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This honey rhubarb chicken recipe uses rhubarb, spring's prized vegetable, in a delicious savory sauce that's both tart and sweet. It's a play on sweet and sour chicken with tender, juicy meat and bold, sweet flavors. Using just 10 ingredients, it's easy to execute and makes a healthy dinner that's ready in under 30 minutes.
Nothing signals springtime quite like the annual appearance of rhubarb's rosy stalks in the garden. After a long winter, the eagerly awaited return of this seasonal ingredient is a welcome sign of brighter days ahead.
While rhubarb is normally associated with sweet desserts, it also has lovely savory applications. This honey rhubarb chicken proves its versatility as an unexpected accompaniment to meat. Fresh, tart rhubarb, a generous amount of sweet honey, savory soy sauce, ginger, and onion combine to make a bold and unique sauce you'll love. It's easy to make and pairs well with simple steamed rice (to soak up the sauce), and a vegetable side-dish like broccoli.
Why we love to eat seasonally
Eating seasonally is not only fun, it's one of the best ways to stay healthy. As soon as vegetables are picked from the ground, they start to gradually lose their vitamins and minerals. When produce is picked fresh and local, it has less distance to travel to get to us so it will naturally contain more nutrients.
One of the best ways to see what's in season is to shop at farmer's markets. You can also watch for seasonal produce (like spring rhubarb!) at the grocery store to try new ingredients to cook with to get the most from your food.
How to make honey rhubarb chicken
This recipe is easy to make and comes together in just a few simple steps:
- Make the sauce. Combine the rhubarb, honey, onion, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and blend on high until smooth.
- Prepare the chicken. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch.
- Brown the chicken. Heat a small amount of oil in a large frying and sear the chicken on both sides until brown.
- Add the sauce. Add the sauce into the frying pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and sauce has thickened.
Ingredients for honey rhubarb chicken
Here's what you'll need to make this delicious savory-sweet dish:
- Rhubarb – fresh or frozen rhubarb adds its distinct tartness and makes the base of the sauce.
- Honey – a liquid honey adds sweetness.
- Onion, ginger, garlic – add layers of subtle flavor.
- Soy sauce – makes it salty and enhances other flavors.
- Chicken thighs – the dark meat from the thighs is tender and flavorful.
- Cornstarch – to thicken the sauce.
- Cooking oil – any neutral-flavored vegetable oil will work here.
- Sesame seeds + minced cilantro – optional garnishing for an added pop!
How to work with rhubarb
Working with rhubarb is simple. Here are a few tips for preparing it:
- Trim the leaves and ends – if the rhubarb comes with the leaves on, make sure to trim them off and discard them. Rhubarb leaves contain toxic levels of oxalic acid and are not edible! Trim any rough ends.
- Store it in the fridge – keep rhubarb fresh by storing it in the fridge wrapped in a moist paper towel or with bottoms down in a water-filled glass or jar.
- Use it fresh or freeze it – rhubarb is best when it's fresh and firm. If you're not using it right away, freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 12 months. Frozen rhubarb works great in this recipe!
- Check for any blemishes – use a vegetable peeler to remove any blemishes or brown spots.
- Cut into pieces – cut the rhubarb into ¼” pieces in preparation for the sauce.
How do I use frozen rhubarb?
Frozen rhubarb works perfectly in this recipe but will need to be thawed first before using.
Can I make the sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you could prepare the sauce up to three days before using it. Store it in the fridge in an air-tight container.
How long does this dish keep?
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
- 8 medium chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Sesame seeds and minced cilantro (for serving)
- In a blender, combine the rhubarb, honey, onion, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and blend on high until smooth.1 cup chopped rhubarb, ½ cup honey, ¼ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon chopped ginger, 4 cloves garlic
- In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch.8 medium chicken thighs, 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and sear until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Pour the sauce into the pan and bring it to a boil. Let it boil rapidly for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened. Serve the chicken with some sesame seeds and minced cilantro sprinkled over the top.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.