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Spicy Honey-Lime Chicken

The combination of honey (or maple syrup), soy sauce, sriracha, lime, garlic and ginger in this spicy honey lime chicken recipe is wicked. Delicious hot, room temp or cold.

You can make the recipe with whole boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts on skewers or with bone-in chicken.

3 grilled chicken skewers on a cutting board My favorite is boneless thighs (pictured here) because they are so flavorful, they absorb the marinade well and they tend to stay moister than breasts. If you’ve read any of our other chicken posts, you’ve heard this. Many times.

The sweet tangy spicy honey lime chicken marinade – so delicious – also works well with pork skewers, tenderloin or chops. Even tofu.

Here are some great side dishes to accompany the honey lime chicken: citrus saladbread salad with charred snap peas, grilled corn salad, party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa and grilled vegetable orzo salad recipe.

Tailor To Your Taste

How to serve honey lime chicken

  • I love the grilled chicken skewers format the best because you get the maximum glaze covering the chicken. But you can also use whole chicken breasts or thighs. If using bone-in, I suggest doubling the marinade.
  • For appetizers, use regular boneless chicken thighs or breasts. Once cooked, cut the chicken into small pieces and thread on small wooden skewers or toothpicks to serve.
  • The chicken is fabulous served in pita or tortillas with a tangy coleslaw or Israeli salad.

Options for honey lime chicken marinade

  • Vary the amount of sriracha heat you like. The amount in the recipe is fairly spicy. I know some will like it even hotter. Or some not at all.
  • Replace the lime with lemon in the honey lime mixture (marinade).
  • Try adding coriander or a favorite spice to the marinade.

Cooking method alternatives

  • If you don’t have a grill, broil the chicken skewers in the oven for 9-12 minutes.
  • Cooking time will take longer with bone in chicken. Heat one side of the grill on low, the other on medium high. Cook until almost done ((140F) on the low side, then switch to the hotter side to brown and finish cooking.

Shortcuts

  • Skip the skewers and cook boneless or bone-in chicken (not cut up). Still delish! And dinner in 20 minutes.
  • Substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder for the fresh garlic.
  • Marinate at room temperature for 30-40 minutes instead of 4-6 hours or overnight in the fridge. Or skip the marinating altogether. The flavors won’t be as intense, but still great. Consider doubling the sauce or making 1 1/2 times the amount if you are not marinating the chicken.

Make Ahead

  • Make the recipe ahead for a crowd and serve it at room temperature. Or warm it briefly in the microwave for a minute or two. Don’t overdo it or the chicken will dry out and toughen.

Other easy grilled chicken recipes you might like

How to make spicy honey lime chicken

cut up boneless chicken thighs, salt, sriracha, ginger, soy, maple syrup, garlic, lime juice, lime
Ingredients: Cut up boneless chicken thighs, salt, sriracha, ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, lime juice, lime
boneless chicken thighs marinating in ziploc bag
Make the marinade and use half of it to marinate the chicken. Reserve the rest for basting.
3 raw chicken skewers
Skewer the chicken.
3 chicken skewers on the grill, partly cooked
Grill chicken and baste with remaining marinade.

3 honey lime chicken skewers on cutting board p

3 grilled chicken skewers on a cutting board f
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4.64 from 101 votes

Spicy Honey Lime Chicken

The combination of honey (or maple syrup), soy sauce, sriracha, lime, garlic and ginger in this spicy honey lime chicken recipe is wicked. Delicious hot, room temp or cold.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Marinating time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • Skewers (metal or wood). If using wood, soak for 30 minutes before using. Skewers not needed if using uncut boneless or bone in chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.13kg) boneless skinless thighs (or breasts), trimmed and cut into 2 inch/5.1cm pieces Note 1
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley; lime wedges

Honey Lime chicken marinade (and glaze), Note 2

  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce low sodium is good if you have
  • 6 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest from one lime
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lime juice from 1 1/2 to 2 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (about 1 1/2 inch of fresh ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce for pretty spicy (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (to thicken to glaze consistency) Optional

Instructions

  • MAKE MARINADE/SAUCE: Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Or blend them in a food processor.
  • MARINATE CHICKEN: Pour half the marinade (about 1/2 cup) into a sealed zipper bag or container and add chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or 6-12 hours in fridge. Tip: if marinating overnight, I leave out lime juice and increase zest so it doesn't 'cook' the chicken.
    Glaze: The reserved 1/2 cup marinade will be used for glazing/basting. (Optional but suggested: Mix 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch into reserved marinade and microwave for 1 minute to make a glaze-like consistency. I do this). Set aside.
  • PREPARE GRILL: Scrape grill and spray grill with oil (or dip paper towel in oil and rub on grill). Heat grill to medium-high heat. If using wood skewers, soak them for 30 minutes beforehand to avoid burning. Note 3.
  • GRILL CHICKEN SKEWERS: Skewer marinated chicken pieces onto skewers and pat dry (important). Discard the marinade used for marinating. Lightly spray chicken with oil to further avoid sticking. Grill chicken on all sides until golden brown, for 9-12 minutes in total (depending on thickness and how tightly packed the skewers are), basting once or twice with the honey lime glaze. Instant thermometer will read 160F/71C. Rest chicken, loosely covered for 5 minutes.
  • SERVE: If you have any leftover sauce, drizzle it on the chicken or warm it in microwave for 30 seconds and pass it around. Sprinkle chicken with cilantro or parsley and serve with lime wedges if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Chicken options:
    • I prefer thighs because they are juicier and less likely to dry out when cooked. In this recipe, however, breasts work really well too when marinated.
    • Instead of skewered chicken, you can also cook regular bone-in or boneless chicken (but make extra marinade for bone-in)
    • Kosher chicken is particularly flavorful and juicy because it is already brined. 
  2. Marinade/glaze: If you are using bone in chicken, I suggest doubling the marinade/glaze. In fact, you might also want to double it (or do 1 1/2 times the amounts) for extra drizzling or to soak into a side of rice or quinoa. 
  3. No grill? Instead, chicken can be broiled in the oven, turning once, for 9-12 minutes, brushing with the glaze.
  4. Make Ahead: The recipe can be made ahead for a crowd and served at room temperature or cold. Or warmed briefly in the microwave for a minute or two. Don't overdo it or the chicken will dry out and toughen.
 
Nutrition value estimates include boneless chicken breasts. Thighs would have more calories and fat. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Spicy Honey Lime Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 373 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 145mg48%
Sodium 1553mg68%
Potassium 904mg26%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 50g100%
Vitamin A 68IU1%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?We'd love you to rate it above under 'rate this recipe' or in the comment section below. Thanks!

This recipe, adapted from Once Upon a Chef, was originally published in 2016, has been edited with new images and information. 

27 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight with skinless boneless chicken breast. Second time to grill. Turned out wonderful. My husband loved it.

  2. 5 stars
    This was amazing!! I served the chicken with sticky white rice, sautéed broccoli with onions, and red peppers. Even sprinkled a little extra sauce on the veggies while sautéing them. Was delish and will make again and again.

    1. Hi Miranda, many side dishes would be great, but I listed a few of my favorites in the post including bread salad with charred snap peas, grilled corn salad, party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa and grilled vegetable orzo salad recipe. The links can all be found in the honey lime chicken post or, if you prefer, you can use the search function on the top right of the post. Hope that helps.

  3. 5 stars
    This was so delicious!! I used sambal oelek instead of sriracha, cause that’s what I had, and I really enjoyed the flavour. The lime zest also really bumped up the lime flavour. It was just perfect!

  4. 5 stars
    What kind of products are not compatible with chicken! But this is the first time I have met such a combination of ingredients. We got such a rich and versatile taste. This is definitely worth your attention! Thanks for the recipe.

      1. 5 stars
        Deeeelicious! I didn’t use corn starch. I took a pic, but don’t see how to include it. Will def make again!

    1. Sorry it didn’t work for you. The honey lime chicken is actually our most popular recipe. It just goes to show that taste is a very personal thing.

    1. Hi Debbie, If you still want to make the honey-lime chicken spicy, you can try sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili paste (with red chilis, vinegar and salt). Or any chili paste for that matter. Chili flakes and even a dash of cayenne pepper would work too. Hope that helps.

  5. I have a pork tenderloin I want to cook tonight. How would I use your above recipe with pork tenderloin in the oven?liz says:

    I have a pork tenderloin I want to cook tonight. How would I use your above recipe with pork tenderloin in the oven?

    1. If you have the time, marinate the tenderloin with 1/2 the marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature. Pat dry and brush with glaze (reserve 1-2 tablespoons for finishing). Roast at 400F for 18-25 minutes depending on size of tenderloin or until instant thermometer reads 140F. Let rest for 10 minutes loosely covered. Slice and drizzle remaining glaze if there is any left over. Enjoy!

      1. Thx so much for your prompt resp. to my question! I freq. see a recipe and think how would I do that and don’t ask …never use the recipe. Tonight I will!?

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