A weeknight dinner fave: Easy Honey Chipotle Chicken! Chicken thighs are dusted with a quick homemade taco seasoning & they simmer away in a simple honey chipotle sauce made with beer for extra flavor. The chicken becomes fall-apart tender, soaks up so much sweet, spicy, & rich flavor, & is perfect for tacos or rice bowls with all of your favorite fixings.
Slow Cooker & Instant Pot directions provided in the Recipe Notes, below.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or neutral high smoke point oil of choice
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (if using breasts, pound to even thickness or butterfly into 2 (two) 1-inch pieces)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 chipotle peppers (from a can, packed in adobo sauce), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup light beer of choice (such as Modelo Especial)
- 1 lime, juiced
- optional: cornstarch slurry (1 teaspoon cornstarch whisked into ¼ cup water)
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: charred corn or flour tortillas, cilantro lime rice, black beans, sour cream or cashew crema, pickled red onions, freshly chopped cilantro, queso fresco or cheese of choice, salsa of choice, lime wedges, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above.
- Brown the chicken: Add the oil to a medium oven-safe skillet over medium heat. While the oil heats, season the chicken with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once the oil is hot & shimmers in the pan, carefully add the chicken to the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. The chicken will not yet be fully cooked – this is expected & totally fine.
- Mix the chipotle honey sauce: Meanwhile, as the chicken browns, whisk together the chipotle honey sauce. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, honey, & beer to a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside.
- Roast the chicken: Once browned, remove the skillet from the heat. Pour the chipotle honey sauce over the browned chicken, turning to coat in the sauce. Transfer to the oven & roast for 15-20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Shred the honey chipotle chicken: Once cool enough to handle, carefully shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces – you can do so using 2 forks, or my favorite trick: pop the chicken thighs directly into in a stand mixer & let the paddle attachment do the work for you (I swear this works!). Transfer the shredded chicken back into the skillet. Squeeze in the lime juice, and toss to combine. If needed or desired, stir in a cornstarch slurry to tighten up the sauce a bit.
- Serve immediately as desired. Place in tortillas for honey chipotle chicken tacos or make a burrito bowl with rice & beans. Finish with your favorite taco night toppings of choice: sour cream or Mexican crema (or try our famous dairy-free Cashew Crema!), pickled red onions, cilantro, etc. Enjoy!
- Chicken thighs vs chicken breasts: I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this honey chipotle chicken recipe since they’re flavorful & stay really nice & juicy through roasting, but you can swap them out with breasts if you prefer. Either pound the breasts out flat or cut them in half lengthwise (butterflied) to ensure they roast up evenly.
- Storage & Freezing:
- Storage & Reheating: Leftover honey chipotle chicken will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
- Freezer Instructions: This honey chipotle chicken is also a wonderful freezer staple since you can quickly thaw it out and use it on tacos, nachos, taco salads, burrito bowls, etc. for an easy dinner down the road. To freeze, transfer cooled honey chipotle chicken to a freezer bag or container, or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions – these are my absolute favorite freezer containers! Freeze up to 3 months. Defrost by placing in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, or by submerging the freezer bag/container in room temp water for 20-25 minutes. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
- Alternate Cooking Methods:
- Slow Cooker or Crockpot Honey Chipotle Chicken: If your slow cooker has a browning/searing feature, sear the chicken in the slow cooker according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. If not, simply add the chicken, spices, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, honey, & beer to your slow cooker. Slow cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Shred & serve according to Steps 5-6 of Recipe Directions, above.
- Electric Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot Honey Chipotle Chicken: Use the Instant Pot’s browning/searing feature to sear the chicken in the Instant Pot according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Prep the honey chipotle sauce, increasing the amount of beer to 1 cup to ensure the Instant Pot seals properly, & pour over the chicken. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, ensuring the sure valve is in its sealed position! Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes, then carefully quick release any remaining pressure in the pot by flicking the valve to its venting position. Remove the lid. Shred & serve according to Steps 5-6 of Recipe Directions, above.
- Note: This recipe has been updated since its original publish in July 2018. If you are looking for the original recipe, which included Instant Pot preparation, click here to download a printable version!
Keywords: honey chipotle chicken tacos, shredded chicken, skillet chicken dinner, skillet chicken, easy, Mexican, weeknight dinner, Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Crockpot