Crispy Caramel Chicken Skewers Recipe

Summery chicken skewers with a crisp, caramelized exterior. Morgan Eisenberg

Why It Works

  • A combination of brown sugar and honey makes a great stand-in for Vietnamese rock sugar.
  • A last-minute coating of nuts and seeds adds crunch and flavor.

These sweet and savory chicken skewers get their crispiness from a caramelized brown-sugar glaze and crunch from toasted sesame seeds and almonds.

Recipe Facts



Active: 60 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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For the Marinated Chicken:

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunk

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

For the Caramel Glaze:

  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce

  • 1/3 cup orange juice

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 medium shallots, chopped

  • 1 (1-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, minced

To Grill and Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced on a bias


  1. For the Marinated Chicken: In a large zipper-lock bag, combine chicken, fish sauce, brown sugar, and orange juice. Shake well to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  2. For the Caramel Glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, and honey over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add garlic, shallots, and ginger and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until glaze becomes thick and sticky and easily coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

  3. To Grill and Garnish: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set all the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  4. Scatter white and black sesame seeds and almonds evenly all over a rimmed baking sheet.

  5. Thread the chicken on 6 bamboo skewers. Transfer to the grill and cook over direct heat, turning and brushing with the glaze every 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and crisp, about 8 minutes. When skewers are nearly done, brush chicken liberally one last time with glaze and roll the skewers in the sesame-almond mixture to coat. Return to grill and cook, turning, until almonds are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with scallions, and serve.

Special equipment

grill (see our charcoal or gas grill recommendations), bamboo skewers (soaked in water at least 30 minutes), rimmed baking sheet

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
250 Calories
9g Fat
39g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 250
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 1735mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 12mg 58%
Calcium 169mg 13%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 338mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)