Caramel chicken is an amazing 30-minute meal that you won’t be able to get enough of! The chicken is glazed in the best sweet and tangy Asian sauce and is even picky eater-approved!
Saucy Asian Caramel Chicken Recipe
How do I even begin to describe the amazingness of this meal? The sauce. Oh my goodness. It is a sweet caramelized teriyaki glaze. Not to mention, the chicken is cooked in the skillet to juicy, tenderized perfection. The skillet gave it the perfect golden-brown crust along the outside. This is a one-pot recipe you’ll want to make again and again! My kids are always asking for it, and for good reason! It’s hard to resist something so saucy and bursting with flavor.
But the sauce. OMG the sauce. It thickened up just like you’d get in a restaurant and coated the chicken perfectly. Like caramel! No need for cornstarch in this one, it’s perfectly thick and delicious on its own! It is one of the best sauces that I have made. You guys have to try this recipe. Like right now. The whole family is going to love it! And if you’re needing inspiration for more delicious Asian meals that whip up in minutes, find my full list here!
Everything You Need to Make It
This is my go-to for busy weeknights. (Or when I’m feeling lazy!) It uses so many simple ingredients and is beyond easy to throw together! Trust me, though, with how insanely good this caramel chicken is, no one will ever suspect it took less than 30 minutes to make! You can find more 30-minute meals here. Note: measurements for all of the ingredients below can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Chicken Thighs: I used boneless chicken thighs!
- Vegetable Oil: Used for cooking the chicken in.
- Garlic Cloves: Because what would a saucy dish be without a punch of tasty garlic??
- Water: Adjusts the consistency of the sauce.
- Light Brown Sugar: Don’t be scared about the sugar in the recipe. It isn’t too sweet. The vinegar and soy sauce gives it the perfect balance!
- Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar adds a tasty hint of tangy flavor.
- Chicken Broth: I used low-sodium chicken broth here.
- Soy Sauce: I used reduced-sodium soy sauce here as well to keep things on the healthier side.
- Scallions: Add a pop of flavor and are great for using as garnish!
Let’s Make Caramel Chicken!
Only 5 simple steps are needed to make this saucy caramel chicken! You’re going to love how it turns out. It has so much flavor and tastes better than takeout!
- Sear Chicken: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, season chicken with salt and cook until golden brown on each side. It should be crisp and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Saute Garlic: Add garlic cloves to skillet until golden brown about 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate of chicken.
- Prepare Sauce: Return pot to medium-high heat and carefully pour ½ cup of water scraping down the browned bits. Whisk in the brown sugar until dissolved. Then cook until mixture turns a deep amber color. (About 4 minutes.) Carefully add vinegar and stir to dissolve.
- Add in Remaining Ingredients: Add garlic, broth, and soy sauce. Bring cooking liquid to a boil and whisk occasionally. This takes about 10 minutes. Be patient. The sauce will thicken and glaze the chicken beautifully.
- Serve: Once glaze is ready, turn heat to medium-low and return chicken to the pan until heated through. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions or green onions if desired.
Tips and Variations
This caramel Asian chicken is honestly one of the best saucy dishes I’ve had. It’s so easy and delicious! My family is always over the moon when it’s on the lineup for dinner. Here are a few tips and variations on making it as tasty as possible!
- Check Internal Temperatures: Always make sure that your chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before serving. This is a good indication of when to stop. If you keep cooking past this point, your chicken may become dry.
- Add Spice: Looking for more heat? Feel free to add a tablespoon of chili flakes or sriracha at a time until you reach your desired flavor.
The great thing about dishes like this is that they make amazing leftovers. You can reheat it the next day over a bowl of rice and it will taste just as good!
- In the Refrigerator: Store your caramel chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: For a quick and easy meal, you can reheat your chicken in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through. I also like to reheat over the stove to keep my chicken from getting soggy. Make sure your chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before serving. Enjoy!
- 5 boneless chicken thighs
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 garlic cloves peeled
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 scallions thinly sliced for garnish
In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and cook until golden brown on each side until crisp and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add garlic cloves to skillet until golden brown about 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate of chicken.
Return pot to medium high heat and carefully pour ½ cup of water scraping down the browned bits. Whisk in the brown sugar until dissolved. Then cook until mixture turns a deep amber color. About 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar and stir to dissolve.
Add garlic, broth and soy sauce. Bring cooking liquid to a boil and whisk occasionally. This takes about 10 minutes. Be patient. The sauce will thicken and glaze the chicken beautifully.
Once glaze is ready, turn heat to medium low and return chicken to pan until heated through. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions or green onions if desired.
Recipe updated April 1, 2022
The Recipe Critic