Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe (2024)

  • Vietnamese
  • Dairy-free Mains
  • Savory
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Chicken Thighs

Lime, ginger, and fish sauce add bold, bright, and deep flavor to chicken thighs.


Emily and Matt Clifton

Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe (1)

Emily and Matt Clifton

Emily and Matt Clifton are recipe developers, photographers, and cookbook authors. Their two cookbooks are Cork and Knife (2019) andThe Ultimate Dutch Oven Cookbook (2021).

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Updated February 17, 2023

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Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe (2)

Why It Works

  • Lime, ginger, and fish sauce add bold, bright, and deep flavor to chicken thighs.
  • A short stint in this marinade gives the chicken the perfect tang.

Baked marinated chicken is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. Just mix up some spices, soak chicken thighs in the mixture for half an hour, then stick them in the oven—yeah, sign us up. Marinating is a simple, straightforward process, but given how flavorful the results can be, it can seem downright miraculous. So it is with these Vietnamese-style chicken thighs.

There's a lot going on in the marinade, but one of the standouts—arguably even the key ingredient—is anchovy-based Vietnamese fish sauce, ornước mắm. We use it here in this Vietnamese-inspired recipe, but regular Serious Eats readers know thatits utility goes far beyond that; it can boost the flavor of all sorts of dishes, from stews and braises to pasta sauces. When used sparingly, it also won't add a fishy taste.

Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe (3)

We're also using palm sugar to sweeten the marinade and lend the chicken skin a beautiful golden-brown color during baking. It's a traditional ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine, but it may be hard to find. If you are able to obtain it, you'll find that bricks of palm sugar are usually rock-hard. You can grate it for recipes that need just a little (we recommend using the wide shredders of a sturdy box grater), or you can use a whole brick by softening it for a few minutes in hot water. If you can't find palm sugar, you can substitute dark brown sugar.

The key to understanding marinades is knowing that they mostly don't penetrate deeply into the meat; they offer little more than a surface treatment. Because of that, a half hour of marinating time is more than enough to get the flavor into the chicken thighs. You can leave them in for up to four hours, but any longer than that and the acid in the marinade could start to make the meat mushy.

Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe (4)

Once it's fully marinated, take the chicken out, shake (but don't rinse) off any excess liquid, and bake it, skin-side up, in a hot oven. You should check the chicken's temperature at 30 minutes, and make sure it's at least 155°F (68°C) on the inside before you pull it out. If you like, you can add a broiling step at the end to enhance the color and crispiness of the skin, but take care not to let the sweet marinade burn.

While the chicken is baking, get your sides ready. We like to make this with simple boiled or steamed rice and a salad of quick-pickled cucumbers and red onions.

March 2017

Recipe Details

Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe

Prep5 mins

Cook45 mins

Active20 mins

Marinating Time30 mins

Total80 mins

Serves4 servings


  • 2 pounds (900g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Asian fish sauce, such as Red Boat

  • 1/4 cup (55g) palm or dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2 packed tablespoons (7g) fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20ml) fresh juice from 1 lime

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) finely grated zest from 1 lime

  • 1 tablespoon (10g) minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) hot chile paste (sambal oelek)

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated (about 2 teaspoons)

  • Sliced limes and cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Place thighs in a large zipper-lock bag. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, oil, cilantro, lime juice and zest, ginger, chili-garlic paste, and garlic. Pour marinade into bag with chicken, seal bag, and toss to coat well. Let chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and set oven rack to middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Remove chicken from bag, allowing marinade to drip off, and set on wire rack skin-side up, making sure to leave space between thighs. Discard marinade. Bake until thighs register 155 to 160°F (68 to 71°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 35 minutes. (Be sure to measure temperature in the center of the thickest part of the thighs, but not directly against the bone.) If chicken skin is not brown and crisp enough by the time the thighs are cooked through, set broiler to high and broil until browned and crisp, about 1 minute, being careful not to burn the skin. Transfer chicken to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro, then serve.

Special Equipment

Rimmed baking sheet and wire rack, instant-read thermometer

Read More

  • Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Chilled Rice Noodles
  • Yogurt and Mint Marinated Chicken Thighs with Pickled Nectarines
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
19g Fat
10g Carbs
31g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g25%
Saturated Fat 5g27%
Cholesterol 162mg54%
Sodium 816mg35%
Total Carbohydrate 10g3%
Dietary Fiber 2g5%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 16mg79%
Calcium 39mg3%
Iron 2mg10%
Potassium 421mg9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Recipe (2024)


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