Tired of the same old chicken recipes? Try my honey garlic chicken, a dish that blends the sweetness of honey with aromatic garlic to create an irresistible flavor. This easy recipe transforms bone-in chicken thighs into a savory meal, thanks to the simple yet well-balanced ingredients of honey, soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner
We always have chicken in our freezer, whether it be chicken breasts, drumsticks, or chicken thighs. Chicken is just so versatile, especially the dark meat. I’m usually having to come up with something to cook last minute, so it’s nice that chicken can be easily cooked with whatever’s already on hand in my pantry. I have started to have a good rotation of easy chicken recipes that are reliable and flavorful, like my sweet balsamic-glazed drumsticks. Unlike that recipe though, this honey garlic chicken does not require marinading to impart flavor.
I prefer to make this with bone-in chicken thighs, but you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You just have to bake it about 8-10 minutes less since they won’t take as long to cook. Aside from chicken thighs, you can also use drumsticks and cook it for about 3 minutes less time. I don’t recommend using chicken breast, but if you must, start with 20 minutes and add 3 minutes at a time if they’re not cooked yet. Always check the internal temperature of your chicken and ensure that it reaches at least 165 degrees.
What makes this so delicious?
Before baking in the oven, the chicken gets lightly coated with flour and smoked paprika and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then, browning the chicken prior to baking seals all the juices in the meat. The sweetness of honey complements the saltiness of soy sauce and a bit of tartness from the lemon juice. Combining all that with garlic, it creates a depth of flavor that elevates the dish, making it the star of your meal.
It’s also good to make sure the skin is crispy to add texture to the dish. You get to crisp up the skin two different ways in this recipe. The first time is when you’re browning our chicken. You have to brown it skin side down first until the skin is crispy before browning the other side. The second time is optional for those who prefer their skin even crispier. After baking the chicken thighs, you can broil them for 5 minutes. I like to add this step because when you pour the sauce over the chicken for baking, it may make your already crispy skin a little bit soggy. Broiling it just ensures it crisps up again.
What should I pair this dish with?
For a complete meal, I served this honey garlic chicken with rice, and a side of buttered corn, carrots, and spinach. The rice really soaks up the sauce well. Another starch option you can use is pearled couscous or orzo. As for the vegetable sides, you can really use whatever you want. I just happened to be finishing up leftover vegetables that we had that needed to be used up.
- 1.5 - 2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey*, soy sauce, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Pat dry both sides of the chicken thighs. Then, in a deep plate or rectangular dish, mix together the flour and smoked paprika. Lightly coat all the chicken thighs in it. Then, season the chicken with salt and pepper (on both sides).
- Heat up some olive oil (about 2 tbsp) in a pan on the stove on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, place your chicken in skin-side down and cook until the skin is crispy (about 5 minutes). Make sure the pan isn't too crowded -- you may have to do this in batches. Then, turn the chicken over to brown the other side (about 2 minutes).
- In a 9x13 baking dish, place the browned chicken thighs skin-side up. Pour the honey garlic sauce to evenly coat the chicken. Turn the chicken over a couple of times to just make sure all sides have been covered in the sauce. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165 degrees. If you want to make sure the skin is still crispy even after being soaked in the sauce, you can broil it for 5 minutes after baking. Enjoy!
*For easier mixing, you may want to microwave the honey for about 15 seconds to loosen it a bit.
// ON THE SCENE
- Bottom backdrop: Replica Surfaces — Cement
- Props: linen towel, wooden salt shaker