You just can’t beat perfectly tender and flavorful marinated honey garlic chicken. Here we provide a simple recipe for the Honey Garlic Chicken Marinade, as well as suggestions for a few ways and lengths of time to marinate the chicken, plus several ways you can cook it. Marinating chicken breast, thighs, or legs in our honey garlic marinade is an easy way to elevate any weeknight meal from ho-hum protein to winner winner chicken dinner!
A simple marinade for honey garlic chicken
This easy, quick chicken marinade features that sweet-and-savory flavor combination of honey and garlic. It’s simple to make with a few pantry ingredients you likely already have on hand. If you’re craving honey garlic chicken breasts, honey garlic chicken thighs, honey garlic chicken kebabs, or honey garlic chicken wraps, you should start with this recipe. You can even make a batch of this honey garlic chicken marinade, toss it with chicken, and freeze it to cook at a later date.
ingredients for honey garlic chicken marinade
You only need a handful of pantry staples to make this simple honey garlic chicken marinade:
- Chicken – use bone-in or boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or legs
- Oil – we recommend avocado oil or olive oil
- Lemon juice – you’ll need the juice of 1/2 lemon (or about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- Coconut aminos – this ingredient is similar to soy sauce, but is a lot less processed and contains a significantly less amount of sodium; read more about why and how we use coconut aminos in this post; can sub half the amount of soy sauce, tamari, or shoyu
- Garlic – use 3 cloves garlic (or about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
- Honey – can sub maple syrup, but this will create a different flavor profile
- Fine salt and black pepper
- Red pepper flakes – optional, but gives an extra kick of spice
how to make honey garlic chicken marinade
This is a simple mix-and-pour marinade for honey garlic chicken. It creates perfectly flavorful sweet-and-savory chicken with that familiar and delicious combo of honey and garlic. To make this marinade, follow these two simple steps:
- Place the chicken in a heavy-duty zip-top bag, a reusable silicone bag, a large bowl, or a freezer-safe container.
- Combine all of the honey garlic chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl; stir together, taste, and pour over the chicken. Make sure the chicken is immersed in the marinade and then just let it soak. Read below for our recommended marinating times.
how long should I marinate This Honey Garlic chicken Breast Recipe?
You can marinate chicken in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Here are the two basic methods:
- How long to marinate chicken in the refrigerator: When the chicken is covered with the marinade, whether in a bowl or a bag, place it in the refrigerator. Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 4 hours to allow the acid to tenderize the chicken and the flavors to penetrate the meat. On the long end, you can safely leave the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, covered or sealed in the bag, before cooking. We recommend that you turn the bag over every 12-24 hours (or toss the chicken, if it’s in a bowl).
- How long to marinate chicken in the freezer: You can also prep this chicken marinade and place the whole thing (bag, chicken, and marinade) in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just be sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag before sealing it. When it comes time to thaw the marinated chicken, take it out of the freezer and let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking.
4 ways to cook marinated Honey Garlic chicken
After your chicken has been marinating in this delicious honey garlic chicken marinade, there are several different ways you can cook it. Here are our suggestions:
- Oven baking: Preheat the oven to 375℉. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Place the chicken in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake the honey garlic marinated chicken until the juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 15-20 minutes. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken registers 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer.
- Oven broiling: Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Position the top oven rack 8 inches below your oven’s broiler element. Preheat the oven broiler to medium-high. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or in a cast iron pan. Broil on each side, turning once, until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 3-5 minutes per side. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken registers 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer. If the chicken is cooking too quickly, move the pan to a lower oven rack. Note: When broiling chicken, you’ll have the best results if the chicken is an even thickness.
- On the grill (and kebab style): Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Grill whole marinated chicken breasts, thighs, and legs until the chicken is cooked through. For breasts, grill about 8-10 minutes, 7-8 minutes for thighs, and 5-6 minutes for chicken legs. To make kebabs, cut the honey garlic marinated chicken into 1-inch chunks and thread onto skewers with vegetables. Grill until the chicken pieces are cooked through, turning often, about 8 minutes total.
- Sauté on the stovetop: Place a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon cooking fat of choice (such as avocado oil, ghee, olive oil, etc.). Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the juices. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is lightly browned. Place a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook an additional 8-10 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken registers 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer. For juicy chicken or if your pan runs hot, add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet before covering with the lid if desired.
Ways to serve honey garlic chicken
We have made this easy Honey Garlic Chicken recipe so many times, that we definitely have our favorite ways to serve it up, including:
- Sautéed or baked chicken with baked sweet potatoes – the combination of honey garlic chicken and tender baked sweet potatoes is both simple and irresistible. Use this recipe to make easy baked sweet potatoes and then follow the direction above to sauté, grill, or bake the honey garlic marinated chicken after it has marinated at least 4 hours. Thinly slice the chicken and serve over the potatoes with a garnish of sesame seeds and a side of roasted broccoli or carrots for a healthy gluten-free dinner
- As grilled kebabs – remove the chicken from the marinade and pour the marinade into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cut the marinated chicken into 1-inch chunks and thread onto skewers, alternating with chunks of sweet onion, bell pepper, or any favorite grilling veggie. Brush the boiled marinade over the veggies and chicken as they grill. Serve over noodles, pasta, or cauliflower rice with a squeeze of lime juice
- In a wrap – we love to make honey garlic chicken wraps. Start by using this marinade recipe for chicken breasts or thighs. After cooking the chicken, let it cool, then slice it thinly. Place the chicken, a fresh slaw, and some green onions inside a tortilla or other wrap, adding some chopped peanuts or cashews. Wrap it up and pack for an easy and delicious lunch
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or legs*
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos**
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Place chicken in a large bowl, zip-top plastic bag (or a freezer-safe container, if you plan to freeze the chicken).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, coconut aminos, garlic, honey, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover bowl or close bag. Gently toss or massage to coat the chicken pieces evenly.
- Marinate the covered chicken in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 2-3 days before cooking. Or, to freeze, remove as much air from the freezer-safe container as possible, and freeze the chicken in the marinade for up to 2 months.
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*If using chicken legs, increase to 1½ pounds
**Can substitute 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari, or shoyu. Read more about why we recommend coconut aminos in this post.
- Serving Size: 4 oz marinated chicken breast
- Calories: 138
- Fat: 4 g
- (Sat Fat: 1 g)
- Sodium: 274 mg
- Carbohydrate: 2 g
- (Fiber: 0 g
- Sugar: 2 g)
- Protein: 23 g
- Cholesterol: 66 mg
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