Sweet and Spiced Chicken

Dig into your spice cabinet and make this unreal Sweet and Spiced Chicken. It's the perfect marriage of heat with a little bit of sweet that you'll be making all the time. 

Among her countless wonderful qualities, Kenya's first grade teacher, Sallie, also happened to be a passionate cook. Not long after we found out about her culinary talents, Sallie made us a cookbook-sized binder filled with photocopies of all her recipes, collected over years of cooking for her family. As you may know, I am a total cookbook junkie and this one completely captivated me. I spent several days pouring over Sallie's creative recipe ideas and the fun names and stories that accompanied each one.

They were all mouthwatering and I wasn't sure which one to try my hand at first, but I finally settled on the Sweet and Spicy Chicken, which sounded darn tasty and easy to make. I made it for our family with three of us loving it, but one saying it was too spicy. I made it few more times before I finally got to this version, which had the perfect balance of sweet and spicy for our whole family. I love this recipe.

This Sweet and Spiced Chicken recipe is one you'll be making all the time once you try it. The way the brown sugar caramelizes with all of the spices including paprika, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder will make my mouth water just thinking about it. Pair this dish with some cauliflower rice and and some roasted or air fried veggies and you have a perfect meal that can be ready faster than you might think!

Looking for more simple chicken dishes that the whole family will love? Try out my Moroccan ChickenBalsamic Chicken or Lazy BBQ Chicken recipes. They're all super flavorful but simple to make! And as always, let me know what you think of this Sweet and Spiced Chicken by tagging me on social media!

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Sweet and Spiced Chicken (serves 4)

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 30 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free

gluten free


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs
  • OR 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together all the ingredients except the chicken.

3. Pat the chicken dry if there is any moisture. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken, patting it down so that it sticks.

4. Arrange the chicken pieces evenly in a greased sheet pan of 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

5. Bake the chicken thighs for 35 minutes, and chicken breasts for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. You can test the doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken and making sure that the juices run clear.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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  • Donna

    Hi, love your site!!!!! I was wondering.... I have Type 2 Diabetes and was so thrilled that lots of your recipes use to include nutritional information, but for some reason they don't anymore. I would love it if you started including it again. Thanks, Donna

    leave a comment

    • Mark

      It's easy to check nutritional information yourself. There are some tools on the internet. I like the most this analyzer:


      It said that this recipe has [per 100g]
      Energy: 127 kcal
      Protein: 18.57 g
      Fat: 4.08 g
      Carbohydrates: 4.52 g
      Cholesterol: 55 mg (not good)

      I don't paste here full report, just try this tool and choose amount (other than 100g) of recipe you want and see nutrients you need to know in type 2 diabetes. I hope you can handle it.

      leave a comment

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  • ssims323

    Sooo delicious. I made it with chicken breasts. My 2 year old devoured her portion.

    leave a comment

  • Annie

    None of the ingredients are spicy. Paprika is generally for color and barely heat...

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    • Belinda

      i've got some spicy paprika that isn't to mess around with. also, paprika is more than just looks!

      leave a comment

  • Stacy

    Finally a chicken recipe the entire family ate (husband, 4 and 2 year old)! This was delicious. Thanks!

    leave a comment

  • Kate ¡Hola! Jalapeño

    Oh yum! I love a good, easy chicken recipe. Keeping this one in my back pocket for busy nights. Thanks!

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  • Denise Wood

    Yum! So good! I may try adding some cayane for spice when I make it for adults only. The hotter the better for me!

    leave a comment

  • Marni

    Msybe I did something wrong. But this was awful! Way too much parika..2tablespoons ruined the recipe. I am not sure if I missed something had to throw it out.

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  • Lisa

    I thought the chicken may turn out a bit dry so I substituted the olive oil with vegan mayo and coated each chicken thigh. The spices easily stuck to it. I used 5 boneless thighs, made 2x the spice mixture, and baked it for 50 minutes. It turned out yummy and not spicy (this coming from someone who is sensitive to spice). My two year old was hesitant to eat it because of the color but the bites she did eat she enjoyed. Definitely making it again.

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  • Jill

    Made this tonight and it was a hit!!

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  • Olivia

    We've been making this almost weekly for more than a year now. Its darn near perfect! Thank you!!

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    • McCord


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  • Morgan

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