Crispy Chinese Honey Garlic Chicken (30 Minutes)

If you’re looking to satisfy a craving for crispy, fried and sweet, this Chinese honey garlic chicken recipe will do the trick. It makes a delicious appetizer or main dish and is surprisingly easier than you think.

The honey garlic chicken tastes just like take-out, fresh off the stove. Sweet, sticky, crispy and delish!

honey garlic chicken pieces on place garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.

I tweaked a recipe for Honey Garlic Beef I found on I am a food blog. The pictures are gorgeous and they hooked me right in.

I hate frying foods even though they taste really good, but I put up with it when I get a craving. Fortunately, the frying time is only about 10 minutes for two batches.

We use a Chinese velveting technique, regularly used in Chinese restaurants, that keeps the chicken moist and tender. It’s very easy – just marinate the chicken in a mixture of cornstarch and egg whites.

Bottom line: Honey garlic chicken is a delicious copycat Chinese takeout recipe treat – tender, crispy, sweet and sticky. Appetizer or main dish.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

boneless chicken thighs, garlic, oil, soy sauce, honey, green onion, cornstarch, egg whites, salt, pepper, toasted sesame seeds.

Chicken: I use boneless skinless thighs as I find dark meat juicier and more forgiving. Boneless skinless chicken breasts can be used as well, especially with the velveting technique that helps tenderize the chicken.

Honey garlic sauce: The tasty sauce is simple and classic – honey, garlic and soy. The recipe below doubles the sauce from the original recipe, but if you like extra honey garlic sauce to drizzle on rice, you will need to double the amount again. Add some chili flakes for heat if you like.

Egg white and cornstarch mixture: The recipe uses a Chinese velveting technique which coats the chicken in a mixture of egg whites and cornstarch to seal in the juices for tenderness while creating a crispy coating. It’s really easy and works well. Enhance the flavors by adding a

Oil: Use an oil with a high smoke point (not olive oil) such as grapeseed oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or other vegetable oil.

Step by step instructions

egg whites and cornstarch mixed on bowl.
Combine cornstarch and egg whites in a small bowl.
chicken pieces marinating in egg white cornstarch mixture in bowl.
Add chicken pieces and let sit for 10-15 minutes while you heat the oil.
chicken pieces frying in oil in skillet with temperature gauge.
Heat 1 inch/2.5 cm oil in a deep skillet to 350F/177C. Add marinated chicken pieces and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Do in 2 batches.
honey garlic sauce in pot.
Boil sauce until slightly thickened.
fried chicken pieces tossed in honey garlic sauce in pot.
Toss chicken in pot to coat with sauce.
honey garlic chicken pieces on place garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.
Garnish chicken with green onion and sesame seeds if you like.
honey garlic beef chunks on plate with green onion garnish.
Here is a honey garlic beef version.

Tips for frying

  • Make sure the oil is heated to the right temperature.  A thermometer is best but the recipe describes an alternative.
  • Bring the oil back to the right temperature before frying the next batch.
  • Use an oil with a high smoke point, not olive oil.


Buy a package of raw stir-fry chicken meat which has already been trimmed and cut up for stir-fries. The pieces shouldn’t be too thin, though, or they may dry out before browning when deep frying.

What to serve with crispy honey garlic chicken

As an appetizer, serve the chicken bites with other appetizers like shrimp cocktail, baked brie and preserves or other vegetarian appetizers.

As a main dish, I serve the chicken over white rice, brown rice, coconut jasmine rice or cauliflower rice along with Chinese stir fry green beans, microwaved green beans or roasted boy choy and a Thai mango salad.

Make Ahead

  • You can make this recipe ahead by keeping the chicken in the oven on Warm for an hour, then tossing it in the heated sauce right before serving.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

Recipe FAQs

What is the Chinese velveting technique?

Chinese velveting technique is used to seal in the juices of the meat, resulting in a tender more flavorful chicken. You marinate meat in a mixture of cornstarch, egg whites, and seasonings before deep frying it. Some blanch the mixture in oil first and then stir fry the chicken.

Can I use beef instead of chicken for the honey garlic recipe?

You can use chicken, beef or pork for the honey garlic recipe. I would suggest sirloin or perhaps a well-marbled tri-tip steak or ribeye for the beef. Chuck or flank can be used as well, but it’s a bit chewier.

honey garlic chicken pieces on place garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.

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honey garlic chicken pieces on place garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.
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4.84 from 18 votes

Crispy Chinese Honey Garlic Chicken (30 Minutes)

If you're looking to satisfy a craving for crispy, fried and sweet, this honey garlic chicken Chinese-style will do the trick. It makes a delicious appetizer or main dish and is surprisingly easier than you think.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 6 appetizers (or 2-3 mains)


  • skillet with deeper sides (or wok)


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 -2 inch/2.5-5 cm)
  • oil, enough to fill skillet 1 inch/2.5 cm use Canola oil or other vegetable oil


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • pinch salt or other seasonings, Note 1

Honey Garlic Sauce, Note 2

  • 4 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 3 if preferred)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or less if you like less peppery)

Garnish (optional)

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion, sliced


    °Heat oven to Warm temperature or 200F/93C. This is to keep the chicken warm between batches or before serving.
    °Prepare baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil to keep chicken warm in between batches. Add a rack on top (not essential).
    °Add sauce ingredients to a pot large enough to hold all the chicken once fried.
    °Prepare oil for frying – place 1 inch/2.5 cm oil in skillet with higher sides (or wok)
  • MARINATE CHICKEN: Whisk egg whites, cornstarch, and pinch of salt (and other seasonings Note 1) in a bowl until well blended and fluffy. Mix in chicken and let sit for 10 -15 minutes while you heat oil.
  • HEAT OIL FOR FRYING: While chicken is marinating, heat oil on medium high in large skillet on stove to 350-360F/177-182C on a frying or instant thermometer. Note 3 if you don't have a thermometer. It will take 10-15 minutes to heat up.
  • FRY CHICKEN: Once the oil is at the right temperature, carefully add the marinated chicken pieces, one at a time. DO NOT crowd the pan. You will need to do 2-3 batches depending on the size of skillet. Fry chicken for about 3-4 minutes, depending on size of pieces, turning once. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Place on prepared pan and put into oven to keep warm. Bring oil back to correct temperature. Repeat until all chicken is fried. Adjust temperature of stove if needed to maintain correct temperature.
  • MAKE SAUCE AND ADD CHICKEN: Boil honey garlic sauce on medium high heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened. If too thick, add a touch of water. Add chicken to sauce in pot. Toss to coat well. Place on serving plate, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and garnish with green onions if desired.

Recipe Notes

  1. Seasonings for marinade mixture: Elevate the flavor by adding a teaspoon of sesame oil, soy sauce or oyster sauce and/or Shaoxing wine. For heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  2. Double sauce: To have enough sauce for drizzling on rice if using chicken as a main dish, double the amounts.
  3. If you don’t have a frying thermometer, to test the temperature, dip the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick into the oil. The oil will bubble steadily (not super vigorously) around the stick when it’s ready for frying.
  4. Make aheadYou can make this recipe ahead by keeping the meat in the oven on Warm or at 200F/93C for 30-45 minutes, then tossing it in the heated sauce right before serving. Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat at 400F/204C for about 5 minutes. 
Nutritional information is estimated using chicken breasts served as appetizers (6 servings). 


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 428mg | Potassium: 312mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
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This honey garlic chicken recipe has been updated with new pictures and information.

4.84 from 18 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I literally just tried this recipe and I LOVE IT. It was a big hit (Fourth of July). What a recipe. I will definitely keep this recipe on my family menu. The garlic sauce is amazing ❤️

  2. 5 stars
    We loved this meal! Instead of deep frying the chicken I used the air fryer. Easy, quick and equally delicious. We will be making this again!