Crispy Honey Chili Chicken Recipe
The best Honey Chilli Chicken recipe, made with fried chicken strips tossed with delicious spicy-sweet, honey chilli sauce. You can create Chinese takeaway-style crispy honey chilli chicken at home with simple ingredients!
Honey chilli chicken is very popular in the UK, US, Chinese restaurants and takeaways. In this recipe, I’ll be sharing our version of crispy fried chicken with honey chilli sauce from scratch.
Creating takeout dishes from scratch can be quite challenging when you recreate them at home. But this recipe does not need any special ingredients, equipment, or cooking skills. It is so much tastier and easier than you have imagined. Every home cook can make it happen without much hassle!
If you love Chinese restaurants dishes, you will definitely enjoy our viewers’ favourite Crispy Chilli Beef and Crispy Salt and Chilli Chicken recipes.
- First, cut the chicken breast into thin strips. Place the chicken strips in a bowl, marinade with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic paste, sugar, and pepper for 10-15 minutes. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.
- Next, add egg white into the chicken and mix it well. Then add the corn starch and coat each chicken piece. ( Add more corn starch if needed. ) Toss the excess flour out before frying.
- Deep fry the coated chicken pieces with pre-heated high-heat oil, 350° F for 1-2 minutes until light brown. Remove from oil and set it aside for 4-5 minutes. Then place the fried chicken back in hot oil and fry it again for another 2-3 minutes or until crispy golden. Remove from oil and place it over the wire rack.
- Heat the wok/pan into medium-low heat, drizzle 2 tsp of oil and saute the chopped garlic for few seconds. Then pour the sauce mixture in and stir for few seconds, place the fried chicken strips back in the wok.
- Combine the sauce and chicken pieces well. Turn off the heat and sprinkle fresh chilli slices and spring onions.
- Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.
- You can serve on its own or pair it with plain rice, egg fried rice or stir fry noodles.
- Chicken breast- boneless skinless is what I’ve used in this recipe, but you can use thigh too.
- Plain flour- for dusting the chicken to get that crispy exterior when the chicken is fried. We’re using this in place of a typical Chinese style batter to save time and calories. This chicken is crispy and light instead of on the heavier side.
- Honey- forms part of the base of the sauce
- Sweet chilli sauce- forms the other part of the sauce base
- Fresh ginger- brings some spice and depth of flavour to the sauce
- Fresh garlic- all sauces are made better with garlic
- Lime juice- balances out all the sweetness from the honey and sweet chilli sauce
- Dark soy sauce (light also works)- brings a salty depth of flavour to the sauce and also helps to balance the sweetness
- Red chilli pepper- brings the heat!
- Corn starch (corn flour)- helps to thicken the sauce (forgot to add it to the photo!)
- Vegetable oil- for frying the chicken
- Spring onions- for serving
- Coriander- for serving
Some notes on ingredients- most recipe will use basic pantry ingredients (salt, pepper, olive oil) in addition to the ingredients listed. I don’t usually give measurements for items like salt because everyone’s tolerance and taste are different.
- It’s important to fry with high-heat to prevent the chicken strips from getting greasy and soggy. You can check the oil temperature with food thermometer. If you don’t have it in hand, use wooden spatula or chopstick to test. Dip the wooden chopstick/spatula in the hot oil, when the oil steadily bubbling it’s ready to fry.
- Do not overcooked the chicken strips. Overcooked chicken strips can be tough and chewy.
- Use vegetable oil or neutral flavour oils for deep frying because they do not overpower the dish flavour.
- To prep-ahead, fry the chicken strips 2-3 minutes, then you can store in fridge or freeze with air tight bags. Make the sauce and keep it in and air-tight jar once it cool down. Deep fry the chicken strips 2nd time just right before serving and heat the sauce until hot, then toss well to combine together.
How to make honey chilli chicken from scratch
- First, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside. Slice the chicken breast into same size thin strips. Marinade with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic paste, sugar and white pepper for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- Next, add one egg white into the chicken and mix it well. Then add the corn starch and coat each chicken pieces until separate. Add more corn starch if needed.
- Heat the oil into high heat about 350 F, fry the coated chicken strips for 1-2 minutes until light brown. Then remove from oil and set it aside on the cooling rack for 4-5 minutes.
- Then double fry it again until crispy golden.
- Heat the large wok/pan into medium-low heat, drizzle oil and saute the chopped garlic for few seconds.
- Pour the chilli sauce mixture in and stir for few seconds to heat up the sauce.
- Place the fried chicken strips in the wok and toss well to combine everything evenly with the sauce.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle chilli slices and chopped spring onions.
Flouring the chicken
- Tip the plain flour into a shallow baking dish or a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Slice the chicken into long strips, You can also cut into chunks, but strips just feel a little more like take away to me. Toss the chicken in the flour and coat it completely.
- Leave the chicken in the flour while you have the vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet.
The frying process
- Once the oil is hot (180c if you have a thermometer) fry the chicken in batches until each strip is golden and cooked through. If you don’t have a thermometer you can use a cube of bread to determine the heat of the oil. Bread should turn golden in about 30 seconds. If the oil isn’t hot enough it will absorb into the chicken. If the oil is too hot, the outside will turn golden before the inside of the chicken is cooked.
- Drain the chicken on some kitchen roll/paper towel to absorb any of the excess oil.
Making the sauce
- Empty the hot oil into a metal container and set aside. Add another drop of oil to the pan and add in the ginger and chilli pepper slices. Sautee for about 1 minute. Add in the garlic and the honey.
- When you add the honey turn the heat down so it doesn’t burn. Due to the high sugar content, honey can burn very quickly.
- Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. The sauce will continue to thicken the longer it is on the heat. You can add more water to the pan as required to get a sauce that will coat the chicken completely. As I was taking these photos I added water several times and it kept thickening as the sauce was cooled and reheated.
- Toss in the chopped coriander to coat the chicken.
Toss the chicken in seasoned cornflour
Mix a little garlic powder and white pepper with the cornflour/cornstarch in a bowl and add the chicken pieces. Mix with your hands until the chicken is evenly coated with cornflour.
Fry the chicken
Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken pieces when the oil is hot and cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan when it starts to turn brown and crisp up and set aside.
Top tip: check the chicken is done by cutting into the largest piece. If the flesh is white and opaque you are good to go. If it is pink and translucent cook it for a little longer.
Cook the garlic, chilli, ginger, and red peppers
Carefully remove most of the oil from the pan or add 1 tablespoon of oil to a fresh pan. Place the pan on a medium to high heat and add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Then add the red peppers and fry for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
Important safety tip: Be very careful when removing the hot oil from the pan. Ensure it does not come into contact with water and carefully pour it into a Pyrex heat-proof jug or bowl and set it aside in a place where there is no risk of it being knocked over by you or anyone else in your household. Do not pour it down the sink. Instead, transfer it to a container with a lid when it is cool and dispose of it in your normal waste bin.
Pour on the sauce
Pour on the sauce and let it reduce for a few seconds. Add the cooked chicken pieces and serve immediately with rice topped with spring onions/scallions and sesame seeds.
Top tips for perfect crispy honey chilli chicken
- Don’t skip the cornflour/cornstarch – it gives the chicken its crispy coating and is worth a few extra minutes and an additional bowl to wash up.
- Add enough oil to the pan – ensure you have 0.5cm/1/4 inch of oil in your pan. This may seem like a lot but most of it will still be in the pan when you are done.
- Add the chicken to the pan when the oil is hot – if you add the chicken to the pan too soon it will be soggy and greasy. For perfectly crisp chicken, check whether the oil is ready by dropping a breadcrumb into the pan. If it sizzles up the oil is ready. If the crumb sinks it needs longer.
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