Tight view of a brown sugar chicken thigh in the center of a skillet with other thighs around it, all perfectly cooked and ready to serve.

If you’re on the hunt for a lip-smacking chicken dish that effortlessly combines sweetness and savory goodness, look no further than Brown Sugar Chicken Thighs. This delectable recipe promises flavors that’ll have your taste buds dancing with joy. Let’s dive in and discover how to whip up this delightful dish!

Close view of a spoon basting sauce over a baked chicken thigh in an enameled cast iron skillet.

What kind of chicken will you need? 

For this recipe, you’ll want bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are not only tender but also packed with flavor, and the richness of the dark meat makes them the ideal canvas for the brown sugar glaze. If you would prefer to use boneless chicken thighs, reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes.

Protip: Swap smart!

We used light brown sugar for this recipe, but dark brown sugar will work as well!

What you need to make brown sugar chicken 

Gather these ingredients:

  • Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Brown sugar
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Water

Protip: Hold the salt!

You’ll notice that there is no salt on this ingredient list. But don’t think that means this dinner is lacking in flavor—all the salty flavor comes from the soy sauce!

Collage of four simple steps to make brown sugar chicken. A text overlay reads, "How to Make Brown Sugar Chicken."

How to make brown sugar chicken

  1. Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 425°F. This will give you evenly cooked, perfectly tender chicken.
  2. Over medium heat, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and water until the sugar is dissolved. This will be the glaze for your chicken.
  3. Pour half of the glaze into an oven-safe skillet or baking dish. Nestle the chicken thighs into the pan, skin side up. Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reads 165°F. Spoon the sauce over the chicken as you serve it.

What to serve with brown sugar chicken 

This delightful main course goes splendidly with a variety of side dishes. Consider serving it with fluffy mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts, or a fresh garden salad for a bit of freshness. The choice is yours!

Top view of a red enameled cast iron skillet with six brown sugar chicken thighs nestled in it.

How do I store the leftovers?

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers (trust us, it’s hard to resist seconds!), you’ve got options. Shred the leftover chicken and use it as a topping for salads or stuff it into sandwiches or wraps for a packed lunch the next day. You can also toss the shredded chicken into pasta or stir-fries for an instant flavor boost.

Can you freeze brown sugar chicken?

Absolutely! If you’ve made a larger batch or want to save some for a rainy day, you can freeze this brown sugar chicken. Allow the cooked chicken to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure to label it with the date. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently in the oven or microwave.

With its perfect balance of sweet and savory, this easy chicken dish is sure to become a staple in your dinner rotation. Happy cooking!

Close view of a spoon drizzling brown sugar sauce over perfectly baked dark meat thighs.

Want more chicken recipes like this one?

Tight view of a brown sugar chicken thigh in the center of a skillet with other thighs around it, all perfectly cooked and ready to serve.

Brown Sugar Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Bursting with sweet and savory flavor, these simple Brown Sugar Chicken Thighs will become a go-to weeknight dinner.


  • 3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, water, garlic powder, and onion powder to a saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar dissolves, whisking as it cooks.
  3. Pour about half the sauce into a large cast iron skillet or baking dish.
  4. Set the chicken skin side-up in the sauce, then pour the remaining sauce over the chicken.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to 165°F.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve!


  • You can sub in boneless thighs—just cook for 20-25 minutes instead of 30-35 minutes.
  • We used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar as well.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Chop up the chicken to add to salads or wraps, too!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 28g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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