Caramel Chicken is the perfect combination of a little heat and a little sweet. The slightly sweet, spicy and sticky caramel like sauce that coats the chicken gives it it’s name.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
I first had Caramel Chicken at a restaurant here in Portland, Oregon several years ago. Just one bite and I fell in love with the sweet and spicy flavor. I often thought about that caramel chicken and finally decided I needed to just make it myself. So that is exactly what I did!
Caramel Chicken is going to become one of those go to, make it once a week, family favorite type of dinners. The flavor is a combination of sweet and spicy without being overly sweet. The sauce makes a delicious slightly sticky glaze over the chicken. That is where it gets the name caramel chicken from! Even your fussiest eaters are going to love this one.
- Dark Brown Sugar. You can use light brown sugar but you will get a deeper flavor with dark.
- Fish Sauce. This is found on the Asian aisle of the grocery store and adds flavor.
- Rice Vinegar. I have substitute white vinegar or white wine vinegar if I need to
- Soy Sauce
- Garlic Cloves. Use fresh minced
- Ginger. I prefer to use fresh but you can subsitute 1/2 tsp of dry ginger.
- Oil. Canola or Vegetable oil
- Chicken. I always use boneless skinless chicken thighs but you can substitute in chicken breast if you prefer.
- Red Pepper Flakes. This adds some heat so use less or leave out if you don’t want heat.
- Peanuts. I have also substitute with cashews.
- Garnish. Cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds.
How to Make Caramel Chicken
- Mix together brown sugar, fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl. Mix to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add in chicken.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the brown sugar mixture over chicken. Simmer until the mixture because syrup-like consistency and deep amber color.
- Add in the remaining sauce and cook until chicken is tender and no longer pink inside.
- Stir in peanuts, red pepper flakes and green onion or scallions.
- Garnish with cilantro
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have people that don’t enjoy the heat, just reduce the amount of red pepper flakes you put into the dish. You can even leave them out if you prefer. For full heat, use 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. and for light heat use 1/4 -1/2 tsp.
Fish sauce is made of fish (it doesn’t smell great) but it is not fishy. In cooking, it works like salt and brings a deeper, more savory flavor to whatever it’s added too. It’s a common ingredient in Asian cooking.
I prefer chicken thighs because they are moister but you can definitely use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Just don’t overcook as they tend to dry out faster than thigh meat.
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- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 4 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger minced
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
- 1/4 – 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 2 green onions diced
- sesame seeds toasted
- cilantro chopped for garnish
- Mix together brown sugar, fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Mix to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in chicken
- Add 1/4 cup of sauce over chicken. Cook until the mixture because syrup like.
- Pour in the remaining sauce and cook until chicken is tender and no longer pink inside.
- Add in peanuts, red pepper flakes and green onions.
- Garnish with cilantro