Caramel Chicken

Caramel Chicken

Caramel Chicken: “Don’t be put off by the sugar in this recipe—it’s balanced by the vinegar and soy sauce.”

Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2013

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.