This super easy and flavourful honey butter chicken with a Chinese flare will knock your socks off! The chicken is tender and the glossy honey butter sauce is garlicky and umami-rich that'll have your taste buds dancing!
This recipe takes just under 30 minutes to make so it's a great weeknight dinner option. Take a browse of my easy dinner recipe collection for dinners like baked honey glazed salmon, butter garlic pork chops and creamy chicken with mushrooms!
I recommend serving this honey butter chicken with rice and simply sauteed vegetables such as a 10-minute spinach stir fry.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Plain flour - a light flour coating on the chicken helps the honey butter sauce to cling onto the chicken, making it even tastier!
- Lemon juice - adds a citrusy tang which works perfectly with the richness of the sauce. Substitute: apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
- Honey - can substitute with sugar instead with a small splash of water. I recommend brown sugar for the added molasses.
With just 25 minutes from start to finish, this honey butter chicken recipe is as easy as it gets!
Coat and brown chicken
To start, cut chicken breasts into large, bite-sized cubes and season with salt and pepper.
Then, coat the chicken with plain flour, working in 2 to 3 batches. Make sure that each piece of the chicken is thoroughly coated.
Coating the chicken with a little flour gives the sauce something to cling onto and thus making every piece of the chicken extra tasty! It also helps seal the juices in the chicken, keeping it tender and juicy!
This is the same technique used to coat crispy panko chicken cutlets and my crispy honey sesame chicken (that stays crispy for hours!).
Preheat a large frying pan with a little olive oil (or unsalted butter) over high heat. Then, individually place half of the coated chicken pieces into the pan, allowing room in between each piece.
Let the chicken sizzle undisturbed for 2 minutes then flip and pan-sear the other side for a further 2 minutes. The chicken pieces should have 2 golden sides, like so in the pictures below.
Remove and set the chicken aside. Repeat for the remaining half of the chicken.
The chicken does not have to be fully cooked at this stage as it'll be cooked again later.
Simmer in honey butter sauce
To make the honey butter sauce, add unsalted butter, honey, soy sauce, minced garlic, lemon juice and black pepper in a large, clean frying pan.
Be sure to clean the frying pan after searing the chicken before making the honey butter sauce. This will prevent any burnt bits of flour from being mixed into the sauce which can taste bitter.
Melt the butter over medium heat and allow the sauce to gently bubble.
At this stage, your kitchen should be smelling really good!
Add browned chicken and simmer in a single layer, flipping every 30 seconds or until the chicken is just cooked. About 3 minutes.
Useful tips & tricks
- Wipe the frying pan clean in between batches. Once you finish pan-searing the first batch of chicken, use scrunched-up paper towels to clean the pan. Make sure to remove any burnt floury bits that might be stuck to the pan. This step is important because those bits can make the second batch of chicken taste bitter. Once the pan is clean, you can proceed to sear the second batch of chicken.
- Test chicken's doneness sooner than later to prevent overcooking. After 2 minutes (or even after 1 minute - trust your instinct) of simmering in the sauce, take a larger piece of chicken and cut it in half to see if it's cooked. If it is, then immediately turn the heat off to prevent overcooking.
- Space out the chicken when browning till golden - overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the pan. This in turn will take longer for the chicken to turn golden thus risking the chicken becoming overcooked. Overcooked chicken breast = less juicy and tough!
This recipe works great with rice and a side of simply sauteed vegetables such as a spinach stir fry or steamed broccoli.
A blend of honey, unsalted butter, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and black pepper.
Store in air-tight containers for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Made this recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below!
I'd love to hear from you. 🙂
Honey Butter Chicken
- 500 g (1 lb) chicken breast cut into large bite-sized cubes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup plain flour
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
Honey butter sauce
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice ~juice of half a lemon
- ½ tablespoon black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
Coat and brown chicken
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and mix well. Place plain flour onto a large plate then thoroughly coat chicken pieces with flour in two batches. Set chicken aside and discard the remaining excess plain flour.
- Preheat a large frying pan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place half of the coated chicken individually into the frying pan, leaving space between each pieces. (note 1) Pan sear until golden then flip and sear the other side. About 2 minutes per side then remove and set aside (the chicken does not have to be thoroughly cooked at this stage). Repeat for the remaining half of the chicken (note 2).
Coat with honey butter sauce
- To make the honey butter sauce, add all of the honey butter ingredients into a clean, large frying pan. Melt the butter over medium-low heat until the sauce is bubbly and smell delicious.
- Add chicken into the pan and simmer in a single layer, turning every 30 seconds or so, until chicken is just cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. (note 3)
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