Three Teacup Chicken

Quick and EasyChineseGluten-FreeChicken

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

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.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Three Teacup Chicken on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

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 / Reviews

  • 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

  • Patty

    This sounds very tasty. Do you think dry vermouth might work as a substitute for the wine/sherry?

    Some people would say yes, some would say no. I am in the no group because I’m a purist about vermouth. Cognac or brandy would be fine. Maybe white wine? I guess vermouth could be used as well but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say what the ending result would be. Give it a shot and let us know how it works. =) ~Garrett

  • The Duo Dishes

    This might work well as a broth for tofu too. Love this! Sweet with a little spice.

  • Anna

    I’m definitely going to try this with chicken thighs, but I’ll use wheat-free tamari (I like Ohsawa brand traditionally brewed raw tamari) to make it gluten-free.

    I can’t wait to read if anyone makes this with rabbit instead of chicken!

  • rhonda taylor

    We were originally planning on having fettuccine with creamy tomato italian sausage sauce from this site for dinner when my 13 year old informed me that today was Chinese New Year. I had already began making french bread, but then we saw this recipe and my son volunteered to make it for dinner. I said, “Go for it.”

    It turned out great (we are in the Netherlands, so dinner time has already come and gone). It was very delicious; we used white wine in place of the sherry and everyone loved it. We served it with sticky sushi rice, shrimp sauce, and, because of the insistence of an eight year old daughter, we had french bread right along side it :). Thanks, Garrett, for the great recipe.

View More or Leave a Comment/Review
Three Teacup ChickenThree Teacup Chicken