Sticky Chicken is an easy Asian-inspired recipe with tender chicken thighs coated in a sticky sweet sauce with a slightly spicy gochujang kick. Made using only one pan, it’s a great dinner option served alongside rice or noodles. 

Looking for more Asian-inspired recipes? Try my Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings or Honey Chicken next.

Sticky chicken thighs on a bed of white rice on a large white platter.

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Why We Love This Recipe

  • Only 20 Minutes of Active Time – I love that this recipe requires very little active prep time.
  • One Pan Only – For easy clean up, cook up the sticky sauce in the same pan that you cook the chicken.
  • Sweet and Spicy Sauce – The sauce is the perfect balance of sweet from the brown sugar but with a little kick thanks to the Korean chili paste, gochujang.

Authentic Sticky Chicken is made with dark meat marinated in a sugary sauce. The chicken is simmered and basted in the sauce, creating a sticky sauce as it caramelizes.

This recipe is for a pan-fried version, however you can also cook your chicken in the oven, grill or air fryer and baste the sauce often. Reducing the sauce on the stovetop will make the thickest, stickiest sauce!

Ingredients You’ll Need

The sweet and sticky sauce needs only 5 ingredients for an easy recipe.

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs – Using thighs gives you super moist and tender results vs using chicken breasts.
  • Brown Sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar. When measuring, make sure to really pack it into the measuring cup to get an accurate measurement.
  • Soy Sauce – I like to use lower sodium soy sauce in most recipes.
  • Minced Garlic – Freshly minced is best, but you can also use the minced garlic in a jar if you’re in a pinch.
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Gochujang  – Gochujang is a Korean chili paste. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand for many Asian-inspired recipes. If you can’t find it, you can use a combo of tomato paste/ketchup and a pinch of red pepper flakes but Gochujang is worth the buy! 
  • Green Onions – Also called scallions.  You’ll use both the white parts and green parts in different steps of the recipe.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is for cooking the chicken so you can swap in another cooking oil like canola oil or avocado oil.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds

How To Make Sticky Chicken

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

You only need one large skillet to cook this recipe and the actual prep/cooking time is well under 30 minutes!

A dark sauce in a small white bowl with a whisk.

Mix Marinade – Whisk together the sauce ingredients and the whites of the green onion in a small bowl. 

Uncooked chicken thighs in a white bowl with a dark liquid.

Marinate Chicken – Add the chicken thighs with some of the marinade to a shallow dish. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and save the rest of the marinade for cooking.

Cooked chicken thighs in a white skillet.

Cook Chicken – Heat up the oil in a large pan then add the chicken to the hot pan (let any excess marinade drip off the chicken before adding to the pan). Cook on one side to form a golden crust then flip and cook until the chicken is fully cooked.

Cook Sauce – Remove the cooked chicken thighs to a plate and to the same pan add the rest of the reserved sauce (not the marinade that the raw chicken was in). Deglaze the pan by using a wooden spatula to scrape any bits off the bottom then let the sauce bubble for a few minutes until thick.

Cooked chicken thighs in a dark brown sauce in a white skillet.

Finish Chicken – Return the cooked chicken thighs to the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds and remaining green onions and enjoy!

I love to keep it simple and serve white or brown rice, coconut rice, or even egg fried rice. It’s great with chow mein or pan fried noodles, too. Add a veggie like this easy sauteed broccoli or Frozen Vegetables.

Storage

Leftover chicken and sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can be reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove – you can add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce, if needed.

Expert Tips

  • Spoon Test for Sauce Thickness – When you’re thickening the sauce by cooking it in the pan, an easy way to tell if it’s thickened is to drag the spoon across the pan and part the sauce. It should leave a path and not immediately fill back in.
  • Discard Marinade – It’s important to discard the used marinade as it could contain harmful bacteria left behind by the raw chicken.
  • Coconut Aminos vs Soy Sauce – You can swap in coconut aminos for the soy sauce if you have a soy allergy.
  • Marinating Time – I recommend 30 minutes minimum marinating time but an hour is ideal. It doesn’t take a ton of time because the marinade is nice and thick. Our goal with this is more about flavoring the meat than tenderizing it with acidity. The goal is that nice, thick sauce.
  • Avoid Scorching – Because the chicken is marinated in a high-sugar sauce, it is normal to get brown or black bits while cooking the chicken. To reduce this, make sure the marinade is dripped off the chicken before adding it to the pan, and use lots of olive oil before adding the chicken. 
  • Sauce not thickening? If the sauce is not thickening enough, you can remove the chicken and boil the sauce until you can drag a spoon across the pan and part the sauce. 
Sticked sauce coated chicken thighs on a bed of white rice with a wood spoon pouring sauce over them.

Try These Asian-Inspired Chicken Recipes Next

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang or chili paste
  • 2 green onions sliced (white parts and green parts divided)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Place chicken thighs in a bowl or shallow dish and set aside.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, rice vinegar, Gochujang and white parts of the green onion. (Reserve green tops for later)

  • Pour ½ cup over the chicken thighs, coating all sides of the chicken. Cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the rest of the sauce for cooking.

  • When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove chicken thighs from marinade, allowing access sauce to drip off and add to the hot pan.

  • Cook chicken thighs, presentation side down for 5 minutes allowing a golden crust to form. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

  • Add reserved sauce to the skillet and use a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan. Cook the sauce for about 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly.

  • Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over chicken until desired thickness is reached and the chicken is sticky and coated.

  • Top the chicken with sesame seeds and green onion tops and serve over rice.

Calories: 513kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 37gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 1789mgPotassium: 601mgFiber: 1gSugar: 54gVitamin A: 109IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 3mg



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