Sticky Apricot Chicken is one of those sweet, sticky oven-baked dishes that busy families’ love. It’s easy to make, freezes well and can be enjoyed from fall to early spring before we move to outdoor cooking. These are also the type of recipes for young cooks to start with, especially if they love to eat them.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
Everyone has a different opinion about leftovers so you need to figure out what works for you. I expect this recipe to make more than two meals for me. I always portion enough for a second dinner and put it in the freezer. For people running in different directions many nights of the week it may be more helpful to make single serving containers for the fridge or freezer. Because this chicken dish freezes well it is also perfect for giving when you have a friend in need.
Organize For Success – The Pantry
To produce easy meals you need a well-stocked pantry and finding the balance takes time. For oven-baked dishes like this Sticky Apricot Chicken, my Cranberry Orange Chicken and the more exotic Mango Chutney Chicken you need a few jars in the pantry. To make these three recipes I stock my pantry with a jar of apricot jam, a tin or whole cranberry sauce and some mango chutney. To minimize the number of open jars in my fridge I prefer to buy the 1-cup size jars of jam or chutney.
Fresh Ginger for Sticky Apricot Chicken
I love Asian cooking so I always want fresh ginger root in my kitchen. Some people prefer the jar of chopped or grated ginger but I just use the real thing (no label reading required). Yet it can be tricky to always have fresh on hand so here’s what I do. Freeze it!
Ginger root can be frozen and grated right out of the freezer. Use it, put it back and you’ll always have some. I do a combination. I like to keep fresh in the fridge but I also have a small piece in the freezer for the when I run out.
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Our Chili Sauce Obsession
Chili sauce is usually gluten free and most people have a selection in their fridge. Some people have a whole section! This recipe calls for the old-fashioned Heinz Chili Sauce (gluten free worldwide). My dad liked to eat that chili sauce on his eggs, some people put it on meatloaf and I use it for this Sticky Apricot Chicken.
I’ve tried this recipe with many kinds of chili sauce but the original recipe is my favourite. When you cook you get to experiment and this recipe is excellent for using up one or two tablespoons of any chili sauce. I can’t guarantee the outcome but here’s what I think.
- Thai sweet chili sauce is too sweet,
- Sriracha sauce is too garlicky,
- Sambal oelek is too hot and
- Heinz Chili Sauce is just right.
This recipe is my version of the one from The Official Cookbook of Expo 86. It was written by Susan Mendelson, cookbook author and caterer in Vancouver, Canada. Thirty some years later my dog-eared, food-spattered copy is still on a shelf in my kitchen so I’d say that’s a recipe that has stood the test of time!
Let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe and if you made any changes.
More Sweet & Sticky Oven-Baked Dishes
Click on the text in the picture to go to the recipe.
Originally posted October 2015, updated November 2020
|12 bone-in chicken thighs|
|1 jar (8 oz/250 ml) apricot jam|
|½ cup Heinz Chili Sauce*|
|¼ cup dry white wine|
|2 Tbsp GF soy sauce|
|2 Tbsp honey|
|1 tsp grated fresh ginger|
|¼ tsp salt|
|Optional garnish - dried apricots, sliced|
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place chicken thighs in large baking dish.
- Using a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup measure all sauce ingredients.
- Microwave sauce for 1 minute, stir and microwave for another minute.
- Pour sauce over the chicken and bake for 1 hour. Half way through cooking time spoon the sauce over the chicken so it doesn't dry out.
- *Heinz Chili Sauce is the one for this recipe. Experiment at your own risk and refer to the recipe description for my findings.