Crispy Chinese Honey Chicken (without Deep Frying)

4.67 from 12 votes
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This Chinese honey chicken recipe guarantees crispy juicy chicken and a rich sauce that is bursting with flavor with a simple approach. Now you can make your favorite takeout dish at home and it’ll taste just as great as the restaurant version! {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Crispy Chinese restaurant style honey chicken cooked in a skillet

I hate deep frying food as much as you do, and I try to avoid it as much as possible. But sometimes I do crave the crispy battered honey chicken, like you’d eat at a Chinese restaurant. After much trial and error, I finally found the best solution. It creates the crispiest chicken with less oil and you only need to pan fry it. In fact, the batter works so well and the chicken stays crispy even after you coat it with sauce. Sound amazing? Let’s look at how the recipe works.

Homemade crispy Chinese honey chicken served in bowls with rice and green beans

Cooking notes

1. How to make crispy chicken without deep frying

Now here is the trick to creating crispy chicken with a crunchy coating that is like the takeout you’d get from Chinese restaurants, without making a mess.

Simply use the formula: oil + salt + egg + cornstarch

You first use the oil and salt to marinate the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes. Then you coat the chicken with beaten egg and cornstarch before pan frying. Yes, it is this easy!

Normally, deep frying requires at least a few cups of oil. For this recipe, you only need to use a regular skillet and 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of oil to pan fry the chicken. Not only does it yield an extra crispy exterior and juicy, flavorful meat, but the chicken also stays crispy even after you coat it with sauce.

Crispy Chinese restaurant style honey chicken cooked in a skillet close up

2. Use any cut of chicken you like

Although I always prefer chicken thighs, you can use chicken breast and create awesome results, as well.

Just remember to cut the chicken into 1-inch to 1 and 1/4-inch pieces. The size of the chicken pieces matters because you want the surface to turn crispy and have the inside just cooked through at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you use breasts or thighs. I’ve tried both and they both turned out awesome.

3. Create an extra flavorful sauce that’s a bit healthier

This recipe uses plenty of fresh herbs such as ginger and garlic. The Shaoxing wine and rice vinegar also add richness to the sauce. Many recipes out there use half a cup (or a whole cup!) of honey. This one uses just a quarter cup, but I guarantee the results will be amazing.

Ready to make some killer honey chicken at home? Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy the dish as much as I do!

Homemade crispy Chinese honey chicken served in bowls

More Chinese takeout recipes

Homemade crispy Chinese honey chicken served in bowls close up

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Crispy Chinese Honey Chicken (without Deep Frying) - This easier, healthier version guarantees crispy juicy chicken and a rich sauce that is bursting with flavor. Now you can make your favorite takeout dish at home and it’ll taste just as great as the restaurant version! {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Crispy Chinese Honey Chicken (without Deep Frying)

4.67 from 12 votes
This Chinese honey chicken recipe guarantees crispy juicy chicken and a rich sauce that is bursting with flavor with a simple approach. Now you can make your favorite takeout dish at home and it’ll taste just as great as the restaurant version! {Gluten Free Adaptable}To make this dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut amino to replace the soy sauce. Use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken thighs , cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave syrup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry for gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Cook

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced
  • 2 green onions , chopped, with white and green parts separated

Instructions

  • Combine chicken pieces, vegetable oil, and salt in a big bowl. Mix well and let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
  • Add the beaten egg into the bowl with the chicken. Stir to mix well. Add cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken, until it forms an uneven coating with a little dry cornstarch left unattached.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken all at once and spread out into a single layer in the skillet. Separate chicken pieces with a pair of tongs or chopsticks.
  • Cook without touching the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a big plate and remove the pan from the stove. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Wipe the extra oil from the pan using a few layers of paper towel held in a pair of tongs, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the garlic, ginger, and the white part of the green onion. Stir fry a few seconds to release the aroma.
  • Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan and pour in the sauce. Stir to mix well.
  • Transfer to a plate, garnish with the green part of the green onion, and serve hot over steamed rice. You can add some steamed vegetables on the side to add some color to the dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g, Calories: 490kcal, Carbohydrates: 34.1g, Protein: 35.1g, Fat: 23.2g, Saturated Fat: 5.3g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 858mg, Potassium: 352mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 17.8g, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 2.2mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
Crispy Chinese Honey Chicken (without Deep Frying) - This easier, healthier version guarantees crispy juicy chicken and a rich sauce that is bursting with flavor. Now you can make your favorite takeout dish at home and it’ll taste just as great as the restaurant version! {Gluten Free Adaptable}

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Ken Murphy says:

    4 stars
    We’ve been trying some of your recipes over the last month or so, but so far have not been able to fine how to view your videos. There just isn’t any way we have been able to see them. Maybe we might be looking in the wrong place.
    It hasn’t stopped us from trying our favorites.

  2. Bob Dix says:

    5 stars
    How were the green beans in this recipe prepared? And do you ever sautee just the green beans when used as a side dish, if so can you share a recipe?

  3. T Cornelius says:

    4 stars
    The honey chicken sauce is wonderful. I used the egg white instead of the whole egg. I didn’t have the wine so I left it out. I would use the recipe again.

  4. Rita says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I picked up a tub of local honey today and was looking for a recipe to use it in. This was the perfect choice. Will definitely make again. Thank you.

  5. Melanie says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved this recipe! My husband ate the leftovers and insisted I make it a second time this week.

  6. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    This was great and easy, a hit with the family.

  7. Lufi says:

    5 stars
    I was looking for some Chinese/Asian style soup recipes, and somehow I ended up here. The pictures looked so convincingly delicious & the recipe sounded so easy (no deep frying? say what?) that I just had to try. Oh my goodness, it was so easy to make and the dish turned out so well! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe, Maggie! I have bookmarked this page so I can share this recipe with my family and friends, and I will be browsing and trying your other recipes for sure!

  8. Beverly says:

    4 stars
    Good flavour! Didn’t have any green onions so sliced a white onion instead and added a few red pepper flakes to spice it up. Chicken stayed nice and crispy. A good alternative to deep fried

  9. Jayne says:

    Hi,
    this recipe looks so divine, i can’t wait to try it.
    Its little hard to get into town at the moment so i am thinking of making this with what i have at home but I don’t have either Shaoxing wine or dry sherry! I would usually use Mirin in replace of that but out of that too. I have Italian white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar but im not sure if either would be good substitute. Would love your feedback!
    Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jayne, I wouldn’t use vinegar to replace the wine. If you cannot find it, you can replace it with some chicken broth or skip it all together.

  10. Mary Andrews says:

    I’ve been working my way through some of your wonderful recipes and this is by far the family favorite! Delicious and easy I’ll be making it again and again.

  11. george says:

    I have made General Cho’s chicken like this many times. while tasty it IS NOT CRISPY. cORN STARCH DOESN NOT GIVE IT THAT CRISPY OUTER LAYER.

  12. Ian Breitzke says:

    Maggie! I made this last night and it was SOOOOOOO GOOD!
    Had it with some rice and pea shoots (also your recipe).
    My girlfriend just demolished the whole meal. I can’t wait to try out some more of your recipes!

  13. Luke says:

    5 stars
    Substituted the Shaoxing with Mirin… Was good still but felt the honey wasn’t contrasted enough due to the sweetness of the Mirin.

    That said… The frying part still felt like frying but with benefit of not dumping half a bottle of oil into a pan, lol. Maybe was more difficult for me as I pulled the chickens out of bowl into pan one at a time.

    Many of the chicken pieces were clumped together after the final mixing so was wanting to make sure they were all separated going into the oil. Do I not need to be concerned about that and just dump them all in?

    Thank you.

    • Maggie says:

      Yeah I think Mirin is too sweet. I don’t really like mirin and never use it in Chinese cooking because its distinctive taste. If you do now have Shaoxing, maybe try Japanese sake. It’s milder than Shaoxing but still taste great without being overly sweet.
      So for the chicken pieces, I usually dump the whole thing into a large skillet, then use chopsticks (can be done with a pair of tongs) to separate all the pieces while they’re cooking. In China, chefs usually use hand to add the pieces so they can kinda separate the pieces while adding to the pan. Either works faster than adding piece by piece.

  14. NMR says:

    Any reason this wouldn’t work with chicken breasts?

    • Maggie says:

      Nope! You can totally use chicken breast in this recipe. I used dark meat due to personal preference.

      • NMR says:

        Trying this tonight! I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Vermont, but in Brattleboro there is a fantastic Chinese restaurant that makes the absolute most amazing Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken. I’ve been trying to figure out the recipe for years since I now live in MA, but I’m hoping this recipe gets me closer. I’ll letcha know how it goes!

  15. Ting Leong says:

    5 stars
    This recipe looks delicious. I ‘m going to increase the chicken to two pounds. Because of that, should I use 2 eggs instead?

    • Maggie says:

      Yeah you should double everything if that’s the case. But make sure to cook the chicken in batches so your pan won’t be over crowded. Happy cooking!

  16. Krystina R says:

    5 stars
    This was so good I cooked it 2 days in a row and have since incorporated it into my quick and easy meal roller deck! I really enjoy the subtle sweetness from the honey and the savory flavors equally. I love it and would recommend it to anyone! It’s better than going to get takeout and it’s so crispy even after the sauce is added. I can rave all day about how great this dish is! I haven’t tried one recipe I didn’t love on this site!

  17. Aurelie You says:

    4 stars
    This honey chicken was a great recipe to make. It did not take long to cook and tasted great. It made for a great leftover to take to work for lunch.

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