Easy Sweet Chili Chicken

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

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

I’m a huge fan of sweet chili sauce from the store and often buy it to serve with coconut shrimp. I’ve never thought to just make it myself, but the flavors were all ingredients I had on hand one night so I went for it and crossed my fingers. Major success.

You need:

A whole lotta garlic
 Also a ton of crushed red pepper
 Sriracha (yes!!)
Rice vinegar
Honey
Cornstarch to thicken
None of the weird sketchy stuff you find in the store-bought kind.

… and that’s about it.

sweet chili sauce in a green bowl with a spoon

Traditionally sweet chili sauce is made with granulated sugar but I try to reserve all my refined sugar for baking purposes– and for cooking, try to use unrefined when I can. Balance. Honey is SO GOOD with garlic and spice– and definitely works here. As an alternative, you can use agave or pure maple syrup (or just granulated sugar) instead if you’d like.

I actually made the sweet chili sauce again last week because we both loved it so much. I added it to veggie and rice stir-fry one night and smothered it over warm grilled zucchini the next. It’s been so convenient to have on hand because not only is it exploding with sweet, spicy, and garlic-packed flavor– it’s extremely versatile. So many uses for this stuff! You’ll want to serve it with everything and I mean everything. Up next I’ll try salmon and then maybe shrimp. Keep ya posted.

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

But today– basically what you’re going to do is make the sweet chili sauce on the stove, pour it over chicken, then bake the whole darn thing for about 30 minutes. It doesn’t get any easier. I channeled my baked pineapple teriyaki chicken; they’re essentially the same exact recipe but with different homemade sauces. So simple.

You can leave the chicken breasts whole, but I find that cutting them up not only cuts down on cook time but infuses the sweet chili sauce flavor deep into each smaller piece. I also switched the oven to broil for the last few minutes to give it all a little more color.

sweet chili chicken in a baking dish with a serving spoon

While it’s baking, you can prep some side dishes. I simply served this with wild rice and a side salad, but you can throw some broccoli or sliced zucchini in the pan and let it bake with the chicken directly in the sauce. There’s a ton of sauce, so make sure you have some good stuff to soak it all up! Quinoa or brown rice would be fantastic alongside too.

As leftovers? This is even better the next day after the chicken has absorbed more of the sauce. And if you combine rice in the same tupperware as all the leftover sauce, you’ll easily have one of the best lunches ever to look forward to. It tastes like pure comfort food when in reality it’s kinda sorta healthy-ish AND you made it from scratch.

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

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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

And here’s that baked teriyaki chicken I love too!

baked pineapple teriyaki chicken in a baking dish after baking

124 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Hi sally.  Firstly I love your recipes. Second it looks like you have a little typo where it says brown side instead of brown rice 🙂

    1. Whoops! Thanks for catching that.

  2. Marigabrielle says:

    Sally I have to tell you, you have changed my life, I´m from Mexico where the culture can be a little bit closed and us girls don’t learn to cook practically until we get married and we are forced to. I came to live to Europe where everyone already knew how to cook by age 18 and me being 25 years old without a single idea of how to do a fried egg….Your recipes have been not only an inspiration but a way of making me look good when I invite people over! Thanks so much! your blog is like the bible to me now!
    And I can now do more than a fried egg thanks to you!!

    P.S.- I would love if you could make lactose free or with substitutes recipes 😉

    1. Simply incredible. This makes me so happy and WHY I do this. Thank you so much and I hope you’re proud!!!

  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!

    1. So glad you both loved it and I’m happy you added veggies to it!

  5. Cynthia Cuff says:

    Looks like a great recipe….tonight’s choice! My daughter got me going following your site as well as I have purchased your cookbooks for her….another fan

    1. Thanks so much for the support, Cynthia!

  6. I’m so terrible. I stalk your blog but I never reply or comment but I had to for this recipe. This is amazing! I have tried (and failed) too many times to make a sweet chili sauce but I swear I heard angles sing when I tried this one. As soon as I made it I called my mom and told her she had to try it. After she made it she called my aunt who called my cousin and so on and so on.

    I think you are brilliant and you are such an inspiration for someone like me who is just starting out with their own baking business. Thank you for being so awesome and I can’t wait to try more of your amazing recipes!

    1. Ashley, thank you so much for saying hi! I’m happy the whole family gives the sweet chili sauce a big stamp of approval!!

  7. 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! 

    1. Perfect. Thanks for coming back and letting everyone know, Kathleen!

  8. 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!  

    1. I’m glad you love this dish! And I do think you should try marinating chicken in pickle juice sometime. The chicken tastes incredible!

  9.  I really love this recipe because it is very quick and easy and has a ton of flavor.  I did however add chopped zucchini to the mixture and I am sad to report that the liquid from the zucchini made the sauce very watery. If using zucchini I would roast it separately and maybe mix it in at the end.  I will definitely be using this recipe and sauce again. Thanks!

  10. 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.

    1. Thanks so much June!

  11. Oh Sally!  You warm my heart!  And so did your Easy Sweet Chili Chicken!  We love spicy and we love chicken so I followed your recipe to the “T”.  And the true test is when my husbands head sweats from the spicy ingredients!  Awesome dish!  I don’t know how you do it but keep the goodies coming. Someday I am going to list all of your recipes made in my kitchen!  Your pup will be an adult dog by the end!

    1. Haha! I’d love to see the list someday. 🙂

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

  13. 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 just made this yesterday and had a pack of chicken from Wal-Mart that was 0.870 kg, and I had quite a bit for the four portions. I think anywhere between that and 1kg of chicken would do the trick!

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

      1. Perfect! Thank you!

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

  15. I LOVE this recipe! could you add how many calories this is like you did on your pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe? thanks! 

    1. Hi Lauren! I don’t have a chance at the moment, but here is a calculator if you want to calculate it: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

    1. You’re welcome, Natalie! So glad you guys liked it!

  18. I have this in oven now for a meal during the week.  However I was lazy and used Franks Sweet Chili Sauce but stepped it up with some fresh garlic, a touch of white wine vinegar, chili pepper flakes, hot sauce, and a bit of honey!  Smells devine!  If anyone makes it in a crock pot let me know!  

    1. I hope you enjoy it Jodie!

      1. 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.

  19.  Hi Sally, I don’t have rice vinegar; will regular vinegar substitute and taste similar? 

    1. Google says cider vinegar would be the best substitute. 

  20. 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.

  21. Is there a substitute for rice vinegar??

  22. 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!!! 

    1. Well that’s an amazing compliment! Glad you both loved it!

  23. 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! 

  24. 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.

  25. 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! 

  26. Hi Sally! Thanks to you I’ve become a great cook The dish was absolutely delicious and chicken came out really juicy. Me and my husband finished it all by ourselves! I was wondering if I could turn it into sweet chilli wings? How would that turn out? I’ve got a pile of wings in my fridge and I definitely loved the sauce. What do you say should I bake the wings in the sauce as the chicken or bake them and pour the sauce over them? 

    1. Yay for improving cooking skills! I would brush the un-baked wings with some of the sauce, then bake the wings, then pour the sauce over them when they are done 🙂

  27. 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!

    1. We make this on the regular in my house – and I definitely appreciate a little extra spice sometimes!

  28. I have made this many many times & it is wonderful!! We serve it over a small amount of Jasmine rice. The sauce is so good I make some up when we order from Pizza hut so we can dip our wings since pizza hut got rid of the wing sauce we like. Great recipe!

  29. 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.

  30. Hi I’m a university student and this my first time branching away from cooking eggs and ramen. It worked out great! Thanks Sally

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