Sweet and Spicy Chicken Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Who doesn’t love a complete meal in a bowl in 30 minutes or less? Sweet and spicy chicken is an Asian-inspired dinner that will remind you of orange sesame chicken or general tso’s chicken. It’s a slightly healthier, non-fried alternative made with honey, orange juice, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and spices.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Recipe

Served over white rice, sweet and spicy chicken is a sticky, sweet, and slightly spicy entree that’s really rich and flavorful. Thanks to chicken thighs, the chicken is really tender and juicy and won’t dry out like tenders or chicken breast. This recipe also makes for a great pairing with small broccoli florets. You should have enough sauce to mix in some broccoli and give it a nice sticky coating as well!

Cooking for a crowd? This recipe can be made along with my beef skewers, crab rangoons, fried rice, and beef and broccoli for a medley of Chinese takeout-inspired flavors!

Sweet and Spicy Sauce

My homemade sweet and spicy sauce is made with honey, orange juice, sriracha, soy sauce, minced garlic, fresh ginger, and cornstarch as a thickener. Whisk everything together in a small bowl or measuring glass and simmer with the chicken. The honey will carmelize and thicken with some help from cornstarch. If you’re skeptical of cornstarch, just note you should not skip this ingredient. The sauce will simply not thicken without it and will be watery.

A large naval orange will render about 1/2 a cup of fresh orange juice. If you have OJ on hand, by all means, you can use that. I just don’t drink orange juice otherwise so I don’t buy it.

Tips for Making Sweet and Spicy Chicken

  • Use chicken thighs for tender, juicy meat. I’ve made this recipe with tenders and chicken breast and it’s just not the same. Chicken thighs don’t dry out like other cuts. I also always trim the larger denser portions of fat off the thighs so there aren’t any unpleasant pieces.
  • Lightly coating the chopped chicken in cornstarch helps to retain moisture. This is an awesome hack that helps keep smaller bits of chicken from drying out when cooking.
  • I cannot stress this enough. The cornstarch in the sweet and spicy sauce is essential to thicken the sauce. Without it, you will be left with a runny sauce that will not coat the chicken.
  • A nonstick pan works best, especially when working with sauces and glazes. Use a rubber spatula to continually scrape the pan and mix the sauce around the chicken as it simmers. A cast iron skillet also works well.
  • Fresh garlic and fresh ginger make a big difference in terms of overall flavor. Freshly grated ginger is very aromatic and flavorful in comparison to its dried counterpart. I always recommend fresh ginger over ground spices when possible.

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Recipe

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Sweet, tangy, and spicy chicken thighs served over jasmine rice. A simple homemade spin on classic takeout.


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed (can also use chicken breast)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 green onions, diagonally thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste

sweet & spicy sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 orange freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


  • In a small bowl or measuring glass, whisk together all sweet and spicy sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  • Place chicken in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Toss to lightly coat the chicken. Add more as needed.
  • Cook rice according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.
  • While rice is cooking, heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat in a large pan or skillet. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden and fully cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the sweet and spicy sauce to the pan and bring it back to a gentle simmer. Simmer until the sauce thickens and fully coats the chicken, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve chicken over rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.


Serving: 1gCalories: 537kcalCarbohydrates: 63.4gProtein: 39gFat: 15.9gSaturated Fat: 8.2gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 465mgFiber: 4.3gSugar: 18.8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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