Honey Chicken is fried with a crunchy and light batter, then tossed in a sweet sauce flavored with soy sauce plus fresh ginger and garlic. A take-out style meal, ready in 30 minutes!
Chicken is our go-to protein for quick meals! It’s light and delicious, absorbs flavor fast, and perfect for almost any cuisine— see for yourself when you try our Caprese Chicken, Cheesy Fajita Quesadilla, and Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes!
Chinese Honey Chicken Recipe
Honey Chicken is done in less time than you can order from your nearest Chinese restaurant. This homemade version is much cheaper and more delicious, too! Marinated white meat is coated in a very light batter before a quick fry, then everything is drenched in an aromatic sweet and savory sauce. It’s seriously impressive how close this dish tastes to Chinese fast food!
Is honey chicken the same as Orange Chicken?
In terms of structure, yes. Both dishes use chicken chunks (usually from the breast part) which are deep-fried after getting battered.
Now, the main difference is the sauce. You can clearly taste the citrus in Orange Chicken, and it’s often spicier too because of the chili flakes. In contrast, Honey Chicken is sweet, and the main flavors are garlic and fresh ginger.
Honey chicken ingredients:
- Chicken: We prefer the leaner breast, but you can use thigh cutlets if you love dark meat. Slice them up into chunks. Prepare some flour and a little cornstarch to coat.
- Oil: Use any neutral variety for frying. Our favorites are peanut, canola, and vegetable oils.
- Marinade: To infuse flavor into the chunks of meat, we’re marinating them in soy sauce, some sugar, Chinese cooking wine, and cornstarch.
- Batter: For that super-crispy crust, we’re using a combo of cornstarch, flour, and salt. To make it lighter and crunchier, we’re also adding baking powder plus seltzer water or soda water.
- Honey sauce: Finally, we’re making our flavorful and sticky Honey glaze with soy sauce, honey, more Chinese cooking wine, aromatics (fresh ginger and garlic, both minced finely), plus molasses.
How to make the honey sauce?
It only takes two easy steps— mix all the sauce components in the pan, and simmer until it’s nice and thick. That’s it!
How to make honey chicken from scratch?
- Marinate. In a Ziploc or bowl, combine the meat chunks with the marinade, and let it infuse the meat which flavor for 30 mins. Then, toss the chunks in a combination of cornstarch and flour.
- Fry. First, mix up the batter until almost smooth. Dip the floured meat pieces in the batter, then fry in oil (350F) until crispy and perfectly golden. While you’re frying up the rest, cool the fried pieces.
- Sauce. Simmer your sauce ingredients together. In terms of consistency, it should be similar to pancake syrup. After taking it off the heat, place crispy meat in there and very gently toss them together.
- Serve. Plate it up with green onions and sesame on top, and enjoy!
Recipe variations and substitutions:
- Beef: Use a quick-cooking beef cut like flank, sirloin steak, skirt, and rump steak sliced into strips.
- Pork: Use strips of pork shoulder, tenderloin, Boston butt, or pork loin.
- Tofu: Skip the meat altogether, and instead, fry strips or cubes of tofu.
- Include more vegetables: Any veggie you love in a stir-fry would be great here! Use mushrooms, corn, snow peas, string beans, carrots, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, etc. Sauté or blanch them, then toss with the dish at the end.
- Spicy: If you like it hot, mix in some chopped red chilis, dried pepper flakes, or cayenne.
What to serve with Honey chicken?
Rice is our go-to, either plain or fried rice. We also love Honey Chicken alongside these Sesame Noodles with Tofu, Skinny Mongolian Beef Noodles, or simple soba. Finally, you can’t go wrong serving it with veggies like steamed broccoli, Air Fryer Asparagus, and Healthy Sauteed Cabbage.
Note that when you reheat this, it won’t be as crispy as when freshly fried. However, all those amazing flavors will still be there!
To store, cool before keeping in an air-tight container. Then, store for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.
More Asian recipes to try:
- One-Pan Sweet and Sour Pork
- Low Carb Mongolian Beef
- Korean Beef Bowl
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- To make it lighter, you can skip the batter and simply fry after the flour-cornstarch coating.
- We love white meat, but juicy dark meat (like thigh cutlets) is a great option, too!
- The final flavor of sauce is up to you. Feel free to tweak it with more soy sauce, a little less honey if you don’t like it too sweet, or more ginger if you wish.
- Don’t have molasses? Just replace with more honey.
HoneyChicken is fried with a crunchy and light batter, then tossed in asweet sauce flavored with soy sauce plus fresh ginger and garlic.
- 2 lbs chicken thighs skinless and boneless cut into 1" pieces
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 tablespoons COLD soda water or seltzer water
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- White rice or brown rice
- Sesame seeds
- Chopped green onions
Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of flour, salt, and pepper to a shallow plate and whisk to combine.
Add chicken pieces in batches, toss to coat, shake off excess, put on a plate. Repeat with all chicken.
Add oil to a large saucepan, about 2 inches of oil. Heat to 350°F on medium-high heat.
Mix all the Batter ingredients in a shallow bowl.
Drop chicken pieces into the batter in batches. Then fry in the hot oil until golden crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Make sure to not crowd the pan.
Set chicken aside.
Place all the sauce ingredients in the same saucepan or pan, over medium heat. Bring to simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes.
Once the sauce has thickened add the chicken and toss to coat.
Serve with rice, topped with sesame seeds.