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Chicken Thighs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

My Sweetie Pie husband has this thing for Chinese sweet and sour dishes. He always gets excited when he orders them, and then is always disappointed when his plate arrives, glowing with sauce a shade of red not found in nature. So I had my eye out for a homemade, “natural” sweet and sour equivalent.

Then, a few years ago, I went on a cookbook binge at the library and cleared the shelves of any book with the words “quick”, “easy”, or “cheap”. This was when I had three babes and my oldest was four-years-old. I was feeling stretched a little thin.

Anyway, this great book from America’s Test Kitchen was one of the ones that I brought home. I was so thrilled to find this recipe. I copied it and am so glad I held onto it. It’s wonderfully delicious and everyone loved it (especially the Sweetie Pie).

I made just a few ingredient changes to make it allergen-friendly and refined-sugar-free. I used coconut oil instead of butter, and honey instead of brown sugar. I was pleased with these changes. My family couldn’t seem to get enough of the sauce, so I’d consider doubling the sauce next time.

I also simplified the cooking method just a bit. I know that America’s Test Kitchen is, in fact, a test kitchen and that surely they’ve tested every single way to make a recipe. But in my opinion, the best way to make a recipe is also the most efficient one. Some of the instructions felt a little fussy, so I just simplified it a little bit. Everything worked out just great.

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Chicken Thighs with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

Source: The Best Make Ahead Recipe

Serves: 6


  • 6 Tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 12 organic chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin


  1. For the chicken: Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Mix 4 Tbs of the coconut oil, ginger, five-spice powder, and 1/4 tsp salt together in a small bowl. Gently separate the skin of the chicken from the meat. Rub the spice mixture under the skin. Place the chicken, skin side up, on a broiler pan (with the drip pan underneath).
  3. Melt the remaining 2 Tbs coconut oil and brush the chicken with it. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the chicken on the middle rack about 30-40 minutes, until done.
  4. Remove chicken and preheat the broiler. Broil for about 5 minutes, until skin is crispy and browned.
  5. For the sauce: While the chicken is baking, cook the remaining coconut oil, garlic and ginger in a small saucepan until fragrant, about 3 minutes Stir in the honey and vinegar and simmer until smooth. Let cool slightly and add the scallions to the sauce.
  6. Serve chicken and sauce together.

View recipe at

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