My favorite thing to do with a recipe is to pare it down as far as possible while maintaining big flavor. I’ve made a lot of Asian inspired marinades and glazes over the years, but this time I took my marinade down to the bare bones, and guess what? I think it’s my favorite one by far. You just can’t beat simple. So, if you’re new to cooking, this Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken is probably a good recipe to start with because it’s so damn simple and I promise you’ll impress yourself with the flavor. ;)
This super simple marinade can be used on chicken breast or thighs, but I prefer thighs because they’re usually already in small, manageable, and quick cooking pieces that stay juicy and tender. If you’re using chicken breasts, I suggest cutting them into smaller pieces or pounding them thin to both increase chicken to marinade contact and to make sure they cook quickly.
Once marinated you can cook you chicken in a skillet or on a grill (I almost used my George Foreman, but decided a skillet made for better pictures #foodbloggerlife). A grill probably gives you better browned edges and caramelized sugars, but a skillet is just SO easy.
And I like easy.
Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken
Pictured here with jasmine rice and a drizzle of sriracha!
Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken
- 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.16
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce $0.26
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated $0.05
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.75 lbs total) $7.10
- 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.02
- 2 green onions $0.17
- 1 tsp sesame seeds $0.07
- Mince the garlic and grate the ginger using a fine holed cheese grater or box grater. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill), and cooking oil. Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish or a gallon size zip lock bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day (refrigerated).
- When ready to cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium flame. Once hot, add 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add half of the chicken pieces and let cook until well browned on each side and cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken to a clean plate, then repeat with the second batch.
- Once all the chicken has been removed from the skillet, pour the leftover marinade into the skillet and allow it to come up to a boil. Whisk the marinade as it boils to dissolve any browned bits from the skillet. Let it continue to boil until it reduces to a thick glaze*. Turn the heat off, add the cooked chicken back to the skillet, and dredge it in the thick glaze. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
*It is safe to cook used marinades as long as they come to a full boil, according to the FDA food safety guidelines. This thoroughly cooks the marinade, just like the raw chicken that was in it, to kill bacteria. The used marinade should be cooked immediately and should not be stored uncooked for later use. If concerned, double the marinade and use half for the chicken and reduce the other half in a small sauce pan before brushing it onto the chicken.
Pictured with jasmine rice and Cucumber Mango Salad.
Step by Step Photos
To prepare the awesomely easy ginger soy marinade, mince two cloves of garlic and grate about 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (more information on how to buy and use ginger can be found here). Combine the garlic and ginger with 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp cooking oil, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill).
Place eight boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a shallow container or gallon size zip lock bag and pour the marinade over top. Turn the thighs to coat in the marinade, then cover and marinate (refrigerated) the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to one day.
When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over a medium flame. Once hot, add 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil and tilt the skillet to swirl the oil over the surface. Add half of the chicken thighs and cook on each side until well browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet onto a clean plate, then repeat with the second batch of chicken.
The reason the marinade is not poured in WITH the chicken and the chicken is cooked in two separate batches is because too much moisture in the skillet will prevent those nice browned edges and caramelized sugars. So, work in two batches and cook the marinade separately.
Once the second batch of chicken has been cooked and removed from the skillet, pour in the leftover marinade and let it come to a boil. Whisk the marinade as it boils to dissolve the browned bits from the skillet. Let it continue to boil until it reduces to a thick glaze (this only takes a few minutes because there isn’t much marinade). This cooks the marinade, just like you cooked the chicken, to kill bacteria (it’s no less safe than the actual chicken or the marinade that is on the surface of the chicken when it cooks). FDA foodsafety guidelines for marinades. If this still makes you uncomfortable, you can skip this extra glaze (the chicken will still be nice and sticky), or double the amount of marinade in the beginning and only use half on the chicken. You can cook the second “clean” half in a sauce pan until it thickens to a glaze.
Return the cooked chicken to the skillet and dredge it on both sides in the sticky glaze. Top the chicken with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.
I paired my Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken with jasmine rice and Cucumber Mango Salad. The cold and tangy Cucumber Mango Salad was the PERFECT side to this dish (plus I was lucky enough to get mangoes on sale 3/$1 this week!!).