Chicken is a popular item on the menu in many homes. There are so many ways you can fix it and sometimes it is less expensive than other cuts of meat. With the popularity of a kitchen appliance called an “air fryer”, fried chicken has become much easier to make. In this recipe for air fryer honey chicken we combine the efficiency of the fryer with a delicious honey soy coating.
Sweet Air Fried Honey Chicken
For those of you who are a wiz in the kitchen, I admire your talent. Myself, well I need recipes that are simple and easy to make. Everyone in our family likes chicken so it ends up on the menu a lot.
And being a beekeeper, I always have jars of honey sitting around. Honestly, I usually have a 5 gallon bucket available. One should never let good honey go to waste.
Whenever possible, I love incorporating honey into my recipes. It is such a versatile food. A wonderful gift from the bees.
- chicken thighs
- soy sauce
Chicken: Even though the recipe calls for chicken thighs, you can use boneless chicken breasts – if that is what you have on hand. However, you may have better results using thighs. They tend to be more flavorful and moist when fried.
Honey: Any good honey can be used but I always recommend raw honey. Wildflower is the term used to describe most of the honey sold. This is just an industry term that means the honey was made from the nectar of many different blooming honey plants.
In contrast, variety honey made predominately from a single nectar source is available. You may know these as: clover, orange blossom, tupelo etc. No need to spend the extra money on special honey for this recipe, regular honey will work well.
The color of honey you choose does not matter. Dark honey tends to have a more robust flavor. However, the recipe for the sauce contains soy sauce as an ingredient. It will be dark anyway.
Soy Sauce: Regular soy sauce is fine but if you are considered about sodium – choose the low sodium variety.
1. It is important to cut your chicken into similar sized pieces. If the piece vary too much in size, the cooking will be uneven with some over done and some not done enough. A very light coating of oil (i.e. canola, vegetable or sesame oil) is all that is needed. To remove the chicken skin or not is up to you.
2. Preheat your air fryer and check the instructions with your model. There will be some variety between different brands. What temperature and time does your model recommend?
Place the chicken pieces in the air fryer in a single layer. They will shrink during cooking but avoid crowding them as this will not allow the hot air to flow around them.
3. While the chicken is cooking prepare your sauce on the stove. Bring the ingredients to a low boil. They will start to thicken – adding a bit of corn starch helps the process along.
4. When everything is ready, combine the sauce and chicken together. Time to enjoy!
Of course, you can make this recipe without an air fryer and it will be delicious. It will simply take longer and possibly add more calories due to the extra oil required.
Your honey soy sauce will be sweet and sticky. The dish is easy to reheat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Even though it is not a healthy option, you can simply serve it over white rice – if you are a rice fanatic like myself. Or, opt for a healthier option and add some steamed vegetables as a side: carrots, green beans, etc.
Don’t leave that jar of honey sitting on the shelf. Experiment with some recipes of your own. If you are looking for another chicken dish that features honey, try a honey chicken stir fry with the vegetables already in the mix.
For shrimp lovers, this honey shrimp stir fry is made using lime and it is a healthy alternative to fried versions.
Or try “the other white meat” and break out the grill for some honey garlic porkchops – delicious! Any one of these could become your next family favorite for busy weeknights.
Easy Air Fryer Honey Chicken
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- Air Fryer
- 6 pieces chicken thighs: boneless, skinless
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 3/4 cup raw honey
- 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- Cut and Coat the Chicken Cut the chicken thighs into chunks – large nugget size is good. Place them in a medium sized mixing bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over them.Just a little cornstarch is necessary. Add a bit and stir or toss the chicken pieces to coat them – add a bit more and repeat if needed. You do not want a thick coating – just a little.If you have oil spray, a very light mist over the chicken pieces is advisable. If you do not have a spray, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl and stir well to coat.
- Preheat Air FryerRub a very light coat of oil on the air fryer basket to help prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.Preheat your air fryer. While they are all similar there are also differences – follow the directions for your model.I preheat my unit at 390° F for 5 minutes.
- Cook Until DoneArrange chicken pieces in fryer basket – do not crowd. There should be room around each piece for air to flow. Depending on the size of your unit, you may have to use 2 cook cycles.Cook at 390° F for 6- 8 minutes – then carefully remove basket. Be careful it is hot! Use silicone coated tongs to turn each piece of chicken over.Return to fryer and cook for an additional 6-8 (or until the internal temperature of the chicken pieces reach 165° F. Some recipes call for a much longer cook time.However, in my unit – chicken cooked much longer becomes dry and hard. Of course, it will depend on the cut of the chicken and how big your cubes are.
- Making the SauceWhile the chicken is cooking, it’s time to prepare your sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, ginger and ketchup. Use a whisk to combine them well and heat on a low-medium setting.Bring the mixture to a low boil. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix well. Continue to heat and add more cornstarch if necessary until you have the thickness you desire.Watch this carefully, otherwise it will boil over and make a big mess!
- Combining Chicken and Honey SauceWhen the chicken is done and the sauce is ready, combine both in a medium skillet. Stir to coat all the chicken pieces and keep on low heat for just a few minutes.This air fryer honey chicken recipe is yummy over white rice. But you can also pair it with a favorite vegetable.