Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken Recipe

This tasty recipe has all the flavors that I could imagine would make a chicken dish great. And it is a very easy recipe to put together for a weekday meal.

Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken

sweet and spicy sticky chicken wings

The title – “Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken” – doesn’t that just sound super yummy? It brings to mind a barbeque-like idea for this chicken dish BUT it’s not barbeque—it’s just a braised chicken dish that is delicious.

I’ve made this dish several times already. The recipe calls for chicken thighs but this last time I made it, I used chicken wings and that worked out good too. I think thighs and legs are probably the best parts to use, though, as they hold up better than wings in a braise.

Intensify the Flavor

Midway through the cook, you’ll have to take the chicken out so that it doesn’t get overcooked and mushy. The most important thing to remember is to reduce that sauce down a lot after taking the chicken out. The flavors really intensify when you let the sauce reduce to a thick sticky texture. Once the sauce gets to that point, it is a good idea to put the chicken back into the sauce to let the sauce really absorb into the chicken.

The flavors in this dish reminds me a little of adobo but the addition of ginger, dried chile flakes, and brown sugar gives it a special twist. For me, it’s not very spicy at all and if you like your dishes more spicy, you can definitely double or even triple the chile flakes. It works well for my family though—the kids can handle this level of heat and the adults still get a little sum’n sum’n.

Throw a little garnish of cilantro or extra green onions and you’re good to go. Make it and see how this wonderfully intense-flavored dish gets wolfed down quickly!

Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken

adapted from Cooking New American


1 kg (2 lbs) chicken (dark meat is preferable or chicken wings)
1 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
Cilantro sprigs as garnish or just use another scallion, thinly sliced


1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp rice-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (about 2 inches)
1 clove garlic, minced (yeah, here I go again, I used about 2-3)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red chile flakes (or more if you like it spicier)

Sauce Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken

sauce ingredients for sweet and spicy sticky chicken wings


1. In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, fish sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, pepper, and red chile flakes.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over med heat. Add the scallions and cook until soft, about 3 mins.
3. Add the chicken and the brown sugar mixture. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, turning the chicken occasionally, until cooked, 25-30 mins.

Adding Sauce to Chicken

simmering sweet and spicy sticky chicken wings

4. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Increase the heat to high and reduce the sauce by half or until it is slightly thickened and resembles a bubbling caramel sauce. Return the chicken to the sauce to coat and absorb more of the sauce.
5. Plate up and garnish with the cilantro sprigs or scallions.

Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken

sweet and spicy sticky chicken wings closeup


Cheers, Annie

5 thoughts on “Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken Recipe”

  1. Annie,
    This dish looks great. My husband and I really like your blog. My Mom lives in Honolulu so I especially like your Hawaiian dishes. -Tien 🙂

  2. Oh jeeez that looks fantastic. I wonder why it's sticky though?? I didn't notice any ingredients that make it sticky, but sweet and spicy is totally up my alley!! Hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving holiday dear!!

  3. Awesome! The ingredients are almost exactly the same as a marinade I make for chicken with sticky rice! I think the only difference is that I also add teriyaki sauce and a dash of kosher salt. (Also, I never measure anything out- I just constantly adjust until I get the flavor I want. Can't help it, that's just the way I cook.)

  4. @Tien – mahalo!

    @easy recipes – ginger is used almost as often as garlic in our house.

    @Michelle – it's all in the reduction.

    @How's it Taste? – nothing wrong with that. We also adjust to taste, but at least there's a guideline for approximate amounts.

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