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This Browned Butter Honey Chicken skillet recipe is sweet and savory dish and packed so much flavor. From the nutty, rich brown butter sauce with honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes, to the crispy seared chicken that is uber juicy and savory, this is a family-friendly chicken dinner recipe that everyone will love. Pan-searing the chicken and finishing it in the oven creates the crispiest, most flavorful chicken skin that is so tasty and helps to keep the chicken thighs extra juicy.
This easy chicken dinner combines sweet and savory with a mouthwatering browned butter garlic sauce with honey that’s kicked up a notch by adding red pepper flakes. Its sticky sweet sauce coats tender and juicy chicken thighs, and it’s all made in one skillet from start to finish. If you love the flavor of roasted chicken, then you should also try my whole roasted lemon rosemary chicken recipe!
What is browned butter?
Browned butter is basically cooking butter in a pan until the milk solids are toasted and water content evaporates to create a golden brown butter with a nutty, caramel flavor. It’s truly one of the best ways to add butter to a recipe. You can use it in savory dishes such as this chicken thigh recipe or add it to cookies and cakes for an insane flavor enhancer.
why you’ll love this Browned Butter Honey Chicken
- One pan recipe. This chicken thigh recipe goes from stovetop to oven to all in one skillet. Making a delicious family dinner is that much easier with less cleanup. Pair with easy sides like air fryer green beans and crispy roasted potatoes for a hassle-free meal.
- The best sweet and savory butter sauce. Because you’re cooking the chicken from start to finish in the same pan, you can grab all the little bits of goodness on the bottom to create a beautifully browned butter sauce infused with honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Juicy, flavorful chicken thighs. Using the skin on bone-in chicken thighs gives you the best, juiciest piece of meat. The skin helps keep moisture in, and the bone in the cut of meat is always more tender and flavorful.
- Easy to make. You’ll be amazed by how easy the steps are to cook this recipe which results in an incredibly flavorful dish by searing the chicken, browning the butter, and finishing by roasting in the oven. It’s that simple!
Ingredients to make Browned Butter Chicken Thighs
- Chicken thighs – Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs are the best choice for cooking this recipe for the best flavor. Alternatively, you could use boneless skin-on thighs or boneless skinless thighs, but you will need to adjust the cooking time.
- Honey – The honey adds a bit of sweetness and helps the sauce stick to the chicken.
- Aromatics – Garlic and lemon infuse, add dimension, and liven up the browned butter sauce.
- Seasoning – Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. If you don’t want a spicy sauce, skip the flakes, or add extra to kick up the heat.
- Oil and butter – The oil sears the chicken skin to crispy perfection while the butter is added and cooked until foamy and golden brown to make the honey garlic butter sauce.
How to make Honey Chicken with Browned Butter Sauce
- Cook the chicken skin-side down with oil until crispy and golden brown.
- Flip and sear the other side. It won’t be fully cooked at this point but will finish after the sauce is made.
- Remove the chicken, melt the butter and allow it to brown and become foamy. Then add in the aromatics and seasonings
- Add the chicken back to the pan and baste with the sauce. Finish cooking it in the oven.
Tips for making Crispy Browned Butter Chicken Thighs
- Keep the skin on. Can you actually avoid that crispy golden skin after these chicken thighs are baked in the oven in honey butter? But even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, it really helps to keep the chicken juicy after cooking in the oven for so long.
- Use a cast iron skillet. A cast iron pan is ideal for transferring from stove to oven and perfect for cooking a crispy skin on the bone in chicken thighs. If you are new to using a cast iron skillet, check out this guide to cooking with cast iron.
- Pat the chicken dry. To get the crispiest skin and allow the seasonings to adhere to the chicken thighs, use a few paper towels to pat them dry before cooking.
- Marinate the chicken. Whip up an easy but flavorful marinade for the thighs to rest overnight. This will pump up the flavor of this recipe for a tender, juicy piece of chicken. You may need to adjust the other seasonings though.
popular substitutions & additions
- Swap for boneless chicken thighs. Even though this recipe uses bone-in chicken thighs, boneless ones work just as well, but they will require less time in the oven.
- Use maple syrup instead of honey. If you don’t have honey or prefer not to use it, try swapping it for maple syrup. It’ll slightly change the flavor but delivers the same sweetened sauce that coats the chicken.
- Swap the citrus to match your sides. The lemon in the sauce bursts with a beautiful citrusy punch that’s so fresh. You can have that same zing of flavor by using a different citrus to compliment whatever side dish you have. For example, use lime instead of lemon to pair with zesty lime and cilantro cauliflower rice.
- Add soy sauce. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce for an umami flavor browned butter sauce when you add the lemon juice. This savory addition offers more depth and variety to the recipe and can pair well with an Asian noodle salad.
what to serve with Honey Garlic Butter Chicken
- Roasted Parmesan Potatoes
- Creamy Risotto
- Lemon Rice
- Butternut Squash Noodles
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Broccoli Mac and Cheese
how to store & reheat Chicken Thighs
Transfer the chicken thighs and sauce to an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a preheated oven until warmed through.
how long will Browned Butter Chicken last in the fridge?
Leftovers will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator when properly stored.
can I freeze Cooked Chicken Thighs?
Yes, but allow it to cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe bag or container.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, this two-step cooking process ensures that the chicken is cooked all the way to the bone and retains its crispy skin. If you use boneless thighs, you may be able to skip this step as long as the internal temperature reaches 165˚F.
It takes about 6-8 minutes to make brown butter. You’ll know the butter is done browning once it becomes foamy and has an intensely nutty, buttery scent.
Sear the chicken skin-side down for 6-8 minutes until crispy before flipping and searing the other side. Then, finish cooking in a hot oven. Do not cover the pan with a lid. The steam will soften the crispy skin in seconds, so it’s best to leave the lid off and finish in an open pan.
Weeknight dinners are much better with easy, quick recipes the family will love, like this Browned Butter Honey Chicken. It has the best combination of sweet and savory flavors and results in the juiciest piece of chicken that goes with many different side dishes. This will be one to make over and over again for a sure-fire recipe the family craves.
More Chicken Thigh recipes:
- Pan Seared Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Pomegranate Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Skillet Chicken with Couscous
- Chicken and Potatoes
- Grilled Harissa Chicken
- Easy White Chicken Chili
- Chicken Shawarma Pita Pizza
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Browned Butter Honey Chicken
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then season all over with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Sear chicken thighs undisturbed, skin side down, until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 8-10 minutes. Flip and sear again until slightly golden, 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate (it will not be fully cooked at this point) and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of rendered chicken fat.
- Melt butter in the same skillet over medium low heat, scraping up any bits with a spatula. Swirl the pan occasionally until butter is foamy, golden brown, and nutty, 3-4 minutes. Add honey, garlic, and chili flakes (if using) cooking until fragrant, 1 minute. Add in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken back into the browned butter, skin side up. Baste thighs with butter sauce. Transfer to oven and cook until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165˚F, 5-7 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.