Caramelized Chipotle Chicken

September 13, 2010 · 20 comments

in chicken/poultry,dairy-free,mexican/tex-mex

Like I said last time (and many, many times) I love chipotles in adobo.  With the spiciness and the smokiness, you really can’t go wrong.  As soon as I saw this recipe pop up in my google reader, I starred it.  I could tell just from the recipe that we would love this, but the fact that Josie from Pink Parsley made it and liked it sealed the deal—we tend to have very similar tastes in food.

This is essentially a roasted chicken dish with chipotle barbecue sauce.  The sauce is spicy from the chipotles and slightly sweet from the brown sugar and ketchup.  The cinnamon is almost undetectable, but just that little bit does give the sauce a little extra something.  .  In fact, I think a little pinch of cardamom would be great in here, too.

I decided to make this with chicken thighs, which worked out perfectly.  Roasting 2 entire chickens for the two of us sounded like a bit of overkill.  This is actually the second time I’ve made this chicken, the first time being with leg quarters.  I love dark meat, as you know.   The first time I made this, though, I neglected to realize the flash was on my camera, and it just looked like a giant scary orangey-yellow mass.  I didn’t think it would make you want to make it.  Hopefully this somewhat better picture will sway you.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin September 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I made this after seeing it on Pink Parlsey as well- the glaze is great on pork too!


Joan Nova September 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Looks really good. You sure do have a penchant for Mexican flavors.


newlywed September 13, 2010 at 7:12 pm

These look and sound great! I love chipotles in adobo too…so much wonderful flavor, and such a convenient, affordable, healthy product!


Jackie September 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm


How much onions do I use, you list in the directions part but don’t list it in the ingredient’s list.


elly September 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Hi Jackie. It’s one onion. I just added it to the ingredient list. Sorry, I am notorious for omitting ingredients in lists these days, I swear!


bellini valli September 14, 2010 at 4:43 am

Mmmmmm Elly. I can taste the smokiness of the chipotle calling me now!!


Josie September 14, 2010 at 7:20 am

mmm I need to make this again soon!


Cookie September 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

This looks so good! We love chicken thighs and the sauce sounds so yummy! I’ll definitely be making these soon!


Jen @ Beantown Baker September 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm

This looks awesome. I’m def going to have to try it.


Karla September 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I JUST made this chicken this weekend for my family….and while I loved the idea of it, I think that next time I will bake chicken pieces/breasts instead of a whole chicken. It was sooooo much trouble to cut it apart and all the chipotle yumminess slid off the skin of the chicken. I didn’t even bother to photograph mine…but I have it on my list to make again with chicken breasts! My leftover chicken is destined for chipotle enchiladas later this week!


Marie September 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I haven’t cooked with chipotles before. This chicken looks so perfect for at-home eating, though. Perhaps time to buy some chipotles!


Stephanie Cooks October 4, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Yum- I just added this to my menu for next week. I have two cans of chipotles in adobo so this will work out perfectly!


deirdrereid October 29, 2010 at 9:37 am

I made this last night and it was delicious. Like you, I used four thighs but once that sauce started simmering and smelling so good, I quickly added more ingredients so I could have more of it. I forgot to take a photo for my blog, and even if I did, I don’t have a good camera and my photos always look like crap. Could I use your photo and give you credit/link love for it?


elly October 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Hi Deirdre – sure, you can use my pic if you credit me. Thanks for asking before posting it :)


Brittany November 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

Can I use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this?!?!!!


elly November 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Hi Brittany – that should be fine. I would personally do it one of two ways:
– bake the chicken breasts with the sauce (you will want to use a lower temp, like 350, and reduce the baking time by a lot based on how big the chicken breasts are) and then pop them under the broiler for a minute or two at the end to caramelize the sauce
– cook the chicken breasts in a little canola oil in a skillet until they are slightly undercooked; slather the sauce on one side and place it under the broiler for a minute; flip & do the same with the other side.


Rebecca January 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I cooked this tonight and it was delicious. The only thing was the spice! I used only 1 chopped chipotle pepper and it burned the roof of my mouth. So newbies to chipotle peppers watch out!


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