Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

$4.83 recipe / $1.21 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 72 votes
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My Glazed Pork Chops recipe has been viral for several years because it’s ridiculously easy, super tasty, and the sweet and spicy glaze helps keep the pork chops nice and moist. While I’ve often told people that the glaze works just as well on chicken, I had yet to showcase that particular combo on the blog. Until now. And honestly, I might even like these Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs better than the pork chops because they’re inherently even more tender and juicy, which means they reheat well and are absolutely perfect for meal prep. ;)

Glazed Chicken Thighs in a skillet with a pair of tongs.

Can I Make the Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs Less Spicy?

Yep, if you want just a little heat, reduce the cayenne pepper to 1/4 tsp. If you want a completely non-spicy version, leave the cayenne pepper out and swap the regular paprika for smoked paprika to add complexity.

Can I Use Chicken Breast?

Yes, BUT you will need to use boneless breasts and pound the meat out to an even 1/2-inch thickness so they cook quickly. Otherwise the glaze will overcook and burn before your chicken breast cooks through.

Can I Use Bone-In Thighs?

I don’t suggest bone-in thighs for this recipe because they take much longer to cook and a longer cook time will likely cause the glaze to burn. This recipe cooks quick and needs a quick-cooking meat to match.

What to Serve with Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken

These Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs pair well with: Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (shown), Oven Roasted Frozen Broccoli, steamed green beans (shown), roasted or mashed sweet potatoes, or potato salad.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs on a plate with roasted potatoes and green beans.

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Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

4.92 from 72 votes
These Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs are moist, tender, and have huge flavor with very little effort. Perfect for fast weeknight dinners! 
close up of glazed chicken in a skillet with tongs
Servings 4
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). 
  • Place the chicken thighs on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the chicken, coating both sides liberally.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the coated chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and the brown sugar has turned into a deep brown glaze. Serve hot.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 317.58kcalCarbohydrates: 12.55gProtein: 28.65gFat: 18.48gSodium: 483.23mgFiber: 0.2g
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Video

This has seriously become one of my go-to weeknight dinners! It goes so good with EVERYTHING.

How to Make Glazed Chicken Thighs – Step by Step Photos

Sweet and Spicy Glaze Seasoning ingredients in a bowl

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). 

Chicken Thighs coated with Sweet and Spicy Glaze Seasoning

Pat 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the chicken, coating both sides liberally.

Chicken Thighs cooking in a hot skillet

Heat a large skillet (large enough to fit all the meat in a single layer) over medium. Once hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked through and the brown sugar has turned into a deep brown glaze.

Finished Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs in the skillet

Cooking time can vary with the side of your chicken thighs, type of cookware, or even the nuances of your range. So, watch the chicken closely, spin the skillet if your burner has hot spots, and make sure the heat isn’t too high or the glaze will burn before the chicken cooks through. 

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs on a plate with rosemary roasted potatoes and steamed green beans.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs – making “meat and potatoes” a little more exciting. ;)

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Comments

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    1. I think you probably could, but two notes. Honey burns easier than brown sugar, so you might want a lower heat and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Also, honey tends to be sweeter than brown sugar, so keep that in mind along with the fact that honey has its own flavor that it will add to the dish. If it works for you let us know!

  1. Absolutely delicious and so easy! I think I need to cut back to 1/4 tsp of the cayenne pepper. A bit too spicy for us using 1/2 tsp. I will be making this again!!! Thank you.

  2. Made these for the first time tonight! Absolutely obsessed. I was short on cayenne/paprika and craving heat, so I added about a half teaspoon of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) to offset the missing spice. 10/10 recommend this recipe!!

  3. I love this but can I make this with skin and bone-in chicken thighs? Skinless, boneless thighs always come out a little tough for me.

    1. You can use bone in for sure! You might just want to check then temp because they tend to take a bit longer to cook. Idk how the glaze would be with the skin though without trying it. I would maybe remove the skin to be safe.

      1. Easy, delish! My go to. Serve with broccoli and jasmine rice from trader joes (frozen, microwavable). Snap your done!

  4. This is one of my fav recipes so easy and super delicious this goes with anything and is full of flavor i am so greatful i came across this recipe thnk you so much