
- Whisk together the honey, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth, and white pepper in a large cast-iron skillet. Place the salted chicken thighs in the skillet, nestling them into the sauce.
- Roast until the chicken is browned on top and fully cooked, about 40 to 45 minutes. If desired, you can baste the chicken by spooning some sauce on top of each piece halfway through.
- Sprinkle on the scallion and serve the chicken along with the sauce to drizzle on top.
- Nutritional Information: The nutrition information for this recipe was calculated without the optional serving suggestions.
- Gluten Free Version: Use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce.
- Paleo Version: Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- If You Want Thick, Syrupy Sauce: Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet. Boil the sauce on the stovetop for a couple minutes until the sauce is thickened to your desired consistency, stirring constantly. Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce on top.