Easy, sweet and spicy Honey Sriracha Chicken is a meal all by itself or fabulous in salads, sandwiches, wraps tacos etc.!
This simple marinate-and-cook Honey Sriracha Chicken dinner is destined to become a year-round favorite. It’s juicy, savory, sweet, spicy, tangy and bursting with layers of flavor that will have everyone coming back for more. Best of all, it’s SO EASY with a tantalizing marinade that does all the work! Simply marinate the chicken and then cook it on the grill, stove or in the oven (all instructions included). The marinade is made with simple pantry friendly ingredients I can pretty much guarantee you have stocked: olive oil, honey, sriracha, soy sauce, Dijon, garlic and seasonings. You can customize the heat of the Honey Sriracha Chicken by using more or less sriracha so everyone wins. This Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe is excellent for meal prep, make ahead lunch/dinners, entertaining and leftovers – you will love having this chicken on hand!
EASY CHICKEN RECIPE
I love marinating chicken! Marinades are the easiest way to create, tender, juicy, flavor bursting chicken with crazy little prep – and crazy little cleanup if you choose to grill your chicken. Some of my favorite chicken marinade recipes include Greek Chicken, Chili Lime Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Chipotle Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Lemon Herb Chicken, Korean Chicken and now introducing Honey Sriracha Chicken!
You will LOVE this Honey Sriracha Chicken with its intoxicating sweet and spicy notes and bold complex gusto – no one note chicken here! More reasons to love this easy chicken recipe:
- Flavor. This Honey Sriracha Chicken boasts dynamic punches of flavor that somehow taste new with every bite. It’s sweet from the honey, spicy from the sriracha, tangy from the lime juice, grounded by the soy and punched up with flavor from the rainbow of spices.
- Easy. Marinate the chicken and cook – couldn’t be any simpler!
- Pantry friendly. This Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients so you can make it any time.
- Versatile. This is one of my favorite aspects of this Honey Sriracha Chicken. You can serve the marinated chicken plain with whatever sides you desire or serve as wraps, bowls, tacos, quesadillas, salads, etc. and it will always leave you completely satisfied. I will often make a big batch of this easy chicken recipe and serve it countless ways throughout the week. And if chicken isn’t your thing, feel free to swap in shrimp, pork or beef.
- Meal prep or make ahead. You can cook the chicken ahead of time then divide it between containers for meal prep along with whatever sides you wish or have everything ready to go at lunch or dinner time.
- Custom heat. Add more or less sriracha to control the level of heat.
- Easy to double. You can double or triple the recipe for entertaining, for purposeful leftovers or to freeze.
- Freezer friendly. The marinated chicken is freezer friendly for an easy make ahead dinner.
What is sriracha?
Sriracha is a popular type of hot sauce all across the world. “Sriracha” is considered a general term for hot sauce made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. So, you might say sriracha is a hot sauce but not all hot sauces are sriracha.
For example, sriracha is spicy with a sweet garlic flavoring, whereas Tabasco is spicy with a tangy vinegar flavoring. Their flavor profiles are wildly different and should not be used interchangeable when called for in a recipe.
Where Can I buy Sriracha?
In the US, sriracha is often associated with a specific hot sauce made by Huy Fong Foods with the rooster on the bottle, thus earning the name “rooster sauce.” However, there are many generic brands available. Sriracha is so wildly popular that you can purchase it at any grocery store or on amazon.
How spicy is this chicken recipe?
This Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe is supposed to have a kick. The heat is needed to balance the sweetness of the honey. That being said, you can control the heat by adding more or less sriracha to the marinade. I would say most people fall in between the range of using 2-3 tablespoons of sriracha. I personally use 3 tablespoons because I love heat but still want to taste my food. Here’s the breakdown:
- 1 tablespoon: a little kick – only recommended if you’re very sensitive to heat
- 2 tablespoons: a nice kick but not spicy enough for the spice lover
- 3 tablespoons: is on the higher end of moderately spicy
- 4 tablespoons: hot; only recommended for those who LOVE spicy food
Honey Sriracha Chicken Ingredients
- Sriracha: please don’t substitute with another hot sauce. Sriracha is less vinegary than most hot sauces which can impact the end result.
- Honey: everyday mild clover honey will do the trick.
- Lime juice: fresh is best but you can also use bottled.
- Soy sauce: use less sodium soy sauce otherwise skip the salt in the recipe.
- Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Seasonings: smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic or garlic powder, ground ginger, ground coriander and salt create a rainbow of flavor to balance the sweet heat.
WHAT CUT OF CHICKEN IS BEST?
You can use boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts in this Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe, you will just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. That being said, I recommend boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they cook more quickly than chicken breasts. This is an important factor because honey likes to char – so the less cooking time, the better. Chicken thighs are also scrumptious because their dark meat translates into juicier, more tender, richer tasting chicken. Chicken thighs are also hard to overcook and stay tender for days even when reheated.
CAN I USE CHICKEN BREASTS?
You can still use chicken breasts in this Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe but you will need to use thin chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness before marinating OR if your chicken breasts are larger, slice them through the equator to create thin fillets. Thin chicken breasts will ensure your chicken is cooked through before it becomes overly charred on the outside due to the honey.
Also note, you don’t want to overcook chicken breasts or they won’t be as juicy. Chicken breasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 10 degrees less than the ideal 175 degrees F for chicken thighs.
HOW TO MAKE HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN
This Honey Sriracha Chicken delivers a dynamic punch of flavor with minimal effort! Here’s how to make it:
STEP 1: POUND CHICKEN TO AN EVEN THICKNESS
- Pounding the chicken ensures the chicken cooks evenly and also breaks down the fibers and tenderizes the chicken.
- Place chicken in between two pieces of plastic wrap or I like to place my chicken in a large freezer size bag.
- If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use the side of a can to pound the chicken.
STEP 2: MAKE MARINADE
- The best chicken always starts with some sort of marinade or wet rub. It not only tenderizes the chicken but infuses it with tons of flavor – no more boring chicken!
- Bonus, by “marinating” the chicken, all the work to create a flavorful bite is already done for you when it’s time to eat – all you have to do is cook the Honey Sriracha Chicken and devour!
- To make the marinade, whisk together the honey, sriracha, lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil and seasonings in a large bowl or freezer bag. Remove 1/4 cup to use later to baste the chicken.
STEP 2: HOW LONG TO MARINATE HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN?
- Honey Sriracha Chicken is best if marinated for the full 8 hours for optimal flavor but it is still tasty if marinated for less.
- You don’t want to marinate it much longer than 8 hours because the acid in the lime juice can actually start to “cook” the chicken making it dense and tough.
How to cook Honey Sriracha Chicken
You can cook Honey Sriracha Chicken on the grill, in the oven or on the stove. I would use caution if cooking on the stove as the honey likes to quickly char. It is best to use in indoor grill pan for the stove.
HOW TO COOK HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN ON THE GRILL
- Generously grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375 degrees F.
- Grill chicken, covered for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 175 degrees F.)
- Bush chicken with reserved marinade and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
HOW TO COOK HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN IN THE OVEN
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Add chicken thighs to the baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Bush chicken with reserved marinade and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
HOW TO COOK HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN ON THE STOVE
- Grease an indoor grill pan or heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Working in batches, remove chicken from marinade and let excess marinade drip off. Add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side.
- Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook approximately 3-5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate/cutting board. Bush chicken with reserved marinade and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY CHICKEN THIGHS ARE DONE?
Your Honey Sriracha Chicken is done when your chicken thighs register 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Note this is higher than the 165 degrees required for chicken breasts because dark chicken meat contains higher amounts of connective tissue. Cooking dark meat to only 165 F will yield chewy, rubbery meat, but cooking it to 175 F, will yield tender, juicy meat as the collagen melts and turns to gelatin.
I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer otherwise there is no accurate way to check and see when your chicken is cooked without slicing it open and loosing valuable juices.
TIPS FOR MAKING HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN
This Honey Sriracha Chicken recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are some tips and tricks to guarantee he perfect chicken every time:
- Pound chicken to an even thickness. Whether you use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this Honey Sriracha Chicken, you will want to pound the chicken to an even thickness. Pounding chicken to an even thickens not only helps tenderize the chicken but ensures the chicken cooks evenly. Even cooking eliminates dryness caused from overcooking the chicken in order to make sure the thickest part is cooked at the peril of the thinnest.
- Use chicken thighs. For the juiciest, most flavorful chicken without becoming overly charred, use chicken thighs. If you choose chicken breasts, use fillets.
- Marinate chicken long enough. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will become but don’t marinate longer than 8 hours.
- Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking. You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before cooking (and larger cuts even longer). The logic is that room temperature chicken will cook faster if started at a higher temperature which means the outside is less likely to overcook and less time for moisture to be released while cooking. It also cooks more evenly and you aren’t left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior.
- Clean grill before cooking. You should clean your grill grates before and after grilling with a wire grill brush to remove any residue. This will help create beautiful grill marks and help prevent the chicken from sticking which is especially important in this recipe due to the honey.
- Grease grill or pan very well. The honey in the marinade makes the chicken prone to sticking, so make sure you grease your grill or pan very well. If using a grill pan, use paper towels or a brush to coat it in oil; if using a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil before adding chicken. For the grill, generously grease the CLEAN grill with a wad of oiled paper towels using tongs. NEVER use spray oils once the grill is on.
- Don’t add chicken until grill is hot. Heat up the grill with the lid closed so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes. Don’t add the chicken until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as nicely.
- Grill at medium heat. Note, that “hot” does not mean “high.” This Honey Sriracha Chicken is grilled over medium otherwise the outside will burn due to the honey before the inside is done.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Always use a meat thermometer so you don’t undercook your chicken. A meat thermometer means perfectly cooked, tender, juicy chicken ever time.
- Let chicken rest. After chicken is finished cooking, transfer it to a cutting board and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing so it has time to reabsorb the juices that have pushed towards the outside of the chicken. If you cut into the chicken immediately after cooking, valuable, moisture-giving juices will run out.
- Customize heat. You can customize the heat of the Honey Sriracha Chicken by adding more or less sriracha.
- Get creative! Serve this chicken plain or in grain bowls, salads, pasta salad, sandwiches, even pizza!
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH THIS CHICKEN RECIPE?
We love Honey Sriracha Chicken with a neutral side such as rice or potatoes because it is so exploding with flavor, along with a side of veggies or a salad and sweet fruit. Here are some more ideas:
- Grains. Serve Honey Sriracha Chicken over plain white rice, brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice to let the flavors truly shine. It’s also tasty with Cilantro Lime Rice, Pineapple Rice or Red Beans and Rice.
- Potatoes. Serve Honey Sriracha Chicken over mashed potatoes, polenta, grits or alongside Smashed Potatoes, Roasted Red Potatoes, Pesto Mashed Potatoes, Twice Baked Potatoes, Scalloped Potatoes or Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
- Salad. Honey Sriracha Chicken is tasty served alongside salad or tossed right into salad. We love it with Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch, Corn Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Strawberry Broccoli Salad, Green Bean Salad. Strawberry Salad, or Beet Salad.
- Fruit. Add a side of simple fruit such as pineapple or mangos. I personally LOVE pineapple with this Honey Sriracha Chicken – the sweet, tangy pineapple beautifully compliments the spicy heat. You can go as simple as plain pineapple, grilled pineapple or my Caramelized Grilled Pineapple is sensation. You can also serve this chicken with a symphony fruit salads such as Pina Colada Fruit Salad, Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Vinaigrette or Tropical Fruit Salad.
- Veggies: Roasted, steamed, or stir-fried veggies are fantastic with Honey Sriracha Chicken. Some of my favorites include Grilled Corn on the Cob, Baked Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower, Sautéed Lemon Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Butternut Squash.
- Stir Fry Veggies. You can stir fry any veggies your heart desires from broccoli, to bell peppers, to mushrooms, to carrots, etc.
HOW TO SERVE HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN?
The flavor profile of Honey Sriracha Chicken reminds me of Honey Buffalo Chicken in that it isn’t Asian or Mexican – it’s just flavorful. This means it’s fabulous in its simplicity or magical in its versatility and can be served countless ways. Here are just a few ideas:
- Kabobs: instead of grilling the chicken whole, chop it into chunks and skewer along with pineapple, bell peppers and onions.
- Wraps: serve this chicken in a flatbread with lettuce, veggies and any desired toppings.
- Lettuce wraps: go low carb and load bib lettuce leaves with Honey Sriracha Chicken and veggies and top with avocado crema.
- Tacos: add Honey Sriracha Chicken to a charred tortilla along with black or pinto beans, and desired toppings such as lettuce, cilantro, guacamole, cotija cheese, and sour cream. I particularly love it with mango salsa, pineapple salsa or corn salsa.
- Tostadas: layer a tostada with refried beans or avocado mash, top with chicken, lettuce or slaw, cilantro, avocados, sour cream, cotija cheese or queso fresco etc.
- Grain Bowls: add your favorite grains to a bowl and pile with Honey Sriracha Chicken and your favorite veggies. The veggies can be roasted/cooked or raw such as fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts etc. I also like to add fresh mangos or pineapple.
- Burrito Bowls: layer cilantro lime rice with cheese, black beans or pinto beans, Honey Sriracha Chicken, chopped lettuce, and your favorite toppings including crushed tortilla chips and either sour cream/Greek yogurt or I highly recommend either Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
- Salad: pick your favorite greens and load with Honey Sriracha Chicken and your favorite veggies such as sweet grilled corn and peppers. Throw in some nuts for crunch and some fruit for sweetness. Serve with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
- Stir fry: stir fry the chicken in a hot skillet, remove once cooked then stir fry veggies with some o f the reserved marine. Combine everything tougher and serve over rice or spaghetti squash.
- Mac and cheese: stir Honey Sriracha Chicken into your favorite mac and cheese recipe or other pasta– and drool.
- Soups: add to simple Ramen or any of your favorite soups.
- Sandwiches: layer your favorite bread with chicken and any of your favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, guacamole, bacon and/or pineapple.
- Baked Potatoes: poke holes in washed, dried potatoes. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and the skin is crispy. Slice open the potatoes, top with Honey Sriracha Chicken and cheese then place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Top with sour cream, green onions, etc.
- Burritos: layer a burrito size tortilla with plain rice, cilantro lime rice or Mexican Rice, black or pinto beans, cheese, Honey Sriracha Chicken, sour cream, guacamole and lettuce. Serve with additional sour cream and either avocado salsa, pico de gallo or homemade salsa.
- Quesadillas: sandwich chicken, Monterrey Jack Cheese, black beans and cilantro in between two flour tortillas and toast in a skillet to golden, cheesy perfection. Serve with pineapple salsa or mango salsa, pico de gallo, avocado crema, or sour cream.
- Nachos: pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake. Top with Honey Sriracha Chicken, avocado corn salsa and toppings such as jalapenos, sour cream, hot sauce etc.
- Fajitas: add some reserved marinade to a bowl of quartered bell peppers and onions and grill alongside the chicken then slice. Pile chicken, peppers/onions in a tortilla and top with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, lime juice and cilantro.
HOW LONG WILL THIS CHICKEN RECIPE LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
Cooked Honey Sriracha Chicken can stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days and should be frozen beyond that.
CAN I FREEZE HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN?
Yes! You can freeze the uncooked marinating chicken or cooked chicken.
- Freeze chicken in marinade. Add the chicken to the marinade ingredients and freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use, the chicken will marinate as you defrost the chicken in the refrigerator.
- Freeze chicken. You can also freeze cooked Honey Sriracha Chicken for easy meal prep. After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
HOW TO REHEAT HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN
- From frozen: thaw cooked chicken in the refrigerator overnight. You can also defrost in the microwave but take care to defrost slowly so your chicken doesn’t become rubbery. Use any of the below methods to reheat.
- Skillet: reheat in a skillet over medium low heat until warmed through, adding a splash of water for added moisture.
- Microwave: reheat in the microwave at 30 second intervals, taking care not to overcook.
- Oven: reheat covered in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F or just until warmed through.
HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN
- Instant-read thermometer: you need an instant-read thermometer for the juiciest chicken, steak and pork AND for perfectly fried everything! It allows you to cook any protein to the perfect temperature every time and allows you to heat oil to the correct temperature for frying.
- Grill brush: is essential for keeping your grill clean! This grill brush with scrapers cleans stubborn stains deeply and efficiently.
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