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Southern Sticky Chicken

Southern Sticky Chicken is a simple old-fashioned baked chicken recipe that is sweet, spicy, tangy, and so, so good.

Southern Sticky Chicken in cast iron pan.


To really build the flavor, the chicken is first marinated, then seared in a cast iron skillet, and then roasted until cooked through. The chicken gets basted multiple times while it is in the oven so it really develops a nice, sticky coating.

The sticky sauce functions as both a marinade and a sauce. It’s a simple mixture of honey, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and garlic. The sauce gets wonderfully caramelized due to the sugars in the ketchup and honey and the hot sauce really balances the sweetness.


I prefer dark meat over white meat. It stays juicier because of the higher fat content and will not dry out. You want bone-in, skin-on pieces. If you do use white meat, cut the breasts in half if they are large and reduce the cooking time some. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. It’s a really good idea to have an instant read thermometer so you can make sure you don’t overcook your chicken.

Cooked chicken in a cast iron pan.


Southern Sticky Chicken RECIPE TIPS:

If you want your chicken extra spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the marinade.

If you are pressed for time, you can marinate the chicken for as little as 2 hours.

This chicken is best cooked in a cast iron skillet. You can use another type of oven-proof skillet instead. If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, transfer the chicken and all the juices to a baking dish before transfering to the oven.

Southern Sticky Chicken in cast iron pan.

Great Sides For This Recipe:

Southern Sticky Chicken in cast iron pan.

Southern Sticky Chicken

Southern Sticky Chicken is a simple old-fashioned baked chicken recipe that is sweet, spicy, tangy, and so, so good.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 1 hour
Marinate: 12 hours


  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 bone-in, skin on chicken legs or chicken thighs, or a combination
  • Vegetable oil


  • In a large ziptop bag, combine the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and garlic.
  • Add chicken to bag.
    Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    Pour enough oil into a large cast iron skillet to coat the bottom.
    Heat pan over medium heat. (Note: You don't want it too hot or the sugars in the marinade will cause the skin of the chicken to burn.)
  • When hot, remove chicken from marinade and add to pan. Cook until browned on all sides.
    Pour marinade over chicken and place uncovered in the oven for 60 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. (Chicken should be skin side up.)


If you don't have a cast iron pan, use an oven-proof stainless steel pan or brown the chicken in any pan and then transfer it to a baking dish to put it in the oven.


Calories: 672kcal
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: baked chicken

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19 thoughts on “Southern Sticky Chicken”

  1. Nancy Shelton

    My family wants this almost weekly. They misunderstood the first time I told them we were having sticky chicken, they thought I said stinky and that’s what it is now called. But there’s nothing stinky about it, it’s delicious and smells amazing.

  2. We love this recipe, and I make it about twice a month. It is delicious, inexpensive, and easy to make.

  3. I was going to givenitn4 stars but that’s not fair because i didn’t use skin on chicken or fry in oil.
    I used boneless skinless chicken breast and poured the marinade over it all and stuck in air fryer until chicken was cooked. delish while cutting some calories.!If i made as directed it’s have jenn even better!
    Thanks for the recipe:)

  4. My extremely picky kids lived this recipe. It’s going into our regular rotation, thanks!!!!

  5. I had a large package of chicken legs and didnt know what to do with them except fry or grill them. I found thos recipe and decided to give it a try. This turned out delicious. I’m raising 2 picky granddaughters. They both loved the chicken. My husband asked if i would make this often. Thankyou for this wonderful recipe.

  6. FINALLY! A recipe that turns out the way it says. The only thing I changed was, I used oyster sauce instead of soy sauce. With a family of 5, the cost of food and living day by day , chicken is always an affordable option, so I’m always looking for different ways to fix it.

    Thank you

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Yes, it ends up cooking for 1 hour. Any bacteria will be killed, same as any bacteria that is on the chickwn.

  7. My family loved this dish! I swapped paprika for Tony Sacheres and I left off the soy sauce but it was amazing! Paired with sautéed squash and dinner was done!

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