Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken


A little sweet, a little spicy, a whole lot of yummy in this Thai chicken dish. Make an easy glaze for the chicken, a quick pickle mix for veggies, and have it all cooked and ready to devour in under 45 minutes

Want more flavors like this? I’ve got you covered! Try my Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon, Pork Fried Rice, and Island Glazed Pork Tenderloin

overhead view of plate with grilled chicken, julienned carrots, cucumber ribbons, and lime wedges

One thing I don’t make too often? Homemade pickled anything. No real reason, I guess I was just too scared to try it, and I thought it would take too long. But, I really wanted some pickled veggies like the kind I get when I eat Thai food at my favorite restaurant in town. Then that kind of backed into a question of what do I serve the veggies with? And that turned into this fabulous Thai chicken dish! Trust me, it might seem like more steps than you’re used to but it’s totally worth it!

overhead view of hands holding plate of chicken, rice, and veggies

Why This Recipe Works

Glaze is key — Taking a little time before cooking the chicken to thicken up half of the glaze sauce makes all the difference in the end when you pour the sticky-sweet-spicy mixture over the Thai chicken. You’ll never know it’s not takeout!

All the pickled veggies — For this dish I pickled carrots and cucumbers but really you can pickle just about any veggie you love, so feel free to experiment! 

Healthier than takeout — Making this Thai chicken dish at home with simple ingredients is way better for you than ordering takeout. And less expensive! 

Fast — This dish goes from prep to plate in just 40 short minutes! Also makes a great dish for those last-minute dinner guests. 

marinated vegetables with carrots, onions, and red pepper flakes in glass jar

Here’s How You Make It

Don’t think of it as lots of instructions, think of it as lots of goodness going into one bowl! And really, it’s much, much simpler than you think! 

Pickle the veggies. 

  1. Shred carrots (or purchase pre-shredded carrots) and slice cucumbers thin (or use a peeler to slice them into ribbons). 
  2. Add the carrots and cukes (and any veggies you want to pickle, really) into a glass or resealable jar. 
  3. Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes. 
  4. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to combine all the ingredients. 
  5. Put in the fridge to pickle at least 1 hour or overnight. 

Make the glaze. 

  1. Whisk together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, sriracha, garlic, vinegar, fish sauce, lemongrass paste, lime juice, and sesame oil in a bowl. 
  2. Split the glaze into two, setting half off to the side. 
  3. Add the other half of the glaze to a medium sauce pan, bring it up to a boil and let it cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Take the glaze off the heat and let it cool and thicken in the pan while you turn your attention toward the chicken.

Cook the Thai chicken. 

There are two ways you can cook the chicken — on the stove or on the grill. Both are equally delicious!

Stovetop directions

  1. Combine the chicken and the glaze you reserved in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces).
  2. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side for another 5-8 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chicken from heat.
  3. Pour the glaze you thickened earlier on top of the chicken and serve over cooked white rice and pickled veggies. 

Grill directions: 

  1. Combine the chicken and the reserved glaze in a bowl or an air-tight bag. Cover or seal and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-low and oil the grates. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the grill (throwing away any excess glaze marinade) and grill for 5-8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  3. Take the chicken off the grill, top with thickened glaze, and serve with cooked white rice and pickled veggies.

up close view of glazed chicken with ribbon vegetables and cilantro

How Can I Use This Glaze?

This Thai chicken glaze goes great on all kinds of protein options! 

Use this glaze to top chicken wings, grilled pork tenderloin, grilled steak, or even tofu! Or, just pour reduced glaze on top of any variety of cooked vegetables for a lovely, nutritious, vegetarian option. 

Expert Tips 

  • For the Thai chicken, if you are using thicker cuts of chicken (breasts or thighs), you will need to adjust the cook time by 5-10 minutes on both the stovetop and grill to make sure the chicken is white all the way throughout and the juices run clear when sliced into. 
  • Pickled veggies are completely optional — but highly recommended! If you have just five minutes to put them in the fridge (and one hour to let them chill) you will be so glad you took the time. They add so much flavor and color to this dish! 
  • Sweet chili sauce is easy to find at the grocery store in the international aisle. You can also make your own
  • I consider fish sauce a pantry staple. I use it in many of my recipes. However if you don’t have any you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce.
  • On the other hand, no worries if you don’t have lemongrass paste. (You can find it in the fresh produce section near the herbs, it comes in a squeeze tube.) Simply omit it if you can’t get your hands on some!
  • Rice is a must. I love basmati and jasmine for it’s nutty flavor and awesome aroma, but any rice will work! 

hands holding plate and fork cutting into thai chicken and vegetables on plate

More Tasty Chicken Recipes to Try

Did you make this Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken recipe? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!

overhead view of plate with grilled chicken, julienned carrots, cucumber ribbons, and lime wedges

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

For the glaze

  • Whisk together all glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. Reserve half of the glaze and set aside.

  • Add remaining half of the glaze to a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook for five minutes.

  • Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken while you cook the chicken.

Stovetop method

  • Combine chicken and reserved glaze in a skillet over medium heat. Cook 5-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces).

  • Turn, cook another 5-8 minutes until cooked through. Remove from heat.

  • Top with thickened glaze and serve with cooked white rice and pickled veggies. Enjoy!

Grill method

  • Combine chicken and reserved glaze. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat grill to medium-low and oil the grates. Use tongs to transfer chicken to the grill (discard excess glaze marinade) and grill for 5-8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.

  • Top with thickened glaze and serve with cooked white rice and pickled veggies. Enjoy!

For the chicken: If using thicker cuts of chicken (breasts or thighs), you will need to adjust the cook time by 5-10 minutes until chicken is white throughout and juices run clear run sliced into. 
For the pickled veggies: these are completely optional – but if you have five minutes to put them in the fridge you will be so glad you did it! You just need to remember to do it at least one hour in advance (or even the night before!) so they have time to marinate. 
Sweet chili sauce: easily make your own or buy it in the Asian section of grocery stores!
Fish sauce: worth having on hand for so many CDLC recipes, but if you don’t have any you can substitute soy sauce.
Lemongrass paste: very commonly found in the fresh produce section near the herbs, comes in a squeeze tube. No substitution but you can omit it if you can’t get your hands on some!
Serving suggestions: over steamed basmati or jasmine rice with lots of limes and fresh cilantro. 

Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 2932mg | Potassium: 864mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 2899IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

 



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