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Vietnamese One-Pan Caramel Chicken

One pan, one simple recipe, one winner of a dish. Pure magic happens with this chicken dish – you won’t believe your tastebuds!


Vietnamese One-Pan Caramel Chicken

10 minutes
35 minutes

bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh pieces 

1 tbsp vegetable oil 

½ cup brown sugar 

2 tbsp fish sauce 

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

1 cup coconut water 

½ tsp ground black pepper 

1 long red chilli, finely sliced 

roughly chopped coriander (cilantro), to serve 

sliced cucumber, to serve 

steamed rice, to serve (click here to see my recipe for how to cook rice)


  • Step 1

    Season the chicken pieces with salt. 

  • Step 2

    Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down and sear for about 5 minutes until you get a golden colour. Then turn and sear for another 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large plate or tray. 

  • Step 3

    Remove and discard some of the fat from the pan, being sure to leave about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Place the pan back over medium heat. Add the garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce. Cook, stirring for a minute. Then add the coconut water and black pepper. Place the chicken in the sauce skin-side up. Simmer for 2 minutes. Then turn the chicken over, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Turn the chicken again, then cover with a lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (keep an eye on the caramel sauce, if it looks too thick or starts to burn add a little more coconut water or plain water). 

  • Step 4

    Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drizzle over the sauce. Sprinkle with coriander and chilli. Serve with cucumber and steamed rice.

    – Find more of our best chicken thigh recipes here!

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

What our customers say

Rated 4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 9 reviews)
Very good22%
Michael W
January 17, 2024

Good Recipe with Some Tweaks

Overall liked the recipe a lot. Pretty simple to make. I’ve never really done an asian sweet sauce so it was a good learning experience for me. I thought it lacked savory and acidic elements, and could have been a little more complex in flavor. I added the following as I was reducing down the sauce.

– Juice of half a lemon

– 1/2 tsp Maggi

– 1 tsp onion powder

– 1/2 of a medium onion, diced

– 1 tsp ginger grated over microplane

To the garnish I added some homemade Sichuan chili oil (sichuan pepper, white pepper, scallion, shallot, cinnamon, anise, etc) Overall a good recipe. I just about licked my plate clean.

January 16, 2024

Full of flavour and so easy to cook

Love Marion’s recipes they are so easy to cook and the recipes are no jargon straight to the point easy to follow, my family’s favourite is Hoisin chicken stir fry preparation is the key have everything ready then cooks in minutes.

March 13, 2023

Simply delicious!!

I made this for the first time for dinner this evening. Simple ingredients, simple technique & a simply delicious result! My chicken thighs were on the larger size so I increased the cooking time & turned them a couple of extra times…..the sauce reduced beautifully, the chicken was tender & moist & the Pickled Carrot accompaniment (also Marion’s recipe) together with streamed rice was a perfect meal, that I will add to our favourite easy dinner repertoire. Many thanks Marion!! 👏👏😋😋🎉🤩🤩

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