Dousing fried chicken with hot sauce is perfect if you love a peppery kick. However, for those who crave chicken with the right balance of sweet and heat, hot honey sauce is the way to go. Hot honey chicken is the ultimate twist on a comfort classic as the crunchy meat gets covered in a spicy and syrupy glaze. Not only does this sauce make fried chicken even more scrumptious, but there’s no need to stress over preparing it from scratch. Four ingredients is all you need so you can bask in the medley of flavors and nutritional perks that your body will thank you for later. Keep reading to learn how to whip up hot honey chicken — and bonus ideas for using this sauce in your everyday meals!
What is hot honey sauce?
The old saying “the secret is in the sauce” couldn’t be more true for hot honey glaze as it contains ingredients like honey, fresh or dried chiles and, sometimes, apple cider vinegar. This ensures there’s plenty of sugary, tangy and spicy flavors to infuse foods like fried chicken with right before it’s served.
With this in mind, you may wonder how this gooey concoction came about. Well, the exact origins of hot honey are somewhat sticky as some believe it’s a long-standing Southern creation. Meanwhile, others credit Mike Kurtz, founder of Mike’s Hot Honey, with being one of the first chefs to stumble across the sauce during a trip to Brazil in 2003.
Regardless, hot honey is a cooking must-have — and it packs a surprising health punch that’s on par with its flavor. In fact, doctors note that honey and chili peppers are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that aid digestion, soothe a sore throat and improve mood. A promising sign that enjoying hot honey will help you look and feel your best! (Click through to learn more about the benefits of spicy honey.)
How to make hot honey chicken
Amna Muqeem, co-founder and editor-in-chief at Specially Fried, shares her simple recipe for Hot Honey Chicken. It starts with boneless chicken breasts that crisp up fast in the air fryer before being glazed in spicy honey. She also dips (or “dredges”) the chicken in the wet and dry mixture twice prior to frying. This creates a thicker shell on the fried chicken, allowing lots of the yummy and health-boosting sauce to stick without making the crust soggy.
Want an extra-quick meal? Simply make the hot honey sauce, then toss it with store-bought fried chicken. Or if you prefer a more classic homemade fried chicken, try this recipe for juicy and tender “broasted” chicken and drizzle the homemade sauce on afterwards. Yum!
Air-Fryer Hot Honey Chicken Breasts
You can also swap whole chicken breasts for 1 lb. of sliced tenderloins for an an easy-to-serve version of this recipe!
- ½ cup honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 eggs
- 2½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1½ tsp. paprika
- 1½ tsp. ground mustard
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups plain corn flakes, crushed into a breadcrumb consistency
- 1 Tbs. water
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Total time: 45 mins
- Yield: 3 servings
- In saucepan, mix honey, garlic, red pepper flakes and vinegar over medium heat until it reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Set aside once boiled. (Note: Cooled hot honey can be stored in airtight jar for at least 1 month in fridge.)
- Preheat air fryer to 375°F.
- In medium bowl, mix crushed corn flakes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, ground mustard and flour. Set aside. In separate bowl, beat eggs and water together.
- To coat chicken: Dip each chicken breast into egg before coating with dry mixture. Repeat process for double-dredge and place on plate.
- Once air fryer is preheated, grease basket with nonstick cooking spray. Place dredged chicken pieces on basket and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Chicken is done when it’s golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F
- Remove chicken from air fryer basket and dunk each breast into pot filled with honey hot sauce until completely coated. Serve chicken alongside remaining sauce and preferred sides.
Other foods to drizzle hot honey over
Hot honey is the versatile ingredient that your pantry needs! Below, you’ll find five more foods that get a flavor upgrade thanks to this spiced honey.
1. Vanilla ice cream
Pair the sweetness of vanilla ice cream with the pungent and peppery taste of hot honey. You’ll likely be shocked at how it becomes one of your go-to ice cream toppings!
2. Freshly baked biscuits or cornbread
A batch of flaky biscuits or fluffy cornbread is tastier with spicy honey. So be sure to drizzle plenty on top for a buttery and tangy baked treat.
Another common way to enjoy hot honey is by pouring it on top of pizza. This food combo works well because the sauce’s sugariness balances out the salty flavors from the slice. (Click through for a mouthwatering grandma pizza recipe worth drizzling hot honey on top of!)
4. Steamed or roasted vegetables
Tossing cooked vegetables with hot honey gives you another reason to eat them. Plus, it creates a sticky outer coating that complements the veggies’ tender interior.
5. Cheeses like brie, goat cheese or Parmesan
If you love snacking on cheese, pour the honey into a small bowl for dipping. This gives the earthy cheese a sweet and zesty kick.
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