Caramel Chicken is a sweet, yet savory Vietnamese recipe that’s loaded with flavor! This easy to make dinner is sure to impress everyone it’s served to. The sticky sauce is really what makes these chicken thighs unforgettable!
Vietnamese Caramel Chicken
There are few things in the world as delicious as glazed chicken thighs! These tender cuts of chicken are cooked to perfection in a rich, complex sticky sauce that will have you coming back for more until you couldn’t possibly have another bite.
You can enjoy this chicken any way you’d like, but I recommend serving it with some rice. Why? Because you want something on the plate that can soak up every last drop of that sweet and savory sauce!
The name of this chicken comes from the sticky caramel consistency of the sauce, and it’s truly mouthwatering.
Why You’ll Love this Caramel Chicken Recipe:
- Different: This isn’t your usual weeknight chicken dinner. Surprise the people around your dinner table with this unique Vietnamese recipe!
- Easy: Caramel chicken is such a simple recipe! In just a few easy to follow steps, you’ll have your new favorite glazed chicken dinner.
- Glazed: It can’t be overstated how delicious the glaze on this chicken is! It’s got a delightful complexity of flavor, and the consistency is everything.
Don’t forget to add some jalapeños on top of this chicken just before you serve it! They add a little fresh spice to the sweet and savory flavors.
How to Make Caramel Chicken
Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!
- Sear the chicken on both sides.
- Cook the garlic.
- Stir water into the pan and scrape up the brown bits.
- Stir in the brown sugar.
- Add the vinegar, ginger, broth, soy sauce, and fish sauce.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the garlic and chicken back to the pot.
- Simmer the chicken for 20-25 minutes, then remove from the pot and continue to cook the sauce.
- Serve the chicken with the sauce, and enjoy!
Caramel chicken is a Vietnamese dish that consists of chicken thighs and a sweet caramelized sauce.
Yes, but you’ll need to thaw them prior to cooking.
Yes. To make this recipe with chicken breasts instead of thighs, use 2 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In step 1, fully cook the chicken breasts. In step 7, only add the garlic. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and add the cooked chicken back to the skillet immediately prior to serving.
Here are just a few side dish ideas for this easy chicken dinner.
- Jasmine rice! Cook it according to package instructions.
- Broccoli, green beans, or any other type of fresh veggie.
This chicken is so good, it’ll pair well with anything it’s plated with.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- To make this recipe low sodium, use tamari instead of soy sauce.
- When you’re scraping the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, use a wooden spoon. A metal one might scratch the pan.
- If you’re all out of brown sugar, don’t fret! Just combine one cup of white sugar with one tablespoon of molasses.
Sweet chicken dinners aren’t too common, and that’s a shame… Change up your usual dinner routine with this crazy good caramel chicken!
Where can I buy fish sauce?
Most grocery stores have fish sauce! Just check the Asian foods section. If you can’t get your hands on it at your local grocery store, you can always try online.
Can I make caramel chicken in a crockpot?
Yes! Just combine all of the ingredients and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
What is the best way to reheat caramel chicken?
I recommend tossing it right back into the pan and cooking over medium heat until it’s warmed through.
Tender chicken thighs are tossed in the most incredible sticky sweet (and slightly savory) caramelized sauce before being served with fresh jalapeños. Are you drooling yet?
If you’ve made this recipe, please be sure to let us know by leaving a star rating or a comment below. Enjoy!
Caramel Chicken Recipe
- 2 ½ pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 slices ginger
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce optional
- Thinly sliced scallions and jalapeños for garnish
- Season the chicken thighs with salt.2 ½ pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, Salt
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and place it in the skillet skin-side down. Cook until golden, flip the thighs, and cook until the second side is golden, about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan, place the cooked thighs in a clean bowl, and set aside.2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- To the skillet, add the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.6 cloves garlic
- Add the cooked garlic to the bowl with the chicken. Drain any remaining fat from the pan.
- Over medium high heat, add the water to the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the brown sugar and cook for 3-4 minutes until it thickens and darkens in color.½ cup water, ⅓ cup brown sugar
- Add the vinegar and continue to stir as the mixture bubbles up. Add the ginger, broth, soy sauce, and fish sauce.¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 slices ginger, 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, ¼ cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the garlic and chicken skin-side up.
- Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Continue to simmer the sauce for 8-10 more minutes or until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Return the chicken to the pot and toss it to coat in the sauce. Garnish with scallions and jalapeños, serve, and enjoy.Thinly sliced scallions and jalapeños