Spicy Honey Chicken

This Spicy Honey Chicken is one of my family’s favorite meals. Both kids and adults gobble it up every time I make it.  I love the combo of a savory spice rub combined with a sweet, tangy honey glaze and it doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty quick and easy either! You don’t have to think ahead about marinating because you’re just throwing together a spice rub and, after the spices have grilled into the chicken, you just slather on a honey glaze. Even though it has the word spicy in the title, it’s actually pretty mild and you can always cut the chipotle in half if you’re worried about it. 

Grilled chicken on rack

How to Make Spicy Honey Chicken

  1. Make a spice rub. This recipe starts with a simple spice mix. Mix them all together in a bowl, then toss chicken with oil and spice rub to coat all sides well. Use your hands and get in there, then pop it on the grill!
    bowl full of spices

  2. Mix up the glaze.  While chicken is cooking, warm the honey in the microwave so it’s not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the honey glaze for serving. (In fact, the sweet, tangy honey glaze is so good that I usually double it to ensure plenty for drizzling on before serving!)
    mixing bowl with whisk

  3. Take the rest and brush on the chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling. I recommend a silicone basting brush like one of these that can withstand the high heat of the grill. I’m gonna warn you that this can make a hot mess, literally. It’s sugar, and it’s gonna drip. But the smelly smoke is worth it for a minute or two. Just leave your grill on for a few minutes after the chicken is done to burn off any excess glaze. It’s totally worth it once you taste this stuff.

     


Make a Spice Rub

This recipe starts with a simple spice mix. Mix them all together in a bowl, then toss chicken with oil and spice rub to coat all sides well. Use your hands and get in there! The chicken gets done quickly, grilling for just 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

basting brush chicken

If you don’t have a BBQ, try it on an indoor grill pan or use your broiler. Just be sure to open a window in case you burn your glaze!

Grilled chicken on rack

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a side of rice and your favorite veggie. Try it on a sandwich or in my personal favorite, my  Spicy Honey Chicken Salad.

FAQs

  • My family is very sensitive to spicy food. Can I just leave the chipotle out completely? There are lots of spices here that will still be delicious if you decide to leave the chipotle out completely. It does bring a nice depth of flavor, though, so I’d recommend at least trying half of what’s called for!
  • Can I make this ahead of time? This recipe is quick and easy. It is best made and eaten fresh.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, and then come back and give this recipe a rating!

 
Grilled Chicken

Spicy Honey Chicken

5 from 84 votes
The best chicken thighs! This recipe combines a savory spice rub with a sweet honey glaze for a crowd-pleasing favorite.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings6 people

Ingredients

Thighs

  • 8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless about 2 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Rub

  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Glaze

  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Instructions

Rub

  • Combine the rub spices in bowl and mix well.

Grill

  • Use kitchen shears (or a pair of clean scissors) to trim off any excess fat from the chicken pieces. Pat dry. Drizzle oil over chicken and rub in with your hands to lightly coat all the pieces. Then toss chicken with the spice rub to coat all sides well. Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Using a digital thermometer, cook chicken until it is a minimum temperature of 165°. However, you’ll want to aim for between 170-175° for improved flavor and texture.

Glaze

  • While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it’s not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2 tablespoons honey glaze for later. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling.
  • Drizzle chicken with reserved glaze before serving.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a barbecue grill, try it on an indoor grill pan or use your broiler.
  • Be sure to use a silicon basting brush; a horsehair basting or pastry brush won't hold up to heat on the grill.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 108kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 0.5g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 404mg, Potassium: 54mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 251IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Courses
Cuisine: BBQ
Keyword: Chicken Thighs, Spicy Honey Chicken
Calories: 108kcal
Author: Sara Wells
Cost: $10
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
 
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Angie- no grill or broiler, you poor thing! lol, jk. Ya know, I've never made it this way, but a friend of mine always makes it on the stove top. Just follow the same directions but saute the chicken in a skillet. Throw the glaze on in the last few minutes of cooking and it should still taste really yummy. I'm usually a stickler about using thighs for this recipe, but if you're doing it on the stove top, boneless/skinless breasts might work better for ya. Let us know how it goes!

  2. No broiler or grill (wish I did). So, how would you make this on the stove or in the oven? I noticed someone above said they made it on the stove.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this the other night and my husband loved it! My neighbor was outside doing yardwork while it was grilling and he said, “seriously, that smells delicious I need that recipe!” I made extra and we had the salad the next day for lunch- yummy! Thanks, love your site!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and we LOVED it! It was our first try at chicken thighs and they turned out fantastic. Thanks for another great recipe!

  5. Washing pile- you got it! T is always Tablespoon and t is always teaspoon 🙂

  6. Sorry for being thick, but can I check that the T means tablespoons? I’m hoping to make this later on in the week as it looks delicious.

  7. Yummy! This is my favorite kind of food, spicy and sweet. Great combination of flavors 🙂

  8. Delicious! Great recipe, I’m glad I stumbled across this oldie but goodie. I love your site!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this today with chicken breast (sorry Sara), my husband loved it on his salad and my kids enjoyed eating it as is. This may be my new fall back chicken recipe, thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    I Love this recipe!! I just pulled it out of the oven (ran out of propane) and thisis delicious!!

  11. Our family LOVES this recipe – one thing I added that worked well was candied walnuts one time and candied pecans the next. I can’t decide which one I liked better but it was amazing!

  12. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight…wow. That is just about the best chicken I have EVER had. Thanks!

  13. 5 stars
    I made this the other day, and it was very yummy! Thanks for the tip on how to broil. The chicken came out wonderfully!

  14. Carly, I think grilling thighs does make a big difference. When you cook thighs in the oven they kind of sit in their own juices, whereas the grill lets the fat cook off a little more.

  15. Okay so I made this, it was super good, should have added more pepper to it because I love spicy. HOWEVER I found the thighs to be too greasy for my liking. Next time I’m going to do breast and pound them out like you suggested. Also, I DID have to broil the chicken cuz we don’t have a grill. I wonder if that would have made a difference but again, just a little too greasy. Vinaigrette was awesome though!

  16. 5 stars
    I made this today and LOVED it! Actually I’ve loved everything I’ve tried so far. Thank you.

  17. Wow, you guys have done it again. “it” being a recipe that I HAVE to try! This is awesome! I never have to do any work to find new recipes to try! I love this bom-diggity blog! 😉 (did I just say bom-diggity???)

  18. Sara-Is this off that list of recipes you gave me? I’ve used breasts (gasp) and done this on the stove. Probably not as good, but still works. Seriously this chicken rocks. We eat it about every other week. I LOVE IT!

  19. I also really like thighs with Asian dishes, like teriyaki bowls and things like that. Pretty much any grilled recipe, and those can almost always be cooked under the broiler just as effectively. I don’t usually use them in baked recipes, unless it’s something breaded (like a baked “fried” chicken” in which case they actually work well because the extra fat really crisps up the breading. But like kate said, they’re great in Mexican dishes like soft tacos and also on top of salads like in this recipe. I have a bunch of really great thigh recipes that I’ll be posting in the next few months, like a Asian BBQ chicken, and a honey garlic sesame chicken, so keep checking back!

    Also, email me at [email protected] and I’ll give you a sneak peak at the dressing recipe!

  20. Kaylene, I’m posting something on Wednesday that you can use thighs in. Also, you can use them with the Mexican chicken (on the site) to make soft tacos with and they’re soooooooo good. Chicken, soft flour tortillas, a little cheese, some pico de gallo, and some guacamole and it’s seriously one of my favorites.

  21. So my mouth was wattering as I was reading on and on and then to see the picture, sounds sooo good. I bought all the stuff to make today but them remembered that you were going to post the dressing recipe later. Any chance you might do it sooner? My mouth is just wattering. Great site by the way, thanks for all your info. ideas and suggestions.
    Oh, one more thing, what other recipes would you use the thighs in?