Chipotle-Maple Chicken Thighs with Candied Acorn Squash


A little sweet, a little spicy, and a whole lot of yum.

Chipotle-Maple Chicken Thighs with Candied Acorn Squash
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
15 mins
Bake Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

This is not your average chicken dinner. With a chipotle-maple glaze and a side of candied acorn squash, these chicken thighs are anything but ordinary. Sweet and savory collide in our Chipotle-Maple Chicken Thighs with Candied Acorn Squash.

The combination of dried chile powder and adobo sauce gives these chicken thighs a nice kick, matched with the sweetness of the maple syrup and the squash. Tender and sweet squash soaks up the savory chicken juices and caramelizes with the maple syrup. Delicata squash works just as well as acorn squash in this recipe because it's also sweet with edible skin.

The key to the crispy finish on these chicken thighs is a quick blast in the broiler after baking. Be sure to watch your chicken closely while it broils—you want it to char, but not to burn. A few additional tips from our Test Kitchen: cutting the squash into 1-inch pieces ensures that they cook in the same amount of time as the chicken. Microwaving the adobo sauce mixture helps it reduce slightly, so it glazes the chicken better. Keep the dish colorful with a finish of pomegranate arils and cilantro.


  • 1 medium acorn squash, seeded, cut into 1-inch-thick half-moons 

  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons chipotle chile powder, divided

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided

  • 8 (6-oz.) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from 1 [7-oz.] can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard

  • 5 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided

  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils (optional)

  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with oven rack about 9 inches from heating element.

  2. Toss together acorn squash, 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, ¾ teaspoon of the chile powder, and ½ teaspoon each of the black pepper and cumin on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Arrange in a single layer. Rub chicken with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with 1½ teaspoons of the salt, ½ teaspoon of the black pepper, and remaining ¾ teaspoon chile powder and ½ teaspoon cumin; nestle on baking sheet with squash in one layer. Bake in preheated oven until squash is tender and a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 165°F, about 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together adobo sauce, vinegar, dry mustard, 3 tablespoons of the maple syrup and remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH until slightly thickened, about 1½ minutes. Set aside.

  4. When chicken and squash are finished baking, increase oven temperature to broil and remove baking sheet from oven. Brush top of squash with remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Brush skin of chicken generously with adobo mixture. Return to preheated oven. Broil until chicken and squash are glazed and beginning to char in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils (if using), and garnish with cilantro.

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