Hello, friends. Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Today we have a Hot Honey Chicken that gets me a little closer in my quest for recreating my favorite Honey Chili Chicken; a dish that I have been missing for several years. Chef Gia’s was a Hunan restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I frequented Gia’s for 17 years. Every time I moved from The City, I missed Gia’s most of all. And every time I moved back to SF, it was the first place I went. This dish is similar only in flavor, but for me it’s a step closer to my beloved Honey Chili Chicken. So let’s make Hot Honey Chicken!
The original recipe, by Cooks Country does not call for dredging the chicken pieces in flour, but I am doing that today because I am using skinless, boneless thighs and I want the outside of the chicken to get a golden crust. Opt out of this step if you like, but I think it gives the chicken a nice crunch that holds up to the sauce nicely. You can use any combination of bone-in chicken pieces you like best; skin-on, or skinless. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, we will finish the chicken in the sauce, in the oven.
Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with a mix of cumin and salt. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour and shake off the excess, set the dredged pieces on a wire rack placed in a sheet pan. Set the finished pieces aside and we can make the hot honey.
Honey, Franks Red Hot Sauce and minced garlic are the only three ingredients for the hot honey. The Franks Red Hot is not super spicy and the vinegar in the sauce is a really nice compliment to the honey, a very well-balanced hot honey sauce. Mix these three ingredients to together very well, to fully emulsify the honey.
An Adjustable Measuring Cup is such a handy tool for measuring sticky ingredients like honey. It’s also great for ingredients like mayonnaise and other sauces that are hard to scrape out of a traditional measuring cup. It features plunger-style bottom piece that you use to push the ingredient out; with a silicone coated base to cleanly sweep all of the measured ingredient from the sides of the cylinder.
Brown the Chicken
In a 12-inch, oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed or vegetable oil over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and brown both sides. I had to work in two batches to get all 8 thighs browned initially. Once all your chicken is browned, transfer the chicken to a plate momentarily and drain off the fat in the pan. Then, return chicken to the empty skillet.
Pour the hot honey sauce evenly over the chicken pieces and place in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, until the thighs register an internal temperature of 170 degrees. If you’re cooking breasts, those are ready when the internal temperature reads 160 degrees.
When the chicken is cooked to temp, remove from the oven and let the chicken rest in the skillet for about 10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a platter and return the skillet to the stovetop. Over medium-high heat, bring the pan juices up to a boil and let thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter and lime juice. Whisk until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
Hot Honey Chicken
Spoon sauce evenly over the chicken pieces.
Top with sliced scallions.
This dish is so delicious! It’s spicy and sweet; the chicken has a nice crispy exterior and the interior is moist and juicy. The fresh scallions give a little crunch and pop of fresh onion flavor.
As I mentioned at the top, flavor-wise, this dish comes very close to the Honey Chili Chicken in my memory. Gia’s Honey Chili Chicken is fried in small pieces – Gia’s is much spicier, but all the right notes are here. This is a step closer for me, as I try to reconstruct Gia’s dish from memory; I will get there eventually, and when I do, I will be so excited to share the recipe here, with you!
Recently, I did another dish that reminded me, once again, of the power of certain foods and recipes to transport us to times past: Not So Sloppy Joe’s, check out that recipe if you’d like a delicious trip down memory lane!
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Definitely make this recipe for Hot Honey Chicken, it’s outstanding – a sure winner! Pin it on Pinterest, because this recipe is one you will want to repeat. Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Kitchen Tools Used in This Recipe
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Hot Honey Chicken
Juicy, tender chicken is browned and finished in the oven with a hot honey sauce; the sauce is then transformed into a silky hot sweet sauce with butter and a slight reduction.
- ¼ cup Honey
- ¼ cup Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
- 3 lbs. Bone-in Chicken Pieces (any combination you prefer), trimmed
- If using skinless chicken pieces, optional step: 1/3 cup flour for dredging the chicken
- 1 tbsp. Grapeseed or Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into 2 pieces
- 2 tsp. Lime Juice
- 2 Scallions, sliced thin
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
If opting for the flour dredging step, combine salt and cumin in a small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt mixture.
Then dredge the chicken pieces in the flour shaking off the excess and set dredged pieces on a wire rack set in a sheet tray.
Combine honey, hot sauce, and garlic in bowl; set aside.
Heat oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate, skin side up (if using skin-on chicken pieces).
Pour off fat from skillet. Return chicken to now-empty skillet, skin side up; pour honey mixture evenly over chicken.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast until breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register at least 170 degrees, 17 to 20 minutes.
Let chicken rest in skillet for 10 minutes.
Transfer chicken to shallow platter. Bring juices in skillet to boil over medium-high heat (skillet handle will be hot).
Cook until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk butter and lime juice into juices in skillet until butter is melted.
Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.
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