This empress chicken is quick, easy, and next level delicious. The crisp and tender chicken is coated in a sweet, savory, and slightly spicy stir-fry sauce. Plus, it's ready in about 20 minutes, and it makes for a tasty and satisfying meal that is sure to "empress" your family and friends.
THE BEST EMPRESS CHICKEN
Chinese empress chicken is one of my favorite things to order for takeout.
It's got a great balance of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors. And I just love how the sauce fully coats each piece of flavorful chicken.
Seriously, it is just so delicious.
And since everything tastes better homemade, I, of course, had to make my own version, and create this empress chicken recipe.
And, let me tell ya, the chicken is tender, juicy, and perfectly crispy - something you don't usually get from the takeout version. Plus, the sauce is insanely flavorful with just the right amount of heat, sweetness, and tanginess that keeps you coming back for more.
Plus, it only takes under 25 minutes to make from start to finish. That's less time than it takes for a takeout order to arrive! Oh, and they're delicious with a side of these Chinese green beans, so you'll want to make those too.
INGREDIENTS FOR EMPRESS CHICKEN
Another thing to love about this recipe is that it's made with just a few simple ingredients that you can easily find if you don't already have on hand.
Here's what you'll need for the chicken:
- 1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsps cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4–5 dried red chilies (or ½ tsp. chili flakes)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil for frying
And what you'll need for the sauce:
- 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 sliced green onion and sesame seeds for serving
By the way, a quick note on the sesame oil – be sure to use regular, untoasted sesame oil for frying the chicken. The darker colored toasted sesame oil has a much lower smoke point and can turn bitter if cooked too long on high heat.
Oh, and any ingredients you have left over can be used to make some more takeout-inspired recipes we have on the blog! Recipes such as this general tso shrimp, firecracker shrimp, shrimp lo mein, and my all-time favorite, orange chicken.
How To MAKE Empress Chicken LESS SPICY
Ok, so this empress chicken packs a good amount of heat, which is just how I like it.
But if you're serving this for a family dinner with kids - or don't want it to be too spicy -you can reduce the number of chilis you use, or leave them out of the recipe all-together.
You can also balance the spiciness by serving it over some rice or noodles. The sugars in the rice and noodles will cool your palate as you eat the chicken.
HOW TO MAKE CHINESE EMPRESS CHICKEN
Making this recipe is an easy 3 step process. All you have to do is make the sauce, cook the chicken, & combine/serve.
It's that simple.
And, as I mentioned earlier, this recipe should take about 20 minutes and it makes 4 servings, so it's an excellent choice for a busy weeknight dinner or meal prep for the week.
It's also a great back-pocket recipe to have when you're craving Chinese chicken recipes.
So, without further ado, let's dive into the recipe!
STEP 1: PREPARING THE SAUCE
First, we'll prepare our stir-fry style sauce.
In a bowl, combine your cornstarch, white vinegar, soy sauce, chicken broth, and brown sugar.
Then, whisk everything together until the cornstarch has dissolved and the ingredients are combined.
Once that happens, you can set your sauce aside, and start working on your chicken.
STEP 2: COOKING THE CHICKEN
First, crack your egg in a bowl, and if you haven't already, cut your chicken into cubes and add it to the bowl.
Then mix your chicken pieces and egg together with a fork until each piece of chicken is thoroughly coated in the egg.
Next, sprinkle your cornstarch over the chicken and egg mixture and mix again until all of your pieces of chicken are evenly coated. And you can add more cornstarch if needed to cover the chicken.
Now, add your sesame oil to a pan over high heat. Then cook the chicken in 2 or 3 batches for about 4-5 minutes each - until all the chicken is cooked through. And you want the coating on the outside of the chicken to be slightly golden and crispy.
Also, make sure you don't rush the cooking process by dumping all of your chicken in the pan at once! Overcrowding the pan will lower its temperature, and your chicken will cook unevenly and won't crisp up.
Anyway, once your chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
STEP 3: COMBINING AND SERVING
Now, in the same pan, add your minced garlic, ginger, and dried red chilis or chili flakes. Sautè everything for 30 seconds, keeping the pan on high heat.
Then, add your cooked chicken back into the pan and give your sauce a good whisk to remix the ingredients.
After that, pour your sauce over the chicken and stir everything together until the sauce thickens.
Once the sauce has thickened and your chicken is covered in it, transfer it to a plate and sprinkle some chopped green onions and sesame seeds over the top.
Serve alone or alongside this instant pot sushi rice or some veggies, and enjoy!
HOW TO STORE YOUR EMPRESS CHICKEN
So, if you're planning to store some of your empress chicken for leftovers or meal prep, then you'll want to keep your cooked chicken and the prepared sauce separate until it's time to eat. This way, your chicken will stay nice and crisp when you reheat it.
You can store the cooked chicken and sauce in separate containers or in a container with dividers. It will stay good in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
With that said, don't worry if you have leftovers that are mixed already. You can store the chicken covered in sauce, and your leftovers will still be delicious.
As far as reheating your Chinese empress chicken, I recommend giving the chicken and sauce a quick toss in a skillet over high heat.
Start by sautéing the chicken until the outside is crisp, then add your sauce to the pan and stir until the chicken is covered in the sauce and warmed to your desired temperature.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
Once you've tried this empress chicken, I think it will quickly become one of your favorite easy dinner options.
The fully sauced crispy chicken is sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time, making for one delicious meal.
And the sauce is so versatile that you can use it to make any stir-fry recipe. Try it with shrimp, beef, or your favorite combination of vegetables - the possibilities are endless!
Anyway, I hope you like this empress chicken recipe as much as I do. If you end up making it, be sure to leave a comment below and let me know how it went!
By the way, if you want to give another easy chicken recipe a try that's loaded with flavor, you have to make this tandoori chicken next!Print
Empress Chicken | One of The Best Chinese Chicken Recipes
This empress chicken is quick, easy, and next level delicious. The crisp and tender chicken is coated in a sweet, savory, and slightly spicy stir-fry sauce. It's ready in about 20 minutes and makes for a tasty and satisfying meal that is sure to "empress" your family and friends.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Chinese
1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 large egg
2 tbsps cornstarch
½ teaspoon ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4–5 dried red chilies (or ½ tsp. chili flakes)
1 tbsp sesame oil for frying
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 sliced green onion and sesame seeds for serving
- To make the sauce, add all of your sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk until corn starch dissolves. Set aside.
- Put chicken and egg in a bowl and mix with a fork to coat chicken pieces with egg. Sprinkle with cornstarch and mix until all the pieces are evenly coated (use more cornstarch if needed).
- Add sesame oil to a pan over high heat. Cook chicken pieces in 2-3 batches for 4-5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and outside is golden and crispy. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same pan, add minced garlic, ginger, and dried chili. Saute for 30 seconds on high heat, then add chicken back to the pan.
- Whisk the sauce again and pour over the chicken. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens.
- Transfer to a plate and top with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.
The scale up function does not change the gram measurements.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 299
- Fat: 7
- Carbohydrates: 8
- Fiber: 1
- Protein: 51
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So many delicious flavors in this dish! I ate the chicken with some steamed broccoli. Definitely going to make this for dinner frequently.
Very tasty sauce. It went well with the rice.