Chicken dinners can get boring fast with the same old recipes. This garlic brown sugar chicken recipe will shake up your weeknight meals with its savory and subtly sweet flavor. The brown sugar gives the chicken a lovely caramelized exterior while the garlic infuses it with zest. You’ll love how easy this is to make, yet it tastes like you fussed in the kitchen for hours.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Gather up these ingredients before cooking so your garlic brown sugar chicken can come together quickly.

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs – The leaner breast meat is lower in fat than thighs. But thighs have more flavor from the extra fat. Choose whichever you prefer.
  • Brown sugar – You’ll need 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Dark brown sugar has more molasses flavor than light.
  • Garlic – 2 to 6 cloves, minced, depending on how garlicky you’d like the dish.
  • Soy sauce – Look for a reduced sodium variety.
  • Oil – Use a high heat oil like avocado, grapeseed or canola oil.
  • Optional ingredients -Consider extras like sesame seeds, chopped green onions, red pepper flakes, ginger, chili sauce.

Easy Steps for Making Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have an amazing chicken dinner in under 30 minutes.

1. Pound the Chicken

Place each chicken breast or thigh between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet, rolling pin, or flat pan to gently pound the chicken to an even 1/2 inch thickness.

Pounding serves two purposes. It shortens the cook time so the chicken cooks through quickly and evenly. It also spreads out the meat so more surface area gets browned and caramelized.

2. Mix the Marinade

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, minced garlic, soy sauce, a splash of oil, and any other flavorings you want to add.

For 4 chicken breasts use:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • Optional extras to taste

Whisk until the sugar dissolves into the liquid to form a smooth marinade.

3. Marinate the Chicken

Add the pounded chicken breasts to the marinade. Flip to coat both sides. Let sit 10-15 minutes, while you prep any side dishes. The brown sugar and soy will start tenderizing the meat while the garlic infuses flavor.

4. Heat the Pan and Cook

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken and marinade. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until browned and cooked through.

Lower the heat if the sugar starts to burn. Baste chicken with the sauce as it reduces. Remove chicken to a clean plate when done.

5. Make the Pan Sauce

Cook any marinade left in the pan for 1-2 minutes to reduce. It will thicken into a glaze-like sauce. Taste and season with a pinch of salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the pan sauce over the chicken to serve. Garnish with sesame seeds, chives or chopped green onions if desired.

Serving Suggestions for Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

This chicken is so versatile you could have it 2-3 nights a week and not get bored. Here are serving ideas:

  • With rice or riced cauliflower and steamed broccoli.
  • Over massaged kale salad with sesame ginger dressing.
  • On avocado toast or wraps with lettuce, tomato, cheese.
  • With roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes and green beans.
  • Over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash with Parmesan.

Any veggie goes well with this chicken. Try asparagus, brussels sprouts, or zucchini. The pan sauce also gives an amazing flavor boost to grains or pastas.

Make a Meal Prep Lunch

Cook up a double batch of this garlic brown sugar chicken on Sunday to use for meal prep lunch bowls all week long.

Here’s one meal prep idea:

  • Divide chicken, quinoa, chopped veggies between meal prep containers.
  • Portion the pan sauce into small dipping cups.
  • Come lunchtime, you’ve got an easy healthy meal ready to grab and go.

Meal prepping helps you eat healthier and saves money by reducing food waste. So fire up the garlic brown sugar chicken!

Tips for Perfect Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

This easy chicken dinner comes together quickly with just a few tips:

  • Pound the chicken evenly so it cooks fast. Place between plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or pan. Go for 1/2 inch thickness.
  • Mix the marinade well so the brown sugar fully dissolves into the soy sauce and garlic.
  • Marinate for just 10-15 minutes. Any longer and the acid in the soy sauce can start to break down the chicken.
  • Use a skillet just big enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Avoid crowding.
  • Cook over medium-high heat to get a nice sear while avoiding burning the sugar.
  • Baste the chicken with the sauce as it cooks for maximum flavor infusion.
  • Let the cooked chicken rest a few minutes before slicing for juicier meat.
  • Simmer the sauce to reduce to a glaze consistency.
  • Add any pan juices from the resting chicken back to the sauce.
  • Season with just a pinch of salt and pepper once plated.

Follow these tips and you’ll have restaurant-quality garlic brown sugar chicken in no time! Let us know if you have any other questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe

What sides go well with this chicken?

Most vegetables, grains or pastas pair nicely with the garlic and brown sugar flavors. Try roasted potatoes, rice pilaf, pasta salad, sautéed spinach or roasted Brussels sprouts.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?

Absolutely. Chicken thighs will be more moist and flavorful. Just pound them to an even thickness like the chicken breasts.

How long will the meal prep chicken keep?

Store meal prep chicken in the fridge up to 4 days. You can freeze portions up to 3 months. Reheat gently in microwave or oven.

What if my chicken thighs or breasts are thin?

If the chicken pieces are already less than 1/2 inch thick skip pounding them. But do make sure they are all a uniform thickness so they cook evenly.

Can I use light or dark brown sugar?

You can use either one. Dark brown sugar will give the chicken a more molasses-like flavor. Light brown sugar has a milder taste.

Take Your Chicken Dinner from Boring to Sensational

This easy garlic brown sugar chicken recipe will become a regular in your dinner rotation. The sweet and savory flavors keep everyone happy and satisfied. Meal prep some for grab-and-go lunches too. Enjoy!

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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