Looking for a flavorful chicken recipe the whole family will love? Serve up this spicy honey chicken recipe for dinner with its spicy and sweet honey glaze for a meal that truly delivers! Prepared using fresh, simple ingredients and ready in less than 20 minutes.
This quick and easy dinner recipe cooks up juicy chicken thighs or breasts with layers of flavor. This spicy chicken recipe was inspired by my Thai grilled chicken recipe here on the site.
😊 Why this recipe works
- A quick and easy recipe that’s perfect for busy weeknights. The best chicken recipe made with simple ingredients and a quick-cooking method that any level cook can master.
- If you like spicy flavors, then you are going to love this chicken recipe made with chicken cooked in a hot honey soy flavored sauce. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.
🛒 Ingredient notes
This chicken with a sweet and spicy sticky sauce is made with simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store.
- Boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs - This recipe works with either type of chicken as long as they are skinless and boneless.
- Flour - A light dusting of flour on the chicken pieces adds a light breading to the chicken.
- Butter - Provides the fat to cook the chicken and serves as the base for the sauce.
- Garlic - Use freshly minced for best flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar - Adds a bit of acid to the chicken marinade.
- Soy sauce or coconut aminos - Either one will work.
- Honey - A nice contrast to the heat of the chili flakes.
- Crushed red pepper flakes or seeds - Gives the chicken its spicy flavor, adjust the amount of spice to your preferred heat level, or even leave it out.
See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities of each ingredient.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Follow along to see how easy it is to make this spicy honey chicken recipe in just a few simple steps.
- To start making spicy honey chicken use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut the boneless chicken meat into horizontal strips that are 2 inches wide. Lightly sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and black pepper.
2. Place the flour in a shallow pie pan or bowl. Dip the pieces of chicken in the flour to cover both sides of the chicken. Shake off excess flour and set aside.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Flip chicken over and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. You want the chicken to be a golden brown color, so if the chicken starts to brown too much turn your heat down a bit.
5. Move the chicken over in the pan to make space. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the open space. When butter is melted, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
6. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, red crushed chili flakes, and honey to the pan. Stir to combine ingredients, spooning the honey mixture over chicken. Bring sauce to a low simmer for about 2 minutes.
Note* If the sauce is too thick add a tablespoon of water.
Transfer chicken pieces to a serving platter and spoon the sweet and hot sauce over top of the chicken.
⭐ Hint: To quickly cut the chicken into strips use Heavy Duty Kitchen Chicken Shears instead of a knife. I particularly like these kitchen shears with no-slip handles for safety.
Here are a couple of easy substitutions for ingredients in case you don't have everything on hand.
- Gluten-free: You can easily make spicy honey chicken suitable for gluten-free diets by using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and by replacing the flour with a gluten-free alternative such as rice flour or a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour.
- Chicken breast or thigh: This recipe works great with either one though the boneless, skinless chicken thighs generally retain more moisture in the meat better than chicken breast. You can also make this recipe with boneless pork cutlets.
- Red chile flakes: Sriracha, Tabasco, chipotle chili powder, red chile powder, and spicy paprika can all be used in place of the red chile flakes.
If you're looking to change up this spicy honey chicken recipe, here are a couple of ideas for what works best.
- Make it vegetarian - Swap out the chicken for strips of tofu or eggplant and follow the same cooking method to prepare it as the chicken.
- Extra spicy - Make it extra spicy by serving up some diced chilies, hot sauce, or red chile flakes on the side.
💭 Tips for making the recipe
- Buy boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs to save time in preparing this spicy honey chicken.
- Don’t overcook the chicken or let it get too brown in the pan. Keep an eye on it and reduce the heat if the pan gets too hot.
- Adjust the spiciness of the dish to your liking. If you have kids in the house, you might want to leave out the chili flakes and serve them up on the side.
- It’s important to make sure your meat pieces are all about the same size and thickness.
- For best results, heat leftovers in a shallow oven-safe dish with a cover for 12-15 minutes in a 350-degree oven. It might be necessary to add a few tablespoons of water to the sauce to thin it out also.
Over time you will be more easily able to identify whether or not the chicken is completely cooked by touch or eye. But the best way to know for sure is to use a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the chicken. When the internal temperature is 165-degrees F the chicken is cooked all the way through.
You can keep it simple with a simple white or brown rice when making this chicken recipe or also serve up one of my favorites, Instant Pot Coconut Rice. It’s easy to make and the sweet flavor of the rice dish pairs perfectly with the chicken. Other types of rice include a quick rice stir fry or rice pilaf.
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Spicy Honey Chicken Recipe
- 1 lb chicken boneless breast meat or thigh
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper seeds optional
- Cut boneless chicken meat into horizontal strips that are 2 inches wide
- Sprinkle chicken tenders with salt and pepper
- Place flour in a shallow pie pan. Dredge chicken in flour on both sides of the tenders. Shake off excess flour.
- Place 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet. Heat until melted over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minuets. Flip chicken over and cook for another 3 minutes. If the chicken starts to brown to much turn your heat down a bit.
- Move chicken over in the pan to make space. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter is melted, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add vinegar, soy sauce, red crushed chili flakes, and honey. Stir to combine ingredients, spooning sauce over chicken. Bring sauce to a low simmer for about 2 minutes. If the sauce is too thick add a tablespoon of water.
- Remove from heat and place chicken on a serving platter. Spoon sauce over top of chicken.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in 2020, but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, and tips, in January of 2022.