The question I get asked more than anything else about cooking is: ‘What should I make for dinner?’ It’s so easy to get into the same old rut with cooking, especially after a long day at work, when all you want to do is put your feet up and relax.
It’s useful then, to have a few easy dinner recipes up your sleeve that are simple to prepare, easily varied depending on what you have on hand, and most importantly, something the whole family can enjoy.
HONEY LIME CHICKEN THIGHS (YOUR NEW FAMILY FAVOURITE)
Today’s recipe for Honey Lime Chicken Thighs is just such a meal. This is a great recipe which makes the most of simple ingredients. There is little more prep work involved than slicing up a few onions, whisking together a quick sauce and letting the oven work some magic.
In 45 minutes the house is filled with the aroma of roast chicken, and dinner is ready, all made in one dish so there’s less cleaning up – how good is that?
I’ve loaded this recipe up with sweet honey, tangy lime and juicy fresh peaches. I promise this is nothing at all like 70’s apricot chicken, it’s lighter, fresher and very good.
The tart citrus tang of the lime contrasts beautifully with the sweet peaches. It’s also a great base recipe to work from. Don’t have peaches? Leave them out. Want to throw some extra veg in? Go right ahead! Mix and match flavours to suit your tastes, the cooking time doesn’t change.
NO added oil
You may be looking at this recipe and wondering if I’ve forgotten to include olive oil or vegetable oil, but the fact of the matter is that it simply doesn’t need it. Chicken thighs, with the skin on, have plenty of their own natural basting fat in the skin (this is what keeps them so juicy and tender). That means there is no need to add any extra oil
Does the chicken need to marinate?
I call it a marinade in the recipe, but this sauce is so packed with so much flavour that you can really whisk it up for cooking at the last minute. Of course, a marinade is always an amazing way to add flavour and tenderise meat, so you can absolutely marinade the chicken up to 24 hours in advance.
Honey lime sauce works with all cuts of chicken
This same honey lime sauce tastes great with boneless chicken breasts or even as a marinade for barbecued chicken skewers. You will need to adjust cooking times as chicken breasts cook much faster than thighs. Also remember the golden rule when grilling marinated meat (especially with honey or sugar in the marinade), cook over a lower heat so that the marinade doesn’t burn.
What to serve with Honey Lime Chicken?
This tasty meal definitely needs some carbs to offset all that delicious sauce. I’d recommend white or brown rice or baked potatoes. If there is any chicken left over (there seldom is in my house!) I like to shred the meat to make honey lime chicken tacos!
The left over chicken is also great in a salad or on sandwiches the next day, so it’s worth making more than you think you might need. If you are into meal prep, this is a great way to make lovely healthy meals for a whole week.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Baked Honey Lime Chicken with chicken breasts / boneless chicken thighs?
Yes! Chicken breasts don’t need quite so much time in the oven, (20-25 minutes depending on size) so check them to see when they are done. If you are checking with a thermometer you are looking for 74°C / 165°F for chicken breast. Boneless thighs will cook the same way as bone-in.
I can’t get limes! What should I use instead?
This recipe is great with lemon too, anything tart to cut through the sweetness of the honey.
Can I make Baked Honey Lime Chicken in advance?
Yes, you can. You can reheat it in a low oven, or it makes great leftovers for work the next day.
COOKING CHICKEN THIGHS
Chicken thighs are one of the most forgiving cuts of meat to cook in the oven. Even if they have been overcooked, chicken thighs are likely to stay tender and juicy, so it is a great meat for beginner cooks.
How long to cook chicken thighs at 350°F / 180°C?
Chicken thighs will cook at this temperature in around 40-45 minutes. Bone-in chicken thighs may take a little longer if they are very large. Smaller, boneless thighs will cook a few minutes faster.
As stated above, chicken thigh meat is very forgiving so it is likely to stay moist and juicy even if a little overcooked. A higher internal temperature can actually make chicken thighs more tender as the connective tissue begins to break down into gelatine as the meat cooks!
How to tell if chicken thighs are cooked?
A lot of people are worried about raw chicken, but it is really very simple. If you insert the tip of a sharp knife into the chicken thigh at the thickest part, any juices should run clear. If you cook to the times given in this recipe you won’t have a problem at all.
If you are at all uncertain, I recommend using an instant read thermometer. Chicken is cooked at an internal temperature of 74°C / 165°F, however with chicken thighs on the bone they will still be a bit tough. Bone in chicken meat is best cooked hotter, anywhere between 80° and 90°C (175-195°F) for the most tender results.
Remember, if it is at all possible, let meat on the bone warm up towards room temperature before cooking. This means that it will cook more evenly and you won’t have to worry that it is under done toward the bone.
DINNER PARTY PRO TIP
Having a dinner party? Use boneless chicken thighs for this dish. Even though chicken thighs are more flavoursome with the bone in, they are easier for your guests to manage if they are boneless.
BAKED HONEY LIME CHICKEN
Baked Honey Lime Chicken
- 2 onions, sliced
- 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
- 2 peaches, sliced
for the honey lime chicken marinade:
- 3 Tbsp runny honey
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- juice of 1 juicy lime, 2-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- salt and pepper
- brown or white rice
- small bunch coriander / cilantro, leaves only
- 2 spring onions / scallions, finely sliced
- green chillies or red pepper flakes, optional
- lime wedges
- sesame seeds
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Spread the onions over the base of a baking dish that is large enough to hold all of the chicken thighs in one layer. (You need a dish rather than a baking sheet as there is lots of juice in this recipe).
- SEASON THE CHICKEN: Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and place on top of the onions. Tuck the peach slices all around the thighs.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small bowl whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ginger and garlic, brush two thirds over the chicken thighs, then roast in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, basting with the remaining glaze halfway through cooking. When the chicken is golden brown and cooked through remove from the oven.
- SERVE AND ENJOY: Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then serve immediately with rice, coriander, spring onions, chillies (if using), lime wedges and scatter over some sesame seeds.
- Like your chicken spicier or more garlicky? Simply add a few more chillies, some chili powder or extra garlic to taste to the dish.
- Can't get any limes? This recipe is also delicious with lemon juice.
- Using mixed chicken pieces? Defrost fully before cooking (overnight in the fridge is best) then proceed as per the recipe.
- Looking for a recipe for perfectly fluffy white rice? Follow the instructions in this recipe!
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