Southern Sticky Chicken

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This sweet yet savory sticky chicken recipe is delectable and the perfect easy weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy.

Sticky Chicken on plate with vegetables

This sweet and sticky chicken is an old-fashioned Southern recipe that has been around for about as long as folks have been cooking. The recipe has evolved and been tweaked over the years but the flavorful sticky marinade that clings to the chicken is still every bit as good as folks remember from the days when Granny used to make it for Sunday dinner.

Some of the things I love about this sticky chicken recipe is that it’s:

  • Easy to make, which means it makes a great weeknight dinner.
  • Versatile. Serve your meal with rice, vegetables, or a slew of Southern sides.
  • Easy to double the recipe and make leftovers for weekday lunches.

Fortunately, this recipe for sticky chicken is pretty simple. All you have to do is mix up the sticky chicken marinade, which has equal parts sweet and savory ingredients to make a sauce that’s irresistible. Plus, they’re all pantry staples you probably have sitting in your cupboard right now. Then you bring the sauce ingredients to a boil, pour them over the chicken pieces, and bake. The end result is tender and juicy chicken soaked in a deliciously caramelized and sweet Asian-style sauce. It’s a home run with kids as well as adults. 

Other Asian-inspired meals I recommend include crockpot cashew chicken, Asian-inspired pot roast, chicken fried rice, and Chinese chicken salad.
Sticky chicken marinade ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Brown sugar (dark or light brown sugar, whatever you have)
  • Garlic powder
  • Ketchup
  • Honey
  • Soy sauce
  • You’re also going to need about 3-5 pounds of bone-in chicken with the skin still on it. For my boneless sticky chicken recipe click here.

Traditionally, folks use legs or chicken thighs for this but my Kroger had bone-in split chicken breasts for buy one get one free – so I have two HUGE chicken breast halves that cost me a few dollars and that is what we’re using! 

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Sticky Chicken

Put everything (except the chicken) in a saucepot and stir it up really well. Place over medium-high heat. 

You can do medium heat but I like to get things rolling. 

Bring sauce to a boil.

See how that’s boiling?  Bring the sticky chicken sauce to a boil like this. Then remove from heat.

Pour sauce over the chicken pieces in pan.

Place your chicken pieces in a 9×13 baking dish and pour all of the sticky sauce over. 

after hour and 15 mins flip and baste with sauce

Place this in a 350-degree oven and bake, uncovered, for 90 minutes total.

After 45 minutes, flip all of the chicken over in the dish.

An hour and 15 minutes into cooking, flip pieces again and baste with some of the glaze in the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes.

NOTE: cooking time is the same if you use legs and thighs.

Booyah! Easy sticky chicken!

Sticky Chicken


This recipe will last up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge. It will also keep in the freezer for up to four months. When it’s time to reheat your leftovers, simply warm them up in the microwave.

Recipe Notes

  • If you want your marinade to have a bit of a spicy kick, add in a couple of tablespoons of chili garlic sauce, a tablespoon of sriracha hot sauce, or a sprinkle of paprika, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper. Basically, whatever heat you have on hand!
  • If you have a soy allergy, use tamari instead.
  • Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar, maple syrup, or an extra two tablespoons of honey.

Recipe FAQs

What chicken do I use for sticky chicken?

You can use any bone-in chicken, whether that’s chicken legs, chicken wings, drumsticks, chicken thighs, or chicken breasts.

What can I serve the sticky chicken with?

Whatever you like! You can go for an Asian takeout-style meal and serve it with rice, sliced green onion, broccoli, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Otherwise, here are some Southern side suggestions:

Green Bean Recipe

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli with Homemade Cheese Sauce

Broccoli Salad With Bacon

Tomato, Onion, and Cucumber Salad


Sticky Chicken

Sticky Chicken

This sweet yet savory Southern sticky chicken recipe is delectable and the perfect easy weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 232kcal


  • 3 -5 pounds bone-in chicken with skin folks usually use legs and/or thighs
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a saucepot, combine ketchup, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder over medium to medium-high heat.
    1 cup ketchup, 1 cup honey, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Bring it just to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat.
  • Arrange chicken pieces in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the entire amount of sauce over the chicken, turning pieces with tongs to coat.
    3 -5 pounds bone-in chicken with skin
  • Place in oven, uncovered, for 90 minutes, turning after 45 minutes.
  • 15 minutes before cooking time is up, flip pieces once more and baste with sauce.



Calories: 232kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


You may also like these chicken recipes:

Best Barbecue Sauce and Boneless Sticky Chicken

Fuss Free Fried Chicken

Creamy Chicken Skillet

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,

but by the seeds you plant.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Submitted by Diane. Submit your quote by clicking here.

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  1. great recipe ~! easy too ~! one thing i boiled the sauce longer to get it real sticky.. because the sauce i added in with chicken got too thin after baking it glad i had xtra left over sauce it’s a keeper ~! thank you very much ~!

  2. I follow you on Instagram and FB:) This recipe popped up on one of them. I have family visiting and my SIL wanted to cook dinner so I mentioned this easy recipe. She made it last night with fresh squash from her garden and baked potatoes. It was delicious!!!! My new easy go to recipe:))))

  3. Years ago I worked with a southern lady that always talked about her “honey chicken legs” Being a life long northerner, I had never heard of any type of “sweet” chicken, and promptly dismissed this woman’s chatter on the subject. That was until one day we had “bring a dish” lunch at work, and she brought her Honey Chicken Legs. They were Magical, as they disappeared in a flash!!!!!! She gave us all the recipe, and through the years I managed to loose it. Sadly, I have tried some other recipes that I thought was similar trying to duplicate her awesome chicken recipe, and now I have found it! (insert angelic choir sound) Thank you Miss Christy for bringing a lost recipe back home to me, to now share with fellow Illinoisans!

  4. I make this with ONLY boneless skinless chicken breasts. I add 2 tbl. cornstarch to thicken up the sauce. It sticks to the breasts.
    We love it!

  5. Have you tried this in the crock pot? Wondering how it would work. God bless you, sweet lady. Thanks.

  6. Hi Christy! I have made this a few times already, and everyone loves it! I’m curious though if anyone has tried making this on a grill? I would love to try it this way, I’m just not sure if I would need to make any changes to it. Suggestions?

    1. I’m so glad you like it! You know, I just don’t know about a grill. Of course there is a way to adapt it but it would need adapting for sure. I’d start with cooking the sauce in a saucepan and cooking it down a good bit to thicken it. Then, you’d need to brush your chicken often while grilling to build up a nice coating of sauce. It should work fine. I’m just not a summer griller. I love grilling in the fall but never in my life have I looked outside on a 100+ degree day and said “MAN! You know what would be good right about now? Going out there and standing over a fire!” lol
      I know I am missing something that everyone other than me gets though. I reckon I may come to my senses in my old age 🙂

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