Three Teacup Chicken

Chinese dish of chicken braised with ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and Chinese cooking wine.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome Garrett McCord as he shares a favorite Chinese chicken dish with us, Three Teacup Chicken. ~Elise

This recipe is a simple braised chicken dish called Three Teacup Chicken. The name comes from the basic preparation in which a teacup is traditionally used to measure the three key ingredients of the braising liquid—sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.

This braising liquid and a hearty amount of garlic, ginger, and scallion creates a dish that is sweet, salty, sour, and savory (combining many tastes in one dish is key to successful Chinese cooking). If you want, you can add Sichuan peppercorns and star anise to develop more depth of flavor and a pleasant, tingly heat.

Three Teacup Chicken

Three Teacup Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 8 1/4-inch-thick slices of peeled ginger
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns or 1 diced red chili pepper(optional)
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 star anise or pinch of anise seed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water


1 Make the braising liquid: In a bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and Shaoxing wine together and mix well. Set aside.

2 Heat a wok or large saute pan on high heat until a drop of water will evaporate within 1-2 seconds. Place the oil in the wok and swirl. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and Sichuan peppercorns/chili pepper if using and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

3 Add the chicken and stir-fry until no pink on the surface remains (you just want to sear the outside nicely).

4 Add the braising liquid and star anise or anise seed if using and cook for 1 minute ensuring that the chicken is well coated in the braising liquid. Add the water and cover and cook for 4 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. Serve immediately over rice with hearty amounts of the broth. Garnish with a little extra chopped scallion.

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett


Kung Pao Chicken here on Simply Recipes

Sweet and Sour Chicken here on Simply Recipes

Cashew Chicken here on Simply Recipes

Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • GM

    Besides rice, any suggested side dishes?
    Thanks, this will be dinner tonight!

    Noodles or Chinese long beans are a symbol of longevity for the new year! Chinese almond cookies (actually, a Chinese-American treat) are equally perfect. I would browse the Chinese section of this site for some ideas. Jaden at Steamy Kitchen also has a great round-up of recipes for the New Year. ~Garrett

  • Kris

    I cooked this recipe the other night and it was a big hit! I also took the leftovers to work for lunch. After heating it up in the lounge area, a number of coworkers – lured in by the fantstic smell of the broth – came over to ask for the recipe! Thanks for sharing this with us! :-)

  • Melissa

    Thank you x1000! I have been Craving this food ever since my neighbor, who was from Taiwan, moved away 10 years ago. I just made it and it turned out great!
    My husband is late coming home from work and there might not be any left!

  • Anna

    Very good! And easy. Bit sweet; I’d cut down on the sugar next time. Will make again.

  • GM

    We enjoyed this dish, although I thought it was a little too sweet- then I looked back at the recipe and realized I had made 4 teacup chicken- an extra one for the wine. Oops…good thing no minors joined us for dinner. We served with noodles and green beans.

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