Craving Chinese takeout, but want a home cooked meal? Try our sticky Asian chicken thighs. The homemade sticky and sweet sauce is finger lickin' good and is so simple and quick to make!
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The ingredients for our sticky Asian chicken thighs are easy to find in the Asian section of your local grocery store. Let's talk about some of the key ingredients.
- Meat: We used 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you could substitute chicken breast or drumsticks.
- Sweeter: We used brown sugar, but honey could also be a substitute.
- Spices: We used sesame seeds, salt, black pepper, and freshly grated ginger root. If you like it spicy, add dried red chili peppers.
- Aromatics: We used mined garlic and green onions.
- Liquids: We used Hoisin sauce, Thai-style sweet chili sauce, and low sodium soy sauce.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for our sticky Asian chicken thighs.
- Whisk together the Asian sticky sauce ingredients.
- Pat dry the boneless skinless thighs. Cut slits in the meat with a sharp knife to help it absorb the Asian sticky sauce.
3. If you want, you can sprinkle a little salt and pepper on both sides while the oil heats up. Once the oil is shimmering, add the thighs smooth side down. Sear the meat for 7 to 8 minutes on one side.
4. When it is the color you want, turn the thighs over with tongs and cook until it has an internal temperature of 165°F with a meat thermometer. This should take about 7 to 8 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the meat and set aside on a plate and tent with foil.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the fat into a small bowl. Scrap the little bits of cooked meat off the pan with a metal spatula.
Wipe the skillet with a thick piece of paper towel to remove most of the fat. Be careful not to burn yourself, as the skillet will still be hot.
6. Pour the sticky Asian sauce into the skillet and turn the heat to medium high. Cover for one minute to bring it to a boil then stir constantly until it is the desired thickness, roughly two minutes.
7. Add the cooked thighs back into the skillet and spoon the sticky sauce over each piece.
8. Garnish the sticky Asian chicken thighs with a sprinkle sesame seeds. As a finishing touch, sprinkle on sliced green onion to add color and crunch. Serve hot.
This one pan weeknight meal is family friendly, and can be on the table in less than 45 minutes. What's stopping you from making our sticky Asian chicken thighs tonight?
Pat the thighs dry with paper towel. Heat oil or butter in a pan until it shimmers.
Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. When the meat hits the hot pan, the Maillard reaction occurs.
Lower the heat to prevent oil splatters. Turn the meat over when a crust has formed. Cook until an inserted meat thermometer reads 165°F, or juices run clear when poked with a knife.
It is one of the most important flavor-producing chemical reactions in cooking.
It occurs when the surface temperature is more than 300°F. It's a chemical reaction that happens when heat changes the amino acids (proteins) and sugar (carbs) in a food like meat.
It's different from caramelization because caramelization only involves sugars (carbs). It produces a color change to the food (browning) and hundreds of flavor compounds which will add an intense savory flavor.
For a serving size of one skinless chicken thigh, this dish contains 291 calories with 16.7g of carbs. For more nutritional information, scroll past the recipe card.
If you are looking for other sides to round out your meal. We suggest jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, rice noodles, or Asian coleslaw. For a vegetable side, try bok choy, steamed broccoli, or snow peas.
- Make-Ahead: You can whisk up the sauce and prep the chicken.
- Leftovers: Store any leftovers of our sticky Asian chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freeze: Allow to cool and place in a freezer friendly container for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat: Any leftovers can be warmed up in a skillet with sesame oil over medium heat until heated through.
- Don't have chicken thighs? Try our sticky Asian sauce on cubed chicken or drumsticks.
- Make sure you pat the thighs dry, as browning won't happen until the surface moisture evaporates.
- Like sauce on your rice? Double the sauce recipe, and you'll have plenty.
- Lower the heat when searing the meat to reduce oil splatters.
- If you just want to make the sticky Asian sauce, double it and store in the fridge in an airtight container like a mason jar.
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Sticky Asian Chicken Thighs
For the Chicken
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, 5 pieces
- sprinkle of salt and pepper, optional
For the Sauce
For the Garnish
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Blot the meat with paper towel and pierce them with the tip of a sharp knife. This helps the sauce absorb into the meat, and speeds up the cooking process.
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, place the thighs in the skillet smooth side down. Be careful to avoid overcrowding. Sear the meat for 7 ½ minutes each side, until the meat is crispy, golden, and has an internal temperature of 165°F on a meat thermometer. After a couple minutes of cooking, turn the heat down to medium to prevent over-browning.
- Remove the meat from the skillet and place on a large plate. Drain the fat and scrape off any browned bits from the skillet, then use a paper towel to wipe out the extra fat.
- Whisk the sauce ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the skillet and set over medium high heat. Cover and bring the sauce to a boil, 1-2 minutes. Uncover and lower the heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is the desired thickness, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the thighs back into the skillet one piece at a time and coat the meat with the sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Serve hot over rice.
- If you want extra sauce for the rice or for leftover chicken, double the sauce recipe. Leftover chicken will need additional sauce, since the meat soaks up the liquid as it sits.
- Try our sticky Asian sauce on cubed chicken or drumsticks if there isn't any thighs in your freezer.
- Browning won't happen until the surface moisture evaporates, so make sure to pat the meat dry.
- Reduce oil splatters by lowering the heat when searing the meat.
- Make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge in an airtight container like a mason jar.
Our Asian sticky chicken thighs recipe was originally posted on February 9, 2019. It was republished with resized photos and new content on June 10, 2022.