An Easy Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken that’s moist and tender, basted with a thick, luscious sauce; inexpensive, delicious, and a crowd-pleasing option for any meal.
Whenever I eat chicken, this is exactly how I like it – moist and juicy on the inside, baked to perfection on the outside, and loaded up with a savoury homemade sauce. This was how my mom made chicken. In a family of five, she knew exactly how to jazz up a meal to make it delicious while using very inexpensive ingredients. And this particular recipe, inspired by my mom’s much-loved chicken recipe, requires only five regular pantry ingredients.
I know there’s some who prefer not to eat the leg or thigh part of the chicken, so if that’s you, Dear Reader, you can achieve the same results using a chicken breast as well, but you will have to adjust the baking time. And for those of you who are chicken leg or thigh aficionados, you will believe me when I say that any meat – chicken or otherwise – always results in a better flavour when cooked with the bone in.
And, you must trust me with baking time. I know nearly ninety minutes seems like a long time to bake chicken, but it works for me every single time. I have never made this dish and had it turn out dry or overcooked. As long as you stick to the bone-in, skin-on legs and thighs, you will achieve the same results as those in the photos.
Whenever I set out to prepare a dish to be posted here to my blog, I always start with how I want to dish to look in the photographs. I will think of how the dish looks when ready to eat, and think about how to present it so that it appeals to the senses. Sometimes, it can take me a half hour to decide on the right platter, bowl, napkin, fork, tea towel, or accessory. (I’m not kidding!) And, once I decide how I want it to be presented, I start the cooking from there.
For this particular Easy Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken, I wanted to present it family style. That means I basically had two options – pile it all onto a serving platter, just photograph the finished product right on the baking tray, or as you can see from the pictures, lay them out on crumpled parchment paper to mimic a picnic or family vibe. The dish needed to look just as casual as the preparation itself. And, Dear Reader, I’m happy with the results.
As you might have heard me say before, whenever you are working with such limited ingredients to prepare a meal for your family, try to use the best ingredients you can find. When purchasing the chicken, either purchase directly from a butcher, or if going the grocery store route, look at the packaging dates. Get the freshest chicken you can find. And don’t go the cheap route with the ketchup and mustard. I don’t care who tries to convince me otherwise, not all condiments are the same!
I will often buy non-brand name products, but never will I try to save a few cents by purchasing a non-brand name ketchup or mustard; they have to be Heinz or French’s. And, don’t even get me started on how important it is to buy Hellman’s Mayo! (I’ll save that rant for another time.) For ketchup, I use both Heinz and French’s and will often decide between the two based on price only. In most cases, it’s French’s and it’s only ever French’s for mustard.
(I’m starting to wish I was being paid to promote these companies! Ha!) Seriously though, as a food blogger, I feel it is my duty to inform you of what products work best for each recipe. And as I’ve previously stated, when using few ingredients, you really do want to get the most flavour out of each of those ingredients. Okay, let’s get to the recipe!
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Easy Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken
- 8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
- 8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
- 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, optional
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash chicken in cold water and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Evenly spread the chicken pieces out, avoiding contact with the edge of the baking sheet. (Remember: skin side up!)
- Lightly salt and pepper the chicken.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the sauce by whisking together the onion, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar. Set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon about a tablespoon or two (depending on the size of the chicken) of the prepared sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and smear to evenly coat each piece using the back of a spoon.
- Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and spoon more sauce over each piece of chicken. Repeat the smearing process, being careful not to pull the existing layer of sauce away from the skin.
- Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, smear the remaining sauce over the top of each piece of chicken. Use up all of the remaining sauce.
- Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired, and serve.
“Good food and a warm kitchen are what makes a house a home.” – Rachael Ray