Honey Chipotle Skillet Chicken is a simple dish, a little sweet, a little spicy and packed with flavor. This easy skillet recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish!
Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Honey Chipotle Sauce
Skillet recipes are one of my most favorite quick and easy dinner ideas, especially on busy weeknights. I just love that the main part of the meal (if not all of it) comes together in just one pan. And if there’s one recipe you must try in a skillet, it’s these sweet and spicy, tender and juicy, completely mind-blowing honey chipotle chicken thighs.
I’m seriously drooling at the memory of these chicken thighs. Consider this recipe right up there with my Melt In Your Mouth (MIYM) Chicken as one of my favorite chicken dinners of all time!
This recipe for pan seared, saucy chicken is perfect to customize to everyone’s tastes. You can make it as sweet or as spicy as you prefer! Not only is this a crazy easy dish, but it’s so loaded with flavor. I need to resist the temptation to eat it right out of the skillet!
What You’ll Need
First, you’ll need two pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs for this recipe. You can also use chicken breasts, however the cooking time will just be a little longer. Next you’ll need the following ingredients for the homemade chicken rub as well as the chipotle sauce:
For the Dry Rub Seasoning
- Garlic Powder
- Chipotle Powder
- Light Brown Sugar
- Dry Ground Mustard
For the Honey Chipotle Sauce
- Honey: The sweetness perfectly balances the sauce and puts the “honey” in honey chipotle chicken.
- Chipotles In Adobo: I use the sauce and chop up a couple peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: For a bit of acidity. I prefer the sweetness of apple cider vinegar, but you can sub in white wine vinegar as well.
- Garlic: Fresh whole cloves, minced.
You’ll also need a couple tablespoons of Olive Oil for cooking, and fresh chopped Cilantro or Parsley as an optional garnish.
How to Make Honey Chipotle Skillet Chicken
This recipe is definitely weeknight dinner material, since it’s super quick to make. I use my cast iron skillet, as it heats evenly and gives the chicken a deep, charred brown color. Here’s how to make your sweet n’ spicy chipotle skillet chicken:
Dry Rub the Chicken: First, whisk together a quick dry rub with the listed ingredients. Give your chicken thighs a generous rub all over, to really get the flavors in.
Make the Sauce: Next, you’ll whisk together the honey chipotle sauce. It’s a combination of honey, apple cider vinegar, canned chipotles in adobo, and garlic. I use both the canned adobo sauce as well as the peppers to add a little extra spice.
Sear the Chicken Thighs: Heat your skillet to high heat and brown the chicken in olive oil on one side. Flip and turn the heat down to cook the other side. When the chicken is cooked through, pour the chipotle sauce over top and let it cook for a few minutes to thicken up.
Really get your chicken nice and saucy, and then get ready to serve! If you’d like, you can garnish it with a little cilantro or parsley.
Tips for Success
- Can I Use Chicken Breasts Instead?: Yes, you can absolutely use chicken breasts if you prefer. Just note that the cooking time will be slightly longer depending on size and thickness, so adapt accordingly!
- Not a Fan of Adobo?: If you’d rather leave out the adobo sauce, or cut back on the spiciness, use BBQ sauce in its place and leave out the chipotle peppers. You’ll still get the hint of chipotle kick from the dry rub!
- Don’t Overcrowd the Chicken: Leave enough space between the chicken thighs as they cook. This will ensure that they don’t steam in the skillet, while getting a nice even sear.
- Only Flip Once: Only flip the chicken thighs once the first side is finished cooking. If the pan is at the right temperature, the chicken will sear and not stick and the sides will brown evenly. So resist the urge to poke or turn the chicken while the skillet is working its magic!
- How Do I Tell If My Chicken Is Done?: Chicken thighs are tricky in that they can still be pinkish in color even after they’re fully cooked. The easiest way to check doneness is with a thermometer – the internal temperature should read 165ºF. If you’re going by eye, the chicken is done when the juices run clear, and there’s some resistance when you gently press on it. If the thigh is still very soft, it needs more time in the pan.
You can serve this with rice, a salad, or with mashed potatoes! Here are some ideas:
- Serve this chicken as part of a homemade chipotle Burrito Bowl and pile on the fixings! Some suggestions are avocado and guacamole, pico de gallo, corn, diced or sliced tomatoes, black beans, shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream. It’s an easy Tex-Mex dinner!
- Serve this spicy chicken next to my Instant Pot Butter Rice and a fresh green salad.
- A side of steamed, grilled or roasted veggies is perfect to round out a chipotle chicken dinner. Try grilled zucchini, roasted red peppers, steamed broccoli, or corn on the cob. You can also make it a meal with these Roasted Veggie Nachos!
- These skillet chicken thighs go great with Crockpot Mashed Potatoes or my Cheesy Bacon Ranch Roasted Potatoes.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Store your leftover honey chipotle chicken airtight in the fridge for 2-3 days. Leftover chicken is perfect to enjoy cold in a salad or chicken wrap, or reheated for another meal.
Reheat leftover chicken only once, in the microwave, covered in the oven, or in a skillet on the stovetop. I prefer the stovetop method, with a lid over the pan to help seal in the heat and moisture.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes, you can freeze the cooked chicken thighs in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the chicken in the fridge and then reheat as usual.
More Easy Skillet Chicken RecipesPrint
Honey Chipotle Skillet Chicken is a simple dish, a little sweet, a little spicy and packed with flavor that takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish!
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
Honey Chipotle Sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup adobo sauce, from a can of chipotles in adobo
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chipotle peppers from the same can of chipotles in adobo, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
optional – cilantro or parsley to garnish
- Trim the excess fat from the chicken thighs and pat dry.
- In a small bowl mix all the dry rub ingredients together. Coat the chicken with the dry rub and set aside.
- In a medium bowl mix together all the ingredients for the Honey Chipotle sauce. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet to high heat. Place chicken into the heated skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken has a nice browned color on one side. Flip the chicken and turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking for 7-8 minutes, or until the chicken os cooked through.
- Turn the heat down to low and drizzle the Honey Chipotle Sauce on top of the chicken. Allow the sauce to cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Flip the chicken over int he sauce, so both sides get coated.
- Garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
You can use chicken breasts in place of the thighs if you prefer.
If you don’t love Adobo Sauce you can sub in BBQ sauce in its place and omit the chipotle peppers.
Keywords: skillet recipe, honey chipotle sauce, easy chicken thigh recipes