Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

$4.83 recipe / $1.21 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 60 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 60 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 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.12)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4-5 pieces) ($4.49)

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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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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  1. I was a bit skeptical about this one, but it smelled great while cooking and we really loved the flavor. I’ll definitely be making this again. I may even make chicken wings with this glaze!