Kelly’s Overnight Chicken

This inspired recipe for Kelly’s Overnight Chicken requires a simple marinade recipe that creates the sauce and tender chicken every time. After a hands-free rest in the fridge and bake in the oven, it’s a weeknight dinner we all need.

overnight chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and green beans on white plate with gray napkin and fork

When I was visiting my friend Kelly in Charleston, I went through her recipes and picked out a few, and this is now a staple at our house. This chicken recipe is great because you need to start it the day before, hence the name Kelly’s Overnight Chicken.

So when I’m making dinner the night before, I throw this together. Then when dinner rolls around the next day, you put the chicken in the oven and throw some green beens in the steamer, maybe a salad and dinner is ready.

This chicken is my favorite combination of sweet and savory. The marinade becomes a sauce and the chicken is incredibly tender. Really, you need to make this.

How Long Can You Marinate Chicken?

The timeframe for marinating chicken depends on the ingredients in the marinade. The trick is to refrain from using vinegar or acid in the marinade to keep the meat from breaking down. (If an acidic ingredient is present, such as vinegar, citrus juice or yogurt, the maximum marination time is 2 hours).

This recipe is so simple, you’ll wonder why you never set chicken in the fridge to marinate overnight before.

Ingredients //

All it takes is 4 marinade ingredients (which you probably already have on hand) and the chicken.

chicken breasts in ceramic dish, honey, soy sauce, curry powder, dijon mustard in bowls

For the marinade, you will need honey, Dijon mustard, soy sauce and curry powder. Grab a package (or two) of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and you’re halfway there.

Honey. My family’s favorite honey is Orange Blossom, but use whatever you have on hand. The honey naturally caramelizes when the chicken bakes in the oven, creating a fabulously sweet, browned, savory sauce.

Soy Sauce. Regular or low-sodium both work. I do not add any additional salt since the condiments provide enough seasoning on their own.

Curry Powder. Curry powder is usually a mixture of chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, pepper and turmeric (which gives it that golden-hue). It can be bought in mild, medium or hot strengths, but my family prefers mild. Ingredient and flavor combinations will vary by brand.

Chicken. Four large or six small chicken breasts provide just the right amount of meat for an equal meat-to-marinade ratio. Purchase one or two packages, depending on how your chicken breasts are sold at stores. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs would be a wonderful alternative. I would use 8-10 small thighs for this recipe.

How To Make Overnight Chicken

Once you have the sweet and savory components mixed together, give it a good rest in the fridge and you have dinner ready to be cooked the next day.

marinade in glass bowl with pink spatula, chicken breasts in plastic bag

Prepare the marinade. Mix together the honey, mustard, soy sauce and curry powder.

marinating chicken breasts in plastic bag

Give it a rest. Put the chicken and marinade in a plastic bag or glass container and marinate overnight.

chicken breasts in sweet and savory sauce in white baking dish

Bake! The next day, put the chicken and the marinade in a pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour covered with tin foil.

Baste and caramelize. Uncover the chicken and baste. Cook another 15 minutes.

sliced chicken with sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans on white plate with gray napkin and fork

Finish and serve. Slice and top with some of the remaining sauce.

What Makes This Overnight Chicken Recipe So Good?

Kelly is a dear friend of mine and her recipes are always incredibly delicious and ridiculously simple. I love to make this recipe for my family because:

  • It requires 5 minutes of prep and minimal clean-up.
  • Marinating the chicken overnight makes it a set-it-and-forget-it recipe.
  • All I have to do the next day is turn on the oven and prep a green veggie for a complete, well-balanced meal.

Serving Suggestions

I can’t think of anything this sweet and savory chicken dish wouldn’t go well with. My kids absolutely love it, too.

Sometimes I serve it with steamed green beans, baked rice or a baked potato. But it goes well sliced over a salad with some delicious crusty bread.

sweet and savory chicken breast with mashed potatoes and green beans on white plate with gray napkin and fork

Top Tips For Overnight Chicken Marinade:

  • Marinate overnight and up to 24 hours. The fact that there is no acid in the marinade allows the chicken to sit in the mixture for so long. After the 24 hour mark, however, the chicken will begin to breakdown.
  • Baste and keep cooking. The final 15 minutes of baking the chicken uncovered allows the sugars to caramelize and the sauce to thicken. Make sure you don’t skip it!

More Chicken Recipes //

Originally published in November 2010, updated August 2020 with updated images and updated recipe card.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it goes! Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, too!

sliced chicken with sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans on white plate with gray napkin and fork

Kelly’s Overnight Chicken

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 1 days
Total Time: 1 days 50 minutes

This inspired recipe for Kelly's Overnight Chicken requires a simple marinade recipe that creates the sauce and tender chicken every time.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 4 chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. Mix together the honey, mustard, soy sauce, and curry powder.
  2. Put the chicken and marinade in a plastic bag or glass container and marinate overnight.
  3. The next day, put the chicken and the marinade in a pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes covered with tin foil.
  4. Uncover the chicken and baste. Cook another 15 minutes.
  5. Slice and top with some of the remaining sauce.

Notes

If you prefer dark meat, use 8-10 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1502mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 40g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only.

Bree-September-2020-50

Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 136 Comments

  1. Karin van D.

    That looks absolutely delicious. I will make that one of these days, yumm!

    1. bakedbree

      I hope that you do.

  2. Melody

    This looks so good! I’m hungry.

  3. Joley H.

    Are you using bone-in or boneless breasts? I can’t quite tell by the pictures.
    If I used boneless I might want to cut back on the cooking time, correct?
    This looks wonderful and can’t wait to try it.
    Thank you.

    1. bakedbree

      I used boneless and yes, I was thrown off by the cooking time as well. Adapt the time to the size of your chicken.

  4. Darcie

    I can’t wait to try this! Feels like I’m always looking for new chicken recipes.

    1. bakedbree

      Me too!

  5. Julie

    That really does sound amazing, and I love that it’s so simple 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      So easy. It will become a regular dinner at your house.

  6. Brenna

    Wow, that’s easy! I needed a chicken dish for tomorrow night and had all the ingredients so I made it while making dinner tonight. Can’t wait to have it tomorrow. Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      Glad that I could help!

  7. Sarah

    That looks so easy and delicious! I’m not a huge fan of Dijon, though, so how strong is that flavour element?

    1. bakedbree

      You could use any kind of mustard. A whole grain one would be good.

      1. Sarah @ SwizzleBerry

        Thanks for that, wholegrain was exactly what I was considering using. I think I’ll try this recipe during the week 🙂

        1. bakedbree

          let me know how it goes for you.

  8. Lisa

    This glaze looks fantastic and I love that you added curry powder to this.

    1. bakedbree

      it is so easy and delicious! Thanks Lisa.

  9. Angela Dal Bon Custom Invites

    Can’t wait to try this. I am so tired of plain old chicken this will be a good change!

    1. bakedbree

      It is delicious and easy.

  10. Kelly

    My chicken is marinating as we speak! Cannot wait to have this tomorrow night! Again Bree….thank you!

    1. bakedbree

      glad to help Kelly!

  11. Amanda L.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one surprised by the cooking time! But it sounds so simple and easy I have to try it out!

    1. bakedbree

      check it, but that is what it says in the recipe. I did cook it for a long time and it was juicy and tender. Almost fell apart.

  12. Erik

    Just had this tonight, was pretty tasty 🙂 By the way, your site seems to be having random database connection issues for the last 24 hours.

    1. bakedbree

      I know, it is driving me crazy. Thanks for telling me.

  13. Antoinette

    We just had this for dinner. Tasty & easy…what more can you ask for?! Thank you once again!

    1. bakedbree

      not much more!

  14. A Little Yumminess

    This looks yum and easy. My fav combination! Usually dont make chicken breasts but I think these will not dry out…..

    1. bakedbree

      they did not, plus it makes it own sauce, so it adds moisture.

  15. Sonya

    I made this lastnight and we LOVED it! I love the short list of ingredients and how easy it is to whip together. The only change I made was to take the wonderful sauce and thicken it up in a pan..Soooo good. Thank you for a keeper of a recipe!!!

    1. bakedbree

      Glad that you liked it. I love this easy chicken recipe.

  16. Hannah

    We are making this for the second time because we loved it so much!! Seriously, if I had an unlimited supply of chicken, I would be eating this every single day! Thanks for a great recipe!
    (found you through foodgawker)

    1. bakedbree

      thanks Hannah! I love this recipe too. So easy and so good!

  17. Wendy

    Hi, I am new to following your blog and I just love it. I don’t leave comments often, but i had this chicken tonight and my family LOVED LOVED LOVED it, but the best part?? This was one of the EASIEST meals i’ve done in ages. Thank you for the great recipe, I’m going to lots more! :>

    1. bakedbree

      Welcome and thank you! I am so glad that you and your family liked it.

  18. Anne

    Could you make this on the same night with a short marinade time?

    1. bakedbree

      I don’t see why not, but I would marinate it for a few hours though.

  19. Jenn

    I just found your site last week and picked this recipe because it was simple enough for my husband to make on a day when I had work and school. It was amazing! We served it with caribbean rice and peas and it went together beautifully. Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      sounds good Jenn!

  20. Lisa

    This looks and sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

    Is there anything that I can substitute for the curry powder? I want to make it this morning, but don’t have any and really want to avoid running to the store. Suggestions, anyone? Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      Maybe a mustard powder and some garlic powder? Anything would work, but I think that the curry makes this recipe.

  21. Michelle

    This is marinating as we speak! I am so excited to have it for dinner tonight, it’s been on my “to make list” for quite a while. We’re having it with roasted potatoes and green beans. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

    1. bakedbree

      can I come over for dinner?

  22. lo

    I just finished eating this — and licked the plate. And I didn’t even have honey so I substituted some sugar, so I bet the real thing is even better! I’m tempted to run to the store to buy some honey so I can have this for dinner tomorrow…

    1. bakedbree

      isn’t this so good? And crazy easy?

  23. Rowena Tan

    This recipe is really great 🙂 Tried it marinating the chicken thighs I have in the ref yesterday, cooked it for lunch this afternoon and we all loved it, even my little boy. Thanks for the recipe, it is a keeper 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Great! I love this recipe. Glad that it is good on thighs also.

  24. Lisa

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m putting it together now, so we will have it tomorrow night for dinner. Also, the s’mores cookies… AMAZING!!! You’re the best!!

    1. bakedbree

      You’re welcome Lisa, I love this chicken. So easy and so good!

  25. Jessica

    I’m new to your site but so far you have been 2 for 2 on delicious recipes! This was incredibly easy and yummy. I also loved the rocky road bars. I’m wondering though, if I make them again do you think melting regular marshmellows will work or is the marshmellow fluff required?
    P.S. I love how you illustrate everything with the beautiful photos!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad Jessica. I think that you could just add handfuls of mini marshmallows. It just will not be as gooey.

  26. Iver

    Made this tonight and it was a big hit! The boyfriend could not really taste the curry and raved about how the flavors were great! This is definitely a keeper. Thank you for introducing this recipe! 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Yeah Iver! So glad.

  27. Dani

    This will be one of my lunchs on this week.
    Thanks for the recipe. Love it

    1. bakedbree

      I love how easy this is to make. Perfect for lunch.

  28. jellysquare

    I had made this recipe for years, but then forgot about it. I found it originally, about 40 years ago in a recipe book called “Make it Now, Bake it Later.” There was a series of them. I will be making it soon again! It is wonderful.

    1. bakedbree

      I didn’t know that this was such an old recipe. Glad that you rediscovered it.

  29. BAcook

    I wonder if you could cook this in the slow-cooker. Has anybody tried that?

    1. bakedbree

      I bet that you could…. maybe 4-6 hours?

  30. Samantha Andersen

    Thank you so much for your fun recipe. I can’t wait to try it. I linked your recipe to my blog for my first time ever posting a Menu Plan Monday. Thank you!

    1. bakedbree

      you are welcome Samantha!

  31. Sherice at ConfectionistConfessions.com

    I can’t wait to try out this chicken recipe! It seems like it would be so flavorful with minimal effort! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

  32. Kathy

    I’m pulling this out of the oven right now, and I’m not sure why but my sauce seems to have separated. Rather than being a consistent color and texture, it is somewhat chunky as if the mustard & honey separated from the soy sauce. Any ideas where I went wrong?

    1. bakedbree

      No, I bet though that if you just whisk it a little, it will all come back together.

  33. Laila

    How did you prepare the beans?

    1. bakedbree

      It looks like I just steamed them. I probably squeezed some lemon on them too.

  34. Nikita

    My husband and I had this recipe for dinner tonight, it was AWESOME. We will be making it often, thank you so much for sharing.

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad Nikita! I love this recipe. So easy and really delicious.

  35. MIchele

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for awhile. Got it marinating in the fridge! Gonna be an easy dinner tomorrow after a day of work.

    1. bakedbree

      I hope that you like it Michele! I make it a lot for that reason.

  36. Vicki

    I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while now but I finally got round to cooking it the other night & it was divine, so much flavor & the extra sauce was yummy on my mashed potatoes to, definitely going into the dinner rotation! Thanks 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you Vicki! I love comments like this!

  37. Vicki

    I’ve had this pinned for ages & finally made it the other night, SOOOO YUMMY & so easy, am just writing it into my recipe book of faces right now, thanks heaps 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad that you like it so much Vicki. We love it too.

  38. Tiffany

    I’m really digging the flavors that this could bring to chicken. I’d like to try it on some wings for Memorial day. How would you go about it?

    1. bakedbree

      I’d do it the same way, but just use wings.

  39. beth

    I was searching for something easy to throw together for dinner tonight and came across this recipe. I didn’t have overnight, so I let it marinade for a couple hours. I threw in some peeled and chunked potatoes, onion wedges, and carrots and WOW. It was delicious. I was worried it would be a bit too sweet with my hubby, he’s not crazy about sweet sauces with meat, but he loved it. My 4 yr. old and 1 yr. old gobbled it up too! Thanks for the quick and easy recipe; I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog!

    1. bakedbree

      This makes me happy! So glad that your whole family enjoyed it. And welcome! I hope that you will come back soon.

  40. Beth

    Have you tried using this on the grill instead of baking in the oven? I love the flavors!

    1. bakedbree

      No, but I bet it would be great. Just be careful, there is a lot of sugar so cook over low heat.

  41. Emily

    Oh my gosh, I made this recipe years ago and forgot all about it! I’m definitely making it for dinner tomorrow night. By the way I love your blog…I found you on pinterest.

    1. bakedbree

      Welcome Emily! Hope that it takes like you remember it.

  42. Melissa

    I am in a freezer meals group and was wondering if you have tried freezing the chicken in the marinade to pull out of the freezer and use at another time. Thoughts? 🙂

    1. Melissa

      I meant freezing the raw chicken in the marinade…

    2. bakedbree

      I have not tried it, but I do not see why that would not work. In fact, I think that it would be great.

  43. mina

    tried this recipe a few days ago, it was great! thanks for sharing. (:

    1. bakedbree

      So glad Mina!

  44. BCoop

    Found this, looking for anothr recipe and I am sooooo trying this. I’ve already added a few of your recipes to my favorites already. I love your pics….lol

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you!

  45. Hannah

    I have made this recipe over a dozen times since a friend shared your link with me and its always a hit! It’s now my go- to easy dinner. The sauce is so fantastic, my hubs and I lick our plates 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      I love this! Thanks for letting me know!

  46. STL_Foodie

    I came across this recipe today. Let’s just say I just put the chicken in the fridge to marinate overnight. 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      Thats what I like to hear!

  47. Jose

    This would be my second time making the chicken. For some reason I cannot make the “gravy” to thicken out. Can anybody suggest something? Please

    1. bakedbree

      I think that it is more sauce then gravy, so it isn’t really thick.

  48. Zoey

    Made this tonight and my family devoured it – thank you! I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad! I love this recipe, so easy and everyone loves it. 🙂

  49. Kelley

    Have you tried freezing the chicken in the marinade?

  50. Kelley

    Nevermind! I just read through your older comments and found my answer! 🙂

  51. khk

    Looks great.
    Can i use other types/brands of mustard?
    Thanks.

    1. bakedbree

      Of course, adapt as you like.

  52. todd

    what’s a good sub. for the curry powder if one is not a fan of curry?

    1. bakedbree

      You could go the opposite direction and do some rosemary or thyme. Totally different, but would be great.

  53. LiHeng

    I’m trying this out tonight, just put the marinated chicken in the fridge, I feel like it’s too sweet for the time being (this is on 1/4 cup honey), let’s see how it goes tmr! Thanks for this!

    1. bakedbree

      Hope you liked it!

  54. Chloe

    I’ve made this recipe a half a dozen times. It’s so easy and turns out great every single time. Now, it’s my go-to during a busy week.

    1. bakedbree

      So good to hear! I love this recipe too. Everyone likes it and it is so easy.

  55. Rudy

    I made this for the first time manhole the flavor was good, the chicken was super dry. I followed the recipe exactly. Try decreasing the baking time?

    1. bakedbree

      Yes, it can vary depending on how thick your chicken is. I’ll edit the recipe to note the cooking time.

      1. Chelcie

        Yeah mine came out dry as well. I’m just going to do the hour thing without sticking it in for 15 min. But the sauce was fantastic! I’m definately doing it again.

        1. bakedbree

          I’m sorry, just don’t cook it for as long next time. I’m going to update the recipe.

  56. Jessica

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! this was absolutely delicious!!! I followed the directions to a “T”…. I let the chicken marinate overnight then when I got home the next day transferred everything to a baking dish and voila! I served it with green beans and parm garlic shells! I will be sliding this in my weekly rotation for sure! Thanks once again!

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad that you like it. This is the easiest dish ever.

  57. kristin172429

    Is there any reason not to marinade the chicken in the pan you are going to bake it in, especially since the sauce is going in the oven, too? I think as long as you let the dish come closer to room temp before putting it in the oven, it should be fine, right?

    1. bakedbree

      My guess is that it might be a food safety issue? I’m not sure though. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  58. Sarah

    I have honestly looked up recipes all over the place and read comments talking about how AWESOME a recipe is, only to discover that it’s the same boring bland chicken, only it takes three hours to make. I don’t eat red meat so chicken and fish get old :/ I needed a recipe and that was easy and overnight, and this looked okay, but my expectations weren’t that high (not because of you, but I’ve been let down so many times). I made it in about 5 minutes, skipping the bowl step and putting the ingredients straight into a ziploc and shook. This is the best chicken ever. it’s sweet, savory, delicious, tender, juicy, and a few other adjectives I don’t even know. I will be eating this at least once a week. Too good for words.

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad Sarah, this is a great recipe! I have made it for years and years.

  59. Rhonda

    I made this last night and it was so easy and the chicken was so flavorful and moist. My 13 years really enjoyed it. I will be keeping this one. Thanks

    1. bakedbree

      I’m so glad. This is a GREAT recipe.

  60. Liz

    I made this with chicken thighs instead of breasts- it came out perfectly with one hour under tin foil and ten minutes extra. really delicious!

    1. bakedbree

      Sounds great! Glad that you liked this recipe.

  61. Cicily

    I want to make this, but can’t find the orange blossom honey at Target. Do you know if they still carry it? What is it by (I assume the regular honey). What would be a good substitute? I keep coming across this in my boards, but have given up finding the honey. I’d really like to try it.

    1. bakedbree

      Use whatever kind of honey you have. I just happened to have that one when I made it, but I used all different kinds.

  62. Jennifer

    Hi,

    You mention using the leftover sauce…but isn’t there a risk using the sauce the uncooked chicken was marinating in or maybe I’m misreading a step?

    1. bakedbree

      The sauce cooks with the chicken and you spoon it over. You shouldn’t have any uncooked sauce.

  63. Denise

    Substituted the curry for a little bit of cumin instead, but still turned out amazing! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. bakedbree

      My pleasure!

  64. Cara

    Bree ~ Luckily our husbands were in the Casa transition together and I learned about your blog. I’ve been reading for a while… LOVE it! Husband is deployed and I have this marinating for easy chicken dinner tomorrow night. Thanks so much! I know it will be delicious!

    1. bakedbree

      What a small world! I love this chicken and make it all the time, hope you enjoy!

  65. Sarah

    I only have mild curry powder will that work.

    1. bakedbree

      Yes, use what you have.

  66. Kelsey

    Could i do this in a slow cooker ? If i can how long should i cook it for?

    1. bakedbree

      You can try, but I’ve never done it. I’d try 2-3 hours on high.

  67. Kelli

    This has been a favorite at our house since the original post. This will always be a regular chicken meal! It helps that I’m a Kelli, too!

    1. Bree Hester

      This makes me so happy, it’s a favorite here too. 🙂

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