Caramel Chicken

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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!

Looking for more easy, saucy Asian-inspired meals? Saucy Asian meatballs, garlic steak skewers, and sticky Asian glazed chicken are all must-try recipes that your family will go crazy over!

Caramel chicken garnished with scallions in a white and blue bowl.

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!

  1. 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.
  2. Saute Garlic: Add garlic cloves to skillet until golden brown about 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate of chicken.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Closeup of chicken covered in caramelized Asian sauce.

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.

Storing Leftovers

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!
Caramel chicken served over white rice in a black bowl.

Caramel Chicken

4.50 from 2 votes
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!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Originally posted September 27, 2013
Recipe updated April 1, 2022

Nutrition

Serves: 4

Calories422kcal (21%)Carbohydrates23g (8%)Protein51g (102%)Fat13g (20%)Saturated Fat7g (35%)Cholesterol145mg (48%)Sodium821mg (34%)Potassium995mg (28%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar18g (20%)Vitamin A128IU (3%)Vitamin C6mg (7%)Calcium44mg (4%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Asian American
Keyword caramel chicken, chicken, chicken recipes
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Amazing recipe, the only issue that I have, is that the cooking time to get the glaze to thicken up is nowhere near long enough. The recipe is fantastic, my family loves it, and it cooks amazing every time you just have to cook the glaze for about 45 minutes before it’s done after you add the liquid ingredients. I usually also double the liquid ingredients so I can get more sauce.

  2. I sliced up all the roasted garlic and it was delicious. Removed the ginger though. I need to work on the thickening part but flavor was nice! Added air fried broccoli for some veggies. Thanks

  3. 4 stars
    The taste is amazing, but definitely doesn’t thicken at all. I followed instructions and went way longer than the 10 minutes. I doubled the sauce and probably didn’t need to. Hopefully it tastes amazing over my rice.

  4. It’s a bit watery and needs a bunch of time to cook down. I would suggest ditching the water and only doing the broth during the water step.

  5. I grated hte ginger and minced a lot of garlic and just left it in it was very good like that. Used thighs instead and baked them in the oven instead of in the skillet. It turned out very good! Served with baby garlic potatoes and a salad with homemade dressing.

  6. Well I cooked this for the first time today. I thought that the chicken was quite good but the rich black sauce made the dish…well just a bit too much. I would like to discard the sauce and serve something to compliment the dish and also add some additional colour.
    Any ideas anybody?

  7. I really wanted to make the recipe from Bon Appetit with chicken breasts instead of the dark meat, I found your recipe and was so happy! Thanks for writing it!

  8. This is soo good! It is delicious!!! I’m so proud of my self! It took more than 10 minutes for the souce to get thicker… I low the heat lower than medium for about 17- 18…I’m so glad that I found this recepe!!! :-))

  9. This was AmAzInG!!! I have made several (Way to many) of your recipes, I have NOT had one bad dish!!! My family and I LOVE you!!! Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes. I look forward everyday to checking to see what the new recipe is going to be (:

  10. While the sauce is really good it didn’t thicken up for me as promised. I followed the directions and had patience at the end but it was very watery. Perhaps I didn’t let the brown sugar mixture go for long enough? Would that have an effect?

    1. Yes it should have thickened up. Not too thick, but enough to act as a glaze over the chicken. Did you let the mixture boil for about 10 minutes? Sorry it didn’t turn out. 🙁

      1. It did’n thicken for me either… Boiled about 20 min. and no joy 🙁 I had to add some flour to thicken it. But despite that I liked the recipe 🙂

    2. The same happened for me. I felt as I was adding the ingredients that it was a lot of liquid to thicken at the end. I even didn’t put as much stock and added honey. Still boiling it down further even after doing the cornstarch thing. Tastes real good though.

  11. Loos great! I’m a little confused though. Do you keep the garlic cloves whole and take them out at the end? I can’t really imagine eating them whole…

    1. Sorry I will have to clarify in the recipe. The garlic and the ginger is just for adding flavor to the sauce. You take them out when serving. 🙂

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