Incredibly tasty sweet and spicy Asian chicken thighs, grilled and glazed with a gingery sauce with peanuts. Serve with seasoned cucumbers, rice and a squeeze of lime.
Are you a big fan of grilled sweet and savory chicken yakitori or teriyaki chicken? If so, you’re going to l-o-v-e this easy version.
This is one of my go-to BBQ recipes. It makes delicious sticky chicken that turns out tender and juicy with HUGE flavor.
I was inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese chicken dishes that are so good on a grill. While it’s not what you’d call authentic, my recipe is still really delicious and it uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
It’s a lot like my sweet and spicy Gochujang Chicken (another Asian-inspired recipe) it’s ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.
Asian Sticky Chicken pantry Ingredients
- Chili garlic sauce: Not too hot, this fermented chili condiment amps up flavor in the best way. This is my favorite brand by far.
- Ginger: Fresh grated ginger adds a layer of zest and heat.
- Hoisin sauce: A thick, highly seasoned soybean paste from southern China. It’s so good with poultry!
- Brown sugar: Just a touch of sweetness balances out the bold spicy flavors.
- Tamari (or soy sauce): Tamari is a gluten-free version of soy sauce. Either one adds s a deep, complex flavor to the chicken.
- Unsalted roasted peanuts: For crunch and flavor. Substitute with cashews if you have allergy concerns.
- Toasted sesame or roasted peanut oil: A little goes a long way — these oils have rich, toasty flavor and aroma that brings everything together.
Tips and variations
Chicken thighs are my top choice for the best flavor and maximum juiciness. They’re so tasty PLUS they cook in about 10 minutes on a medium-hot barbecue grill.
Because they have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, it’s easier to barbecue boneless chicken thighs without drying out the meat.
To get them ready to cook, I marinate the chicken thighs in a lightly spiced hoisin sauce mixture for about 15 minutes (or up to one day ahead, refrigerated).
Then I brush the chicken with the sweet sauce at the very end of cooking to avoid burning on the hot grill.
A squeeze of fresh lime adds the final touch and a spark of acidity.
Drumsticks or wings will work in this recipe too. Let them marinate shortly before cooking or up to a day in advance of cooking.
Grill as you usually would, them brush with the glaze during the last 5-10 minutes for perfect caramelization.
Make sure to serve the extra glaze as a dipping sauce on the side for each person to season to taste.
I love to pair cucumbers with spicy food — try them as is in the recipe or make this Indian Cucumber Salad to elevate the dish even more!
Serve the chicken with hot white or brown rice, or cook my Perfect Coconut Rice for an amazing meal.
Sweet Ginger Sticky Chicken Thighs
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) toasted sesame oil or roasted peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼-½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, sliced into wedges
- ¼ cup (60 ml) tamari or soy sauce
- ¼ cup (113 g) unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed to crumbs in a blender or food processor
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) chili garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 4 Persian or baby cucumbers, diced
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil or roasted peanut oil
- 3 green onions (white and green parts), sliced
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili pepper (gochugaru) or crushed red chili
- 4 cups (744 g) cooked rice (optional)
- Put the chicken in a shallow dish. Whisk together the oil, hoisin, coriander, salt and cayenne until smooth. Pour over the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Marinate at room temperature 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance.
Make the glaze
- Combine all ingredients for the glaze. Measure out 1/4 cup into another small bowl.
Cook the chicken
- Preheat a grill for medium-high direct grilling.
- When the grill is hot, cook the chicken 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
- Brush both sides of the chicken with the 1/4 cup glaze, cooking about 30 seconds on each side.
- Arrange the chicken on a platter with the lime wedges.
- Toss the cucumbers with the sesame oil, green onions and chili pepper in a bowl. Squeeze the lime wedges over the chicken and serve over rice with the cucumbers and remaining glaze on the side.
- *Note: If you’re sensitive to peanuts, use crushed cashews instead or omit the nuts.
- Make sure to serve the extra glaze as a dipping sauce on the side for each person to season to taste.