Sheet Pan 30 Minute Sticky Apricot Chicken and asparagus. It’s sweet, spicy, extra sticky, and so easy to make!
Back when my family would travel to Florida for spring break to soak up the sun and visit my grandparents, my Nonnie had a dish she called her “first night chicken”. It was the dinner she’d serve out-of-town guests on the first night they arrived. One, because it was delicious, and two, because it was beyond easy.
The thing about my Nonnie? She was an awesome cook, but her real secret was that she’d never make anything that was complicated or had too many ingredients. She was a woman of simplicity when it came to cooking and baking.
And you know something? It really worked for her. Every single one of her recipes was delicious. And her meatloaf is all my oldest brother, Creighton, ever talks about.
Her recipes were the “retro” kind that probably used far too many store-bought ingredients and one too many bottled and canned goods. But it was her style of cooking and it worked for her. And we loved the dishes she made.
Anyway, she’d serve this “first night chicken” often. It was always a hit every time she served it. Each and every guest they would welcome into their Florida home…which was a lot of guests…loved this dish! As you can imagine a south Florida home becomes very popular in the dead of winter and early spring. Family sure loved to visit them.
Nonnie would serve her roasted chicken with steamed asparagus and rice. I remember the dish being absolutely delicious. Nonnie shared the recipe with me about 5 years ago, and while I’m not revealing her secret just yet (though I will…very, very soon), this recipe today was inspired by hers. Just like my grandma’s chicken, the one I’m sharing today highlights a jar of apricot jam. The flavors in today’s recipe are not the same. But I just had to shout out to my Nonnie for inspiring this insanely easy and delicious sticky chicken.
Makes me miss her even more!
Making this sheet pan sticky ginger chicken is easy…
Here are all the details. My Nonnie always used chicken thighs with skin on, which helped her sauce stick. I used boneless skinless breasts. I didn’t want to bread the chicken, but I still wanted the sticky sauce to really stick.
So I toss the chicken with a beaten egg and dredge it through some flour. It’s a very, very light coating, but it’s just enough to help all that sticky sweet sauce actually stick to the chicken. Once you coat the chicken in flour, grease a baking sheet, and arrange the chicken to one side. Then drizzle with olive oil to help the chicken crisp up a bit.
Throw the pan into the oven and let the chicken get nice and crispy.
About halfway through cooking, pull the pan out, flip that chicken and add the asparagus.
First off, you can use broccoli if you hate asparagus, but since I have an abundance of asparagus this week…and since that’s the vegetable my Nonnie also used, that’s what I went for…and we found it delicious.
I kept the asparagus basic, just olive oil, salt, and pepper. But the real secret? Getting them tender and crisp in the oven. Since the chicken cooks at such a high temperature, the asparagus quickly softens, then crisps, and lightly chars. So very delicious. My favorite way to enjoy asparagus!
While everything is roasting, make the sticky sauce.
The truth? The sauce is truly why you should make this recipe. It’s honestly so addicting. Sweet, tangy, a touch spicy and once cooked down, super sticky. The secret ingredient is of course apricot jam. I know it might sound odd, but please, don’t doubt me here. The jam adds sweetness and gives the sauce that sticky texture we love so much. Soy sauce adds a touch of saltiness, and balsamic vinegar gives it a nice tang.
Once the chicken cooks, toss the sauce with the chicken, return to the oven for a few more minutes, and you’re done. I was shocked at how well the timing of everything ended up working out and how quickly this came together.
Nothing fancy here, just simple cooking, but very delicious.
Side dish suggestions?
My side dish suggestion…creamy coconut rice made with a pat of butter and lots of fresh basil. Trust me, this is a must, and adds so much to complete the dish. Then top the chicken with toasted sesame seeds and basil. Again, so simple, but really just so good too. It’s that sauce…it’s pretty hard to beat.
If you’re looking for something fresh and healthy…ish for dinner this week, make this sticky chicken!
Looking for other weeknight dinners? Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Sheet Pan 30 Minute Sticky Apricot Chicken be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Sheet Pan 30 Minute Sticky Apricot Chicken
Calories Per Serving: 337 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, or sesame oil
- 3/4 cup high quality apricot preserves
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch asparagus, or broccoli - chopped (see note)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- sesame seeds and rice, for serving
- 1. Preheat the oven to 475° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with oil.2. Add the chicken, egg, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl. Toss to combine. Add the flour to another bowl. Dredge the chicken in batches through the flour, tossing to coat. Place the chicken on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 12 minutes. Flip the chicken, then add the asparagus to the other side of the pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper. Return to the oven another 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Reduce the oven temp to 425° F.3. Meanwhile, mix the apricot preserves, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a glass jar or bowl. 4. Pour the sauce over the chicken, tossing to combine. Return everything to the oven for 3 minutes, until the sauce coats the chicken, watch close the sauce can burn.5. Serve the chicken, asparagus, and sauce over bowls of rice topped with basil and sesame seeds.
If using Broccoli: add the broccoli to the sheet pan when you begin roasting the chicken as it will take longer to cook than the asparagus. Coconut Rice: Combine 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk and 1/2 cup water in a medium pot. Bring to a low boil. Add 1 cup jasmine rice, 1 tablespoon butter, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, cover, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook 10 minutes on low, then turn the heat off completely and let the rice sit, covered, for another 15-20 minutes (don’t take any peeks inside!). Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.