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Baked Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡)

5 from 4 votes
This baked Three Cup Chicken recipe lets you cook the best chicken with minimal effort. Use this method to create the most flavorful, tender, and moist chicken with crispy skin.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 6
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup Japanese sake (or Shaoxing wine)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 thumb ginger , sliced
  • 12 cloves garlic , peeled
  • 1 big shallot , peeled and divided
  • 4 dried chili peppers
  • 2 cups fresh Thai (or regular basil leaves)
  • 2 serrano peppers (or Thai chili peppers, sliced)


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 C).
  • Arrange chicken in a large oven-safe skillet without overlapping pieces, skin side down.
  • Combine Japanese sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl. Mix well until sugar is fully dissolved. Pour into the skillet with the chicken. Add ginger, garlic, shallot, and chili pepper.
  • Bake at 300 F (150 C) for 40 minutes.
  • Transfer the skillet to the kitchen counter. Flip the thighs so that skin side faces up.
  • Continue baking at 300 F (150 C) for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the thickest part of the biggest thigh registers 165 degrees F (74 C). Transfer the skillet to the kitchen counter.
  • Turn on broiler or turn oven to its highest temperature.
  • Use a ladle to skim oil from the surface of the sauce (*see footnote 1). Add basil leaves and serrano peppers.
  • Return the skillet to the oven and bake until the skin is crisped and charred, 2 to 4 minutes. Leave the oven light on and watch closely during the process. I found that baking time can vary a lot depending on the oven model.
  • Transfer the skillet to the kitchen counter and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve over steamed rice or other preferred side with sauce while warm.


  1. Alternatively, you can transfer the chicken to a plate, skim the oil with an oil separator, and place the chicken back in the skillet. The oil will be removed more thoroughly this way.


Serving: 281g, Calories: 533kcal, Carbohydrates: 11.8g, Protein: 39.8g, Fat: 34.2g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 191mg, Sodium: 860mg, Potassium: 144mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1050IU, Vitamin C: 13.2mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 3.2mg