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Sticky Chicken is an easy Asian-inspired recipe with tender chicken thighs coated in a sticky sweet sauce with a slightly spicy gochujang kick. Made using only one pan, it’s a great dinner option served alongside rice or noodles.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- Only 20 Minutes of Active Time – I love that this recipe requires very little active prep time.
- One Pan Only – For easy clean up, cook up the sticky sauce in the same pan that you cook the chicken.
- Sweet and Spicy Sauce – The sauce is the perfect balance of sweet from the brown sugar but with a little kick thanks to the Korean chili paste, gochujang.
What is Sticky Chicken?
Authentic Sticky Chicken is made with dark meat marinated in a sugary sauce. The chicken is simmered and basted in the sauce, creating a sticky sauce as it caramelizes.
This recipe is for a pan-fried version, however you can also cook your chicken in the oven, grill or air fryer and baste the sauce often. Reducing the sauce on the stovetop will make the thickest, stickiest sauce!
How To Make Sticky Chicken
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
You only need one large skillet to cook this recipe and the actual prep/cooking time is well under 30 minutes!
Mix Marinade – Whisk together the sauce ingredients and the whites of the green onion in a small bowl.
Marinate Chicken – Add the chicken thighs with some of the marinade to a shallow dish. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and save the rest of the marinade for cooking.
Cook Chicken – Heat up the oil in a large pan then add the chicken to the hot pan (let any excess marinade drip off the chicken before adding to the pan). Cook on one side to form a golden crust then flip and cook until the chicken is fully cooked.
Cook Sauce – Remove the cooked chicken thighs to a plate and to the same pan add the rest of the reserved sauce (not the marinade that the raw chicken was in). Deglaze the pan by using a wooden spatula to scrape any bits off the bottom then let the sauce bubble for a few minutes until thick.
Finish Chicken – Return the cooked chicken thighs to the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds and remaining green onions and enjoy!
I love to keep it simple and serve white or brown rice, coconut rice, or even egg fried rice. It’s great with chow mein or pan fried noodles, too. Add a veggie like this easy sauteed broccoli or Frozen Vegetables.
Leftover chicken and sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can be reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove – you can add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce, if needed.
- Spoon Test for Sauce Thickness – When you’re thickening the sauce by cooking it in the pan, an easy way to tell if it’s thickened is to drag the spoon across the pan and part the sauce. It should leave a path and not immediately fill back in.
- Discard Marinade – It’s important to discard the used marinade as it could contain harmful bacteria left behind by the raw chicken.
- Coconut Aminos vs Soy Sauce – You can swap in coconut aminos for the soy sauce if you have a soy allergy.
- Marinating Time – I recommend 30 minutes minimum marinating time but an hour is ideal. It doesn’t take a ton of time because the marinade is nice and thick. Our goal with this is more about flavoring the meat than tenderizing it with acidity. The goal is that nice, thick sauce.
- Avoid Scorching – Because the chicken is marinated in a high-sugar sauce, it is normal to get brown or black bits while cooking the chicken. To reduce this, make sure the marinade is dripped off the chicken before adding it to the pan, and use lots of olive oil before adding the chicken.
- Sauce not thickening? If the sauce is not thickening enough, you can remove the chicken and boil the sauce until you can drag a spoon across the pan and part the sauce.
Try These Asian-Inspired Chicken Recipes Next
- Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Chinese Lemon Chicken
- Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry
- Kung Pao Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang or chili paste
- 2 green onions sliced (white parts and green parts divided)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Place chicken thighs in a bowl or shallow dish and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, rice vinegar, Gochujang and white parts of the green onion. (Reserve green tops for later)
- Pour ½ cup over the chicken thighs, coating all sides of the chicken. Cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the rest of the sauce for cooking.
- When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove chicken thighs from marinade, allowing access sauce to drip off and add to the hot pan.
- Cook chicken thighs, presentation side down for 5 minutes allowing a golden crust to form. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Add reserved sauce to the skillet and use a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan. Cook the sauce for about 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
- Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over chicken until desired thickness is reached and the chicken is sticky and coated.
- Top the chicken with sesame seeds and green onion tops and serve over rice.