This easy honey roasted chicken thighs cook up perfectly juice and seasoned in the oven or air fryer. Honey glazed, bone-in chicken thighs make an easy weeknight dinner meal for the whole family. I have no doubt this honey chicken recipe will be a frequent addition to meals in your house!
Honey Baked Chicken Thighs
Chicken with honey is a favorite combination of ours and have been for a very long time.
These honey chicken thighs are definitely delicious and a perfect busy weeknight meal. Actually, perfect any time.
The crispy skin, which unfortunately is my favorite part, is simply irresistible!
Easy honey roasted chicken thighs require very few ingredients and very little time. This recipe is super easy and takes less than an hour from start to finish. The finished product is so good it will seem like you spent all day in the kitchen!
This honey chicken recipe just about goes with any side dish you can think of too. We love to serve it with volcano potatoes or over rice and salad in our house! And for dessert, some Brazilian pineapple!
The secret is using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe. Why? The bone helps the honey roasted chicken retain all of its moisture and also I believe adds flavor. Is there anything worse than dry, flavorless chicken?
This recipe for honey roasted chicken can be cooked in the oven or air fryer but uses pretty much the same ingredients.
- Chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on about 6-8 ounces each
- Salt and black pepper
- Cooking spray or oil
- Apple cider vinegar
How to Make Honey Chicken
This recipe starts and ends similarly depending on either cooking method you choose. Here is a brief overview of how to prepare but detailed instructions are in the recipe card further down the page.
Step 1: Prep the Thighs
Use the tip of a sharp knife or a metal skewer to poke 10 to 15 holes into the skin side of each piece of thigh about 10 to 15 times.
Sprinkle both sides of each thigh with salt and pepper. Rub seasoning right into each thigh as you go and place it in a pile on your cutting board.
Step 2: Decide on Cooking Method
Choose whether you will cook the thighs in the oven or air fryer and follow the instructions in the recipe for your preferred method of cooking.
Step 3: Make the Honey Glaze
Combine the cornstarch and water in a bowl and stir until dissolved. Set it aside.
In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the honey and four tablespoons of the vinegar to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce temperature to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring periodically, until the mixture is reduced to about ½ cup. Usually about 4 or 5 minutes.
Then add the cornstarch mixture to the honey and whisk until blended. Continue to simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes. The mixture will thicken. Keep warm over low heat until needed.
Step 4: Brush Thighs with Glaze
When the chicken is ready, brush it with the glaze and continue cooking as directed for the cooking method you are using.
Step 5: Rest the Meat and Serve
When the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the oven or air fryer. Brush with any remaining honey glaze and let it rest for at least five minutes before serving.
How Long to Cook Bone-in Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer?
In general bone-in chicken thighs take a minimum of about 20-26 minutes to cook. The time varies depending on the size of the thighs and how much you fill-up the air fryer basket.
- Size: The problem with exact timing is that chicken thighs range in size. If you have smaller thighs, check at 20 minutes, and for larger thighs check at 26 minutes or more.
- Spacing: For the most efficient cooking, you want to leave space in between the pieces of chicken. Since the air fryer cooks with circulating air, it will cook more quickly and with better results when there is space between the meat.
Make sure to use a thermometer to determine when the chicken is cooked all the way. We recommend cooking it to 195 degrees F.
How to Cook Air Fryer Bone-In Chicken Thighs
I don’t find cooking bone-in chicken thighs air fryer a way to save any time though there are fewer steps in this method. For me, I think it is a great way to cook without heating up the entire kitchen and the thighs comes out deliciously crisp.
- To cook in the air fryer, arrange the thighs in the air fryer basket, spaced evenly apart with the skin side up.
- Lightly spray the top of the thighs with cooking spray or brush with oil. Place the basket in the air fryer and set the temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Cook until the thighs are well browned and crisp and register 195 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes, rotating pieces halfway through cooking. However, DO NOT flip the chicken.
- Cover each thigh with honey glaze and then cook for another 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from oven and coat with more glaze. When it’s ready, transfer the honey chicken to a large plate and let it rest for a few minutes.
Substitutions and Variations
- Honey: Really the best flavor comes with honey on chicken, but maple syrup also makes a tasty alternative.
- Chicken thighs: Make this recipe with any bone-in chicken such as chicken breasts and legs.
- Boneless: If you prefer boneless skinless chicken, you will need to adjust the cooking time but the honey glaze for chicken works with any cut.
- Spicy honey chicken: Add cayenne, red pepper flakes, spicy paprika or chipotle pepper powder to the honey glaze before brushing it on the meat.
- Smoky: Make the honey glaze with a hint of smoky flavor by adding a touch of smoked paprika before adding to the meat.
- Honey garlic chicken: Add chopped garlic to the honey glaze to transform it to a honey garlic sauce.
- Soy honey chicken: For a salty, umami flavored honey add one tablespoon of soy sauce to the pot with the honey and vinegar.
Honey glazed chicken thighs are easy to make and perfect for any level cook. Here are some tips to help so your honey chicken recipe comes out perfectly!
- Add the glaze at the end of cooking. It may seem a bit counterintuitive but really you get the best flavor when it’s added at the end. When added too early the glaze is more apt to burn and lose its flavor.
- Choose chicken thighs that are similar in size. This way all the pieces will cook evenly in the same amount of time.
- Rotate the pan. Many ovens have hot spots, rotating the pan allows for more even cooking.
- Use a pastry brush. This overlooked kitchen utensil is the easiest way to cover the chicken with the honey glaze.
- Air fryers cook with circulating air: So be sure to leave space between the pieces of meat.
- Cook thighs skin side down: When cooking in the oven, cooking it skin side down helps to make for a crispier skin.
Have questions about cooking honey glazed chicken thighs in the oven or air fryer? Here are a few I get often.
You do have to wait until the chicken, and its skin, are almost totally cooked before glazing it. Honey can and will burn if not used properly.
After the thighs are almost completely cooked and the skin is crispy, then add on a delicious, thick, layer of the best honey glaze.
Our honey glaze for chicken sauce is made with just a handful of ingredients. The two most important are honey, for sweetness and vinegar for just a bit of acid. A little cornstarch slurry at the end thickens it up and helps it stick to the chicken a little better.
More Chicken Thigh Recipes
Easy Honey Roasted Chicken Thighs
- rimmed baking sheet
- 8 pieces chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on 6-8 ounces each, cleaned, trimmed
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- cooking spray or oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup liquid honey
- 5 tablespoons cider vinegar , divided
Prep the Chicken Thighs
- Gather the ingredients for the recipe.
- Using the tip of a sharp knife or a metal skewer, poke 10 to 15 holes into the skin side of each chicken thigh 10 to 15 times.
- At your workstation, or using a cutting board, liberally sprinkle both sides of each chicken thigh with salt and pepper. Rub seasoning right into each thigh as you go and place in pile on your cutting board.
Oven Roast Honey Chicken Thighs
- Adjust your oven racks to the middle and lowest positions. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a rimmed baking sheet covered in tinfoil.
- When hot, remove your preheated baking sheet from your oven and place beside your workstation or cutting board.
- Spray the skin side of the chicken with a light coating of cooking spray and immediately place, skin side down, on top of the hot baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken thighs have been sprayed and placed on baking sheet. Return hot pan to oven on the bottom rack.
- You can start preparing the honey glaze while the chicken cooks.
- After cooking the chicken for ten minutes rotate your pan as quickly as possible for even baking.
- Bake until skin is beginning to brown and meat registers 160 degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- When ready, remove chicken thighs from the oven and turn the broiler on.
- Flip each of the chicken thighs over and return your baking sheet to the middle rack inside your oven as it preheats.
- Broil chicken thighs, skin side up, until skin is golden brown and crispy, another 5 minutes or so.
- Reduce the oven's temperature to 450 degrees.
- Use a brush to coat each piece of chicken evenly with a thick layer of honey glaze.
- Return to the oven and bake until glaze is a beautiful golden brown, around 5 more minutes. Rotate pan if needed.
- Make sure your chicken thighs are over 170 degrees before removing them from the oven to rest.
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board or serving platter. Brush with remaining glaze, and allow to rest a few more minutes before serving.
- Combine cornstarch and water in a bowl until dissolved. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, over medium high heat, bring honey and only 4 tablespoons of the vinegar to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce temperature to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring periodically, until mixture is reduced to about ½ cup. Usually aobut 4 or 5 minutes.
- Add cornstarch mixture to the honey.
- Whisk until blended and continue to simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes. The mixture will thicken. Keep warm over low heat until needed.
Air Fryer Honey Chicken Thighs
- After prepping the chicken, arrange the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, spaced evenly apart with the skin side up. Lightly spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray or brush with oil.
- Place the basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees.
- Cook until chicken thighs are well browned and crisp and register 195 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes, rotating chicken halfway through cooking but DO NOT flip the chicken.
- The problem with exact timing is that chicken thighs range in size. If you have smaller thighs, check at 20 minutes and larger thighs check at 26 minutes or more.
- Cover each chicken thigh with honey glaze.
- Return to the air fyrer and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and coat with more glaze.
- Transfer chicken to large plate and let rest for a few minutes.
- Serve and enjoy every bite.