Caramelized spicy chicken skewers using a blend of lemon, chilies, sweet-spicy honey, and herbs cooked with fresh lemons and asparagus, then topped with a spicy honey "butter" sauce.
Okay, I had to do some serious background research before I started cooking these hot honey lemon chicken skewers with asparagus. Initially, I was going to post my honey mustard chicken recipe. But that's too boring, and so many recipes like this are already out there. I wanted to create something different for the love of the hot honey chicken craze.
It also went very well with the Spiced Brown Rice & Quinoa recipe. If you want more air fryer hot honey chicken recipes, check out Air Fryer Chicken Breast with Hot Honey Glazed Vegetables or the Hot Honey Sesame Chicken with Nappa Cabbage Stir-Fry.
For that Mediterranean vibe, try the:
- Mouthwatering Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Pine Nuts Turkey Meatballs,
- Air Fryer Branzino with Lemon Potatoes and Vegetables (most popular)
- Chili Herb Crusted Rainbow Trout with Cannellini Beans, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes
- Roasted Harissa Salmon with Paprika Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts
Loaded but Guiltless
What's a better way than to grill chicken skewers with a hot honey lemon glaze with caramelized lemons and grilled asparagus for the summer? The hot honey chicken craze and my crazy spice addiction inspired me. No battles! We have to come together!
You can have a very delicious meal without worrying about eating "garbage." I might regret using that word later. Because food is food, moderation is the key, right? So let's be positive and do this! Let's have a fantastic dinner where the worry of, "Is this ok to eat?" goes out the window. I got you!
Honey Glazed Chicken Breast
This recipe uses Mike's Hot Honey, with ingredients that are straight to the point, but you can also use your favorite honey of choice. I love this honey because, as I said, they kept it simple, which means I can be the creative one in the kitchen. I can use it in Mediterranean to Asian-inspired dishes.
Marinate the chicken with a marinade of garlic, avocado oil, hot honey, soy sauce, red pepper chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and sliced lemons. Then, skew the chicken with asparagus and sliced lemons.
Cook in the air fryer, plate, and brush on the hot honey "butter" made with hot honey, avocado oil, sesame oil (for a nutty flavor), chili flakes, paprika powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Finally, garnish it with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite side dish and a lemon wedge.
See the hot honey lemon chicken skewers recipe card for quantities.
Quick Chicken Marinade
The great thing about this hot honey lemon chicken skewers with asparagus recipe and the quick marinade. The onion-garlic paste helps break down the skinless, boneless chicken breast to make it more tender. And since the meat is sliced instead of chunks, that speeds up the time even more; learn more about prepping chicken.
Instead of lemon juice, sliced lemons are added since lemon juice will cook the meat, and we don't want that with thinly sliced raw chicken. You'll also prepare the chicken marinade at the beginning of this recipe. The marinade also includes soy sauce for an umami flavor that rounds the whole dish.
The sauce also has crushed red pepper chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Marinate the chicken first, then prep the rest to allow enough time to marinate. Slice thin to allow quicker flavor infusion. Visit Cook’s Notebook for Tips on Cutting Chicken.
The recipe will make two skewers, one per serving.
Busy Folks: Become a better home cook with tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. You'll also find more detailed steps for the instructions above. Learn more about prepping chicken.
- Thick Asparagus - If using pencil asparagus (asparagus can come in different sizes based on availability), try to choose the four thickest from the bunch so that they won't break when you pierce them with the skewer.
- Toasted Sesame Oil for "Butter" - You can replace the sesame oil and avocado oil in the recipe for real butter. I would also recommend using ghee to give a toasty flavor to the meal. You can use ½ tablespoon for this recipe to replace the sesame and avocado oil. Soften the butter first in the microwave for about 7 minutes or at room temperature by taking the butter and letting it sit out when preparing this recipe.
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Chicken Thighs - This delicious spice blend is actually inspired by the Memphis dry rub for a smoky taste that goes well with sweet components. For example, the Memphis rub usually uses brown sugar. Try this spice and honey mixture on some chicken thighs, rub it between the skin and flesh, and on top. Imagine the crunch of that air fryer's crispy skin. Yum!
- Hot Honey - Regular honey will work if you cannot handle it. You can add more crushed red chili peppers depending on your heat preference.
- Air Fryer - This recipe was developed using the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill. If you do not have an air fryer, you can try roasting in the oven. You also have two options with different results: a sheet pan with parchment paper or a sheet pan with a sheet pan rack.
- The parchment paper will produce vegetables roasted in their juices and caramelization at the bottom. In contrast, the sheet pan rack will result in vegetables roasted all around due to the hot air flowing around the vegetables. Now, the trick is not to overcrowd in whatever method you choose, but if this happens, toss in between cooking.
- Skewers - I developed this recipe using the Ninja Foodi Stainless Steel 7.5-Inches Kabob Skewers (see photo). They are a perfect size; you can use them anywhere and right away. Or try these high-rated Blue Donuts 24-Pack Kabob 8-inch Skewers. Or you can use bamboo skewers soaked for at least 30 minutes.
- Food Processor - Used for making the marinade. I developed this recipe using the EZBASICS Food Processor. I use the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper for larger prep, which is tough enough to do the job and small enough to avoid finding space for a new appliance. Also, the best part is the drizzle basin that you can use to add the oil for excellent emulsification slowly.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, place the chicken skewers in a 2-inch shallow pan to cool down quickly. Then, store in an air-tight sealing container. The chicken will last for up to four days.
- Freezer - Asparagus does not freeze well. I do not recommend freezing this dish.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- Asparagus Grill Time tip - As noted in the hot honey lemon chicken skewers with the asparagus recipe, it is crucial that you use the thickest asparagus you can get if you are using pencil asparagus. You don't want them to break apart when piercing. What are pencil asparagus?
- They are called this because they are as thin as a pencil. When assembling, the recipe will call for two 1-inch asparagus sticks together; however, if you only have jumbo asparagus, you will only need one 1-inch stick. The benefit of all the ingredients skewered together is to help even cooking time. So, along with the meat, the asparagus will cook nicely within 8 minutes of cooking time.
- A Slicing Chicken Trick - Slice chicken on a cutting board for raw poultry into ¼-inch slices. For example, this will help prevent cross-contamination between raw and cooked ingredients. For best practice, thaw out only halfway to get even slices using frozen chicken. Learn more about prepping chicken.
- Asparagus Ideas - If you have leftover asparagus, you can make a vegetable stir-fry or chicken asparagus stir-fry. Chop them up and add them to an omelet for breakfast or into rice or any whole grain pilaf.
Frequently Asked Questions
Soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes ahead of time before prepping. Soaking the skewers helps prevent any chances of fire when cooking with high dry heat. I developed this recipe using the Ninja Foodi Stainless Steel 7.5-Inches Kabob Skewers (see photo). They are a perfect size; you can use them anywhere and right away. Or try these high-rated Blue Donuts 24-Pack Kabob 8-inch Skewers.
The Memphis rub has been a beloved Southern culinary tradition since the mid-20th century after World War II. In the professional kitchens I worked at, the Memphis rub was used 90% of the time when making pork ribs. What makes this rub unique is its combination of sweet and smoky flavors that give it an unmistakable richness.
The combination of smoked paprika with brown sugar and cumin was just so complimentary and perfect for barbequing or smoking meats. It's also something Americans have nostalgia for. This complex yet subtle seasoning can transform any cut of meat into something truly delicious, like these Hot Honey Lemon chicken skewers.
Its origins are difficult to trace due to its proximity to other flavors like the Kansas City Dry Rub but are totally different than the Texas barbecue, which is usually beef with dried mustard, but it is believed to have originated from one of the many restaurants in Memphis.
Over time, local cooks have developed their variations on the traditional recipe by adding ingredients such as garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and even Worcestershire sauce. If you are from Memphis and you believe you know the restaurant of origin, please comment below.
Whether you use the original recipe or add your spin, one thing remains constant: the Memphis rub will always tantalize your taste buds! So let’s get cookin’!
They are called this because they are as thin as a pencil.
It's honey infused with chili peppers with some vinegar. It is usually promoted to serve on pizza, like Mike's Hot Honey. But it is a great, quick way to add sweetness and heat to any dish. Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by this company; I just use it often.
Toasted sesame oil, as its name suggests, is toasted sesame seeds, which gives the oil a more intensified nuttier taste. For example, this oil is mainly used to finish dishes, not to cook with it.
Ghee is originally from India, and it's clarified butter, where milk solids are removed, leaving a clear yellow oil, just fat. You might also be lucky enough to find it at your local market.
These oils can withstand high heat at 400 degrees or more before smoking. This is why I usually recommend Avocado or Canola Oils; learn more about high smoke point oils.
Air Fryer Recipes
Looking for other air fryer recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other air fryer recipes like this? Try these:
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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