Hot honey chicken is the best chicken recipe around, The super crispy, oven-fried chicken is finished in sweet and spicy honey to make it unbelievably delicious. You will love it!

Complete the meal with a side of creamy cucumber salad and Cajun sweet potato fries!

Hot honey being drizzled over crispy chicken.

Hot honey chicken

Hot honey chicken is the one chicken recipe that we can't get enough of. It's all the best things – sweet, spicy, crunchy, juicy – all wrapped up into one delicious meal.

We start by tenderlizing this chicken in a bowl of buttermilk. After 20 minutes (or overnight if you have time and patience), that tender chicken gets coated in a panko breading that crisps up wonderfully in this oven. Then the golden, oven-fried chicken gets basted in our special hot honey sauce which magically turns this into the best chicken recipe ever.

What is hot honey

Hot honey is the best hot sauce around! It is exactly what it sounds like: spicy honey. This recipe takes our original hot honey recipe and scales it down to make the perfect amount for the chicken. But it's absolutely delicious so you might want to make extra.

You can dial up the heat with extra hot sauce, or make it mellow. Your choice!

4 pictures showing how to make Hot Honey Chicken.

How to make this hot honey chicken recipe

Hot honey chicken is made in just 4 simple steps:

  1. Marinate the chicken – This step is as easy as putting chicken, buttermilk, and salt into a bowl and leaving the bowl in your fridge for a little while.
  2. Bread the chicken – Mix the panko, flour, and spices in a bowl. Then take a piece of chicken out of the buttermilk marinade and dip it into the breading. Once it's coated in a nice thick layer, put it on a baking sheet then finish the rest of the chicken.
  3. Bake the chicken – After a little spray of oil the breaded chicken goes into the oven until it's golden and crispy.
  4. Make the honey – Gently warm some honey, chili flakes, and hot sauce then strain it through a fine mesh-seive. Spoon this delicious honey on top of the crispy chicken right before serving.

Full recipe in the recipe card below.

The ingredients to make Hot Honey Chicken.

Ingredient notes

Chicken – In recipe testing, we found that boneless, skinless chicken thighs work best for this recipe as they stay tender and juicy, even after being in the oven for a fairly long time. While chicken breasts will work, they will become dry.

Buttermilk and salt – These help tenderize and flavor the chicken.

Panko – These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are extra crispy.

Flour – Helps the breading stick to the chicken.

Spray oil – This works best to evenly coat each pieces of chicken in oil. You can drizzle oil from a bottle if you don't have spray oil.

Honey, chili flakes, and hot sauce – This is what you need to make hot honey. A vinegary hot sauce (like Frank's) works best. If you'd like it extra spicy, add more hot sauce.

Hot Honey Chicken on a baking sheet.

Recipe FAQs

Is this recipe like Popeye's hot honey chicken?

Yes! This is so much like the deliciously sweet and spicy chicken from Popeye's, only much healthier for you.

How spicy is this chicken?

It's got a nice tingly, but it's not overwhelmingly spicy. You can add extra hot sauce to the honey if you want it spicier. Or if you want a mild version for some people at your table, use plain honey on their pieces.

Does this chicken reheat well?

Yes! Hot honey chicken reheats very well. Reheat it in your oven for about 12-15 minutes.

Can I freeze hot honey chicken?

Yes! You can freeze this chicken after you bake it, preferably before you add the hot honey. Put the crispy chicken pieces that you want to freeze on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and put them into your freezer. Once they're frozen, move them to a freezer bag, like one of these Stasher Bags. Reheat them in your oven until they're not then coat them in hot honey before serving.

What to serve with hot honey chicken

This is a great recipe to serve with a simple salad like our creamy cucumber salad or our blue cheese coleslaw. Here are a few other sides that go great with this sweet and spicy chicken:

Hot Honey Chicken on a plate with broccoli.
Hot Honey Chicken on a plate with broccoli.

Hot Honey Chicken

Hot honey chicken is the best chicken recipe around. The super crispy, oven-fried chicken is finished in sweet and spicy honey to make it unbelievably delicious. You will love it!
5 stars (5 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, can be light
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • Spray oil
  • 3 cup panko, gluten-free if needed
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour, gluten-free if needed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions 

  • Put the chicken thighs into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of sea salt and mix well. Put the bowl into your fridge for at least 20 minutes (or up to 8 hours.)
    8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 1 cup buttermilk
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it generously with spray oil.
    Spray oil
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the panko, flour, paprika, Italian seasoning, and the remaining teaspoon of salt.
    3 cup panko, ½ cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip it into the panko mixture and make sure that it is well-coated. Put the chicken on the baking sheet then continue to coat the rest.
  • Spray the tops of the chicken with oil then put them into your oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden.
  • While the chicken bakes, make the honey. In a small pan, warm the honey, chili flakes, and hot sauce over medium heat. Once the honey starts to bubble a little, remove the pan from the heat. Let it infuse for 5 minutes then strain the honey through a fine-mesh sieve.
    ½ cup honey, 1 tablespoon chili flakes, 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • When the chicken has finished cooking, drizzle it with the hot honey and serve immediately.
Serving: 1 = 1 piece of chicken, Calories: 279kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 826mg, Potassium: 367mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 378IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 2mg
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Hot honey being drizzled over crispy chicken and the recipe title on top of the picture.