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

Ingredient Notes

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Spice Rub
    • Granulated garlic
    • Chili powder
    • Onion powder
    • Coriander
    • Kosher salt
    • Cumin
    • Chipotle chili powder
  • Glaze
    • Honey
    • Apple cider vinegar

How to Make Spicy Honey Chicken

  1. This recipe starts with a simple spice mix of garlic, chili powder, onion powder, coriander, salt, cumin, and chipotle powder. Mix the spices 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!
  2. Next, 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!)
  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.
basting brush chicken
Grilled chicken on rack

Frequently Asked Questions

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 if you are wanting warm chicken. Cold leftover chicken is great in salads and sandwiches!

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. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner recently on the indoor grill (messy but sooooo worth it)-my husband said it was the best chicken he has ever had. Sweet, spicy, thighs? Check, check, check. All his faves. This made history at our house and I didn't even make leftovers. We'll be making it a lot, I'm sure.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night, and it was sooo good. I'd never made chicken thighs before and you're right…definitley my new favorite thing. I wish I'd made more so I could have more leftovers!

  3. 5 stars
    This is a "staple recipe" in our house now! Oh my this.is.so.good. First time I used my indoor grill, good, not great, open flame is the way to go. DH ate 1.5 for dinner & snuck in for a mid night snack & ate 2 more! Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I just tried it with porkchops and it worked great! I am interested in the "old" recipe, I would love it if you could send it to me. My email is [email protected]. I love your blog, everything I have tried has been great. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Nanette

  5. Last time i made this (quite a while ago)…i was still able to see the old recipe. I have since made it with the new recipe, but my husband prefers it the other way. Do you mind sharing the old recipe again?

  6. 5 stars
    Wow, I made the chicken for dinner last night and it was delicious! The combination of spicy and sweet was just perfect. I went ahead and made the salad dressing last night and had the leftover chicken in the salad for lunch today and it was even better if that is possible! The dressing was to die for…way better than any restaurant salad I have ever had. Thanks girls and keep it up!

  7. 5 stars
    i just made this chicken and it was soooo delicious! the honey glaze was just perfect with the spicyness of the rub. i almost made it too spicy! i will definitely be making this again! thanks! i just discovered this website, and i love it!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for dinner. They didn't have thighs so i had to use breasts and wow. I imagine with the thighs its going to be more amazing. What a flavor. I just made the dressing and am going to try the salad.

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!! We even made one piece with just the rub (I have one picky eater!) and it was so good we made extra rub to have on hand all the time! The glaze was to die for! Thanks so much!!

  10. 5 stars
    I found your website about 6 weeks ago and have made 12 recipes from it. I LOVE It! This spicy honey chicken is amazing- my 3 picky eaters and husband who will eat anything really enjoyed this. It is a 5 star for sure! I just bought more chicken thighs to make it again this week! Thank you!

  11. Hi Jackie, I always season my chicken and freeze it for later use. Tastes the same as freshly seasoned chicken to me, and sooo convenient.

  12. I don't know why, maybe I'm not used to this type of "heat", but it was way spicy for me. But the honey mellowed it out some, and I enjoyed it. I did use a cast iron grill on my stove top, and it made some serious smoke! I live in an apartment building in South Korea, and I was waiting for the neighbors to call the Fire Department!:) I'll wait to make this again using an outdoor grill when I get back to the states!

  13. Has anyone tried to season chicken and freeze, thaw and cook later? How does it compare?

  14. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious–as is everything I have made from your site. It was too cold and rainy to grill, so I did them in the broiler for about 7-8 minutes on each side. It was super-easy–I made them while talking on the phone and entertaining my kids!

  15. Thanks Bethany. But keep in mind it *is* a powder. That particular bottle just has the name of the spice, kind of like ground oregano won't be labeled "Oregano Powder" it will just say "Oregano" ya know? So yes, just look for any ground version of a chipotle chili pepper and that is chipotle chili powder!

  16. I have turned a few friends to your site, and one is trying this one and had a question, she couldn't find the Chipolte chili "Powder" when we enlarge the picture we see the bottle actually says "Pepper" which she did find, just though I'd mention it so someone else doesn't go crazy trying to find it in the store! I am thinking now I need to try it :o)

  17. 5 stars
    This is amazing. My husband and my super picky kids all loved it. My husband actually raved about it. Since it's freezing out, I baked this in the oven and it came out great. Thanks for sharing!

  18. 5 stars
    Okay, I know that I am a little late with posting a comment (seeing as how I just stumbled upon this site)….BUT my family absolutely loved this recipe! They are hooked…. Thank you , thankyou , thank you for making my family smile at dinner time..

  19. 5 stars
    Oh man these were awesome! My husband and 9 year old stepdaughter are a tough crowd and they raved over this recipe. I even went the breast AND thigh route. Oh what we mothers/wives do to keep the peace. 🙂 I agree about the thighs being a must for this recipe. I was just stoked that I had all of the spices on hand already. I did add a smidge of crushed red pepper and paprika. Not sure if it was because I used an indoor grill pan on my stovetop, but I had about 1/4cup of leftover honey glaze. So we just used it to dip our chicken in. I could tell the second I rubbed all those spices on that it was a winner. Winner winner chicken dinner all the way!

  20. I've been lurking for a few months, but I'm out! Erika O. introduced me to your site and I've been cooking my way through and loving everything! This is one of my new favorites! Unfortunately our grill just met it's death during an YM camp out with my husband.

  21. It is great both ways, but it is better to have a little sauce at the end.

  22. The hubs and I made this last night and it was great! He keeps telling me how delicious it was. Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

  23. Angie- thanks for coming back with the results! A lot of people have asked what to do without a grill, so that's helpful. Glad you liked it!

  24. I'm back to report my results. The chicken turned out pretty good sans a grill or broiler, but after making them I can now see why they would be much, much better grilled.

    I coated four boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a little canola oil, rubbed with the seasoning, then sauteed them in a skillet. The last few minutes I added the glaze to the chicken and let them stew for about 5 to 7 minutes.

    I made the spicy honey chicken salad that you posted May 15, 2009, (my reason for wanting to make the chicken) and it was (and is) delicious!

  25. Not having a grill seriously impedes my cooking experiences, but it can't be helped at the moment. Thanks for the advice. I'll try it on the stove top in the next week or so and report back the results.

  26. 5 stars
    I made this with the salad. My mango wasn't ripe and all I had was a nectarine but it worked out just fine that way. I thought the chicken was even better cold the next day in my salad.