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firecracker chicken

 A Takeout Fakeout rockstar, this sweet and spicy firecracker chicken is reminiscent of your favorite Chinese takeout dishes, but made so much better, right at home. Here is my favorite pan, and the one I use for this recipe. It’s super affordable and I can’t recommend it highly enough. 


  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot (or something similar)
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (yep, not using fresh today)
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3 tsp rice wine vinegar (you can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • Olive oil (not extra virgin) or another neutral-flavored cooking oil, for cooking 
  • Chopped scallions, for serving
  • Cooked rice, optional
firecracker chicken


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and set your rack to the middle position.
  • In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the Red Hot, brown sugar, garlic powder, soy sauce, vinegar, and 2 TBSP water. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside for now.
  • Meanwhile, season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper all over. Dredge/coat the chicken on all sides with corn starch, getting them nice and covered. Set a large (large enough to contain all of the chicken), deep-sided skillet over high to med-high heat and add enough oil into to cover the entire bottom surface (amount will vary depending on pan size). 
  • Cook your chicken on all sides until brown and crispy; about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Once the chicken has cooked and browned nicely, turn off the heat and pour the sauce all over the meat – using a spoon to help coat everything, if needed. Place the pan in the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 5 to 8 minutes, just to crisp up the chicken and to help the sauce marry with the meat. It’s magical, honestly.
  • Sprinkle with some sliced scallions and serve with hot cooked rice, if desired. 

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