Sticky Tender Asian Chicken Thighs smothered in a sweet and spicy Asian-inspired sauce. Juicy, tender, and loaded with flavor, this easy chicken thighs recipe is ready in less than an hour and is made with pantry staples!
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Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs
Why has it taken me so long to make chicken thighs?! I’ve actually never prepared them before and almost always reach for chicken breasts when at the grocery store. I decided to give them a try and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
The great thing about chicken thighs is that they have a bit more fat than chicken breast which means juicier chicken. They are also harder to dry out than chicken breast making them virtually foolproof. And if you choose bone-in (like me) it adds a lot more flavor.
I brown the chicken in a super hot pan before it goes in the oven. This gives it a nice caramelization and crispiness on the outside. I did end up with some grease in my pan (because of the skin). Drain the oil out of the pan or dab it with a paper towel to get the excess oil out. You can use skinless chicken thighs to combat this. I personally prefer the skin as the crispiness gives this recipe an amazing texture.
The chicken gets coated in a sticky Asian-style sauce. Sweet with a hint of spice. The sauce is made with soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, ginger, and light brown sugar.
This dish comes together in about 45 minutes and most of the ingredients are pantry staples! Perfect for busy families like mine.
Key Ingredients for Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs
- Bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs: I love using bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs in this recipe. The skin gets crispy on the outside and the bone helps it to stay juicy on the inside. This recipe can be made with boneless chicken thighs or breasts. Just shorten the cooking time.
- Ginger: I prefer to use fresh grated ginger however ground ginger can be substituted in a pinch.
- Garlic: I always have to have garlic, and it’s also a key ingredient in Asian cuisine!
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: If you do not have low sodium soy sauce you can substitute regular soy sauce with a little water so it’s not too salty. You can also substitute coconut aminos for a gluten-free version, although you may want to skip the sugar as coconut aminos tend to be naturally sweet!
- Light brown sugar: Adds a nice sweetness to the sauce. Honey can also be substituted.
- Sweet chili sauce: Adds sweetness and tang to the sauce. This sauce can be found in the International Isle in the grocery store.
- Rice wine vinegar: Gives the sauce the perfect amount of acidity. I find rice wine vinegar works best in this recipe. I do not recommend substituting any other kinds of vinegar.
- Sriracha: This is added for a little kick of heat. If you don’t want the spice just omit it.
How to make Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs
Prepare the oven and skillet: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add oil to a large skillet and heat it over high heat.
Season the chicken: Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Cook the chicken: Once the pan is nice and hot add in the chicken skin side down. Cook until the outside is crisp and caramelized, 3-4 minutes on each side.
Mix the stick sauce ingredients: Meanwhile whisk together, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, and garlic.
Add together and bake! Add it to the pan with the chicken and turn off the heat. Place in the oven and cook until the chicken reaches 165 degrees. This takes about 25-30 minutes.
Serve: Serve Sticky Asian Thighs while hot with sesame seeds and parsley for garnish, if desired.
Tips for Success
- Make sure the pan is hot before adding the chicken, skin side down. This is how the skin gets crispy.
- Cook the skin until crispy before adding the sauce. If the skin isn’t crispy, the sauce will keep it soggy, even when it bakes in the oven.
- If you don’t like heat omit the sriracha sauce entirely. This is useful if you have kids that don’t like hot spices. They can still enjoy sticky Asian chicken thighs without the heat!
- If you’d like extra heat add a little more sriracha! You can add a tablespoon or even two without overpowering the other flavors.
- Check the chicken before eating. Sometimes thicker chicken thighs take longer to cook through, so either check it with a meat thermometer (it should read 165°F if they’re cooked through) or cut a little by the bone and see if it’s still pink.
Storage and Reheating Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs
- Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
- To reheat, bake in the oven as before for 20 minutes, or heat in the microwave until hot. The skin may not be as crispy if you reheat the thighs in the microwave.
- Freeze: Store cooked Asian Chicken Thighs in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating as above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?
Yes! Reduce the cooking time as chicken breasts cook quicker, and also over-cook easier. Check the chicken after 20 minutes instead of 25-30. You could also use wings or drumsticks.
I can’t have gluten. What can I use instead of low sodium soy sauce?
Either low sodium gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos are great substitutions if you need these Asian Chicken Thighs to be gluten-free.
Can I use something else instead of sugar?
Honey goes really well with this recipe if you’d rather not use brown sugar!
What Can I serve with Sticky Asian Thighs?
Here are some of my favorite side dishes to go with this recipe:
- The BEST Fried Rice
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- White or brown rice. For a low-carb option try cauliflower rice.
- Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry
- Crunchy Asian Broccoli Slaw
- Japanese Cucumber Salad
- Air Fryer Vegetables
- Steamed vegetables
Here are more delicious chicken recipes to try!
- Easy Chicken Marsala
- The BEST Chicken Parmesan
- Easy Chicken Shawarma
- Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
- Easy One-Pan Bourbon Chicken
- Easy Thai Chicken Satay
Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- sesame seeds for garnish, if desired
- parsley for garnish, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add oil to a large skillet and heat on high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Once the pan is nice and hot add in the chicken skin side down. Cook until the outside is crisp and caramelized, 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Meanwhile whisk together, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar and garlic.
- Add the sauce to the pan with the chicken and turn off the heat. Place in the oven and cook until the chicken reaches 165 degrees. This takes about 25-30 minutes.
- Serve while hot with sesame seeds and parsley for garnish, if desired.