Caramel Chicken: Hold the Ice Cream

Caramel Chicken from Sippity Sup

Caramel Chicken. Did you look twice? Are you wondering if I’m serving this Caramel Chicken on a stick like a Caramel Apple. Well, that would certainly be seasonal– but it’s not what I have in mind.

What I have in mind is simple. I’m making a point. It’s a point as pointy as a chicken’s beak. It’s so pointed that I  know you already know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a kitchen standard. I’m talking about the tens of thousands of chicken dishes we omnivores prepare (and eat) over the stretch of our kitchen lives. It’s easy to let ourselves get bored. But it’s certainly not inevitable.

Caramel Chicken is a great a way to point out that chicken is what Jacques Pépin calls “the perfect canvas for a cook”. Because chicken doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be expected. And you never have to make it the same way twice.

Costa Rica, Australia, Denmark, France, Ethiopia, Japan, Portugal, Brazil, Serbia and Egypt. Here, there and everywhere. Every cuisine boasts chicken as a staple protein.

My Caramel Chicken is to remind you to put away the bored face and remember, as the cook in your house it’s up to you to experiment with that chicken. You can serve it whole or in pieces. You can even serve it ground. It’s good with or without skin. Poached. Braised, Fried, Grilled. Roasted. Broiled. Sautéed. You can serve it marinated or with a sauce. You can even serve it with a caramel sauce– just like vanilla ice cream. Well, almost like vanilla ice cream.

I hope that proves that Caramel Chicken isn’t so strange.

Oh and forget what I said about never making chicken the same way twice. I’ll definitely be serving this Caramel Chicken again. GREG

Caramel Chicken from Sippity Sup

Caramel Chicken

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Source Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2013Published

This recipe reflects the fact that I doubled most of the sauce ingredients, because my gut told me that the pan might get too dry during cooking. I might be wrong, but I didn’t want to find out.

Caramel Chicken


  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ pound skin-on, bone-in chicken legs and/ or thighs
  • Kosher Salt (as needed)
  • 8 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 ¼”-thick slices peeled ginger
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 scallions (thinly sliced)
  • Cooked white rice (as needed for serving)


Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and, working in 2 batches, cook until golden brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Add garlic to pot and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. Pour off fat from pot.

Return pot to medium-high heat and add ½ cup water, scraping up browned bits. Add brown sugar; stir to dissolve, then cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar (it may bubble up; sugar will crystallize); stir to dissolve sugar.
Add ginger, broth, and soy sauce; cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Add chicken, skin side up, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and loosely cover foil to keep warm.

Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 to 12 minutes. Return chicken to pot; turn to coat. Top with scallions and serve with rice.