For a tasty yet easy weeknight dinner with big flavours, look no further than this sticky honey garlic baked chicken thighs recipe!
Takes about 45 minutes and pairs perfectly with rice and simply prepared vegetables.
The trick in getting this honey soy chicken bake right is by reducing the perfectly balanced, lightly tangy, honey soy garlic sauce before baking (see below for exactly how). This will ensure maximum flavour and deliciousness.
- Chicken thighs (skin-on, bone-in) - works best for this recipe. The lightly blistered skin tastes really good! Substitute: boneless, skinless chicken thighs (reduce bake time to 30 minutes, flipping halfway).
- Dark soy sauce - richer in colour and flavour compared to normal soy sauce and is also less salty. Using a mix of both provides the best result: looks and tastes great.
- Rice wine vinegar - the acidity cuts through the richness of the sauce, creating a good balance of savoury, sweet, tangy and garlicky! Substitute: lemon juice.
- Olive oil - helps the chicken skin blister faster (and therefore, its fat render) which will taste delicious and not too fatty.
Cooking step by step (with pictures)
This easy honey garlic baked chicken thighs takes about 45 minutes to make, with 2 core steps:
- Make the honey soy garlic sauce into a glaze consistency
- Bake the chicken thighs
Make honey soy garlic sauce
This step is crucial in getting the flavour of the chicken and the sauce right.
If the sauce isn't reduced before baking then it'll be too watery resulting in a rather bland chicken.
Watery sauce = won't stick onto the chicken = not as flavoursome = sad dinner
Also try my popular 25-minute baked honey glazed salmon recipe where I used this same technique for a super tasty, buttery, tender and moist salmon dinner.
Okay, now let's start.
In a small saucepan, add minced garlic, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, salt and black pepper.
Bring up to a gentle boil over low heat then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the sauce.
Stir constantly - no slacking off! This is important so that the sauce does not burn (which will turn bitter).
The consistency of this garlicky honey soy sauce should be a little thick.
If for sauce becomes too thick (like that of caramel), then you've reduced it too much. Simple fix: add a small dash of water (about 1 tsp) and mix until the sauce is loose but not watery.
Bake the chicken
Now comes the fun part.
Place chicken thighs on a large, lined baking tray, skin side down.
Spread half of the sauce over the chicken and brush evenly with a brush (or use your hand - whatever you prefer).
Flip the chicken and brush evenly with the remaining sauce.
Pop it into the oven and bake at 200°C in the middle shelf.
After 20 minutes, the chicken skin should be blistering nicely.
Glaze the chicken skin with the sauce in the pan then flip them over to skin side down.
Note: you'll find that the sauce will be rather watery at this point. This is because the chicken had released its juices (and some fat) whilst baking up to this point. Thus it is super important to reduce the sauce before baking.
No need to worry, the sauce will reduce itself during the second half of the baking time.
Trust the process.
Brush the second side of the chicken with the glaze.
Bake for 15 more minutes or until fully cooked. Look at the colour!
Brush the chicken one last time with the glaze on both sides.
See how nice and appetising the chicken looks? When chicken comes out looking like this you know it's going to taste great. This is why glazing is so important!
You'll also find that the sauce is no longer watery by this point and is perfect to serve the honey garlic baked chicken thighs with.
Cover loosely with foil paper (aluminium) for about 10 minutes then serve.
Love baked chicken thighs? Also try my baked BBQ chicken thighs recipe!
Serve these honey garlic baked chicken thighs with rice and steamed or simply sauteed vegetables.
The sticky honey soy chicken sauce is the real hero here so make sure to drizzle the chicken generously before serving!
Useful tips and tricks
- Rest the honey baked chicken thighs in the baking tray with its sauces for 10 minutes before serving. This gives the sauce extra time to sip into the chicken, making it taste even better. Plus, rest time after baking meat is important in general for the meat to relax whilst the juices redistribute throughout the meat.
- Constantly stir the honey soy glaze when reducing. This will prevent the sauce from burning (both honey and soy sauce burn easily if not careful).
- If the honey soy glaze becomes too thick, add some water. If you got carried away when reducing (happens to all of us) and the sauce has turned caramel-like in consistency, add a teaspoon of water and mix until loose.
- If using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, reduce bake time to 30 minutes. Same process, just turn and glaze the chicken halfway through baking.
Bonus tip (to impress): sprinkle with thin, diagonally sliced spring onions and sesame seeds for a beautiful presentation!
Honey, soy sauce (dark & normal), garlic, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil, salt and pepper.
200°C/390°F (or 400°F) is ideal.
3 possible reasons:
1. Chicken was overcooked.
2. No rest time between taking out of the oven and serving (see tip above).
3. Chicken was frozen before. Meat tends to lose its juiciness after freezing so best use fresh.
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 Garlic Baked Chicken Thighs
- 1 kg (2 lb) chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on (note 1)
Honey soy garlic sauce
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar substitute: lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F (180°C/360°F fan-forced).
Make the honey soy garlic sauce
- Add all honey soy garlic sauce ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring up to a boil over low heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until lightly thick (note 2). Stir constantly to prevent it from burning (note 3). Set aside.
- Place chicken thighs on a lined baking tray, skin side down.
- Drizzle half of the sauce over the chicken and brush evenly (or use your hands if preferred). Flip and repeat for the other side. Bake skin side up for 20 minutes.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and brush the chicken with the sauce in the baking tray. Flip the chicken and brush the other side. Bake skin side down for 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Brush the chicken one more time (both sides) with the sauce. Cover loosely with foil paper (aluminium) and rest for 10 minutes before serving (note 4). Serve with the sticky sauce.
- Optional: top with thin, diagonally sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.