Easy Sweet Chili Chicken

This sweet chili chicken is a quick and consistently delicious meal. Tender bites of chicken are smothered in a homemade sweet chili sauce and baked to perfection – each savory mouthful explodes with sweet, spicy, and garlic-packed flavors.

overhead image of sweet chili chicken in a baking dish with a serving spoon

For this recipe, I channeled my pineapple teriyaki chicken – they’re essentially the same recipe but with different homemade sauces. I also switch the oven to broil for the last few minutes to give it all a little more color. You will LOVE this one.


Tell Me About this Sweet Chili Chicken

  • Texture: You have tender, juicy pieces of chicken baked in a smooth sauce. A garnish of sesame adds an element of crunch.
  • Flavor: This chicken is sweet and spicy with hits of garlic throughout. 
  • Ease: I consider this an easy dinner recipe. You make the sweet chili sauce on the stove, pour it over the chicken, then bake.
  • Time: This simple dish requires about 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish. It’s a quick dinner solution when you’re short on time.

sweet chili chicken on a blue plate with rice and a fork

I’m a fan of store-bought sweet chili sauce, which I often use as an accompaniment to coconut shrimp. But it’s really easy to make at home. You need water, honey, rice vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, crushed red pepper, Sriracha, and salt. 


Best Ingredients in Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

  • Honey. Traditional sweet chili sauce is made with granulated sugar, but honey is an unrefined sugar and tastes wonderful with garlic and spice. As an alternative, you can use agave or pure maple syrup (or just granulated sugar) if you’d like.
  • Rice vinegar adds a little sharpness.
  • Cornstarch thickens the sauce for that perfect consistency.
  • Garlic. Fragrant and aromatic, you’ll need a lot of it in this sauce.
  • Crushed red pepper brings heat to the sauce. You can adjust the amount to your desired taste. Add more if you want it super spicy.
  • Sriracha gives you heat and zing at once! It’s a wonderful cooking ingredient for a stocked kitchen.

Overview: How t0 Make Sweet Chili Chicken

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it so you understand each step before you get started.

  1. Make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and simmer until thickened. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
  2. Pour over chicken. Place chicken in a greased casserole dish. You can leave the chicken breasts whole, but cutting them up reduces the cooking time. Plus, it helps infuse the sweet chili sauce into every bite. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  3. Bake. Bake uncovered until chicken is cooked through. For extra color, you can change the oven setting to broil for the last few minutes.
  4. Optional while it bakes: The chicken takes about 30 minutes in the oven, so you can use this time to prepare side dishes such as wild rice and a side salad. 

Instead of sides, you can add some fresh broccoli in the pan with the chicken and bake everything together in the sauce. There’s a TON of sauce, so make sure you have some good stuff to soak it all up.

sweet chili sauce in a green bowl with a spoon

spreading sweet chili sauce onto pieces of chicken in a baking dish

sweet chili chicken in a baking dish with a serving spoon

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sweet chili chicken in a baking dish with a serving spoon

Easy Sweet Chili Chicken

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

Easy sweet chili chicken is your answer to a quick weeknight dinner. Makes incredible leftovers and the homemade sweet chili sauce is so versatile!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) warm water
  • 1/2 cup (180g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) rice vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (12g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • sesame seeds and green onion for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Lightly spray a baking pan with nonstick spray– I use a 10-inch casserole dish. Anything around this size works.
  2. Combine the water, honey, rice vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, crushed red pepper, Sriracha, and salt together in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer while whisking occasionally. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes. It will begin to rapidly thicken. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Arrange chicken in the prepared baking pan. Spread sauce on top, then turn the chicken over to make sure every inch is coated in the sauce.
  4. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. For extra color, I switch the oven to broil for the last few minutes. That is optional.
  5. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onion on top and serve the chicken with sauce from the pan. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: The sweet chili sauce, prepared in step 2, can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. You can even prepare the dish through step 3, cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Then bake as directed.
  2. Slow Cooker: I imagine you can prepare this in the slow cooker, but I haven’t attempted it yet. Let me know if you give it a try!
  3. Spiciness: This is a spicy dish! If you don’t like tons of heat, feel free to leave out the Sriracha or reduce to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
  4. The sweet chili sauce gets super thick after being stored in the fridge for a few days, but melts right down when spooned over warm food. Or heat it up if using it as a dip.

Keywords: sweet chili chicken

41 Comments

  1. Tried this last night last minute. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. It was delicious and super easy. I highly recommend throwing in the vegetables as you suggested. So much flavor, healthy and easy. Trifecta!!!

  2. Well…I made it tonight! Hubby and both think that it is not only tasty but also a very pretty dish! it’s a tad bit too spicy, so I might use a bit less Sriracha next time…but I will be making this again! 

  3. Delicious! I made this for dinner last night and my whole family loved it! Wonderful, not overbearing flavor. Quick and easy to make. I made it in the afternoon, refrigerated it, then cooked it in the evening.  This will definitely be put in our dinner rotation.    

  4. I made this last night and it was super delicious! I made it exactly like recommended, simply adding some brocolli and peppers to have a more stir fry type dish (with white rice). My husband thought it was pretty spicy, but loved it. I love spice, so found it to be perfect! We will definitely make again, SO easy, and delicious! Satisfied my pregnancy craving for Chinese take out! ha!

  5. In case anyone is curious, I made this tonight in a crockpot. It was delicious and husband-approved, though I am sure the texture of both the sauce and chicken is different when cooked in the oven. I made the sauce on the stovetop and then added it to the crockpot. I served the whole thing over broccoli and bulger. Thanks, Sally, for these recipes that my husband and I both enjoy! 

  6. I’m going to be making this tonight for supper for a second time!   I was worried it was going to be too spicy, but I found it quite tasty and the spicy factor was just right!   Thank you Sally for another great savoury recipe.   I’m totally intrigued by the pickle juice!  

  7. I have made this twice in a week – is that overdoing it?!:)

    We LOVE it – have toned down the heat a bit second time around…fast, simple and delicious.

    Sent this recipe on to everyone I know that loves something scrumptious.

  8. Crock pot watered down the sauce, so I made more sauce before serving. ( I ran out of honey and subbed orange marmalade). It worked out great. I like the original sauce better but won’t make in crock pot again.

  9. SOOOO good! & so easy!! thank you 🙂

  10. Hi Sally!

    Any idea how much chicken you actually used (weight wise]? Looking to see how much I need to get for this amount of sauce.

    Thank you!

    1. I’d say about 1.5 – 2 lbs. Anywhere around that!

  11. Best chicken recipe! So easy!!! I’ve made it a few times so far! It’ll be a weekly recipe

  12. Hi Sally! This looks so good. Quick question, I don’t have siracha sauce on hand, can I substitute a different type of hot sauce or add some sort of hot pepper to it instead?

    1. Hi Mel, you can simply leave it out. The sweet chili sauce will still have plenty of flavor and spice.

  13. Hi Sally!

    I made this last night and my husband loved it. We have leftovers for Friday that I’m going to serve on vermicelli noodles. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  14. Melissa "Dahmer" Bistrican says:

    I’ve made this twice now, and the boyfriend and I are in love! This is such an easy, flavorful dish. It will definitely be added to our weekly meal rotation.

  15. My boyfriend and I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! He called the sauce ‘restaurant quality’ and neither of us could get enough of it! Yum!!! 

  16. I made this for dinner tonight for my boyfriend and parents and they all loved it, especially my dad which is a big deal because he hates spicy food. He said he loved how it had a nice kick to it. Thanks again for another amazing recipe Sally! Will definitely be making this one again soon! 

  17. Mine came out very watery- any idea what happened?  Wrong dish?

    1. It thickens up as it cools. You can always strain some of the sauce, re-heat it on the stove and add a little cornstarch.

  18. Just made this and it turned out perfect. I served it with noodles and my husband loved it and went back for seconds. Thank you for such a brill and simple recipe! 

  19. Another great recipe! This is so simple and delicious; I added in 3 chopped bell peppers and some onion so that I didn’t have to cook veggies separately, than served everything on top of jasmine rice. Definitely will be making this again! One thing – I didn’t find it quite as spicy as I would like so I added extra sriracha after serving. Next time I’ll add extra sriracha and crushed chile peppers to the sauce but the recipe as is would be great for someone who isn’t a fan of spicy foods!

  20. I experimented and cooked this in a 6 qt. crock pot on high for 1.5 hours. I suspect it was the dripping condensation build up on the lid, but the sauce turned out very runny and watery and not as flavorful as it probably should be. (I did omit the sriracha as I don’t tolerate spice well; it still has a punch to it with the crushed red pepper.) I will definitely try this again and maybe place a cloth or paper towel inside the lid to absorb the additional moisture to see if the results are different. Otherwise, it’s a delicious recipe.

  21. Any thoughts on a substitute for the garlic? I’m allergic to garlic. Think we can substitute onion instead?

    1. Hi Mardi, garlic has a very distinct flavor that nothing else can replicate. However you can certainly leave it out, or try adding in shallots, leeks or an onion for a different flavor!

  22. Hi, is this recipe any good for freezing? Was a bit too hot for my family but would like to save the leftovers for some more spice seasoned family members…

    1. Definitely. Freeze for up to 3 months.

  23. We had this for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delicious! So easy & fuss free. Loved by the whole family. I’ll definitely make it again. Thank you

  24. This way absolutely delicious!!! I do cut the red pepper flakes by half because of my toddlers. The first time I baked the entire 30mins and the chicken was over cooked but still delicious. This time I baked for 24mins and it was perfect!! Juicy and oh so tasty. Thank you so much!

  25. Karen C Cutler says:

    I made it today for Sunday dinner, and it was great! I got rave reviews from the diners. I added frozen broccoli and fresh sweet onions. I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy hot so I cut the pepper and sriracha in half and it was perfect. Sooo much better than the bottled sauce!! I served it with brown rice, which was a disappointment. I need to learn how to make rice, LOL.

  26. Delicious and so easy! We tossed the extra sauce with roasted Brussels sprouts and it was fantastic! I’ll be making this again for sure! Thank you Sally!

  27. Hi Sally! I cannot wait to make this. Is this recipe easily doubled, and if so would it be best in a 13×9 in. pan? Thanks in advance!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, Yes, that would work. Enjoy!

  28. Very good, but mine turned out a bit watery. But a very simple recipe, will definitely make again!

  29. Love your site Sally. Trying this tonight for second time and adding fresh pineapple, green, red and yellow pepper pieces. Hope I don’t ruin it since it was popular first time around. Wanted to try a modification and see what happens.

  30. I have made this many times but every time I make it, the sauce with the actual chicken is VERY watery. When we had it last night, I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the chicken. Recently, I started doubling the sauce and only pour in half and save the other half to drizzle over the cooked chicken, rice and broccoli. I would love it even more if it didn’t get all watered down.

    With that said, I love all of your recipes – thank you for continuing to share all these years!

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