Spicy Chili Crisp Chicken Thighs

published May 28, 2020
Spicy Chili Crisp Chicken Thighs

Laquared with honey, vinegar, and garlic chili crisp, these sheet pan thighs and vegetables are a weeknight knock out.

Serves4 to 6

Prep25 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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Garlic Crunch Chili Chicken with broccoli and red onion
Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Chicken thighs are a staple of my weeknight cooking routine: They’re inexpensive, quick-cooking, and delightfully juicy. Still, I’m always on the hunt for flavor boosters that will elevate the protein without a lot of work. Chili crisp does exactly that.

Chili crisp has soared in popularity in the U.S. in the last few years, but it’s been a staple condiment in China for decades. Although it varies by brand and by recipe, most chili crisps are made with chiles, fried garlic, fried onion, and warming spices like cinnamon or star anise, making for a spicy chili oil that’s uniquely crunchy. You can find jars of it online or at big grocery chains, but I highly recommend grabbing a jar at your local Asian market — they’ll have the best selection.

Here, the spicy, crunchy condiment is mixed with olive oil, honey, and apple cider vinegar to create a spicy-sweet, intensely flavorful sauce for the roasted chicken thighs. You’ll brush it on after they’ve roasted for 25 minutes, which gives the skin a jump-start on crispness and a golden color. Out of the oven, give the thighs a few minutes to cool off (the skin and sauce will continue to crisp as they do), then serve over rice with lots of cilantro or scallions, and extra spoonfuls of chili crisp.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Spicy Chili Crisp Chicken Thighs

Laquared with honey, vinegar, and garlic chili crisp, these sheet pan thighs and vegetables are a weeknight knock out.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup

    Chili Crisp

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    honey

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1

    medium red onion

  • 2

    large broccoli crowns (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2 pounds

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (4 to 6)

  • Sliced scallions or chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

  • Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Place 1/4 cup Garlic Chili Crisp, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Halve and peel 1 medium red onion. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices through the root end. Cut 2 large broccoli crowns into 1-inch florets. Place the onion and broccoli on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, toss to combine, and spread into an even layer.

  4. Debone 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: Arrange each chicken thigh so it is skin-side down. Using kitchen shears, cut through the meat along both sides of the center bone, making sure not to cut all the way through the meat and skin. Cut off the cartilage at the top and bottom of the bone. Cut underneath the bone, which will cut the bone off completely from the thigh. Use the shears to trim off any excess fat, cartilage, or skin.

  5. Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Place the chicken on the vegetables skin-side up. Roast until the chicken skin is golden and crisp, about 25 minutes.

  6. Baste the chicken pieces with about 2/3 of the sauce. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are caramelized, about 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with sliced scallions or chopped cilantro if desired. Serve with rice and more sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

Deboning chicken thighs: Deboning chicken thighs is the best way to get deliciously crisp chicken that you can cut into with a fork. Feel free to start with skin-on, boneless thighs if you can find them, or use bone-in thighs and roast them for an additional 5 minutes in the oven.

Homemade chili crisp: Follow this recipe to use homemade chili crisp instead.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.