Better-Than-Takeout Mongolian Chicken

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Better-Than-Takeout Mongolian Chicken — 🙌🏻🥢🧡 No need to call for takeout when you’ve got this recipe for the BEST Mongolian chicken that’s ready in just 20 minutes! Juicy and tender bites of chicken are drenched in plenty of sweet-and-tangy sauce for a guaranteed family FAVORITE meal! This one-skillet, no-fuss Asian-inspired recipe is healthier, faster, and less expensive than calling for takeout which is music to my ears!

A square white plate with rice topped with glazed chicken chunks, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. Chopsticks, fresh ginger, green onions, and a napkin are beside the plate.

I have a ton of better-than-takeout recipes that I’ve shared over the last 15 years and they’re always a favorite with readers. They tend to be very easy, ready in less than 30 minutes, made in one skillet, and use common and easy-to-find ingredients.

Which is exactly how I would describe this better-than-takeout Mongolian chicken, too!

Similar to my other Asian-inspired chicken skillet recipes, this one is ready in just 20 minutes, and the sauce that coats every bite of chicken has a wonderful sweet and tangy flavor. Along with a hefty amount of honey for sweetness, there’s soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil to really drive home that Asian flavor profile.

I appreciate that cooking at home is usually healthier than eating out because I’m in control of all the ingredients and there’s very little oil in this recipe because the chicken just sears lightly and isn’t fried!

A plate of white rice topped with pieces of chicken glazed in an sauce garnished with white sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Chopsticks rest on the side.

Looking For a Mongolian Beef Recipe?

I’ve got you covered with multiple options!

1. P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe – Dare I say, it’s better than the restaurant? Yes, I do and I will!

2. Mongolian Beef and Rice Bowls – Everything is stir fried together for a recipe that will just bowl you over!

3. Honorable mentions to both Better-Than-Takeout Beef with Broccoli and 15-Minute Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli because they’re both fan favorites!

A square white plate of rice topped with sauced chicken chunks, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, with a pair of wooden chopsticks lying beside the plate.

What Is Mongolian Chicken?

So many Asian chicken recipes, so little time. And I have a ton of them!

I recently posted recipes for Teriyaki Chicken and Sesame Chicken and Sticky Chicken.

And you may be wondering how this recipe and the others are different?

  • Teriyaki Chicken – Less sauce overall, and the overall flavor profile is more soy-dominant. It’s hardly sweet at all with only 1 tbsp of honey and a bit of brown sugar. If you like a saltier (not sweet) chicken dish, this is for you. Pretty sure most people know what this classic dish tastes like.
  • Mongolian Chicken (this recipe) – More sauce volume (which is great if you want to spoon it over rice or just love really saucy chicken) and with 1/2 cup honey it’s much sweeter than teriyaki chicken but balanced.
  • Sesame Chicken – Plenty of sauce, sweeter than the others from 3/4 cup honey. It also uses frozen popcorn chicken so the chicken is lightly breaded. I like to call this one ‘semi-homemade’ thanks to the convenience product used.
  • Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken – This is a totally scratch version of above, and I prefer it (I may be the only one on the earth who prefers non-breaded chicken) and this one is saucy-saucy galore, and pretty sweet.
  • General Tso’s Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken – My Kung Pao chicken recipe is close to General Tso’s but Kung Pao has red peppers, whereas General Tso’s is just the protein, no veggies. Both of these read spicy-yet-sweet, as savory dishes go. The heat level can vary from mild to hot depending on preference. Of all the previously mentioned chicken recipes, these are the only ‘spicy’ ones.
Various cooking ingredients are arranged on a white surface, including rice, raw chicken, soy sauce, tomato paste, egg yolk, oil, broth, ginger, garlic, green onions, water, and sesame seeds.

Ingredients in Mongolian Chicken

For this homemade rendition of a popular dish in Chinese-American restaurants, you’ll need the following common ingredients:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Cornstarch
  • Olive oil – or a neutral oil like avocado oil which also has a high smoke point, or canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, etc.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger – Fresh or dried (ground) ginger are fine, read the FAQs below for more info
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Chicken broth – I use low sodium
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Green onions and/or sesames seeds for garnishing, optional

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

How to Make Mongolian Chicken

  1. Dredge the chicken pieces in half the cornstarch.
  2. To a large skillet (or wok but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one), add the olive oil, chicken, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. When the chicken is done, remove it from the skillet and set it on a plate.
  1. Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the soy sauce, honey, broth, sesame oil, and whisk to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, add the remaining cornstarch, water, and mix to form a cornstarch slurry.
  4. Add the slurry to the sauce in the pan, whisk to combine, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the Mongolian savory sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pan, toss with the sauce, season with salt and pepper, optionally garish as desired, and serve immediately!
A close-up of chopsticks holding a piece of Mongolian chicken over a bed of white rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions

In the Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

In the Freezer: This recipe will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in fridge.

To Reheat: I use my microwave for quickness and ease and reheat my leftovers for about 30 seconds on high, or as needed. But you can use your stove or whatever is best suited for you.

Make Ahead: Like all recipes, this is amazing warm and fresh. But if you want to make it in advance as a meal-prep recipe, it’ll keep well for about 5 days. Place the chicken with rice alongside it in small microwave-safe containers and your workday (or work-from-home) lunches just went up to A+ style!

Recipe FAQs

CAN I USE CHICKEN THIGHS INSTEAD OF CHICKEN BREASTS?

Yes you can. I personally prefer chicken breasts to thighs in general, and this recipe is no exception. But if dark meat is more your jam, go for it. Thighs may take a minute or two longer to cook through fully, but it’s negligible.

DO I HAVE TO USE CORNSTARCH?

Yes and you use it twice:
1. To dredge the chicken which gives it a lightly crisped exterior.
2. To thicken the Mongolian sauce, otherwise it’ll seem thin and won’t cling to the chicken.

If you’re wondering what else to make with your little box or jar of cornstarch, many of my chicken recipes use cornstarch including my Better-Than-Takeout Teriyaki Chicken will take this very inexpensive (but important) ingredient off your hands.

What kind of sesame oil should I use?

Sesame oil adds quintessential Asian flavor and so don’t skip it. Toasted (vs. non-toasted) sesame oil is the most common way it’s sold and what’s best for this recipe.

should i use fresh or ground ginger?

Either are fine. I tend to never have fresh on hand, but I always have ground ginger in the pantry, so I use ground. I use 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or about 2 teaspoons of fresh. Dried (ground) ginger is more potent than fresh so you should use about double of ground/dry to fresh. But it’s very flexible, don’t overthink it.

Can I double the recipe? Or halve it?

Yes, feel free to scale the recipe up or down based on your needs.

Note that the recipe makes a hefty quantity of sauce which is great for us sauce lovers! But as a caveat, even if you double the amount of chicken, I wouldn’t double the sauce, because you could end up with just too much. I would make 1.5x the amount of sauce but use 2x the amount of chicken. Or just double it, and know you’ll have a ton of sauce (great over rice, quinoa, or just saucy Mongolian chicken)!

can i add vegetables?

Yes, easily. When you add the sauce ingredients, add a couple handfuls of broccoli, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, sliced carrots, red chilies, etc. and allow them to simmer in the sauce as it thickens, add the chicken back in, simmer and toss everything together, and serve.

What to Serve with Mongolian Chicken

A bed of white rice, brown rice, basmati, coconut rice, fried rice or cauliflower rice is a near must-have to soak up all the glorious sauce. Noodle dishes like Sweet-and-Sour Noodles or Chow Mein are great with this.

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5 from 1 vote

Better-Than-Takeout Mongolian Chicken

🙌🏻🥢🧡 No need to call for takeout when you've got this recipe for the BEST Mongolian chicken that's ready in just 20 minutes! Juicy and tender bites of chicken are drenched in plenty of sweet-and-tangy sauce for a guaranteed family FAVORITE meal! This one-skillet, no-fuss Asian-inspired recipe is healthier, faster, and less expensive than calling for takeout which is music to my ears!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

  • 1 to 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or about 2 teaspoons freshly grated, or to taste
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup honey
  • cup chicken broth, I use reduced sodium
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt, as desired and to taste
  • Black pepper, as desired and to taste
  • Green onions and/or sesames seeds for garnishing, optional and to taste

Instructions 

  • To a large bowl or gallon sized ziptop bag, add the chicken, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and toss the chicken in the cornstarch in the bowl (or seal the bag and shake vigorously to coat evenly). Tip – Cornstarch helps the exterior of the chicken get lightly crispy without frying it, and shouldn't be omitted.
  • To a large skillet, add the olive oil, chicken, and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and done. Stir and flip frequently to ensure even cooking. When the chicken is done, remove it using a slotted spoon and set it on plate momentarily. Tip – Want to use boneless skinless chicken thighs? That's fine, they'll likely need an extra 1-2 minutes to cook through.
  • To the same skillet (don't wipe it out), add the garlic, ginger, and if necessary add a bit more oil if your skillet is dry, and saute for about 1 minute; stir constantly so garlic doesn't burn.
  • Add the soy sauce, honey, broth, sesame oil, and whisk to combine. Set aside momentarily.
  • To a small bowl, add the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water, and stir to combine and dissolve the cornstarch. This is called a slurry.
  • Add the slurry to the skillet with the other liquids, and whisk to combine. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, whisking nearly constantly, until sauce thickens slightly. Tip – Cornstarch is essential because it helps the sauce thicken and can't be skipped or your sauce will be thinner and won't cling to the chicken. Sauces always seem thinner when they're in the pot, with the stove on, so it won't get overly thick, but thicker.
  • Add the chicken into the sauce, stir to combine and coat evenly. Taste and if desired, add salt and pepper, to taste. Flavoring Tips – Depending on the brand of soy sauce and broth you use, and your personal preference for salt, you may or may not need to add salt.
  • Optionally garnish with green onions and/or sesame seeds, as desired, and serve immediately (with rice, quinoa, or something else to soak up the sauce is recommended).
  • Storage – Extra chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat leftovers in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds, or as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion, Calories: 437kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 1388mg, Potassium: 675mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 43IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Asian Chicken Recipes:

Better-Than-Takeout Teriyaki Chicken – 🥢🍚 Learn how to make the BEST teriyaki chicken at home in one skillet in just 20 minutes! Tender juicy chicken that’s full of rich Asian-inspired teriyaki flavor is a guaranteed family FAVORITE! Faster, healthier, and more budget-friendly than calling for takeout which is a triple WIN!

A close-up of a plate of rice topped with saucy chunks of teriyaki chicken, garnished with green onions, with chopsticks picking up a piece of chicken.

Kung Pao Chicken — 🌶️🍗 An easy, BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT recipe with juicy chicken and such a flavorful sauce!! Don’t call for takeout when you can make this HEALTHIER version at home in 20 minutes! So AUTHENTIC tasting!

overhead view of kung pao chicken in a metal skillet

Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken – Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!! 

Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken - Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!! 

Healthier Orange Chicken – Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!

Healthier Orange Chicken - Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you'll never miss the fat and calories!!

15-Minute Skillet Sesame Chicken with Broccoli – Healthier sesame chicken that isn’t breaded or fried! You won’t miss the fat or calories in this fast and easy version that’s loaded with Asian-inspired flavors! You can happily skip takeout now!

15-Minute Skillet Sesame Chicken with Broccoli - HEALTHIER sesame chicken that isn't breaded or fried!! You won't miss the fat or calories in this FAST and EASY version that's loaded with Asian-inspired flavors! You can happily skip takeout now!!

15-Minute Spicy Orange Chili Chicken and Broccoli – The orange chili sauce is spicy, tangy, and sweet all in one!! The PERFECT sauce to jazz up chicken and broccoli! A FAST and EASY dinner with great Asian FLAVOR!!

15-Minute Orange Chili Chicken and Broccoli - The orange chili sauce is spicy, tangy, and sweet all in one!! The PERFECT sauce to jazz up chicken and broccoli! A FAST and EASY dinner with great Asian FLAVOR!!

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken — This sweet and sour chicken recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and tastes way better than takeout. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken – Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce!! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!!

Cashew Chicken stir fry in serving bowl

Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry — 🧡💚 Juicy pieces of chicken and crisp-tender green beans are coated in a sweet and savory stir fry sauce! It’s a simple yet flavorful stir fry that’s made with pantry staples you have on hand already! Best of all, it’s a QUICK and EASY one skillet recipe that’s ready in less than 30 minutes so it’s great for busy weeknights!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. I dont understand where the sweet and sour come in this recipe. The pictured photo appears red yet there is nothing in the ingredients that would bring in that when finished.

    Was something left out?

    I LOVE your recipes and rely on them constintly.

    1. Sometimes it’s difficult to perfectly capture the tone of colors while shooting a reflective yet transparent liquid into a pan with hot steam coming at me and sunlight and daylight changing in my kitchen. I do my best though! Nothing was left out.