Honey garlic chicken is exceptionally juicy and flavorful. The tasty sauce is made with honey, butter, garlic, and Dijon mustard. It's phenomenal!
While I tend to make chicken drumsticks mostly to please my kids, this is one recipe where we the grownups enjoy this dish just as much as they do.
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.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make honey garlic 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: It has two roles in this recipe. It adds great flavor and 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.
Making this recipe is so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Prepare the sauce. Whisk together a quick sauce of melted butter, honey, Dijon mustard, and garlic powder.
Coat the chicken. Brush the chicken pieces with the tasty honey-garlic sauce. I use a pastry brush to do that.
Bake until cooked through. Bake the chicken for 60 minutes in a 350F oven, basting it with a clean brush every 15 minutes.
If the tops are darkening too much, loosely cover the chicken with foil and continue baking until it's well-browned.
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.
Frequently asked questions
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.
I highly recommend using Dijon mustard in this recipe. However, other mustards should work too, although many are too vinegary in my opinion.
That depends on how hot your oven is. In my old oven, whenever I made this recipe, 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.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use different chicken parts, adjusting the cook time accordingly. Always aim for an internal temperature of 165°F when cooking chicken.
- Olive oil can replace the butter. I prefer butter, but olive oil is very good too.
- You can use real maple syrup instead of honey. And if you're on a low-carb diet, sugar-free honey/maple substitutes work too.
- It's fine to use minced fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. Try using 2 teaspoons.
Recommended side dishes
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:
You can keep the leftovers 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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Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks
- 10 (4 oz) 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
- 1 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.