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Get ready to get messy because this sweet and sour honey sriracha chicken is sticky and finger-licking good! It's tender juicy chicken glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce that's simple to make and healthier than take-out. Serve it with steamed rice and your favorite vegetable side for an easy weeknight meal that everyone will love!
This recipe was originally published in 2013. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information, but we've left the delicious recipe exactly the same.
This easy homemade Asian-inspired chicken recipe is made with tender chicken drumsticks tossed in the most delicious spicy, sweet, and sour sauce. It's a healthier dish with all the taste of take-out that's easy to make at home.
You can adjust the heat by adding more or less sriracha and the extra sauce can be served alongside the cooked chicken. It's ready in just 45 minutes, most of which is hands-off, so you can prepare the rest of dinner, tackle your to-do list, or chill. Make a double batch for quick and easy lunches over rice, noodles, or atop a salad.
What is sriracha sauce?
Sriracha is a bright-red, versatile sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar. It's distinctly tangy and hot and unlike most hot sauces, has just a hint of sweetness. It's used on its own as a condiment, or to add heat and flavor to sauces, marinades, soups, stews, and drinks like a bloody mary. You're most likely to find it served as a condiment at Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese restaurants throughout North America. It's made in the US and widely available so you can find it in the Asian section of any well-stocked grocery store.
How spicy is honey sriracha chicken?
The sauce is supposed to have some kick to it. The sriracha balances out the sweetness of the honey and makes a robust sauce that's equally savory, sweet, and spicy. You can add more or less of the sriracha to your desired heat level. If you're not sure, try this recipe with one tablespoon of sriracha (instead of two as the recipe is written) to gauge your taste buds.
Ingredients for honey sriracha chicken
This sweet and sour honey sriracha chicken recipe uses simple ingredients you're likely to already have in your pantry. Here's what you'll need:
- Honey – runny honey makes the sauce sticky and sweet.
- Ketchup – a versatile sauce that adds its sweet tomato flavor.
- Sriracha – adds heat and a tangy, pungent taste.
- Rice vinegar – adds acidity to balance out the other flavors, and tenderizes the chicken.
- Soy sauce – for its deep, salty, rich flavor.
- Ginger and garlic – the perfect Asian seasoning combination.
- Chicken drumsticks – bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks are tender and flavorful.
- Green onions, sesame seeds, lime wedges (optional, for serving) – are added at the end for garnish.
How to make honey sriracha chicken
Honey sriracha chicken is so delicious and easy to make. It's mostly hands-off cooking time so this is a great recipe for weeknights when you want a healthier dinner, but have a thousand other things to do. It comes together in just three easy steps:
- While your oven preheats, mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Find your baking dish and arrange the chicken drumsticks in a single layer. Smother them in sauce and pop them in the oven.
- Towards the end of cooking, baste the chicken a few more times so it becomes perfectly glazed. You'll know when they're done because they'll be nicely browned. Garnish with some sesame seeds and enjoy right away!
For the extra sauce: once the chicken is cooked, the honey sriracha sauce is delicious served straight out of the pan. If you'd like it to be a little thicker, pour the extra glaze into a small frying pan on high heat. Let the glaze simmer rapidly for 1-3 minutes to thicken it. Remember, it will thicken more as it cools so don't make it too thick!
Using other cuts of chicken
In this recipe, we recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks for their tender and flavorful dark meat. We also like to pick them up and eat them with our hands! Chicken thighs or breasts would work equally well but we recommend using bone-in, skin-on cuts because it results in supremely juicy chicken. The bone helps the chicken cook evenly and the skin acts as a barrier to lock in moisture.
Can I substitute the sriracha sauce?
Sambal olek is a good substitute for sriracha. In a pinch you can also use another neutral hot sauce, chili paste, or crushed chili flakes.
Can I use tomato sauce instead of ketchup?
Yes, you could use an equal amount of crushed tomatoes but the sauce will be less sweet and sticky.
How long do leftovers keep in the fridge?
Leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Where can I buy sriracha sauce?
Sriracha is widely available throughout North America and can be found in the Asian aisle of any well-stocked grocery store.
How to serve sweet and sour sriracha chicken
This is the perfect savory-sweet chicken dish to serve alongside any Asian rice or noodle dish. For a complete meal, it pairs well with our favorite coconut rice and a side of sautéed bok choy with ginger and garlic or whole roasted brussel sprouts with garlic.
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons sriracha (or more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 8 chicken drumsticks (skin-on or skinless)
- Green onions, sesame seeds, and lime wedges (for serving)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl mix, the honey, ketchup, sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.½ cup honey, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons sriracha, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 2 cloves garlic
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour the sauce over the top and mix it around so that the chicken is coated in the sauce. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for 30 minutes.8 chicken drumsticks
- Baste the chicken with some of the sauce in the pan then return it to the oven for 15 minutes, basting it two more times so the glaze coats the chicken well. Serve the chicken with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, lime wedges, and all the sticky sauce from the pan.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.