Onion Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken (caramelized onion goodness)
Ta da! The finished product.

Onion Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken (caramelized onion goodness)

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Oh my gosh you guys, this chicken recipe is so good. I mean, anything with caramelized onions is so good. Like, caramelized onions. What could be bad? But this onion garlic brown sugar chicken takes the sauteed onion goodness and couples it with brown sugar and garlic to make a taste explosion that is out of this world. (Yes, I added caramelized onions and loads of brown sugar to my chicken. No, that’s not healthy. No, I never claimed to be a health food blogger. We do easy and delicious food here, not healthy and complicated.)

But first, the obvious question all of you are asking is: how do you caramelize onions? Well, let’s get to it.

How to Caramelize Onions

Low and slow is the key here. You want a low flame, so the onions really have time to release their juices and caramelize into a nice golden brown. If the flame is too high, the onions will get burnt before they caramelize. (Although to be honest, I do sometimes fry my onions on a higher flame to get them done faster. They still taste good, but they are not super sweet caramelized onions.)

Start off by putting your pan on medium-high heat. Add oil or butter and wait for it to heat up and for the oil to shimmer slightly or for the butter to melt. Put in your thinly sliced onions, and lower the flame to low. And then you wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Frying pan on the stove containing slightly cooked onions
These onions are not caramelized yet

Stir every so often so the onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. After 15 or so minutes, once the onions are already starting to brown, add a spoonful of brown sugar. Keep cooking until the brown sugar dissolves and the onions are dark golden brown.

Frying pan on the stove full of caramelized onions
Some beautiful onions!

And there you have it! Perfectly caramelized onions. And the perfect use for perfectly caramelized onions is onion garlic brown sugar chicken!

To see why I recommend an extra-large frying pan, and which other kitchen tools I recommend, click here.

How do you make Onion Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken?

(Don’t worry, exact ingredients and measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.)

Step one: spice the chicken

Lay three or four pieces of chicken on the bone in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. You can use tops or bottoms, whichever you prefer. (I like tops. My family likes bottoms. Thus when I make chicken I do one breast for me, and two thigh-leg combos for hubby and the kids.)

Generously spice the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Set the chicken aside while you start on the onions.

Three raw pieces of chicken sprinkled with spices
Spice that chicken!

Step two: caramelize the onions and garlic

Caramelize the onions according to the steps outlined above. When the onions are nearly done, and before you add the brown sugar, add some diced garlic, and let the garlic caramelize as well. Garlic cooks much faster than onion, so you don’t want to start caramelizing them at the same time. Once the garlic is added to the pan, start stirring more often. After about five minutes, add brown sugar. Keep cooking and stirring until the brown sugar melts. And there you have it! The delicious caramelized onion garlic mixture to add to your chicken!

Frying pan on the stove full of caramelized onions

Step three: smother that chicken!

Spoon the caramelized onion mixture on top of the chicken pieces, until the chicken is entirely smothered in onions.

Baking pan containing three raw pieces of chicken covered in caramelized onion/brown sugar mixture
Here are some chicken pieces smothered in caramelized onions.

Step four: bake

Cover the chicken pan and bake it for a few hours. Yes, you read that right. A few hours. Let the onions continue caramelizing and the flavor penetrate the chicken.

Ok, ok, I happen to cook all my chicken for hours; I think it tastes a lot better that way. But if you are part of the other 99.999999% of the population, feel free to cook the chicken for shorter. Just make sure that the chicken gets fully cooked – you can tell by sticking a knife into one of the fattest parts of the chicken (breast or top of the leg.) If the juices run clear, you are good. If it’s still kinda red-ish, your chicken needs to go back in the oven.

Baking pan containing three cooked pieces of onion garlic brown sugar chicken
Here you go. Some beautiful caramelized onion smothered chicken pieces for you to look at.

Step five: Enjoy your onion garlic brown sugar chicken!

You can serve this chicken with rice, mashed or roasted potatoes, orzo, corn muffins, really anything. I served it here with white potato and sweet potato fries. (We gotta get some healthy food in there. And sweet potato is healthy, right?) (Shhh don’t disabuse me of that notion, ignorance is bliss and all that)

One piece of brown sugar chicken on a plate, with a small serving dish holding fries on the side
Ta da! The finished product!

And that, my friends, is how you make this delectably delightful brown sugar chicken.

Ooh, delectably delightful, I like that. Or maybe delightfully delectable is better. What do you think?

Check out some other chicken or meat mains!

Honey garlic fried chicken
Meat lasagna
Shepherd’s Pie
Korean beef bowl

One piece of brown sugar chicken on a plate, with a small serving dish holding fries on the side

Onion Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Onion garlic brown sugar chicken is smothered in a mouthwatering combination of caramelized onions, garlic, and brown sugar! But don't worry, it is not cloyingly sweet; there is just enough garlic and spices to balance it out and make it just about perfect. If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a 5 star rating by clicking on the stars below!

Ingredients

  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, to taste
  • 3-4 pieces chicken on the bone
  • 50 grams margarine, 3 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Generously season with spices and set aside. 
  2. Place margarine in a frying pan and melt over high heat. Once melted, put the heat to low and add the sliced onion. Let the onions caramelize for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't burn.
  3. When the onions are nearly done caramelizing, add the diced garlic to the pan. Caramelize the garlic with the onions for 5 minutes (or until the garlic is browned), stirring often.
  4. Add brown sugar to the pan and let it melt into the onions and garlic. Remove pan from flame.
  5. Spoon the caramelized onion mixture over the spiced chicken pieces so they are fully covered. 
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes.  (This is how I like my chicken. If you prefer a shorter cooking time, feel free.)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 3 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 284mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 28g

Nutrition information was provided by a third-party nutrition calculator.

"smothered caramelized onion chicken" Pinterest image.
Pin this recipe for later!

"onion garlic smothered brown sugar chicken" pinterest image.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Paul Sod

    Sometimes I carmelize onions by adding water right after the onions are fried enough to be translucent. If you add some water, and saute them until the water boils off, the onions get that beautiful brown color and are as sweet as onions that are fried the entire time.

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      That’s such an interesting idea. I’ll have to try it!

  2. Jamie

    Caramelized onions are my favorite! I love recipes with a sweet and savory sauce and yours looks fantastic!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Thank you!

  3. Alexandra

    This sounds so good! Love onion and garlic, and I can only imagine the brown sugar would add a delicious flavour.

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Thank you!

  4. Trina

    You had me at sugar. Can’t wait to try. Thanks for sharing. I’ve pinned the recipe for later.

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Great, enjoy!

      1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

        Enjoy!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Thanks, enjoy it!

  5. karletta

    This recipe looks soooo delicious. I’m definitely going to try this one!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Hope you enjoy!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Yeah, caramelized onions are the best!

  6. Vox

    I guess this is a combination that could work, although I would never have considered it. However, we are in hot pursuit of new and interesting things to do with chicken, so we are desperate to give anything a try. Thanks for sharing something worth trying.

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      You’re welcome. Hope you guys enjoy it!

  7. Sylvie

    Caramelised onions are the best – and it is the perfect toppings for chicken. Yum!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      I agree 🙂

  8. This looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous! Chicken is about my favourite meat (bar lamb) and I’m loving the way you’ve cooked it with the caramelized onions! You’re spot on, whenever I caramelize onions, the heat is barely on – low and slow is the way to go! Great recipe! x
    Marina Rosie x
    http://marinawriteslife.blogspot.com/

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Thanks for the lovely comment!

  9. Samantha

    I LOVE carmelized onions! And you’re right, they take patience. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      You’re welcome!

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