Three Teacup Chicken

Quick and EasyChineseGluten-FreeChicken

Three Teacup Chicken is so good! A classic Chinese chicken dish with ginger, garlic, scallions, and soy sauce. Quick and easy! Takes only 20 minutes to make. One Pot.

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.

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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 Sauté garlic, ginger, scallions, peppercorns: Heat a wok or large sauté 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.

5 Add the water and cover and cook for 4 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains.

6 Serve immediately over rice with hearty amounts of the broth. Garnish with a little extra chopped scallion.

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Kung Pao Chicken here on Simply Recipes

Sweet and Sour Chicken here on Simply Recipes

Cashew Chicken here on Simply Recipes

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

18 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. IMHO

    Forget about using a wok. The typical stove doesn’t generate enough heat and, anyway, the wok just sits on top of the burner and the sides don’t get hot.

    Use a cast iron skillet and work in stages.

    Cook the chicken first and separately…give it a dusting of freshly ground black pepper and sear it over a high heat. Remove the chicken then sautee the garlic and ginger. Add liquid, then re-introduce the chicken and heat through. Then add scallions, keeping them bright and fresh.

  2. 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! :-)


  3. 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!


  4. Anna

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

  5. 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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