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Firecracker Chicken

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close up shot of Firecracker Chicken with rice on a plate
Firecracker is a copycat Chinese takeout staple that's insanely delicious, full of flavor, and will taste like you just picked it up from Panda Express.
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Table of Contents
  1. Firecracker Chicken Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Firecracker Chicken Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Our mouthwatering firecracker chicken recipe makes the best Chinese spicy chicken. This copycat recipe is so good, it will taste like you just picked it up from Panda Express, and it makes a delicious weeknight dinner option.

A close up shot of firecracker chicken on a plate

Firecracker Chicken Ingredients

Firecracker Chicken raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 3 large (approximately 2 to 2.5 pounds) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s brand)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Optional Garnish

  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

RED PEPPER FLAKES: This firecracker chicken is very hot as it is, but if you want more heat, feel free to add more red pepper flakes to your sauce. If you would rather have the heat level turned down, then omit the red pepper flakes and choose a buffalo wing sauce brand that suits your taste.

CHICKEN: If you prefer dark meat, you could use chicken thighs in place of the chicken breasts in this recipe.

How To Make This Firecracker Chicken Recipe

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

STEP TWO: Prepare your chicken breast by cutting it into 1-inch pieces. Place your cut chicken pieces into a large shallow dish.

STEP THREE: Sprinkle your cut chicken with the cornstarch and toss them to evenly coat all sides of the chicken. Set aside.

toss chicken with the cornstarch in a bowl

STEP FOUR: In a small bowl, whisk your eggs. Taking 3 to 4 pieces at a time and shaking off any excess cornstarch, gently toss your cornstarch-coated chicken pieces into the beaten eggs. Place the coated chicken pieces onto a large plate. Repeat until all of your chicken pieces are coated in the cornstarch and egg.

toss chicken pieces into the beaten eggs in a bowl

STEP FIVE: In a very large skillet, on medium-high heat, add your vegetable oil. Once your oil is hot (about 350°F), gently place ½ of your coated chicken pieces into the oil in a single layer. You want to make sure that the pieces are not touching and the skillet is not overcrowded.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

You may have to cook your chicken in 2 to 4 batches, depending on how big your skillet is.

STEP SIX: You will cook your chicken on the first side for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1 minute. You are not trying to cook your chicken all the way through at this point. You are only very lightly frying the chicken so that your coated chicken will hold the sauce once cooked in the oven.

pieces of chicken frying in a skillet

STEP SEVEN: Once your chicken has lightly fried, remove it to a paper towel-lined tray and repeat until all the chicken is fried.

STEP EIGHT: In a small bowl, you will make your sauce by whisking together the buffalo wing sauce, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes.

buffalo sauce, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes whisked in a bowl

STEP NINE: Transfer your fried chicken pieces to the prepared rimmed baking tray. Make sure your chicken pieces are in a single layer.

STEP TEN: Slowly and evenly, pour your sauce over the chicken pieces and gently toss to coat all the chicken.

sauce poured over the chicken pieces in a baking sheet

STEP ELEVEN: Bake your sauce-coated chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once your chicken has cooked, give it another toss on the tray to make sure all your sauce is coating the chicken. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your chicken at the lower end of the recommended cooking time.

chicken baked in a baking sheet

STEP TWELVE: Transfer your cooked chicken to a large serving dish, making sure to pour any extra sauce from the tray onto the top, and garnish with the chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

How To Serve

This flavorful dinner makes an easy idea for a busy weeknight. Firecracker chicken goes great over any kind of rice. Our Instant Pot brown rice or cauliflower fried rice are both super simple to make and make great options.

You can also serve this firecracker chicken with a side of blue cheese dressing and some celery sticks, and you have a great appetizer for a sports-watching party.

Be sure to check out our other easy-to-make chicken recipes. Our crockpot orange chicken and bourbon chicken are full of flavor!

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Leftover firecracker chicken can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will stay good this way for up to 3 days. You can reheat the chicken in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through.

IN THE FREEZER: This spicy chicken dish also makes for a great freezer meal to have on hand for busy nights. You can make a double batch, or throw the leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, move the chicken to the fridge to allow it to thaw.

overhead shot of Firecracker Chicken with rice on a plate

Baked firecracker chicken has the perfect spicy, sticky sauce over top of crispy chicken. When served over a big bed of rice, you have a delicious homemade Chinese meal, right from the comfort of your home!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use chicken thighs for this recipe?

Chicken thighs or chicken breasts are both tasty in this easy recipe. Just make sure your internal temperature reaches 165°F.

How do I know when the oil is ready?

An easy way to tell if the oil is ready to fry the chicken is simply to take a wooden spoon and dip the end into the oil. If there are bubbles that vigorously start bubbling around the wooden spoon end, then it’s ready. 

Is this recipe spicy?

This recipe is a fairly spicy dish. Check the sauce to determine the heat level before adding the red pepper flakes to determine if it will be too spicy for you.

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close up shot of Firecracker Chicken with rice on a plate

Firecracker Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Firecracker is a copycat Chinese takeout staple that's insanely delicious, full of flavor, and will taste like you just picked it up from Panda Express.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 to 2.5 pounds)
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s brand)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes

Garnish

  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Prepare your chicken breast by cutting it into 1-inch pieces. Place your cut chicken pieces into a large shallow dish.
  • Sprinkle your cut chicken with the cornstarch and toss them to evenly coat all sides of the chicken. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk your eggs. Taking 3 to 4 pieces at a time and shaking off any excess cornstarch, gently toss your cornstarch-coated chicken pieces into the beaten eggs. Place the coated chicken pieces onto a large plate. Repeat until all of your chicken pieces are coated in the cornstarch and egg.
  •  In a very large skillet, on medium-high heat, add your vegetable oil.  Once your oil is hot (about 350°F), gently place ½ of your coated chicken pieces into the oil in a single layer. You want to make sure that the pieces are not touching and the skillet is not overcrowded.  
  • You will cook your chicken on the first side for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1 minute. You are not trying to cook your chicken all the way through at this point. You are only very lightly frying the chicken so that your coated chicken will hold the sauce once cooked in the oven.
  • Once your chicken has lightly fried, remove it to a paper towel-lined tray and repeat until all the chicken is fried.
  • In a small bowl, you will make your sauce by whisking together the buffalo wing sauce, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  • Transfer your fried chicken pieces to the prepared rimmed baking tray.  Make sure your chicken pieces are in a single layer.
  • Slowly and evenly, pour your sauce over the chicken pieces and gently toss to coat all the chicken.
  • Bake your sauce-coated chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once your chicken has cooked, give it another toss on the tray to make sure all your sauce is coating the chicken. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.
  • Transfer your cooked chicken to a large serving dish, making sure to pour any extra sauce from the tray onto the top, and garnish with the chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Notes

  • You may have to cook your chicken in 2 to 4 batches, depending on how big your skillet is.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your chicken at the lower end of the recommended cooking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 2265mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg
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