Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken and Broccoli

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Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken and Broccoli — Don’t call for takeout or bother with the mall food court when you can make this AMAZING restaurant-quality sticky chicken at home in minutes! A one-pan wonder that’s so EASY with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and plenty of sticky sauce that coats every piece of moist chicken and crisp-tender broccoli!

A pot of sticky chicken with broccoli.

Even though it’s not often, when I walk by the food court at the mall I always happily oblige if I’m offered a piece of sticky chicken as a free sample. I mean, who can resist!

My homemade copycat version of Asian sticky chicken is made in one skillet and ready in 30 minutes making it perfect for busy weeknights or any time that you’re tempted to call for takeout. Now you can make copycat-worthy sticky chicken at home.

Close-up of sesame-glazed chicken with broccoli in a savory sauce.

The chicken is so juicy without being deep fried, the crisp-tender broccoli adds the perfect amount of crunch, and the sticky sauce is ridiculously good. 

The recipe is actually a spinoff of this reader favorite, Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken recipe, but with the addition of broccoli. I love how the sauce soaks into every nook and cranny of the broccoli florets!

A close-up view of a dish featuring broccoli and chunks of chicken coated in a thick, glossy sauce, garnished with sesame seeds.

As written, the recipe makes a lot of sauce which we love to slather all over rice. See the FAQs if you want to consider halving the sauce portion of the recipe.

A pot of sesame sticky chicken and broccoli in a savory sauce.

Ingredients Needed

To make this easy sticky chicken and broccoli recipe, you’ll need:

  • Honey 
  • Ketchup 
  • Apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Egg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Broccoli florets
  • Sesame seeds, optional for garnishing
  • Green onions or scallions, optional for garnishing
  • Salt and pepper, optional to taste

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

Sticky chicken and broccoli in a thick sauce, garnished with sesame seeds.

Chili Garlic Sauce + Recipes

Chili garlic sauce is readily available at almost any grocery store these days.

If you like this flavor profile, check out my Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken that I used as as jumping off place for this recipe, as well as 15-Minute Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. 

Asian chicken with broccoli in a saucepan, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

How to Make Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken

  1. First whisk together the sticky sauce which is a mixture of honey, ketchup, soy sauce, white and brown sugar, vinegar, and chili garlic sauce. You probably have all the items in your pantry or fridge already. Set it aside.
  2. To a very large skillet, add boneless skinless chicken breast pieces that have been dredged in beaten egg, flour, and cornstarch. Cook until the chicken is done, about 7 minutes, and add the broccoli.
  3. Then pour the sauce in and stir to combine and coat the chicken and broccoli evenly before adding a cornstarch slurry which tightens up the sauce.
  4. Simmer and then garnish with a tsp of sesame seeds, sprinkle green onions, and serve!

The honey, ketchup, and sugars create sweetness which is just sweet enough and is balanced with the tang of the vinegar and the chili garlic sauce adds a bit of spiciness.

When you boil and reduce the sauce down in the presence of corn starch, it becomes thicker and stickier. It’s so so good!

Glazed chicken and broccoli with sesame seeds.

Flavor Variations to Try

Make it Orange: This scrumptious and very saucy chicken reminds me a lot of Panda Express Orange Chicken due to the texture of the chicken + the sauce, minus the orange flavor. That’s easy to incorporate though – just add 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the sauce, and voila you’ll have sticky orange chicken.

Orange Chicken Fans? I also have a couple recipes for orange chicken including Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and Healthier Skillet Orange Chicken.

Make it With More Veggies: If you want to add more vegetables, feel free! Some easy wins include adding not just the broccoli I used, but add sugar snap peas, snow peas, shelled edamame, sliced carrots, bamboo shoots, green beans, small mushrooms, zucchini, or whatever you love in your stir fry recipes.

Make it Sesame: You can use a tablespoon or two of sesame oil as a substitute for some of the olive oil. I love the flavor of sesame oil and it definitely adds a noteworthy flavor that’s very telltale Asian-inspired! You may also use vegetable oil or avocado oil instead of olive oil.

A dish of sesame chicken with broccoli in a thick, glossy sauce.

Tips for Cooking with Cornstarch

My biggest tip is really about cornstarch. Cornstarch thickens any liquids or sauces it comes into contact with.

In this recipe it’s used twice:

  1. dredging the chicken in it before you sear it in the skillet to give a copycat texture to the chicken
  2. and in a slurry at the end it to tighten up the sauce.

Cornstarch is a kitchen magician in many regards, but there are some pitfalls. If you’re not careful you can have a gloppy mess in a hurry. My tips for avoiding that include:

  • Cook over medium heat to medium-high heat, but not high.
  • Stir the pan sauce nearly constantly until you get the sauce consistency just to your liking.
  • Sauces that have cornstarch in them tend to tighten up a bit more as they cool so plan accordingly.
  • If in doubt, stop cooking or simmering the sauce, sooner rather than later so it doesn’t get overly thick.
A pot of saucy chicken with broccoli.

what to serve with sticky chicken and Broccoli

Sticky Chicken and Broccoli FAQs

Can i make this recipe in a crockpot?

No, this recipe is best made in a skillet. 

can i use chicken thighs?

I used boneless skinless chicken breasts in this sticky chicken recipe, but boneless skinless thighs can be substituted. I have a feeling that restaurants like Panda Express tend to use thigh meat anyway.

is this sticky chicken recipe spicy?

I call for 1 to 4 tablespoons of chili garlic sauce in the recipe. I personally used 4 tablespoons and the sauce had a nice kick but it’s by no means ‘spicy’ to us. There’s a large volume of food between two pounds of chicken and six cups of broccoli florets, so it’s in proportion, but if you’re sensitive to spicy foods, dial that quantity back.

Start with one tablespoon and work up from there. Or if you don’t want any spiciness, it’s easy to omit. However, in my opinion for a true better-than-takeout sticky chicken, there needs to be some spiciness! Red pepper flakes are also a nice garnish if you want to add just a touch of heat.

can i halve the recipe?

Yes you can. Halve all amounts. I like to make 2 lbs of chicken (the recipe as written) rather than 1 pound so that we have leftovers for lunch or a quick dinner the next couple days, but if you are cooking for one or two people, you may considering halving the recipe.

can i halve just the sauce PORTION of the recipe?

If you don’t love your food swimming in quite as much sauce as we do, feel free to halve the amount of sauce ingredients (and halve the amount of the cornstarch + water) and do everything else as written.

Note that if you do this, your chicken could be a bit on the dry side since there won’t be very much sauce, but some people prefer that to ‘too much’ sauce. I am a ‘too much’ sauce person, always, so I wouldn’t consider halving it. Plus the extra sauce is great over rice.

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4.84 from 6 votes

Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken and Broccoli

By Averie Sunshine
Don't call for takeout or bother with the food court at the mall when you can make this AMAZING restaurant-quality sticky chicken at home in minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and plenty of sticky sauce!! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients  

Sticky Sauce

  • cup honey*, (See Notes)
  • cup ketchup
  • cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, or regular or rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar*, packed (light or dark; See Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar*, (See Notes)
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, to taste (I used 4 heaping tablespoons and there was a nice kick; reduce to 1 tablespoon or less if you’re very sensitive to spicy foods)

Chicken

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup corn starch, for dredging
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed while cooking
  • 5 to 6 cups broccoli florets, from about 3 small/medium heads broccoli
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons cold water
  • green onions, sliced thin; optional for garnishing
  • sesame seeds, optional for garnishing
  • salt and pepper, optional and to taste

Instructions 

  • Sticky sauce – To a medium bowl, add all the ingredients, and whisk to combine; set aside. Note – If you don't adore sauce, and want to consider halving the amount of the sauce in the recipe, you can. Please also see my Notes below for both the Sticky Sauce + Sweetness.
  • Chicken – Add the egg to a medium bowl, the flour to a separate shallow bowl, and the 1/3 cup cornstarch to another shallow bowl.
  • Add the chicken to the egg bowl. Tips – I add it all at once and smoosh it around with my fingers, pick it up and transfer it to the flour bowl and coat it with flour (doesn't have to be 100% completely and perfectly coated), pick it up and transfer it to the cornstarch bowl and coat it with corn starch.
  • To a very large high-sided skillet (use the biggest one you have because this makes a large volume of food), add the oil, the chicken (make sure to shake off extra flour/corn starch before adding it to the skillet), and cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until the chicken is seared, lightly browned on the outside, and cooked through; stir and flip frequently to ensure even cooking. Tip – At any time during cooking, if your skillet is dry looking, add additional oil because chicken that's coated and breaded like this is prone to soaking up oil. I added another ~3 tablespoons.
  • Push the chicken over to one side of the skillet and add the broccoli. Tip It looks like an enormous quantity but the broccoli will reduce dramatically in volume as it cooks.
  • Evenly drizzle the sticky sauce over both the chicken and broccoli, and then stir and toss to combine and coat evenly; set skillet aside momentarily.
  • To a small bowl, add 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of cold water, and stir to combine. Tip – This is called a slurry and will cause the sauce to thicken up. Add the slurry to the skillet and stir to combine.
  • Stir the sauce nearly continuously for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened up as much as desired, allowing it to boil gently as your stir. Tip – I find it best to use a rubber spatula and sort of scrape the bottom and sides of the pan rather than actually 'stirring' so that the sauce doesn't stick or burn on the bottom or sides.
  • 5 minutes should be enough time for the broccoli to become crisp-tender and for your sauce to thicken, but if either needs a bit more time, cook for as long as desired, noting that the sauce will continue to thicken and tighten up as it cools.
  • Optionally, evenly garnish with green onions and/or sesame seeds, and if desired add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
  • Storage – Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat gently in the microwave. Note that leftovers will never have the same texture as freshly made chicken and broccoli does, but the flavor will still be good.

Notes

Sticky Sauce – As written, the recipe makes a large volume of sauce, which you may not need all of. I am hesitant to say halve the sauce because I don’t think halving it would give you quite enough. It’s better to have a bit extra to spoon over rice rather than not enough. However, if you know you’re not a sauce person, halve the ingredients in the sauce portion and halve the cornstarch slurry. 
Sweetness – The flavor of this chicken is on the sweet side, similar to Americanized Asian recipes you’d find in a Panda Express type of restaurant. If you know you may not like things quite as sweet,  you may consider reducing the honey by a few tablespoons and/or halving the brown sugar and/or halving or omitting the granulated sugar. Taste as you go, before adding ALL the sweetening agents, and decide if you want to make it as written or if a bit less sweet suits you better. We like it as written, but everyone has different levels of tolerance for sweetness in an overall savory dish.
I recommend serving this dish with rice because it soaks up the sticky sauce magnificently.
Adapted from Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 548kcal, Carbohydrates: 74g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 124mg, Sodium: 1108mg, Potassium: 985mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 51g, Vitamin A: 694IU, Vitamin C: 71mg, Calcium: 68mg, Iron: 2mg

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

More Skillet Asian Chicken Recipes:

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!! 

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

Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice – One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!

Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice - One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you'll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is!! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!!

Chicken Stir-Fry with Noodles — Skip takeout and make this EASY stir fry that’s ready in 15 minutes! Loaded with juicy chicken, crisp-tender veggies, comforting noodles, and Asian-inspired flavors! Perfect for busy weeknights!!

Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles - Skip takeout and make this EASY stir fry that's ready in 15 minutes!! Loaded with juicy chicken, crisp-tender veggies, comforting noodles, and Asian-inspired flavors! Perfect for busy weeknights!!

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!!

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!!

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!!

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!

easy sweet and sour chicken on a white plate with white rice

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 Korean Chicken — Fast, EASY, perfectly SPICY chicken that’s so tender and juicy! Who needs takeout or a restaurant when you can make this AWESOME chicken at home in 15 minutes?

spicy Korean chicken in a metal skillet

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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.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just for two of us so made half. We don’t like too hot so started with 1T Sriracha and added about ½ more T and it was JUST right. It made enough for us for dinner over rice with enough left over for lunch (mine!). SO GOOD!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review, Evelyn, and I am glad you got the spice level just right on this and that you halved the recipe and the amount was perfect as well!

  2. 5 stars
    The Sticky Chicken with Broccoli was delicious! Since one of us can’t eat spicy, I left out the hot sauce. Plus omitted the brown sugar and 1/2 the honey. It does make enough for six so the two of us had it tonight and will have it tomorrow night after a full afternoon of volunteering. The other two servings are tucked in the freezer. We served it today over brown and wild rice. Tomorrow we’ll try it over a fine egg noodle. Next time with homemade bread – plus a salad. I’ve already told a friend we’ll make it when they come for dinner next.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review, Elizabeth, and glad that you were able to tweak this to your tastes with the sweeteners as well as omitting the hot sauce and that it was a winner for you and you have leftovers waiting for you tomorrow!

  3. 4 stars
    Really good tasting recipe but I’d add less than half the brown sugar and none of the white… I know.. sticky sweet chicken but it’s dessert sweet . Flavors are great tho will make again!!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and sharing you thoughts. Yes this is a sweeter dish but it’s actually probably the honey that’s making it read too sweet for you. If you do want to make it again, I would reduce the honey and then of course the 6 tablespoons combined of brown/white sugar you can decide what to do there, too. But it’s likely the honey not the dry sugars.