Honey chicken thighs with paprika and garlic. Tantalizing with a delicate sweet and spicy balance of flavors. Two different types of paprika and Nektar honey crystals work wonders to create a tender, and flavorful chicken dish.
By now you probably know I am all about the chicken thighs. My chicken breast cooking days are long gone. Give me those fatty, flavorful, tender chicken thighs. With chicken thighs you have so much more room for error — with chicken breasts, if you happen to ever so slightly over cook them, forget it, dry dry dry chicken is all you’re going to taste.
With chicken thighs though, not so much, with the darker meat, and more fat, you simply cannot go wrong. Mostly I choose to buy boneless and skinless chicken thighs, but this time around for a bit of a more adventurous and sophisticated recipe to add to my arsenal of gluten free chicken thigh recipes, I opted for the real deal – bone in, skin on chicken thighs.
I was experimenting with a new product – Nektar Honey Crystals. You know regular gloopy, thick and syrupy honey that gets everywhere and makes a mess? Well imagine that same honey taste but sans mess – that’s what Nektar is all about. These guys have come up with a way to turn liquid honey into crysatls – no mess no fuss. The products currently available are a box of single serving packets (available at Whole Foods, Wegmans, Kroger etc.) or a whole easy pour bottle (available at Walmart). To find a location near you check the store locator.
Being Russian, I love to add honey to my tea (and being me, I always make a mess when I do), and while I could have simply poured the crystals into a steaming cup of tea, I wanted to do something more creative with this unique and interesting new way to serve honey.
Creating a dry spice rub seemed like the perfect choice. A dry spice rub comes together in about a minute and makes for a perfect marinade for chicken or other meats/fish. With the honey crystals I can now add that sweet honey flavor to the marinade without having to add any liquid ingredients – perfect.
Unlike other honey chicken thigh recipes you might have come across, my marinade contains a special mix that includes hot paprika, smoked paprika, Nektar Honey Crystals, garlic powder, salt, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon peel seasoning. A little bit of everything. Sweet, spicy, garlicky, lemony — can you think of a better set of ingredients to infuse your chicken with?
Rub that all over, under the skin, over the skin, all over. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then it’s ready to cook. The honey chicken thighs cook in 20 minutes and crisp up perfectly. The skin was crunchy and crispy and underneath was a perfect tender layer of chicken thigh meat that had the right delicate balance between spicy and sweet.
The paprika gave it a bit of a smoky flavor with the lemon peel seasoning giving it a bit of a citrus flair and the honey cuts into the spicy so as not to make it overwhelming. Overall, you’ll find this one of the easiest and most delicious honey chicken thigh recipes you can make.
I loved using the Nektar Honey Crystals in a dry spice rub and cannot wait to experiment with more spice rub combinations to make different honey chicken thigh recipes. Possibilities are endless!
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The ultimate honey chicken thighs recipe infused with a delicate sweet and spicy balance of flavors. Two different types of paprika and Nektar honey crystals works wonder to create a tender, and flavorful chicken dish.
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons hot paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons Nektar Honey Crystals
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel seasoning
- 1 and 2/3 pounds bone in skin on, chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- In a small bowl combine smoked paprika, hot paprika, oregano, garlic powder, Nektar honey crystals, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon peel seasoning.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs, using your fingers to partially separate the skin from the chicken.
- Rub the spice rub all over the chicken thighs, under the skin and on top of it. Marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat oil over medium heat in deep pan (cast iron is best).
- Add chicken thighs, skin side down, when oil is hot. Cook for 10 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy.
- Drain on paper towels.