A homemade version of the popular Chinese takeout dish, this Chinese Garlic Chicken makes a great easy weeknight dinner but is also a superb party food which can be eaten with your fingers! A total breeze to make!
Don’t you just love enjoying a good takeout meal?
I mean, there is just something so great about knowing that you can simply make a phone call and have someone prepare a great dinner for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
The thing about takeout though is that it can get pretty spendy and let’s face it, it is not exactly good for you to dial-a-dinner every night. To keep myself on the straight and narrow, I like to create my own takeout meals sometimes. If we are being honest here (we are, right?) I enjoy creating my own meals even more than I like dialing for takeout.
I have this thing where I just love to put my own flair on restaurant food and try to create delicious, yet cheaper and healthier versions of the different meals that I can get when I order takeout.
Maybe it is just me, but I have found it to be quite fun to do and my cooking skills have benefited from my continued journey of creating delicious takeout at home.
Chinese takeout is a clear number one in our house.
Even though there are far too many delicious Chinese dishes out there to really determine a favorite, garlic chicken is one of our most popular choices. You may have noticed my love for garlic and poultry combo (check out these two AWESOME recipes: Spanish Garlic Chicken and Garlic Chicken Pasta).
Why do I like garlic chicken so much?
It’s delicious and really easy to prepare. Simple as that.
Even though I have made my fair share of garlic chicken recipes, I had yet to create Chinese garlic chicken, that is until I purchased the “Gok Cooks Chinese” cookbook recently and spotted the recipe for it.
When I saw that recipe, I knew right away that I have to make it.
This full-of-flavor garlic chicken makes not only an awesome quick & easy weeknight dinner but is also a really great party food!
Whether you are having guests over for the big game, or you are headed to someone else’s party and you need to bring something along with you to contribute, this is it. It doesn’t even matter what kind of party it is either!
One of my favorite things about this dish is its versatility.
You can stand around talking to someone while munching on them and using your fingers or you can serve it on a plate over rice for a nice sit-down dinner.
Are you ready to try out this recipe that I keep going babbling on about? Let’s get to it, shall we?
How to Make Chinese Garlic Chicken at Home
First, cut your chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.
Then, in a medium to large sized mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken around in this mixture, making sure to shake off any excess so you don’t have clumpy sections of breading. Once this is done you can set the chicken aside for a few.
Okay, now that you have your chicken ready to be cooked, it is time to heat up the oil in your wok (a skillet will also work, but I definitely recommend the wok if you have one).
Once your oil is hot and ready, drop in your battered chicken pieces. Each piece of chicken should be shallow fried for at least 3 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked.
Don’t be afraid to fry more than one batch. It will help the chicken cook more efficiently if you don’t have them stacked atop one another.
Once fully cooked, be sure to put the chicken pieces onto a paper towel to drain.
Grab another paper towel to wipe down your wok, then add in some more oil.
Now it is time to stir-fry the garlic and scallions (aim for 1-2 minutes for this step), next add in the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and just a little bit of pepper. Heat all of the ingredients through and then add your chicken back into the wok, cooking it into the sauce.
Like I said earlier, don’t be afraid to eat this Chinese garlic chicken as a finger food or serve over rice. Either way is delicious!
More takeout makeovers on the blog:
- One Pot Pad Thai (Ready in under 30 minutes!)
- Teriyaki Chicken (Served on a bed of rice inside pineapple shells)
- Chicken Yakisoba (Only 10 minutes prep time!)
Chinese Garlic Chicken
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- salt , to taste
- ground white pepper , to taste
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- oil , for frying
- 4 cloves garlic , sliced
- 3 scallions , cut into batons
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine , or dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- a pinch of sugar
- In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with the salt and white pepper. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Dredge the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture and shake off any excess. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok (it’s also possible to make this recipe with a simple skillet if you don’t have one). Add the chicken pieces and shallow fry them for 3-4 minutes or until golden and cooked through. If all the chicken doesn’t fit in a single layer, work in batches. When done, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
- Clean the wok using a paper towel. Add some oil and stir-fry the garlic and scallions for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, and a pinch of white pepper. Heat through and return the chicken pieces back into the pan. Mix them into the sauce.
- Serve over the rice or it’s also great as a finger food. Enjoy!
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Clifford Gary CarterMay 26, 2019 at 9:06 pm
Fantastic. Didn’t have Rice wine. Used brown sugar yummm. No scallions. Used green and white onions..❤
JovitaFebruary 23, 2021 at 1:47 pm
I am glad the substitutions worked for you, Clifford! 🙂
CrissyMarch 17, 2020 at 2:08 am
This was so delicious! I love cooking Chinese food. This dish was so easy and flavorful! I used rice wine vinegar because that’s what I had! We loved this so much with rice and broccoli! Can’t wait to make again!
JovitaMarch 17, 2020 at 8:49 pm
Thank you, Crissy! I’m so happy to hear it!
WhitneyApril 15, 2020 at 11:00 pm
Making this tonight! So excited!
JovitaApril 27, 2020 at 8:25 am
You are in for a treat! 🙂
SusanMay 15, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Do you think it would work if I air fried the chicken? Trying to keep it on the lighter /healthier side.
JovitaFebruary 23, 2021 at 10:28 am
Sorry, I don’t have an air cooker myself so I’m not experienced enough to answer this question 🙂
VanessaMay 15, 2020 at 6:17 pm
Is it ok to use flour instead of cornstarch?
JovitaFebruary 23, 2021 at 10:26 am
Hi, Vanessa! Unfortunately, it won’t work as well as cornstarch. Chinese cooking uses cornstarch to get a light yet crisp crust. Flour is heavier and takes too long to crisp up, so you risk getting over-cooked or oil-logged food.
TabathaJune 6, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Can i substitute the rice wine for something?
JovitaFebruary 23, 2021 at 10:15 am
Hi Tabatha! It can be substituted with pale dry sherry, dry white wine or gin, or even apple juice or white grape juice 🙂
DestinySeptember 12, 2020 at 11:15 pm
This was really good! Didn’t have wine vinegar so i used white Vinegar . Made my own twists to it and I loved it!
JovitaFebruary 23, 2021 at 10:03 am
Thank you for reporting back, Destiny! I am glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂
CheyanneJanuary 23, 2023 at 10:18 am
I made this recipe tonight, ended up having to use sherry cooking wine since I couldn’t find the correct one near me, still turned out amazing.
Only thing I changed was adding some red pepper flakes but had I thought about I may have found some peppers meant for a dish like this.
Only thing is I wish there was atleast some sort of suggested measurement for the pepper and salt just to start out with but I just did a heavy pour of each.
Still turned out amazing and will definitely make again!
MilyNovember 10, 2020 at 2:51 pm
I’ve made this recipe many times and it’s a winner every time! Super simple and delicious.
JovitaNovember 11, 2020 at 6:06 am
So happy to hear it, Mily!
MaryMarch 10, 2022 at 11:28 pm
This was so easy and delicious, we enjoyed it very much!
JovitaMarch 18, 2022 at 10:08 pm
Happy to hear it! 🙂
JanelleMay 24, 2022 at 8:56 pm
This is a delicious first and yes, I’ll make this again with some lo mein or fried rice. I’m very pleased with the way this came out ?
EmilyAugust 28, 2022 at 8:03 pm
Can you use rice vinegar instead of rice wine? I do not have rice wine.
JovitaAugust 29, 2022 at 8:45 pm
Yes, you can substitute it with rice vinegar or white wine. 🙂
RuniSeptember 6, 2022 at 10:56 pm
Hi there! I’m excited to try this recipe. Did you use Shaoxing Wine for your rice wine?
JovitaSeptember 23, 2022 at 8:08 am
Runi PrasadOctober 5, 2022 at 10:26 pm
When you say rice wine – do you mean shaoxing cooking wine or rice cooking wine (Mirin)?
JovitaOctober 6, 2022 at 9:27 am
I have already answered you above – it’s Shaoxing rice wine 🙂 I will correct the recipe and specify it, I can see how you could think that it’s Mirin. Thank you!
PaulaFebruary 9, 2023 at 3:08 am
I made this tonight. IT WAS DIVINE! I’m trying to cut down on carbs so I made it with quinoa instead of rice for me. I haven’t had quinoa in many years so I was really nervous that it would taste as… green… as it smelled when it was finished cooking, even though I added some flavor to it. I dished it into my bowl and topped it with some of this garlic chicken. One taste and I was instantly in heaven. Crunchy, garlicky, completely rounded in flavor, I was just happy. I couldn’t even taste the quinoa; is that bad? It was a nice, pillowy soft bed for this delightful chicken that I stuffed into my mouth. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It’s now one of my favorites and I’ll be making this a lot.