Spicy Honey Chicken

CATEGORIES: Grill, Poultry

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 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

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.

bowl full of spices

Mix 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

Grill and Glaze Chicken

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.

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!

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.

Grilled chicken on rack
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Grilled Chicken


The best chicken thighs! This recipe combines a savory spice rub with a sweet honey glaze for a crowd-pleasing favorite.


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

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

1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


Combine the rub spices in bowl and mix well.

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. Use your hands and get in there! Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

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.


If you don’t have a barbecue grill, try it on an indoor grill pan or use your broiler.




  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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???)

  4. 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!

  5. 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 thedailybite@gmail.com and I’ll give you a sneak peak at the dressing recipe!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

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