This balsamic grilled chicken is SO full of flavor from the marinade. A quick stint on the grill and a 4-ingredient sauce top it off. Oh, did I mention the spicy honey and bacon? Yeah.

Grilled Chicken with Bacon Glaze

Originally published July 27, 2014

My doctor found a funny mole on my back once a couple years ago. It was melanoma. I feel kind of awkward bringing it up because when people hear the word “cancer” they automatically think of chemo and hospitals and shaved heads, and the alarm bells go off.

Mine wasn’t like that. Melanoma is skin cancer, and it was just in the first stages, thank goodness. I didn’t even bother telling my mom about it for a few days because I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I mentioned it to her in passing on the phone and she flipped, of course.

Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze on Grilled Chicken

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wasn’t worried. I mean who wants cancer? Especially when you’re only 24? Melanoma is pretty common with older folks, whose skin has simply been used up after 80 years of wear and tear. But me? Young, sunscreen-loving, lily-white me?

I had outpatient surgery to have the melanoma removed from my upper back and that was that. The end.

Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

It’s strange. It’s not like it weighs on me. All I have to do is see a dermatologist every year. At my checkup today the worst I heard was that I apparently have dandruff. For real. She’s like, “Use Neutrogena, it will help.”

Dandruff? Are you kidding me? It’s like they’re desperate to diagnose me with something, because I barely have any moles left for them to examine. My skin looks great, they say.

Grilled Chicken - The Food Charlatan

And I feel guilty. That’s why I feel weird bringing up the C-word. One Harry Potter scar on my back and I’m good to go. I feel like it doesn’t really deserve the cancer title.

Maybe I should just start referring to it as my Dandruff Surgery that I had that one time. And I have to get a checkup every year to make sure I don’t need any more Dandruff Surgery. So next year when I talk about my dandruff doctor, who will hopefully still be just a dandruff-finding doctor and not a melanoma-finding doctor, you’ll know not to worry too much.

Making Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Grilled Chicken Marinade

In other not-so-serious news, Eric and I bought a grill for the first time a few weeks ago. Woohoo! We have been grilling up a storm. I found this recipe for Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze last summer. It’s from The Pioneer Woman, so of course it’s amazing. The best part is how easy it is. Marinate some chicken, make a 4-ingredient sauce, and throw it together. Easy! And ridiculously good. The chicken is so tender.

Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze on Salmon

I also like to make this recipe with salmon. Why have I not thought about combining salmon and bacon before this? It’s a good choice. Viva la bacon!

Grilled Chicken Marinade

Balsamic Grills Chicken - Montreal Steak Seasoning

Use the good stuff. McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning is classic.

Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Spicy Honey Glaze

Here’s all you need to make the glaze…super easy.

Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Oh and can’t forget the bacon! Duh.

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One year ago: Leftover Hot Dog Pizza with Caramelized Onions
Four years ago: Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (Slow Cooker)
Six years ago: Chicken Shawarma


Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 21 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
This grilled chicken is SO full of flavor from the marinade. A quick 4-ingredient glaze tops it off. Oh, did I mention the spicy honey and bacon?


  • 4 chicken breasts*, left whole or cut into thick strips diagonally
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil , or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons steak seasoning

For the glaze:

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, I used Frank's


  • In a large ziplock bag, squish together 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cup oil, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons steak seasoning. Add the chicken breast, thighs, or salmon filets. Seal and refrigerate for a few hours. (If you are marinading salmon, grill them after 1-2 hours at the longest or it will get mushy. If you are doing chicken, you can do it 2-3 days in advance if you want.)
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Make the glaze. In a large pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp, then remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and let cool. If you didn't chop it, crumble it now. Set aside.
  • Drain the grease from the pan, but don't clean it. Add the honey, worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Let bubble over medium heat. Once it is bubbly, add in the chopped bacon. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened lightly, then remove from heat. The glaze will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  • Grill the chicken or salmon over medium-high heat. Discard the marinade, or use it to brush the fresh veggies you should be grilling. Don't forget to brush the grill with oil first or it will stick. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, until it is no longer pink for the chicken, or until it flakes tenderly with a fork for the salmon.
  • Serve topped with the bacon glaze. I like to serve this with grilled veggies on the side, like tomatoes and baby bell peppers. It would also be good with baked beans.


*I used 2 salmon filets and 3 chicken thighs this time when I made it. If you are doing all salmon, use 4-6 filets. If you are doing just thighs, use at least 5. It doesn't really matter, just however many you can fit in the marinade and have it cover them pretty well. The marinade is a pretty generous amount.
Source: originally from the Pioneer Woman, but I think she took the recipe down. I got the recipe from The Recipe Critic. (Update: it looks like The Recipe Critic took her blog down. But I did find the original recipe posted on The Pioneer Woman's other site, Tasty Kitchen.)


Serving: 1chicken breast | Calories: 678kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 254mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 678
Keyword: bacon, Balsamic, chicken, glazed, grilled, Honey
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!
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  1. I made it for a birthday party of 25 people and it was a hit. I decided that rather grill the chicken I used the broiler in my oven. Very flavorful and moist.

    1. Oh man, lucky birthday party attendees!! That sounds like so much fun. I’m so happy you liked it! Thanks for sharing your review!

    1. No problem Betsy! I’m so glad you liked it! I just made this again yesterday. Happy fourth!

  2. This was great. I had no charcoal, so I decided to to do these in the oven. I sautéed red onions, jalapeño and mushrooms in a pan. Took that out. Took the thighs out of the marinade and seared them for about 10 minutes. These cooked out a nice juice (marinade cooking out of the chicken) . I removed the chicken and added the glaze mix (uncooked) into the pan. Added white wine and cooked it down for about 5 minutes. Added back the chicken with enough beef broth to be able to braise the meat. Put in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. Then uncovered for another 10. Flavor was great! Skin was nice and crisp! Thanks for posting this recipe I will use it often!!!

    1. That sounds awesome Nadeen! I will have to try it in the oven next time. Thanks for sharing your variation!

  3. Wow! This marinade is fantastic. Forget the bacon (of course I was out). I had scored a deal on chicken quarters which I was cutting into thighs and drumsticks. I made the marinade and put it the zip locks with the chicken and froze it. A week or so later I pulled out the chicken thighs and threw them in the crockpot. They were fantastic!! The leftovers were even better the next day. My husband ate his because I was home late from work. I almost didn’t have dinner, he like them so much. He sacrificially saved one for me and watched me eat it with great longing. I almost felt bad….naaa it was so good and I could make more. I pinned it for the Bacon but the marinade its self is a keeper.

    1. I agree Kathy! This marinade is totally stand alone! Thanks for the review, I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

    2. Hi Karen, the “C” word is no joke! My wife has the same thing and it’s scary. Just don’t let it get outta control. I almost fell out of my chair at dinner when my wife finally told me about it. Bacon on salmon sounds interesting and I’m going to try it this weekend. Thanks for the tip. 
      BTW  You rock!!!

      1. Thanks Johnny! I’m glad your wife ended up telling you about it, and I hope she is okay! Scary stuff. Do let me know how the bacon on salmon goes! I’m a huge fan.

  4. KAREN!!!! I just made this recipe for the blog on Tuesday and it was FANTASTIC!!!! All of your recipes are just spectacular! We had guests over and they also all LOVED it!!!! I am making it again tonight for another family! I hope all of my exclamation marks and capital letters are getting across HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS DISH!!!! You definitely have a gift for developing recipes! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you liked it Lauren :) This is not actually my recipe, it’s a Pioneer Woman original. She took it off her site though for some reason! So I’m glad I have it here :)

  5. This was amazing!!! We just made it for dinner and it was a hit with the whole family. So happy I found this recipe.

  6. While I’m very happy to hear you caught your melanoma in time, it is really not something to take lightly or joke about. You may have a small Harry Potter scar but my husband is missing a pretty large section of his arm that required a skin graph and he too was diagnosed at a hong age, 26. Approximately 10,000 Americans will die from melanoma this year.

    1. Dear Tricia and The Food Charlatan,

      I fear this will be lengthy ;) but please bear with me. My little (@ 24 yoa) sister was diagnosed with Melanoma… What I have learned, is that Cancer isn’t a joke! However, we need to joke and laugh around about it to survive. It makes things easier. Cancer itself isn’t a joke, the suffering brought to the cancer survivor/victim and their supporters… not so funny. Yet, :) there is always a bright side: we have the ability to laugh and love and joke about & remember that life is still amongst us, within us. I am a part of the YACC (Young Adults of Cancer Canada, on facebook!) and am more than happy to have decided to involve myself in a team of people that understand what it’s like to be single, in a relationship, searching for a new life, understanding their issues as a supporter and as a survivo!r! It’s a wonderful group and I hope you find your support as well! Feel free to contact me if you wish
      sincerely, Mel

      1. Thank you for your kind words Mel! That is so cool that you get to participate in a group like that! Thanks for taking time to comment :)

  7. This recipe is fabulous! Served chicken with green beans and roasted fingerling potatoes. This is a keeper!! Can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow night. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Cindy! I’m so glad you liked it! Good plan with the fingerling potates. That sounds delicious!

  8. Wow!! To your positive spirit. And another wow to the balsamic grill chicken recipe. Loved it and will continue to love it

    1. Thanks Sereana! We love this recipe over here too, it’s a family favorite. Thanks for stopping to say hi!

  9. Please let me know if it is not o.k. to use your delicious looking bacon appetizer in my bacon roundup posts. I will definitely link back to you.

    Diane Roark

  10. This chicken looks wonderful. May I make a suggestion? Whenever I see a “grilled” recipe, I wish that an indoor alternative (oven/stove top) direction would also be given. That would be helpful for those who don’t have access to a grill or who wish to prepare it during the colder months. Thanks for your blog. :)

  11. Oh Karen, you really know how to make me laugh — and how to lighten up a usually depressing topic! Even though it wasn’t all that serious, I’d still be scared to go under surgery. I’ve had a couple of larger moles for a while (the main one was my first freckle that my mom thought was dirt and spent 20 minutes trying to scrub it off in my bath) that the dermatologist has been keeping an eye on for a while, and I always get a little nervous when those appointments come around. If I could call her a dandruff doctor, it’d be a lot easier to go! ;)

  12. Harry Potter!! Makes me love you and your blog more :) Love your approach to a sensitive subject and of course, love your food!

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