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
    I made this for dinner last night and we loved it!! The salad and everything, it was sooo delicous!

  2. 5 stars
    This is my first time trying one of your recipes. (And first time commenting.) I LOVED this chicken. I just made it last night. SO good. Perfect combo of spicy and sweet. If I make it for my kiddos I will cut back on the spice just a bit (probably half both the chili powders). Thank you! I was getting bored with my go-to chicken dishes. And I broiled the thighs and it was great.

  3. 5 stars
    This was so good. I took a big zipper bag of these thighs to my sister’s for her 4th of July BBQ and they were a hit. Her kids are picky eaters and they loved them. After we left her oldest asked if there were any left. He wanted some for an evening snack. Before I left her house I gave her the recipe I had brought along with the chicken.
    Today I took an empty seasoning jar with a shaker; took the lable off and filled it with just the rub, so I’ll have it on hand when we make this again. Thinking of making my sister a jar too as a gift.

  4. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! I cut out the chipotle completely (gringo tongues around here), but it was still amazing!

  5. Can you tell me where you can buy the granulated garlic and chipotle chili powder? I can not find it anywhere.

    1. granulated garlic is just garlic powder (it’s technically a coarser substance but either works) and you’ll just have to check the grocery stores for the chipotle powder. Most well stocked stores should have both.

  6. I am making this tonight. I though it was funny I have the EXACT same brands for spices. Down to the Kirkland garlic:) LOL!

  7. 5 stars
    We made this last night for dinner for the first time and it was BLOW MY MIND fantastic! My two and a half year old even gobbled it all up!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been hearing about Our Best Bites for a while now (Sara’s dad was my bishop growing up and Kate’s MIL did my flowers when I got married). Although my mom has been telling me about the wonderful recipes she has found here for over a year, I finally got around to trying one of your recipes last night. This. was. so. amazing! I was busy spooning the honey glaze over the chicken when I noticed that I was drooling…

    Slightly embarrassing, but it sure tells you how good this was! I’ll definitely be coming back here often!

  9. 5 stars
    OMG! This was THE best!!! We currently don’t have a grill, so I used our indoor grill pan! We had it with “smashed” potatoes (I used butter and Philadelphia’s Garlic Cooking Creme), and Steamed Broccoli, with Honey Wheat Hawaiian Rolls! This meal is a KEEPER! Tyler (my hubby) says, “Great pairing, all the sides go well with the chicken!” YUMMY indeed! We will be making this again!

  10. 5 stars
    WOW, I think this is my new favorite chicken recipe. EASY and company perfect. I did not have chipotle chili powder so I used smoked paprika. My kids gobbled it right up!

  11. 5 stars
    I made this chicken, with the salad walker this week, using chicken tenders, I loved it so much that I’m having the chicken again tonight!! The tenders worked just fine… And i had a huge bag from costco, so thats what I’m using again tonight!

  12. 5 stars
    We made this last night & really enjoyed it!! My husband & kids all loved it. My six year old said “This is the best chicken EVER!”
    Thanks again for all of your wonderful recipes!!

  13. 5 stars
    Great recipe! The rub is fantastic!!! I did have to cut down the chipotle for my non-spicy-loving family *sigh*. Even without all the heat – it was great though! Super with corn on the cob.

  14. 5 stars
    I made this for the first time tonight. My hubby saw me at the grill and he was excited to see what I was cooking up, he was a little disappointed to see it was chicken–that is until he sunk his teeth into it!! My whole family, kids 7,5,2, and baby all loved it!! My son had a pile of bones on his plate. We had no leftovers to speak of and I was looking forward to fixing the salad!! Shucks. Guess I will have to double it next time!! Thanks!

  15. 5 stars
    This was the first recipe I found at Our Best Bites and it is absolutely fabulous. I am a chicken-cooking phobic person, always afraid I am not getting it done and the other problem is I never or hardly ever like what I cook like when you make a salad at home and it never tastes as good as it does in the restaurant. This is the recipe that made me feel like I was eating restaurant quality food. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you!!! I have also made your apple streusel and I cannot leave it alone. Thank you for making recipes that dont require gourmet ingredients. You gals rock!!!!

  16. I just made these and served them with black bean and jack cheese quesadillas… I made the chicken with breast meat (it's all I had) and it was outstanding! Thank you for the recipe!

  17. Hi from Germany!! I am hoping to try this recipe this week – it looks fabulous. What would you recommend serving as a side dish with this chicken? I saw you posted a salad with it, but since it's getting colder, I'd like to try something warm. Basmati rice maybe?? Thanks!

  18. 5 stars
    I just came across your website a couple of days ago. I already have a huge list of recipes I want to try. Tonight I made this recipe. It was delicious! Keep the yummy recipes coming!

  19. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it turned out really good! I have an indoor grill (yay for apt. living.. blah!) and had no problems with it. My husband doesn't love "saucy" wings or chicken so he was hesitant at first, but loved it! I didn't know what to cook on the side so I just made some loaded mash potatoes. Worked great together! Thanks for the recipe ladies!

  20. 5 stars
    made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit!
    I was hoping there would be a couple of pieces left over for lunch tomorrow, but no such luck!
    thighs are definatley the way to go!

  21. 5 stars
    I made this for father's day yesterday and it received RAVE reviews!! Thankyou so much for all this deliciousness.

  22. 5 stars
    Hi from Ghana! I stumbled across this recipe some time ago and finally got around to making it this weekend. Living in Ghana, I'm a bit limited by the ingredients that are available and affordable here but I love experimenting! I found most of the ingredients needed for this (a few substitutions) and it was a huge success! We were stealing pieces from the fridge all night. We had it for lunch with in a DELICIOUS salad and I still have a TON of Spicy Honey Chicken leftover. Any other serving suggestions? Thanks so much for the awesome recipe! Love your blog!

  23. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time yesterday for our Mother's Day BBQ. Everyone loved it! It was delicious! My husband had bought chicken breasts, so that's what we used. Still great!

    I also made the Brazilian Lemonade for the BBQ. Another hit!

  24. Thanks for the quick reply, Sara! Yup, that definitely answered my questions 🙂 I will be making it today for my mom…thanks for letting me know about the canned chipotle chillies recipes! I'll definitely try those out next 🙂 Keep up the great job! Your site is awesome!

  25. Hi Audrey!

    Great questions. For the chili powder I would just increase the regular chili powder instead. It lacks the smokey flavor, but it will still taste great. That would be a lot easier than opening a can of chipotle chilies, especially since you'd barely use any of it. (but if you want to use up that can, we have a lot of recipes with chipotle chilies!)

    For the coriander, you want a ground powder. So if it says "ground coriander seeds" then that's correct. Avoid whole seeds.

    Hope that answers all of your questions!

  26. Hi from Malaysia! I came across your site after googling for recipes and have been coming here for more since! I've tried the mini key lime tarts, bacon-wrapped sausages and the mini cheesecake tarts.…all to great satisfaction! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes!

    I've been wanting to try this recipe since I came across it but after looking through some supermarkets for the rub I can't seem to find the chipotle chilli powder 🙁 all I did manage to find was chipotle chilli in adobo sauce(which I did get just in case!). Could I substitute the canned chipotle chillies for the powder and if so, how much should I put in?
    There's also another question which might sound dumb. As I was looking for the ground coriander, all I could find were either 'Ground Coriander Seeds' or coriander leaves that were dried and looked flaky. After looking at your photo the spice looked like the seeds one but just to be sure, is it really coriander seeds? Sorry for the lengthy questions!