Easy Honey Chicken Recipe

Karen Frazier
Honey Sesame Chicken

Cooking with honey can add a sweet, tasty stickiness to chicken. Likewise, honey has a reasonably neutral flavor that blends well with many other ingredients, so honey chicken recipes are easy to customize to suit your own personal tastes.

Basic Honey Chicken Drumsticks

While this recipe is a baked recipe, you can also cook it in a slow cooker or on the grill, use different chicken parts, and change the flavor profiles, making it versatile. Serve it with rice with the honey sauce spooned over the top, and add a side of vegetables, such as green beans or asparagus. The recipe serves four.

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Arrange the chicken legs in a single layer in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, sriracha, and garlic.
  4. Pour the mixture over the chicken legs, tossing to coat them.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the juices run clear, and the chicken is cooked, about 1 hour.
  6. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds before serving.

Variations

You can vary this recipe in many ways.

Change the Flavor

  • Trade the honey for an equal amount of pure maple syrup.
  • To give the chicken more Asian flavor, add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger to the honey mixture.
  • Eliminate the sriracha for a less spicy sauce.
  • Replace the sriracha with 1 teaspoon of Chinese hot mustard.
  • To make a spicy orange honey chicken, add the zest of one orange to the honey mixture.
  • Replace the sesame seeds with a sprinkling of thinly sliced green onions.
  • Eliminate the sriracha and sesame seeds. Replace the soy sauce with the juice of a lemon, and add 1 tablespoon of chopped, fresh rosemary, the zest of half a lemon, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the honey mixture for a delicious rosemary lemon chicken.
  • Make orange-thyme chicken by eliminating the sriracha, replacing the soy sauce with an equal amount of fresh squeezed orange juice, and adding 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper.

Alternate Chicken Parts and Cooking Methods

  • Use thighs, breasts, or wings in place of the drumsticks. Thighs take about an hour. Breasts take about 30 to 45 minutes. Wings take about 30 minutes.
  • Cook all ingredients together in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  • Brush the sauce on the legs and grill them on high-heat, occasionally brushing with more sauce, for about 30 to 45 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or so.

Double It Up

This is a delicious weeknight meal that is easy to prepare because it takes so little active time. However, sometimes making enough for leftovers saves you another weeknight's worth of work, because doubling the recipe provides a second dinner or tomorrow's lunches. Feel free to double the recipe to save yourself time and effort in the kitchen.

Easy Honey Chicken Recipe