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!
To win your own in-home easy pour bottle of Nektar Honey Crystals leave a comment below mentioning how you would love to use these honey crystals!
This giveaway is now closed! Thank you all for entering!
If you make these honey chicken thighs let me know what you think in the comments below!
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.
Kathi @ Laughing Spatula says
I am a thigh girl too! This looks so good and honey crystals sound like a clever idea! I’ll have to shop around for some in Seattle!
Thanks! Yes to chicken thighs! Took me a few years but now I’m on to them! Hope you can find them in a local store near by!
Rachel @ Simple Seasonal says
Looks finger licking good! Clearly, I need to try cooking with honey crystals!
Most definitely! Thanks : ))
Ai Ping | Curious Nut says
Yay! I’m a chicken thigh person too. Was never a breast type ‘cept my hubs is though.. Uh… the struggles. Never had honey in crystal forms either. Neat.
I had never even heard of honey in granulated form before. Yay for another chicken thigh lover!
Mary (The Godmother @ Goodie Godmother) says
I’m going to keep an eye out for the honey crystals. I think my husband, our resident BBQ master, would love to experiment with them in dry rubs. I’d probably just try in my tea haha
Yes I think the honey granules are absolutely perfect for dry rubs! But they certainly work in tea too!
I would use the honey crystals to sweeten my coffee and teas.
With the crystals you can do that without a sticky mess!
Bo Simms says
I would love to use the honey crystals in my herbal tea, and also in my cooking such as honey mustard dressings, and honey glazed ham! This is a great product I would love to try. Thanks.
Great idea to use in honey mustard dressing! Will have to try that as well : ))
Cindy Peterson says
I am so excited to see this product. My husband eats no sugar but will eat honey. Using honey can be a sticky mess. I cannot wait to try these crystals. Thank you for sharing this product.
With regular liquid honey it really is always a mess! This helps with that though : ))
No sticky mess with these!
I would use these in tea and in my oatmeal!
Michelle Coles says
I have never heard of Honey Crystals til now. I would love to try out the chicken recipe! YUM!!
Hope you enjoy it!
Mary Beth Elderton says
Your recipe looks delicious! I think honey crystals would be wonderful in making fruit crisps/cobblers.
Definitely perfect for cobblers!
Amy L says
I’d like to use Nektar to sprinkle on my yogurt and stir into iced tea
Ooo sprinkling on yogurt sounds like a great idea!
Sandi Tymchuk says
I would love to try these in a seasoning rub for pork loin, too!
Dry rubs seems to be perfect with the Honey granules!
anna powell says
I love BBQ and use lots of Honey in it. I think the honey crystals will be so much easier to mix in.
Theresa C. says
I’d love to use the Nektar Honey Crystals on my Honey Garlic Chicken Wings!
Oooo those sound good!
I would definitely use them in my tea.
I’m intrigued, being a big fan of honey I definitely need to get my hands on some of Nektar. I would try it in my morning oatmeal and sprinkled on baked sweet potato fries!
Sprinkling on sweet potato fries sounds brilliant!
Jennifer Scheldberg says
I wonder how these would be as a sweetener for tea? I’m trying to cut down on adding straight sugar.
Think this would work perfectly!
anna key says
I would love to try honey crystals as a sugar cookie and cupcake topper!
Hmm, I think I’d use these for baking cookies–sometimes they just need a sprinkle of sugar on top and this would be even better!
Yes using this instead of a sprinkling of sugar on cookies sounds perfect!
Would love a vegetarian option…and to win!
As a fellow commenter mentioned this could rub could be tested on tofu!
I’m a vegan,so I would use this in other recipes.
Definitely lots of options!
Vicky, this is a recipe i must try. I would use the honey crystals as a mix in my blacken rub for locally caught grouper. The sweet would be a nice dichotomy to the spicy.
Hope you enjoy this! Using the honey granules in a rub for grouper sounds great too! Would love to get your recipe for that : ))
For the rub: 3 TBL smoked paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 TBL onion powder, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Rub 1/2 TBL spice mix on each side of the fillets (4) rest 15 minutes at room temp. Warm large skillet to medium high with 2 TBL of high temp oil (safflower, grapeseed, etc) and fry fillets 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with squeezed lemon juice. Adapted from Aaron “Big Daddy” McCargo, Jr.
You can see where the honey granules would add a nice sweet taste to it.
Thanks so much for the recipe Michael!! Really appreciate it! Sounds great : ))
I’m vegetarian, but I actually think this preparation would work really well for tofu!
Yes I agree!
Cristina Gaspar says
I never heard of honey crystals! I would love to try them in different recipes 🙂
So many options!
Tracy Spangler says
I would love to use these honey crystals in my immune-boosting raw cider vinegar & water each day. Adding honey makes it edible- but liquid honey sinks to the bottom of my cup, which means only my last sip is the perfect combination of sweet and sour. Nektar Honey Crystals would dissolve throughout the entire health drink, making it much more enjoyable
Great idea to add the honey granules to the daily morning drink. I have read about the great benefits to drinking cider vinegar in the morning — might need to add that into my daily routine too!
I would use honey crystals to replace sugar in baking. I love the taste of honey but not the mess! Nektar is going on my shopping list. Your chicken thighs look heavenly – I’ll be trying those soon.
Thanks so much! Yes the mess can be such a pain! Hope you can find these at a store nearby!
This looks delicious, I’m putting it on the menu this week (after I locate the Nektar Honey Crystals!). What are you serving it with in the photo? Is that saffron rice, or a squash dish?
Thanks so much! Good guess — yes I was serving it with a saffron rice! Recipe for that will be up this week! Hope you enjoy the recipe : ))
I like the crispy look on your chicken. I wonder if the crystals act as liquid honey does to create that charred goodness. I like to add honey to baked meat to get that crispy char. i think I would try sweet potato fries with a cayenne honey crystal spice mix.
Thanks! Not sure if it was the honey crystals but I certainly did get a nice char on the chicken! Adding the honey granules to sweet potato fries sounds great!
Meghan B says
I would probably use them mostly for tea and other sweeteners 🙂
I’d use these in oatmeal!
Ryan Campbell says
What a great idea! We use honey a lot, and these honey crystals would be very nice!
Perfect if you’re already a honey lover!
Kelly D says
I would try this in oatmeal or tea.
The texture could be great with oatmeal for sure!
I like to make no-bake energy bars, and it would be so much fun to experiment incorporating this!!
Love the idea of using this to sweeten no bake energy bars!
Rachael Bhardwaj says
i would use the honey crystals to sweeten my tea!
Seems to be a consistent great choice!
lana simanovicki says
we love honey in teas and this is awesome my kids wont make that sticky mess.i also have a couple recipes I would like to try this in
Amy Lovell says
I would use these to make a really nice wheat free banana bread!
I would use them in my home grown teas.
Wanda Bergman says
I’d love to use the Nektar Honey Crystals to make the same recipe you did … the Crispy Paprika Honey Chicken Thighs.
Marissa @ OMG FOOD says
Great recipe! Honey and chicken together makes me happy. <3
Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard says
this looks great – hubby is our main cooker and he would use it in his BBQ sauce – fingers crossed 🙂
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
While I still cook with chicken breasts sometimes, the thighs are SO much more flavorful! Love the flavors you have here, Vicky!
Completely agree! Definitely have switched over to thighs over the years!
I would love to use it in tea!!
Kathy | Mom Learns To Cook says
I too love chicken thighs! I cannot cook a moist chicken breast moist if my life depended on it. If I won the honey crystals, I’d like to make the recipe you shared. It’s definitely something my husband and I would enjoy for dinner.
Sooo much easier to make chicken thighs moist. They are so much more forgivable of over cooking!
Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy says
Such a delicious meal! Looks like a perfect weeknight dinner. Love that it takes only 30 minutes to make.
Definitely great for a weeknight meal! Thanks!
Kathryn Hyatt says
I would use this in my dry rub for steaks !
Renee G says
I’d love to try using these with a dry spice rub on ribs.
Holly Mitkowski says
I would use it on my vegan chicken while my fiance would use it for a regular chicken dish 🙂
Annamarie V says
I had not heard of honey crystals before I would use them for my tea or maybe for a variation on a snickerdoodle cookie. I love to use honey but sometimes it gets hard so honey crystals would be great to keep around.
Victoria K says
I would love to use this on top of our hot cereals.
I would try this in oatmeal or tea.
What a wonderful idea. I would use these honey crystals to sweeten fresh berries that would top my children’s yogurt in the morning. It would also be very tasty with just a touch in our homemade salad dressing.
Sarah S says
Oh my, that paprika honey chicken looks to die for! I definitely want to make some of that soon. I think I would try using these honey crystals in a batch of orange chicken or in a dry bbq rub. Seems like the possibilities would be endless with these!
sarah k says
I would definitely like to try it like you did in a rub, I would also try it in oatmeal ,a slow cooker parmesan honey pork loin roast, in different dressings and baking recipes.
Judy Thomas says
I would love to try these in a pork stirfry.Yum! They sound awesome.
Alona Y says
I have never heard of these, they sound great! I love honey on chicken so I would probably try your recipe out.
Cathleen King says
I would use it my hot tea.
I would love to make Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad. Yum! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.
Kelley H says
I would love to try this in a honey garlic shrimp dish.
I would love to use this in tea!!!
LeAnn H says
I will try it with my chicken recipes
Carrie Smith says
I would try it in many things, but first I’d like to try it in tea!
Jayne | Tenacious Tinkering says
I’ll definitely use the honey crystals in drinks, like you mentioned. I can see it as a nice little sub for sprinkles on cupcakes too!
I would love to try the honey crystals in a dry rub like yours and in my tea that I dink everyday.
OMG, I would use it on regular chicken. Divine. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity.
I love to add honey to my coffee and tea ) And i also like honey chicken )
Alina Hahn says
I would love to use these honey crystals in my tea – the weather is turning colder so I’m all about hot tea by the fire!
Danielle Magee says
I would put the honey crystals in my coffee, in place of sugar.
I would love to use these in hot tea. So much easier than sticky honey.
jennifer barr says
I’ve never heard of this product before. I’d definately have to try it on chicken as well as in my tea 🙂
I would love to use these honey crystals for a natural sweetener! I would like to see how they taste in smoothies or for sweetening coffee/tea.
Julie Waldron says
I would sprinkle it on toast or biscuits.
Sarah L says
First thing I’d use them for is in my tea. Love honey, hate the mess. Great recipe.
Thanks for the contest.
Heather Hurst says
We eat a lot of chicken breasts and I am always looking for new ways to season them, so that’s definitely where I would use them!
Uhm, please come cook for me, that looks delish! I have actually had granulated honey before, it’s awesome as a sweetener in baked goods & in herbal tea. And it is SO much easier for children to put a small scoop into their own teas without making a sticky mess of the kitchen (or going overboard with it).
Great to see you’ve used this before — you seem to be one of the few that has!
Anita k says
I’m so loving your recipe,it sounds delicious.Thanks so very much for sharing.
wen budro says
I would like to add the honey crystals to some coatings for chicken. This product looks so much easier to use than liquid honey….what a mess that ends up being.
Grace Mitchell says
I think I would use them for sweetening my kids’ herb tea. It’s one of their favorite treats!
Jennifer Clay says
I would use this on some chicken as well or maybe some pork chops.
Barb Miller says
I thought of salmon! Of course, I could always add it to my cold cereal! 🙂
Laurie W. says
I think I would probably start with using them to sweeten my tea too.
chickie brewer says
I would use it for my ice tea!