Honey-baked chicken is exceptionally juicy and flavorful. The tasty sauce is made with honey, butter, garlic, and mustard. It's phenomenal!
This is one of my favorite chicken recipes. I make it often because everyone loves it - adults and kids. It's so juicy and flavorful!
I usually use chicken drumsticks, but this recipe should also work with bone-in chicken thighs and with whole chicken legs, though you might need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time and loosely cover the tops with foil to prevent them from burning.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make honey baked chicken. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Chicken drumsticks: I use skin-on chicken in this recipe. You can remove the skin if you wish. But I happen to think the crispy skin really enhances this dish.
Melted butter: I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be great. Salted or unsalted are both fine.
Honey: The honey has two roles in this recipe. It adds great flavor and it also promotes caramelizing.
Dijon mustard: This traditional French mustard is creamier, thicker, and less vinegary than yellow mustard.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Garlic powder: I prefer it to fresh garlic in this recipe because I feel that it coats the chicken more uniformly than minced garlic would.
How to make honey baked chicken
It's easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Prepare the sauce. Whisk together a quick sauce of melted butter, honey, mustard, and garlic powder.
Coat the chicken. Brush the chicken with the tasty sauce. I use a pastry brush to do that.
Bake until cooked through. Bake the chicken for 60 minutes in a 350F oven, basting with a clean brush every 15 minutes. If the tops are darkening too much, loosely cover the chicken with foil and continue baking.
At what temperature to bake?
I normally cook chicken at a relatively high temperature, at least 400 degrees F (this jerk chicken recipe is a good example), and for a relatively short time. I believe it produces juicier chicken in most cases.
But in this particular recipe, if the temperature is too high, the honey will burn. So I keep the temperature at 350 degrees F and bake for a little longer.
How long to bake?
That depends on how hot your oven is. In my old oven, whenever I made honey-baked chicken, I cooked it for 75 minutes. In my new oven, which I believe is more accurate, I only bake it for 60 minutes.
The best way to make sure the chicken is done is to use an instant-read thermometer not touching the bone. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F.
Don't forget to baste
Basting the chicken is important. Not just to help keep it juicy, but also because the sauce tends to stick to the bottom of the pan, so mixing it up every 15 minutes prevents it from burning.
What to serve with honey baked chicken
This is a very versatile main dish that pairs well with lots of side dishes. A few of my favorite side dishes to serve with it are:
What about leftovers?
If you have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power. The leftovers don't taste as good as the freshly prepared dish, but they are still very tasty.
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- 10 (4 oz each) chicken drumsticks skin on
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil (to save you some serious cleanup later as the honey caramelizes) and grease the foil well.
- Arrange the drumsticks in the pan. Whisk together the melted butter, honey, mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Evenly pour the mixture over the chicken, brushing all over to coat.
- Bake, basting with a clean pastry brush every 15 minutes, until the chicken is browned and juices run clear. In my old oven, it took a total of 75 minutes. In the new one, which I believe is more accurate, it takes 60 minutes. If the tops are getting too dark before the chicken is done, loosely cover the pan with foil and keep baking. Sometimes, just a few of them are browning too fast - if this happens, I move those to one side of the pan and cover just them with foil.