This spicy chicken marinade is a delicious sauce that soaks into your chicken thighs and give them a savory and spicy flavor. Spicy Sriracha, smokey chipotle peppers and sweet chili sauce and a variety of spices combine for just the right amount of heat.
Why this recipe is just so good.....
- When you combine spicy heat with some sweet, a perfect blend of flavors result. You can add more spice by increasing some of the ingredients to your preference.
- The chicken thighs can be prepped the night before and marinated in the morning. They can be marinated in as little as 2 hours or up to 24 hours ahead.
- Baking the marinated chicken in a cast iron skillet makes the thighs juicy with crispy skin. It is perfect for a low carb or keto meal. You can also grill them on the stovetop or your outdoor grill.
- We love cooking extra thighs and cutting the meat off the bone for meal prep. Use it to top a healthy salad for lunch. Or shred the meat for a taco dinner.
- The main ingredients that give this marinade its spicy flavor is the Sriracha and chipotle peppers. You can easily add more or less of each/either to suit your taste.
- You can add or substitute jalapeno peppers for some additional spice. Or add some red pepper flakes to the marinade.
- This recipe uses sugar free sweet chili sauce for a low carb/keto marinade. You can use regular sweet chili sauce if you prefer.
- We are using bone in, skin on chicken thighs to marinate for this recipe. The skin on the thighs absorbs the spicy marinade and gets really flavorful and crispy. Not only that but as Bon Appetit says, they are much more flavorful than boneless thighs. If you would prefer not to eat the skin, just remove it after baking. The chicken will be juicy a but lower in calories without the skin.
The USDA recommends 6 hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the chicken in the marinade for up to 2 days but the meat could possibly be altered in texture or flavor. Personally I feel 2 hours is the minimum time if you are in a hurry, longer is better. I have never marinated raw, unfrozen chicken past 12 hours since I feel the meat starts to get a bit mushy. And the marinade should be discarded when the chicken is removed.
You can marinate chicken directly from the freezer but it should be defrosted in the refrigerator before cooking. It will be a few hours before the marinade begins to reach the defrosted meat. I would recommend putting the marinated frozen chicken in the refrigerator to defrost the night before I plan to cook it for dinner.
The combination of a spicy and a bit of sweet makes for a great flavor. You can change the spices as you'd like. Try some Italian seasonings like oregano or basil. Dried chili peppers or jalapeno peppers would also add some some flavorful heat to the marinade.
Instead of baking you can use an indoor grill pan to cook the thighs. Spray the pan with non stick cooking spray and heat the grill over medium flame. Grill the thighs skin side down for 3-4 minutes to sear the skin. Then flip over and cook chicken until a meat thermometer registers 165°F. It will continue to cook a bit after you remove from the grill. If the chicken is browning too much, lower the heat and tent the chicken with aluminum foil to hold in the heat while they cook.
For an outdoor grill, heat the BBQ grill on medium flame and grill as above, with skin side down for a few minutes before flipping. You won't need to tent the chicken since the grill has a lid to close.
Step by Step Directions
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Place chicken thighs in bowl and stir to fully coat the chicken.
- Cover and put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours.
- Drain chicken when ready to use.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skillet.
- Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, without moving them around. Let the skin get a nice browned sear on it before flipping over.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place cast iron skillet in oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165°F. It will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove from the oven.
We served our chicken with cauliflower rice and some creamy balsamic coleslaw.
If you love chicken, try these other delicious recipes!Print
Spicy Chicken Marinade
- Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 5 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Spicy Sriracha, smokey chipotle peppers and sweet chili sauce combine to make a delicious marinade that is perfect on chicken. Try it out on pork and beef and grilled vegetables as well.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (reserve 1 tablespoon for cooking chicken)
- ¾ cup Sriracha sauce
- ¼ cup sweet chili sauce (I used sugar free) *
- 2 chipolte peppers, finely minced **
- 2 tablespoon chipotle sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.
- Pour marinade over 2 ½ lbs. of chicken thighs (about 5) in a bowl or large plastic storage bag
- Leave chicken in the marinade in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight).***
- When ready to cook, drain chicken from marinade. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in oven safe pan on medium flame. Place chicken thighs, skin side down in pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes to brown.
- Flip thighs over and bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer placed in chicken thigh registers 165°F.
*You can use regular sweet chili sauce if you're not counting carbs. Or use chili sauce and a few teaspoons of sugar as a substitute.
**The more chipotle peppers you use, the smokier and spicier the marinade will be. I did not remove the seeds so 2 peppers were the right amount. Add more as you prefer.
*** I believe 2 hours is the minimum amount to marinate the chicken. The longer you do, the chicken will absorb more flavor. But after 12-24 hours, the flavor and texture will not be as good, so I suggest limit to 12- 24 hours for the best quality.
**** After the chicken was drained, there was approximately ½ cup of marinade left in the bowl. The nutrition information is for the entire marinade recipe. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more it will absorb.
Keywords: Chicken Dinner, Low Carb Meal, Healthy Meal, Meal Prep, Spicy Sauce
This marinade sauce made the chicken so flavorful!
So easy for a weeknight dinner.
Deb Belsha says
Thanks, we love spicy chicken!