This sticky date glazed chicken is the perfect flavor packed weeknight meal. Made in less than half an hour, the chicken crisps up on a sheet pan before being tossed in a sweet asian inspired date glaze. Served alongside creamy coconut lime rice and fresh basil. Easy to make and a healthier alternative to a heavy takeout meal, this date glazed chicken recipe is also dairy free and nut free!
For the longest time, I’ve always seen dates just as a smoothie sweetener or addition to all those trendy “raw” desserts. Turns out they do magical things to savory food as well! This sticky date glazed chicken was inspired by the American Chinese favorite, sticky sesame chicken, where the chicken is breaded, fried and coated in a thick, sweet sauce. Delicious, but pretty heavy. I opted for a healthier version by replacing the brown sugar with dates. Not only are they naturally sweet, they also serve as a thickener for the sauce. Instead of breading and frying, the chicken bakes in the oven with a little cornstarch and coconut cream. This helps the chicken stay moist and also gives the sauce something to stick to. Everything is served with this amazing three ingredients coconut lime rice and a few fresh sprigs of basil. Quick, easy, and so delicious!
How to Make Sticky Date Glazed Chicken
Before I make the chicken, I like to get started on the rice so everything is ready at the same time. It can also sit covered on the stove for a while if you want to make it in advance. It’s super easy, just short grain white rice, coconut milk, water and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover. Cook for about 12 minutes then remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest. And that’s it! Now onto the chicken:
- First, you’ll want to soak you’re dates in boiling water. This helps them blend into a smooth sauce. Don’t throw away the soaking liquid, you’ll need that later!
- While the dates are soaking, toss the chicken pieces in a large bowl with cornstarch, coconut cream and a little soy sauce. Make sure you use full fat, unsweetened coconut milk. For the chicken, you’ll only use the white solid part. Don’t throw away the rest, you’ll need it for the coconut lime rice!
- Spread the chicken evenly on to a sheet pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes. The cook time will vary based on how big your pieces of chicken are. Mine were about 1 inch each and took about 18 minutes to cook through.
- While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. Add the dates plus 1/4 cup of their soaking liquid, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, garlic and little toasted sesame oil to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, toss it with the sauce. Eat immediately or if it’s cooled off, pour into a large skillet and cook over low heat until everything heats through. Serve over coconut lime rice with a few fresh sprigs of basil. Enjoy!
Tips and Substitutions for Date Glazed Chicken
- To make this recipe vegan, replace the chicken with two cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed). Instead of baking, crisp them up in a pan with 1 tbsp of oil for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add in the sauce and cook until heated through.
- When coating the chicken, I find it’s easiest to use room temperature coconut coconut cream.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days in the refrigerator. Reheat in a covered pan over low heat or in the microwave on 30 second intervals.
More Recipes to Try
- Roasted cauliflower curry with black pepper
- Healthy seed crusted chicken tenders
- Savory sweet potato scallion pancakes