Sweet and Spicy Chicken Legs

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chicken legs done

This recipe was a bit of an experiment.  I wanted something that was sweet, yet spicy.  Thus, the recipe name.  However, the recipe both succeeded and failed.

The successes:  Easy, moist chicken legs that browned up nicely in the oven.  They did have a slightly sweet flavor.

The fail:  There was no hint of spiciness.

Here are the ingredients I used.  Maybe you’ll have some ideas for me to improve them next time.

chicken legs ingr

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 24-28 chicken legs

Melt the butter, honey, and lemon juice together in a saucepan.  Remove from heat and stir in the hot sauce and salt.  Dip each chicken leg in the butter sauce and place on a foil lined rimmed cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour.

I think next time I need to increase the hot sauce to 2 or even 3 teaspoons.  Also, they would probably have more flavor if I basted them several times while they baked.

What do you think?  How would you fix my recipe?  Or do you have a recipe for sweet and spicy chicken that you like?

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  1. Try adding some crushed red pepper flakes. I have a very similar recipe and that’s the secret to the heat!

    • I would use more hot sayce. Also would sorinkle chicken with creole or cajun seasoning on top of buter sauce. But use no salt in the ssyce itself. Zatarains Creole Seasong is my go to start for many dishes. Sprinkle on pot roast or chicken. before crockpot, etc. use in soups and stews. i cook pretty low salt so i seldom use plain sslt in a recipe. But i do use seasoning salts. Tradee Joe has a good one too. Can always add salt at table. Cannot remove !

  2. Red pepper might do better simply because it will disperse better amongst the chicken as opposed to the crushed red pepper flakes, which are of course a great idea also.

  3. Sounds yummy! I think cayenne pepper would help, and I might also add some freshly ground mixed peppercorns. I love Texas Pete (have you ever tried it on your Chick-Fil-A?), but I might stick with the dry seasonings for spiciness here. They might play better against the lemon and honey. I wonder how this would do on the grill? I avoid using my oven during the summer! I think I would definitely reserve some marinade for basting if I grilled it.

    What did you serve for sides?

  4. I just baste my chicken legs in Sweet Chilli Sauce, and throw them in the oven. We had that for dinner on Monday night. Easy and really tasty – sweet and spicy.

  5. Let me tell you how smart I am… never thought that sweet and sour sauce consisted of hot sauce and honey…

    These look awesome. What about grilling them?

  6. It’s way to hot here to use the oven for long, so I’m thinking throw these in the crockpot and then just before dinner putting them on a backing sheet and sticking them under the broiler to brown and crisp up a bit. If I mix up a bit more sauce and baste them just before I put them under the broiler that might work, you think?
    Hugs from Tx

  7. Brittany says:

    Do you get a name brand variety of chicken legs or simply the offerings of your local grocery store? I am curious because your photos always show the perfect chicken legs, whereas our local grocer sells something that looks like Godzilla is now an amputee. Maybe a name brand chicken leg is a more reasonable size (and with better flavor?). Thanks in advance!

    • Brittany, you crack me up! Thanks for the laugh this morning and a new image of Godzilla and the chicken leg 🙂 I just buy whatever Walmart has. It may be Tyson, but I’m not sure.

  8. A lot more hot sauce, I would use 1/4 c.

  9. Danielle says:

    A few options.. chili oil (found in the international foods aisle at the store), I used Lousiana hot sauce. You can add tabasco too. Cayenne, and red pepper flakes will work as well. I never measure anything, I eyeball everything. So it’s all trial and error.

    Here’s a tip… use UNSALTED butter for everything, its the freshest, salted butter has been sitting around a long time. The salt acts as a preservative. And who needs the added salt!

  10. As the others have suggested, you might want to try a different type of hot sauce. I have a recipe for hot dog chili that my kids like, and it turns out much spicier with Scotch bonnet sauce than with Texas Pete.

  11. I think for this recipe….if you increased the amount of hot sauce, you might make the glaze part a little too runny. I think that I would take perhaps 1-2 TBSP ( depending on the number of chicken legs), and place the red pepper flakes in a mini chopper ( or I use that Magic Bullet) and I would grind them into a powder consistency and sprinkle that over the chicken legs after dipping in the sauce recipe that you already have? Worth a try.

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