Those little bites of chicken in sticky Thai sauce are a popular appetizer in restaurants. But there’s hardly any chicken and they’re a little dry. A rip off if you ask me. These Sweet Chili Thai Chicken Thighs have that sweet, hot and zesty flavour but also have juicy tender meat.
This one is for my friend Vicki. She likes to order the Thai chicken bites when we go out for wings with the neighbourhood group. She doesn’t care for wings because they’re mostly skin and bones. I get it. I prefer bone in skin on chicken thighs. There’s so much more meat and flavour than wings or bites and there’s no deep frying or breading if you make these instead of bites.Jump to Recipe
The sauce is based on the ingredients on the bottle of store bought sauce. I did some experimenting and I’m happy with the result. I wasn’t going for the exact flavour because I find it’s a bit too sweet and hot.
If you like extra spicy dishes you can add more chili flakes and sriracha. And, a funny thing. The store bought ingredient list had pickled garlic. Amazingly I had some in the fridge so I tossed one in. But regular garlic is just fine.
The best time to make Sweet Chili Thai Chicken Thighs is when you need to clean your stove top. You’ll have some grease splatter so wait until it’s time for a good cleaning. In my house that means about once a year. Kidding.
Use a heavy skillet that can go in the oven. Heat it up to medium high, add a little bit of oil, season the thighs well with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan skin side down.
Skinless chicken or skin on?
I almost always use bone in skin on chicken. The skin helps keep the meat from drying out. But it does have a fair bit of fat and isn’t fun to eat unless it’s crispy so you need to sear the pieces skin side down over a fairly high heat. That’s where the splatter comes in. You don’t need much oil in the pan to get started so add just a bit. Once they get a really nice deep golden colour, about 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the thighs, turn the pieces over. Tilt the pan and carefully spoon out most of the fat. Leave just a bit to help brown the other side of the chicken and to add to the sauce. Don’t try to turn the pieces too soon, otherwise the skin will stick to the pan.
Once the pieces are almost cooked, after about 10 more minutes, pour the sauce over top and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Using the roast setting has the heat coming from the top which helps keep the skin crispy. And the higher temperature is also important.
Take the pan out a few times and baste with the sauce that’s on the bottom of the pan to make sure the tops are nice and coated, but leave skin side up. The sauce will have thickened slightly. Roast until the internal temperature is at least 170 degrees. “They” say chicken should be cooked to 180 degrees but the meat does continue to cook once it’s removed from the oven AND you can end up with dry meat if you over cook it. Always let meat rest after it’s been cooked to ensure the juices return to the inside of the meat.
Garnish with minced green onions.
Here’s the recipe:
Sweet Chili Thai Chicken Thighs
- 6 bone in skin on chicken thighs
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or regular vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
- 2 dried red chilies, crushed, or 1/2 tsp chili flakes or 1 tsp minced red chilies
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or 2 pickled cloves
- salt and pepper
- 2 green onions, minced
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees on roast setting.
- Combine sauce ingredients.
- Heat a large oven proof skillet to medium-high. Add a tsp of olive oil. Generously season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to hot pan skin side down. Sear for 10-12 minutes until skin is nicely browned, crispy and most of the fat is rendered off.
- Turn pieces over. Tip pan and carefully spoon out most of the fat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 more minutes.
- Pour sauce over top of chicken pieces, keeping pieces skin side up.
- Place skillet on the middle rack of the oven and roast for about 15 minutes until there is no pink inside and internal temperature is at least 170 degrees. Remove pan a few times and spoon sauce over chicken.
- Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes while you dice up green onions for garnish.