Have mercy! Everyone raves about this honey chipotle chicken. Sweet and spicy, it’s perfect for the grill, but easy to make indoors, as well. The only downside is how much you’ll want to eat. Consider yourself warned!
True confessions: I’ve been meaning to share this chicken recipe with you for more than a month. That’s how long we’ve been enjoying the tested, perfected version of this sweet, spicy, crisp, tender, honey chipotle chicken goodness.
So what was my hold up? As always, the pictures! I’ve hemmed and hawed, and still really think I could do better, but finally I had to just bite the bullet and accept that I needed to share this recipe with you sooner rather than later. I can always update the photos, after all, when we make it again, and believe me, we WILL be making this again – many times!
I want the photos to highlight even more than what you see here: I want to capture the red-gold of the marinade, the steam of the chicken sizzling on the grill, the brush strokes adding more sauce while the chicken cooks. And, of course, the tender, perfectly-cooked, perfectly-seasoned inside of each piece!
Honey chipotle chicken is a match made in heaven for your grill in the summer. This recipe is simple and wonderful for busy families, or anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on prep work. (So, everyone, pretty much.) And, best of all, the flavor is absolutely outrageous. Literally, finger-licking good.
Honey Chipotle BBQ Chicken: Ingredients
The secret is ALL in a delicious, sweet-spicy sauce that is easy to make and doubles as a marinade and barbecue sauce. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce: These usually can be found in a small can, look near the Mexican foods in your everyday grocery store.
- Honey: Any regular honey will work!
- Brown sugar: Light or dark, your choice.
- Dijon mustard: Either a whole-grain or smooth Dijon works beautifully, so use whatever you keep on hand.
- Olive oil.
- Lime juice.
- Garlic: about 10 cloves, peeled and whole – no need to chop!
- Cumin: everything good has cumin, I swear!
- Freebies: kosher salt, black pepper, and, if you like, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro for serving. Or not! My heart goes out to those with the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap – I’d feel as though I were missing a whole food group without the stuff! It adds a nice touch here, if you’re pro-cilantro, but definitely isn’t a necessity.
And of course don’t forget the chicken! This honey chipotle sauce is a stellar way to make everyday chicken breasts ultra-flavorful, and it’s also delicious with chicken thighs, if you have those on hand or simply prefer dark meat.
You’ll also need a blender or food processor and a large bowl to contain the chicken while it marinates in the fridge. Pretty simple!
How To Make Honey Chipotle Chicken
This is pretty easy, so I won’t overcomplicate things! Here’s what you’ll do:
- Blend all the sauce ingredients together until smooth. Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce in a small jar or measuring cup, to use later as a barbecue sauce. Store in the fridge.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and pour the majority of the sauce on top as a marinade. Cover tightly and let rest for at least four hours, or up to 24. This is ideal to do the night before, or first thing in the morning, to make dinnertime stress-free.
- When you’re ready to eat, just discard the marinade and cook the chicken! Either grill over medium-high heat or cook in a skillet – either way, turn the chicken occasionally and brush on more of the reserved sauce.
Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If you don’t already have one, do yourself a favor and pick up an instant read thermometer. It removes all the guesswork, which is SO nice. This summer we’ve also been loving this wireless grill thermometer, so we don’t need to constantly hover over meats on the grill, either, and they still turn out perfectly! (affiliate links)
What To Serve With It
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Arugula Parmesan Pine Nut Salad
- Spinach Salad with Nectarines and Pecans
- Rice – classic or cauliflower!
If you try making this Honey Chipotle BBQ Chicken or any other recipe on the blog, please rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!
Honey Chipotle BBQ Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1-2 whole chipotle chiles plus 1/4 cup adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 10 garlic cloves peeled and whole
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- juice of 2 limes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- fresh chopped cilantro optional, for serving
- First, make the sauce: Combine olive oil, chiles, adobo sauce, honey, mustard, brown sugar, garlic, cumin, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed until smooth. Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce and store in the fridge.
- Prep the chicken: Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper, then place them in a large bowl and pour the remaining sauce on top. Turn chicken pieces, if needed, to be sure they’re fully coated. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24.
- Grill: When ready, remove chicken from the fridge. Discard the sauce in which the chicken was marinating, and take out the reserved sauce to use on the BBGrill chicken over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, and basting occasionally with the reserved sauce. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
- If making this chicken indoors, lightly coat a large grill pan or cast iron skillet with additional olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces, and cook as directed, turning and basting occasionally.
- Feel free to substitute chicken thighs if you prefer, just adjust the cooking time so that the chicken still reaches a temperature of 165.
- As written, with 1 or 2 whole chipotle chiles plus the adobo sauce, this chicken will definitely have some kick! If you don’t love heat, or are cooking for others who might not love it, suggest scaling back to 1 chipotle and 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce. You can also cut open the chiles and scoop out the seeds to reduce the heat, though this will take an extra minute or two!