Easy Honey Garlic Chicken made with 7 basic ingredients in 30 minutes or less! Serve this amazing sticky chicken with your choice of steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or fried rice for an outstanding meal the whole family can agree on!
Weeknight eating just got so much more entertaining!
If you love Chinese food or the combination of sweet and savory flavors, you’re in for a real treat!
This easy honey garlic chicken recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes, is the perfect weeknight dinner, and you end up with a healthy meal that covers all the flavor bases and tastes fresh.
The best part? The recipe requires just 7 basic ingredients, all of which you can find at any grocery store.
In case you’re new to honey garlic chicken, I have you covered.
What is Honey Garlic Chicken?:
Sweet, savory, saucy sticky chicken with an Chinese-inspired flare is what we’re cooking up here. The easy sauce requires just a handful of ingredients, many or all of which you probably already have on hand.
This easy recipe for honey garlic chicken results in amazing tender chicken with an incredible sweet and sour sauce that goes bold on honey and garlic flavors. We throw in some soy sauce (or liquid aminos) and rice vinegar to add umami and tangy flavors to the mix for a full palate experience.
Cooking Methods For Honey Garlic Chicken:
There are many approaches one can take to honey garlic chicken. Some people use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken thighs, which they leave whole and either cook in a skillet or bake in the oven.
My approach to easy honey garlic chicken is to chop boneless chicken thighs into bite sized pieces, brown them in a skillet, add the sauce, and cook until the sauce is nice and thick and sticky.
Some people take this same approach but use boneless chicken breasts instead of thighs, and some people dredge the chicken pieces in flour to get a crisp on the outside, similar to what you get with General Tso’s Chicken or Orange Chicken.
Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken is also a great option for those of you who love cooking in a pressure cooker, although I feel the method outlined in this post takes the same amount of time as the pressure cooker method from start to finish. Slow cooker honey garlic chicken is a great recipe for busy nights or for meal prep.
So you can see how there is plenty of room for changing up the type of chicken and cooking method you use.
If you prefer leaving the thighs whole, you’ll simply sear both sides of the thighs for 3 to 4 minutes, or until brown, then add the sauce and continue cooking until the thighs are cooked through and the sauce is thick.
What is honey garlic sauce made of? Let’s check out the simple ingredients!
Ingredients for Honey Garlic Chicken:
Avocado Oil & Sesame Oil: Used for cooking the chicken, I use a combination of avocado oil and sesame oil. Avocado oil is a high temperature cooking oil that has neutral flavor and is ideal for situations like this where you’re cooking over high heat.
You can use olive oil if that is what you typically use in your cooking.
Toasted sesame oil is frequently used in Chinese and Japanese recipes to provide a rich, warm flavor that is impossible to mimic with any other ingredient. A little bit goes a long way!
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: The chicken portion of the recipe is boneless skinless chicken thighs, which remain nice and tender through the cooking process due to their higher fat content. While you absolutely can use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, you’ll lose a little bit of the tender texture you get with chicken thighs.
Fresh Garlic: Garlic is one of our star ingredients in this sticky chicken recipe! Providing a great deal of flavor, going big on the garlic is what gives us tremendous flavor.
Honey: Used to sweeten the chicken and create a sticky texture to the sauce, honey is a wildly wonderful ingredient for saucy chicken recipes like this. You can scale the amount you use up or down depending on how sweet you like your Chinese food.
Rice Vinegar: Providing a tangy counterbalance to the otherwise sweet sauce, rice vinegar helps round out the flavor profile so that you aren’t left with a sauce that is just plain sweet. The addition of the vinegar really changes the direction of the dish! You can replace is with apple cider vinegar if you prefer.
Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce: Classic umami flavors coming right up! Liquid aminos or soy sauce bring that savory flavor to the honey garlic chicken and also infuse the sauce with a decent salt content. Depending on how salty you like your food, you may want to scale the liquid aminos up or down.
You can replace the liquid aminos with coconut aminos for a paleo version. If you do so, add an additional tablespoon of rice vinegar and add salt to taste.
Sesame Seeds: I serve honey garlic chicken with sesame seeds for a little texture and visual appeal, but you can absolutely leave them out if you don’t regularly have them on hand.
Optional Additions: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for some heat, 4 chopped green onions for some onion flavor, 2 teaspoons cornstarch to thicken the sauce quickly, hot sauce or chili sauce to your personal taste, or even lime juice and lemon juice if you like a citrusy kick.
Some recipes call for hoisin sauce and brown sugar. While hoisin sauce will add a little additional depth of flavor,
Now that we’ve covered the simple s sweet and savory garlicky sauce ingredients, let’s discuss how to make this super simple meal!
How to Make Honey Garlic Chicken:
Heat the avocado oil and sesame oil in a large skillet (I use a 12-inch skillet) over medium-high heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes, then add the chopped chicken thighs and spread them into an even layer. Allow the chicken to brown, undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until the chicken is nice and golden-brown, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, make the honey garlic sauce. To do so, simply stir together the minced garlic, honey, water, rice vinegar, and liquid aminos in a small bowl. It’s okay if the honey is thick and doesn’t want to combine with the other ingredients…it will combine during the cooking process.
Pour the sauce into the skillet with the chicken and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick and much of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve honey garlic chicken with your choice of steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or fried rice and your choice of steamed or sautéed vegetables. Sautéed broccoli, green beans, carrots, onion, and bell pepper are amazing with this dish!
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The way I see it, this is one of those easy chicken recipes the entire family can enjoy for a restaurant quality meal that happens to be an easy weeknight dinner.
More Chinese Food Recipes:
- Healthy Kung Pao Chicken
- Healthy Beijing Beef
- 20-Minute Mongolian Ground Beef
- Mango Cashew Chicken
- Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Paleo Sweet and Sour Shrimp
I hope you enjoy this quick and simple healthy meal to bring joy to those busy weeknights!
Easy Honey Garlic Chicken
- Heat the avocado oil and sesame oil in a large skillet (I use a 12-inch skillet) over medium-high heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes, then add the chopped chicken thighs and spread them into an even layer. Allow the chicken to brown, undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until the chicken is nice and golden-brown, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the honey garlic sauce. To do so, simply stir together the minced garlic, honey, water, rice vinegar, and liquid aminos in a small bowl. It’s okay if the honey is thick and doesn’t want to combine with the other ingredients…it will combine during the cooking process.
- Pour the sauce into the skillet with the chicken and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick and much of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve honey garlic chicken with your choice of steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or fried rice and your choice of steamed or sautéed vegetables.