Firecracker Chicken

DinnerChineseChicken

Sweet and spicy Firecracker Chicken is a Chinese takeout staple! Make it at home in less time it takes to order and have it delivered.

Photography Credit: Nick Evans

I’m not sure that you’ll find anything exactly like this Firecracker Chicken if you actually travel to China. No, this is definitely an Americanized version of Chinese stir-fry!

It’s common on some popular Chinese take-out menus—and with good reason, because it’s delicious.

WHAT IS FIRECRACKER CHICKEN?

Firecracker chicken is lightly fried on the stovetop and then baked with a simple spicy sauce, which is typically made with a mix of buffalo sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. (My favorite buffalo sauce? Frank’s or Sweet Baby Ray’s.)

The sauce bakes down into a glaze, and the resulting dish is a little crispy and a little sticky, a litte spicy and a little sweet. It’s in the same family as a sweet and sour chicken, but with more of a kick to it, thanks to the buffalo sauce.

Firecracker chicken recipe baked firecracker chicken

MAKING THE PERFECT STICKY GLAZE

If you cook a lot, it might seem odd to bread the chicken in cornstarch and egg, and then add it straight to the skillet with no outer breading layer on the chicken. But this mix of egg and cornstarch makes a crust on the chicken that will both thicken the sauce and help it stick to the chicken.

AN EASY TAKE-OUT MEAL AT HOME

Once you lightly fry the chicken pieces in your skillet, the rest of the recipe is as easy as tossing the chicken pieces in the sauce and baking them until they are cooked through and the sauce is beautifully thickened.

You can use either chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this dish. Serve it over cooked rice or salad greens.

It’s a winner for sure and about as easy as Chinese take-out can get at home. Enjoy!

Firecracker chicken recipe

MORE EASY CHINESE RECIPES TO TRY

Firecracker Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce, like Frank's
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the chicken:

  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

To serve:

  • Cooked rice
  • Fresh scallions, just the green ends, chopped

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F and prep the sauce. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Firecracker Chicken Recipe

2 Prep the chicken: In a bowl or large plastic bag, combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat well.

Whisk together the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Line a plate with paper towels. Arrange everything near your stove.

3 Fry the chicken on the stovetop: In a large, deep skillet or wok, warm the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until a flick of water sizzles on contact.

As soon as the oil is hot, transfer the coated chicken to the bowl with the eggs and toss to coat well. Scoop out the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon, allowing any excess egg to drain off, and transfer the chicken to the skillet in an even layer.

Cook for about 3 minutes per side until a crust forms and the chicken is a light tan color. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point.

How to Make Firecracker Chicken

4 Sauce the chicken: When chicken is done, remove it from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer it to the plate lined with paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish. Add sauce and toss to combine.

Firecracker Chicken Recipe toss the chicken in sauce

5 Bake the chicken: Bake chicken for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking. When the chicken is done, it should be cooked through and the sauce will thicken and turn into a glaze coating the chicken.

6 Serve: Serve chicken with cooked rice garnished with scallions.

Firecracker chicken recipe baked firecracker chicken

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Nick Evans

Nick has been writing delicious recipes for the home cook for almost a decade. He lives in Denver, CO and embraces a delicate balance of diaper changing, trail running and beer drinking. His website is Macheesmo and his first book is Love Your Leftovers.

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16 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Thomas

    Can i use something other than eggs.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Meems

    *PERFECT*! Exactly the recipe I’ve been searching for. A few local restaurants make this with shrimp, and I think they may add a little mayo to the sauce (as its a little creamy), so I may try that in the future. I made this, subbing shrimp for the chicken, adding a bit of sriracha to the sauce, and it came out delicious–every bit as good as the restaurants! The sauce thickened up beautifully. Thanks for posting!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. lorna brady

    I have made this a few times and it has always been a roaring success. However I have just realised reading through the other reviews that I should have been using Franks Buffalo sauce and not Franks hot sauce, I didn’t realise there was a difference and am not positive that it is available here in Ireland, like red pepper flakes, which are not available anywhere in Europe that I have looked. Anyway, works out fantastic – sweet and spicy.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Anne

    Absolutely delicious. Made it exactly like written. Chicken was moist and tender. It was a hit. Served with rice and some homemade baked shrimp egg rolls. Great Sunday dinner.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Thomas

    We love this recipe.making for 3rd time.delish!!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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