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Sticky Chili Chicken with Hot-and-Sour Pineapple

Sticky Chili Chicken with Hot-and-Sour Pineapple
Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott / Nothing Fancy

Chef notes

Say goodbye to bland chicken! The juicy, sweet pineapple and fiery, flavorful spices ensure that this bird will be anything but boring. It's kind of like my version of a funkier, more sophisticated barbecue sauce with less sugar.

Technique tip: The chicken can be marinated 24 hours in advance.

Swap options: Use a mix of parts or all thighs/wings, etc. You can also throw the chicken on grill instead of roasting.


  • 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sambal or other chili paste
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into 1½-inch spears or wedges
  • 1 shallot or 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, tender leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds



Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large resealable plastic bag or large baking dish.


Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, sambal, fish sauce, lime juice, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic in a medium bowl, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the chicken, massaging to make sure everything gets equal love. Seal the plastic bag or wrap the baking dish and let sit at least 30 minutes, refrigerated.


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken and pineapple on a rimmed baking sheet (for easier cleanup, line with foil or parchment). Drizzle the remaining marinade over everything and place in oven.


Roast until the chicken is deeply browned, caramelized and cooked through (if you have a pastry or BBQ brush, feel free to baste the chicken and pineapple periodically with the rendered chicken fat juices), 50-60 minutes. By this time, the pineapple will also be impossibly golden and juicy, giving up all the goods, which makes for a delicious, sticky sauce.


Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter, carving up the chicken and slicing the pineapple for easier serving, if you like. Scatter with the shallot, cilantro and sesame before serving.

Reprinted from Nothing Fancy. Copyright © 2019 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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