Filed Under: Easy | Fast

Weeknight Cooking: Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Recipe By Tessa Arias
September 14th, 2010
5 from 1 vote
5 from 1 vote

This chicken thigh recipe is just about as perfect as a week-night meal staple can get. Its flavorful, quick, easy, healthy, inexpensive, and only dirties a few dishes

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook: 18 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The chicken thighs have a perfect combination of warm spice with a hint of sweetness. Every ingredient compliments each other perfectly.
Texture: Since the thighs are broiled the spice-rubbed edges are slightly crisp while the meat inside is tender and juicy.
Ease: So, so so easy.  This recipe takes less than 20 minutes from start (preheating broiler) to finish (on the table).
Appearance: While a cut of chicken isn’t exactly the most dazzling specimen on earth these thighs still look mouth-watering.
Pros: Amazingly quick and easy, perfect for dinner after a long day.
Cons: Absolutely none!
Would I make this again? I’ve added this recipe to my weeknight dinner repertoire.

Originally when I added this recipe to my weekly menu and shopping list I hadn’t planned on photographing and posting it here. I guess I wasn’t expecting much of it. So when I took my first bite and was overwhelmed by the depth of flavor I was pleased. This chicken thigh recipe is just about as perfect as a week-night meal staple can get. Its flavorful, quick, easy, healthy, inexpensive, and only dirties a few dishes (bowl, broiler pan, tongs, measuring spoon). Does it get any better than that?It goes perfect with steamed veggies or a side salad and some rice or bread.

What are your favorite easy weeknight meals?

5 from 1 vote

How to make
Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
This chicken thigh recipe is just about as perfect as a week-night meal staple can get. Its flavorful, quick, easy, healthy, inexpensive, and only dirties a few dishes


  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar


  1. 1. Preheat broiler. Combine first 6 spice ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  2. 2. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush other side with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

Recipe Notes

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    newlywed — September 15, 2010 at 12:06 am

    This looks great! I love finding new recipes for chicken thighs…they are so much cheaper, and stay so much moister than chicken breasts.

  2. #
    theblogisthenewblack — September 15, 2010 at 1:14 am

    This looks so good! I might have to start using thighs.

  3. #
    Karen — September 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    This IS really tasty! I found in in CL years ago and it's become one of our staple recipes. Yum!

  4. #
    Tessa — September 17, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Newlywed & Liz- I love chicken thighs!!

    Karen- Its one of CL's most popular recipes… I can see why!

  5. #
    Pretty. Good. Food. — September 17, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    So easy, I'm definitely going to try this!!!! Yum!

  6. #
    Amy Lucille — September 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I love these types of easy night home cooked meals! Thanks for sharing.

  7. #
    Deborah Dowd — September 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I love thighs and this recipe looks amazing! Quick, simple, and with complex flavors. I might try substituting agave nectar since my husband is a diabetic.

  8. #
    Tara — September 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    So glad to have another thigh recipe to use! Thanks!

  9. #
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} — September 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Perhaps it is time to give thighs another chance! The flavor sounds amazing here.

  10. #
    Anonymous — October 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Were you planning on mentioning that this is the exact recipe from Cooking Light's book?

  11. #
    Tessa — October 9, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Anonymous (I wonder why you chose not to leave your name? Hm.) I actually did mention right underneath the title of the recipe that it is from Cooking Light, with a link back to their website.

  12. #
    Tiffany — October 21, 2010 at 4:15 am

    I made these for dinner tonight and I must say that they were a welcome change. I paired them with rice and green beans and it was delicious!

  13. #
    Anonymous — October 28, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Please explain what you mean by “broiling”.

  14. #
    Tessa — October 28, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Tiffany- Sounds perfect! I'm glad you liked it 🙂

    Anonymous- Broiling is simply a setting on your oven (the first line of the recipe says “Preheat broiler”. There should be a button on your oven that says “broil” you can press to do so) that cooks food using intense direct heat. It's best to move your oven shelf up as close to the top of your oven as possible where the broiling mechanism is usually located. If you'd like more info check out this site:

  15. #
    Karen — November 19, 2010 at 3:25 am

    We made this for supper tonight. It's a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

  16. #
    CarrieL — November 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Looking forward to making this tonight and I am glad to see Karen's recent review of it.

  17. #
    thejeyofcooking — December 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe on tastespotting. I made this last night (YUM!!) and posted it on my blog today. Can't wait to make it again!

  18. #
    Mara — May 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I've made this several times now, it's super easy and my husband loves it…

  19. #
    Intelligence is Paramount — June 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    This was delicious! I pan-fried the thighs in a bit of olive oil instead of broiling since I've never been very good at broiling and they turned out fantastic. I had been searching for a recipe like this–sweet, spicy, with a nice crust from spices, and simple–so I'm delighted to have found your site (through foodgawker)! This dish was ready in about 10 minutes (maybe less). It will be a staple in my kitchen from now on!

  20. #
    Trevor — June 15, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Im eating it now. Amazing

  21. #
    Azzaw — June 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I've made this many times, but I use it as a sandwich. I melt some provolone cheese on some bread in the broiler, then i spread some basil pesto on it, put the chicken on one of the slices of bread, then I melt some butter in a pan and grill them kind of like grilled cheese sandwiches….SO GOOD.

  22. #
    Sarah Kuhner — November 29, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I made these tonight for dinner. They took a bit longer to cook all the way through than the recipe called for. The chicken smelled really good and tasted great. I think it would taste even better BBQed on the grill. Love the mix of spices.

  23. #
    sdtchica13 — December 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hi, I want to try this recipe tonight, but I have bone in thighs and drumsticks…will the recipe still work if I have the chicken on the bone, or do I need to alter the cooking time? Thanks!

  24. #
    Tessa — December 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    @sdtchica13 Yes, you will have to increase the cooking time to make bone-in chicken. About 10 minutes per side should be a good starting point – just make sure the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before serving.

  25. #
    sdtchica13 — December 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    That works, thanks!

  26. #
    cubsfan1 — December 29, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I make this very same recipe. Once, I was out of the rice vinegar so I decided to sub balsamic vinegar. Try it!! It's amazing. I could drink the sauce right from the bowl!!

  27. #
    Kelly — January 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    This was SO EASY and yummy. I made a few changes, though. I marinated the chicken, and added olive oil to the seasoning mixture. I served it with roasted carrots and zucchini. It was the first meal I've ever made for my boyfriend, and he LOVED it. I'll have to try more recipes from this blog:)

  28. #
    Charlene Austin — January 17, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Wow. I just made this tonight for dinner and it was SO good. I skipped the cumin as I'm not a fan but the flavor was excellent. And so easy! Thank You.

    • #
      Eunice — February 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      I just made this and I have to say it was SO delicious! I always have trouble making recipes they never come out as expected, but this came out great and so easy! My husband loved it, thank you

  29. #
    Katnaik — February 25, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    I'm in total agreement on the recipe rundown….Easy, quick & great tasting. Added bonus is that chicken thighs are an economical cut of poultry. Thanks!

  30. #
    Jess — March 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Would this work just as well on the grill? Sounds so yummy!

  31. #
    Shayne — August 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    This was delicious! I didn’t have the bonless/skinless thighs so I used chicken breasts and pounded them. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and they were moist and tasty! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  32. #
    Amanda — November 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    WOW!! I made this for dinner tonight and it came out AMAZING. My husband was so pleased, he called his parents to brag. I would say that this is a HUGE wifey success. Thanks for sharing!

  33. #
    Lou — March 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Will this work out with bone in thighs or will it cook quicker? i have a bunch in the freezer and would love to try it

    • #
      Tessa — March 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

      You can use bone-in thighs, it will take longer to cook with the bone. I’d increase the cooking time (it may take up to double the time) and have an instant read thermometer on hand to test whether the meat is done.

  34. #
    Brittany — September 16, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I made this for dinner and I just wanna say this is DELICIOUS! I will most certainly be keeping this recipe.
    Might I recommend to get thighs WITH the skin on!
    The meat stays so moist and the skin gets nice and crispy and it is SO GOOD!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I found this recipe through Pinterest!

    • #
      Tessa — September 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks for the tip!!

  35. #
    Teri — December 17, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Made this for dinner last Saturday. Followed the recipe exactly and hubby and I both loved it. So flavorful and so easy. This one is definitely a keeper — I’m already looking forward to making it again.

  36. #
    Donna — March 10, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Hi Tessa – This is a long overdue “thanks” for this recipe. I have made it dozens of times and it has become a favorite weeknight meal for us. So easy and delicious. Love your blog!

  37. #
    ABRicks — November 4, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Came across this recipe via A google search, had all the ingredients so decided to give it a try. Quick and easy week night recipe. Delicious, would definitely recommend! Looking forward to adding this to our staple recipes! Thanks!

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