PW Wednesdays: Honey Plum Soy Chicken

Pioneer Woman’s honey plum soy chicken recipe. Tastes like a gourmet homemade version of Chinese takeout.

Chinese takeout…love it when I’m craving it hardcore, but any other day I’m usually repulsed thinking about what ingredients actually go into those suspect brown salty sauces and random soups. Last time I order egg drop wonton soup it was so disgustingly thick that I could literally turn the container upside down and the soup didn’t come out. That’s not normal. I haven’t ordered soup since.

Honey plum soy chicken

So when I saw this recipe in the cookbook, I knew I wanted to try it out. A homemade version of something that looks like it could be ordered off a Chinese takeout menu with ingredients that sounded normal (and no awkward ordering phone calls where you pretend to understand what they’re saying). Done and done.

Honey plum soy chicken

I was excited about this one. There wasn’t even a pat of butter or a tablespoon of sugar in the whole recipe. No heavy creams, no excessive oils. I finally thought we had a winner. And for the most part we did. This is an incredible flavorful, sweet and sticky dish that I’d gladly eat again. Probably not over pasta, (that was weird and didn’t really seem to go together) but definitely with some rice and vegetables.  The only penalty this recipe gets is for the soy sauce. Look below… the recipe calls for an ENTIRE bottle of soy sauce. And it’s not like it’s specified reduced sodium soy either. That’s a lot of freakin’ salt going on. I halved the recipe but reduced the soy even further (about 1/4 of what the original recipe calls for) just because my gut told me that would be too much and it was still borderline too salty. That’s really my only complaint though.

Honey plum soy chicken

Other things/notes/observations:

-I used a combination of cherries and plums and cherry preserves instead of plum preserves. In the notes after the recipe in the cookbook, she suggests replacing plums with cherries as an alternative. I like cherries better than plums so I went with it. I only added a few plums because I happened to get a pint full of them in our CSA last week. Cooked cherries + meat (especially duck) is one of my favorite combinations. If we’re out to dinner and that’s on the menu, you can pretty much guarantee I’ll be ordering it. I highly recommend this substitution.

-Once the chicken was done, the sauce was much more liquidy than what I expected so I reduced it further and thickened it up with a bit of a corn starch slurry. I’m sure if you wanted to use it as more of a pasta sauce it would’ve been fine, but I wanted it thicker, like that suspect Chinese takeout brown sauce. Cornstarch worked it’s wonders and it thickened up perfectly.

-I used a pinot noir for the red wine with lots of hints of cherry. It was the perfect pairing.

-Don’t half the recipe like I did. This was the one time I regretted not making the full amount. Leftovers would’ve been amazing.

Honey plum soy chicken

I loved this recipe because it’s been one of the few where I didn’t cringe as I added ingredients. There’s no heart attack inducing amounts of fats and the one tweak it needs (at least in my opinion) is an easy one, just use less soy sauce. It satisfies that Chinese food craving but gives you the satisfaction of cooking it yourself and knowing what’s going into your food.

Overall, I’d call this one a win.

Read what the other girls thought here:

Julie-Table for Two

Megan-Wannabe a Country Cleaver

Rachel-Baked by Rachel

For all previous PW Wednesday posts see below.

Fried chicken tacos

Mushroom swiss sliders

Carnitas pizza

Breakfast pizza

White chicken enchiladas

Billie’s Italian cream cake

Orange Sweet Rolls

Honey plum soy chicken

Honey Plum Soy Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Pioneer Woman’s honey plum soy chicken recipe. Tastes like a gourmet homemade version of Chinese takeout.


  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 13 oz. jar plum preserves
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 20 oz. bottle soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 plums, pitted and chopped, plus 1 plum, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced


  1. Put the chicken thighs in a large bowl. Pour in 2 cups of the red wine.
  2. Add the bay leaves, toss to coat, and marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the plum preserves, honey and soy sauce, whisk to combine and set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the wine, then brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the garlic. Stir it around in the bottom of the pan for a couple of minutes to release the flavor.
  6. Add the remaining cup of wine, chopped plums and honey plum soy mixture.
  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the chicken is falling off the bone.
  8. Cook the noodles according to the package directions and place on a large platter.
  9. Spoon the chicken and at least half the cooking liquid over the noodles.
  10. Serve the noodles and chicken on plates. Garnish with the plum slices and a sprinkling of sliced green onion and have little bowls of the cooking liquid on the table so people can spoon on more if desired.


Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen


filed in: Main Dishes
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  2. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    It looks amazing! Yeah, I wouldn’t use a whole bottle either even if it is for 8 servings. Even reduced sodium doesn’t seem to be that reduced from what I’ve found. (Though if you have any suggestions of any under like 600mg, let me know!) Definitely going to give this a go sometime!

  3. Kathryn

    Yeah, the serving over pasta thing is a bit weird isn’t it? Rice or chinese-style noodles sounds slightly more appealing. The flavours sound great though and I love your changes, makes it sound even more delicious.

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  5. KaraHadley

    I agree that the pasta was a weird choice. Maybe udon noodles or something similar? But either way, this looks so good! I loveloveLOVE making Chinese takeout at home. Did you find it too sweet, though? A whole cup of honey plus the sweetness from the fruit sounds a bit much to me.

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      This just made me realize I cut the honey back too and forgot to mention that. I think I probably halved that too so mine wasn’t too sweet but yeah, it probably would be with the full amount. Again, like the soy sauce…just use your gut feeling. A whole bottle of soy and a cup of honey hopefully seems like too much to most people!

  6. Megan {Country Cleaver}

    You’re turned out great, Gina! And the cherries – good call.

    That soy sauce was a bit ridic and over the top. And the leftovers are insanely delicious. I halved my recipe, but still had leftovers since Ben is gone. But one thigh torn to shreds is perfect to toss onto a salad for dinner. I am in heart.

  7. sally @ sally's baking addiction

    Great choice on the wine used in this recipe Gina! I love pinot noir and i’m sure it was so tasty with the plums and honey. I love you girls and the PW Wed series. Look forward to it each week! Easy, flavorful recipes like this are exactly what I need to start saving in my recipe box. Looks and sounds incredible. :)

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      this one is definitely a keeper and probably a great crowd pleaser to that’s not that much work for a group :)

  8. Ashley - baker by nature

    I just ordered chinese last night – it’s such a guilty pleasure of mine. This dish looks really good, and I bet it’s great over rice.

  9. Cassie

    Truly amazing! I love making Chinese at home too, one of my favorites. And I love that you added cherry to the plums. The deep color is stunning!

  10. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    Excellent choice for a PW meal! It’s great to see you found a recipe that went a little more with your cooking style and taste buds…even if you did have to cut down on the soy sauce. Great presentation – definitely makes me crave plum soy chicken!

  11. Margarita

    I like the PW choice this week! It looks so rich and flavorful and totally understand it with the paasta. I think it’s necessary to tamper all that rich flavor somehow. That entire bottle of soy sauce though is crazy and glad you cut it down by that much. What do you think it would have been like if you did use the entire bottle? I’m not sure I would like the taste of something with that much soy sauce. Last night, I was developing a recipe and used 1/2 tsp salt and it made the dish taste so freakin good, but I obsessed for a very long time and worried that it was too much. Now, after reading this post, I know I can stop obsessing. Someone out there is recommending people to use an entire bottle and I’m glad there’s people like us who are highly against this. ;)

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I don’t know if you read Julie’s post but she likened it to eating salt rocks and yeah, that’s exactly what I think it would’ve tasted like using a whole bottle! Clearly, someone was smoking something reaaaal good when writing that amount of soy sauce into the recipe!

  12. Baking Serendipity

    I don’t think I’ve successfully made my own Chinese take-out inspired food…ever. This looks so good though! I like your idea of subbing rice for the pasta, and leaving out a whole lot of that soy sauce! It takes me forever to go through a jar. I can’t imagine one full one in one recipe.

  13. Lee @ Anytime Health

    I love healthified recipes, especially Asian ones! That is kind of gross about your egg drop soup…It kind of reminds me of “mystery meat.” No one actually knows what the meat is. HAH!

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