Caramelized Brown Sugar Chicken

I really love cooking with brown sugar as a rub but never tried using brown sugar as part of a sauce.  The brown sugar and honey caramelized, creating a sweet crispy layer on the outside while sealing in the savory garlic taste.  The chicken broth allowed the chicken to braise while baking, keeping the meat moist and collecting the drippings from the brown sugar, honey and spice topping.  For those looking to cut calories and fat, you can try this with boneless skinless thighs.

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Season chicken thighs with paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken from heat and place in a baking dish lined with tin foil.
  • Melt remaining Tbsp butter in the skillet. Add garlic, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in brown sugar, honey, oregano, thyme, and basil until well combined, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Once warmed, the mixture will be sticky; take a spatula and evenly coat the top of each chicken piece with brown sugar mix.  The sauce will be thick; try your best to spread it evenly across the top of each thigh.
  • Pour the 1/2 cup chicken broth in the baking dish; do not completely cover the chicken but leave about an inch of liquid at the bottom of the dish.
  • A small amount of the brown sugar mix will drip to the bottom of the baking dish to combine with juices, oil, and chicken broth making a delicious sauce.
  • Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Let chicken stand 3-5 minutes and serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Inspired from below recipe:

Leave a Reply