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
If I’m walking by the food court in the mall and I can snag a free sample of sticky chicken, I do a little happy dance inside. But I don’t order it because I know it’s greasy and loaded with calories and fat that I don’t need.
Enter this homemade non-fried version of Asian sticky chicken that’s made in one skillet and ready in 15 minutes. No fuss, hassle-free, and perfect for busy weeknights. The chicken is ridiculously tender, juicy, and loaded with authentic Asian flavors.
As written, the recipe makes a lot of sauce and I like to drench my rice in it, but if you’re not as much of a sauce person you can cut the sauce recipe in half.
What’s in Asian Sticky Chicken?
To make this easy Asian chicken recipe, you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Chili garlic sauce
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
How to Make Sticky Chicken
To a large skillet, add boneless skinless chicken breast pieces that have been dredged in egg, flour, and cornstarch. Cook until the chicken is done, about 7 minutes, and then add the sauce.
This sticky chicken sauce 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. Chili garlic sauce is readily available at almost any grocery store these days. If you like this flavor profile, check out my 15-Minute Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.
The honey, ketchup, and sugars create the sweetness. The chili garlic sauce adds spiciness, and when you boil and reduce the sauce down in the presence of cornstarch, it because thicker and stickier. It’s finger licking good.
The sauce is just sweet enough but is balanced with the tang of the vinegar.
Can I Make Sticky Chicken 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 likely be substituted.
Tips for Making Sticky Chicken
I added 3 heaping tablespoons chili garlic sauce and the chicken and sauce had a nice kick. 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. But in my opinion for a true better-than-takeout sticky chicken, there needs to be some spiciness.
Cornstarch thickens any liquids or sauces it comes into contact with. In this recipe it helps the sauce tighten up and cling to the chicken. 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 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.
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- 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or regular or rice vinegar)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 to 4 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, to taste (I used 3 heaping tablespoons and there was a nice kick; reduce to 1 tablespoon or less if you're very sensitive to spicy foods)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup corn starch, for dredging
- 1.25 to 1.50 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons cold water
- green onions, sliced thin; optional for garnishing
- sesame seeds, optional for garnishing
Make the Sauce
- To a medium bowl, add all the ingredients, and whisk to combine; set aside.
Make the Chicken
- Add the egg to a small bowl, the flour to a separate shallow bowl, and the 1/3 cup corn starch to another shallow bowl.
- Add the chicken to the egg bowl (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 corn starch bowl and coat it with corn starch.
- To a large skillet, add the oil, add the chicken, 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.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the sauce to the skillet, and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, add 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of cold waer, and stir to combine. This is called a slurry. 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.
- Optionally, evenly garnish with green onions and/or sesame seeds and serve immediately. Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- Note: This makes a lot of sauce and if you don't love sauce or want extra (it's great over rice), halve the sauce recipe from what is written.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 774Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 1580mgCarbohydrates: 79gFiber: 2gSugar: 48gProtein: 59g
The nutritional stats are artificially high because this recipe is very saucy as written, and for even those who love sauce, it would be very difficult to consume it all. Additionally, you don't consume all of the egg, flour, and cornstarch used to dredge the chicken. In my estimation, you could reduce the overall stats by at least 30% across the board for a more accurate calculation. My opinion only of course.
More Easy Asian Chicken Recipes:
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!
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!!
Baked Teriyaki Chicken and Rice — Chicken, rice, pineapple, and red peppers cook together in one pan for an EASY weeknight dinner that tastes like you’re in Hawaii! The homemade teriyaki sauce adds so much INCREDIBLE 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!
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!
Sheet Pan Ginger Orange Chicken and Vegetables – Fast, EASY, HEALTHY, and loaded with great orange ginger flavor!! A DELISH one-pan meal with zero cleanup that’s perfect for busy weeknights!!
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken – The easiest orange chicken ever because your slow cooker does all the work!! Super juicy, tender, and coated with a sweet-yet-tangy orange glaze that’s irresistible!!
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!!