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Grilled Sweet and Savory Glazed Chicken

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Grilled Sweet and Savory Glazed Chicken is quite possibly the BEST summer entree you can make! Chicken thighs are marinated and coated with a glaze that features both sweet and savory ingredients like soy sauce, fresh ginger, brown sugar, and more.

Grilled and glazed chicken thighs are placed on a wooden cutting board.

During the hot summer months, I don’t think I give my grill a break. I just can’t help myself! There’s something so classic about grilling meats and veggies in my backyard during the summer that I never get sick of. With recipes like this Grilled Sweet and Savory Glazed Chicken, my grill really has to work overtime – I think I’ve been making this on a weekly basis lately.

Once you make it yourself, you’ll see why I’m so obsessed. Chicken thighs are grilled to tender, yet slightly charred perfection and tossed in a sticky glaze that’s equal parts savory and sweet. Plus, the meat is marinated first, ensuring that it’s just about as flavorful as it can possibly be. For an extra summery kick, grill a few pineapple chunks to serve this chicken with. Grilled pineapple is a real gem, trust me!

Next time you’re hosting a pool party or a 4th of July bash, consider grilling these chicken thighs instead of your usual burgers and dogs. They’re immensely flavorful and can always please a crowd. Plus, they’re so delightfully easy to make! Don’t you love an entree that’s just as impressive as it is simple?

Glazed chicken thighs are topped with pineapple and green onions.

What You’ll Need:

  • Brown Sugar – This is better to use than white sugar because it not only sweetens the chicken, it also adds a depth to that sweetness.
  • Ketchup – Any brand works!
  • Soy Sauce – Use a low sodium soy sauce to keep the saltiness to a minimum.
  • Chicken Broth – Just like the soy sauce, opt for a low sodium chicken broth.
  • Ginger – Use fresh ginger root, not dried or paste ginger.
  • Garlic – This should also be fresh, not paste, dried, or pre-minced.
  • Rice Vinegar – Try to not substitute this with any other vinegar.
  • Sesame Oil – There’s a light nutty flavor that sesame oil lends the chicken that’s so good!
  • Chicken Thighs – Boneless and skinless is the way to go.
Glazed chicken thighs are plated and garnished with scallions.

How to Make Grilled Sweet and Savory Glazed Chicken

For more detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Make the marinade. Combine the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Stir in the ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Reserve 1 cup of the marinade.

Marinate the chicken. Toss the marinade in a freezer proof zip top bag with the chicken thighs. Refrigerate for about 8 hours.

Grill the chicken. Cook the marinated chicken on the grill for about 3 minutes per side. Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade. Repeat the basting and flipping process until the chicken is fully cooked.

Scallions and pineapple chunks are placed on and around grilled chicken thighs.

Common Questions

Can I use the marinade that was on the chicken for basting it? No. It is important to throw out the marinade that was on the chicken. Do not use this to baste the chicken as this will not cook it enough to make it safe to eat.

How can I be sure the chicken is fully cooked? Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees. 

I don’t have a grill – could I still make this chicken? Yes, you could sear the chicken in a skillet (with 1 Tablespoon of oil). Brush it with the set-aside marinade, then bake it in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 20 minutes.

What could I serve this with? I like to serve this chicken with white or brown rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, stir fry veggies, Asian salad or grilled pineapple. 

Can I use other cuts of chicken? Yes, but you will need to adjust the cooking time to achieve doneness.  If you choose to use bone-in chicken thighs (165 degrees) or drumsticks (170 degrees), you will have to increase the cooking time slightly. If you use chicken breasts (165 degrees), you will need to decrease the cooking time or the meat may be dry.  

Is Grilled Savory and Sweet Glazed Chicken gluten free? This recipe can easily be made gluten free by swapping out the soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos.

How long will Grilled Savory and Sweet Glazed Chicken stay fresh? In an airtight container in the fridge, your leftover chicken will stay fresh for up to 4 days.

Grilled chicken thighs are placed on a wooden cutting board with garnishes.

Fire up the grill all summer long for these easy recipes!

Grilled Mojo Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Pineapple Soy Grilled Chicken

Grilled Baja Shrimp Skewers

Grilled Buffalo Chicken

Grilled Sweet and Savory Glazed Chicken

Chicken thighs are marinated and coated with a glaze that features both sweet and savory ingredients like soy sauce, fresh ginger, brown sugar, and more.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 pieces
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup soy sauce, preferably reduced sodium
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 3 pounds
  • Optional garnish: green onions and pineapple slices
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Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Then stir in the minced ginger root, garlic, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside 1 cup of this marinade, cover it and keep it in the fridge to use for basting the chicken while it is cooking.
  • Place the remaining marinade into a large freezer bag with the chicken thighs. Move the chicken around to spread the marinade evenly. Place this in the fridge to marinate overnight (or at least 8 hours).
  • When you are ready to grill the chicken, make sure to lightly oil the grill. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade (throw out the marinade that the chicken was in). Place the chicken on the grill and let it cook for about 3 minutes on one side, brush some of the set-aside marinade on. Flip it and cook for another 3 minutes, again brush the marinade on. Repeat this process until the chicken is fully cooked. (It may take about 10 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.) Be sure to cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Recipe Notes

Leftover Huli Huli chicken may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.  Or you may freeze it for up to 3 months.

YOUR NOTES

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 piece | Calories: 193 kcal | Carbohydrates: 13 g | Protein: 23 g | Fat: 5 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Trans Fat: 0.02 g | Cholesterol: 108 mg | Sodium: 770 mg | Potassium: 342 mg | Fiber: 0.1 g | Sugar: 11 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: grilled chicken, grilled chicken dinner ideas, grilling recipe
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