Brown Sugar Chicken Recipe

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Brown Sugar Chicken has become a favorite weeknight meal at our house with tender, juicy chicken thighs swimming in a sauce that’s sweet, garlicky, and just a little spicy.

***NOTE: I have retested and updated this recipe as of 10/31/2020. If you made it before that, the recipe was slightly different then. Here are the changes I’ve made in case you want to make it the original way. The older version called for twice as much smoked paprika. Also, there was no garlic powder before. Instead, it was 3 cloves of garlic, minced, mixed with the brown sugar and butter prior to baking. I prefer the recipe with the newly adjusted amount of paprika, and I find using garlic powder easier than fresh, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in this recipe.


Units Scale
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Combine the salt, paprika, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides the chicken thighs.
  4. Place the thighs in an 8×8” baking dish.
  5. In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, and Sriracha (if using). Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Alternately, you can place brown sugar and butter in the microwave and cook on high for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted and the brown sugar is dissolved. Cover with a paper towel to reduce the risk of the butter popping and making a mess in your microwave.
  6. Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs. I like to turn the thighs in the sauce to make sure they are evenly coated ending with the top side up.
  7. Bake uncovered for 30 – 35 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 165˚F at the thickest part of the meat.
  8. Allow to rest 5 minutes.