Chinese Honey Chicken is a light and crispy tempura battered chicken dish tossed with a sweetened honey sauce made with just 6 total ingredients in 20 minutes!
Skip the Chinese takeout! Chinese Honey Chicken is the kid sister to the ever popular and expensive restaurant favorite of Honey Walnut Shrimp and the perfect recipe to serve alongside Lo Mein, Orange Chicken and Fried Rice.
Chinese Honey Chicken
The crazy thing about this super crispy honey chicken is how few ingredients it takes to make (plus it is naturally gluten-free). Chinese restaurants are tricking us with how intimidating they pretend this recipe is because it tastes so light and crispy and sweet and we can’t place the ingredients. But really, just 6 ingredients is all it takes and you’ll swear it tastes as good as P.F. Changs!
How do you make Crispy Honey Chicken?
The secret to the recipe is really the minimal ingredients in the breading which allow the creamy honey sauce to be the star of the show. The egg whites add a light taste while the cornstarch keeps things really crispy. It’s a take on a classic tempura recipe (like my crazy popular Tempura Shrimp).
What kind of chicken is used in Honey Chicken?
When cooking a tempura based Chinese recipe the meat is always a leaner cut of meat. In Chinese Honey Chicken we use chicken breasts to keep the bites of chicken as light as the light and crispy fried coating. If using a chicken thigh, the heaviness of the chicken would outweigh the tempura crunch.
How do you make Tempura Batter?
Tempura batter is a mixture of egg whites, cornstarch and water (or club soda) mixed over ice to keep it as light as possible.
Can you bake Honey Chicken?
No, this recipe requires deep frying because it has a wet batter. It will not create a crispy chicken if baked, it will cook into a pancake. You also cannot make this dish in a slow cooker or in an instant pot with any form of tempura batter.
What to serve with Chinese Honey Chicken?
We like to serve Egg Rolls, Spring Rolls, Potstickers or Crab Rangoon as appetizers, Brown Rice or Chinese Steamed Rice as easy side dishes and Chow Mein, Sesame Chicken or Sweet and Sour Chicken as accompanying dishes. Sweet and Sour Sauce or Sweet and Sour Pork would also provide a great flavor contrast to the flavors in this Honey Chicken recipe too.
If you’d like to garnish the dish you can use green onions, red pepper flakes, chives or sesame seeds.
Authentic Honey Chicken Recipe
In order for this to be an authentic Chinese restaurant version of Honey Chicken we’d have to use Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour. In order to test the necessity of this ingredient (it isn’t the easiest to source) we did a side-by-side test with the mochiko vs cornstarch and found minimal difference in taste which led me to swap the ingredient for something much more likely to be in your cupboards.
WANT MORE ASIAN FOOD RECIPES?
- Chinese Lemon Chicken
- Honey Garlic Chicken
- Shrimp Stir Fry
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Easy Mongolian Beef
- Panda Express Recipes… every single one in fact: Panda Express Recipes Index including Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat)
- Many more Chinese food options…
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup cornstarch (or Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 pound chicken breast , cut into 1 inch thin chunks
- vegetable oil , for frying
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- In a large bowl add the egg whites and whisk until foamy (1-2 minutes) before whisking in the cornstarch and water until combined and finally folding in the chicken.
- Heat three inches of oil on medium-high heat (to 350 degrees) in a large pot and add the chicken pieces in 2 batches frying until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per batch.
- In a large bowl mix the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk then toss the just fried chicken into it just before serving.
Would this work for shrimp too?
Yes! 100% and I’ve done it that way too.
YES! or even pork
This is so easy and delicious. I made it with chicken breast instead of thighs because that’s what I had and added some sesame seeds at the end. Can’t wait to make it again!
This was delicious and very easy to make.. nice and crispy. Making this again for sure. Served it with cauliflower rice and green onions
As a former Chang’s employee, I can honestly tell you that the honey sauce isn’t white and creamy. It is more like a honey syrup consistency and made fresh every few hours and kept hot under warmers. The chicken part was correct though.
This meal is definitely a 10/10. It doesn’t take too long to make and it’s delicious. Definitely recommend.
I made this today and all five of my children and my grandchildren loved it. I made as the recipe called for the only thing I did different was double the recipe. It was absolutely amazing.
I have used many of Sabrina’s recipes……..she nails it every time!
Ohhhhh Sabrina, I made this and I gotta say ohh la la. Soooo good. It’s definitely a keeper and can NOT wait to make it again. Thank you!!!!
I’m concerned about the sauce. Wouldn’t the mayonnaise and condensed milk mixed with the honey make it white rather than clear? The picture doesn’t look like the ingredients (Mayo and cond. milk)were used.
I realize this comment is very old, so I am so sorry for the delay in replying.
If the chicken is hot it melts the mayo, which is why it isn’t white, it’s clear. If the sauce stays white the chicken wasn’t hot enough.
I love Asian foods. This looks so good!
Great!! thank you so much. love,lyn
This recipe was easy and delicious! The chicken turned out perfectly. I used almond milk because I had that on hand.
So glad you enjoyed it, Joyce.
Can u substitute the Mayo with anything else for the glaze?
I haven’t tried it with anything else but you cold make a honey glaze by combining honey, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in to a saucepan and cook over med heat. Once brought to a boil, reduce heat and stir in cornstarch and stir until thickened. You could drizzle that over the chicken instead. Hope this helps!
This was a delicious meal with fried rice. Easy to prepare. Great to eat. I had no problems with the batter sticking to the chicken and did notice it too a bit for the chicken to brown but it did.
Thanks for the 5 stars. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
I loved this recipe!! Delicious! I added club soda instead of water, thoroughly whipped the egg whites and had no issues with the tempura not sticking to the chicken! Also I used more honey as stated in previous comments.
I’m giving this five stars with a few tweaks. Some of us are just not good at tempura… Ok, so. Made this twice. First time, a soggy, but tasty mess. Second time, I bought tempura mix. Made dressing a day in advance, on tip from another comment. Added extra couple of squirts of honey. Used slightly frozen chicken breasts. Dried cut up chicken with a paper towel. SEASONED with salt and pepper. Ok! So, made tempura in huge bowel, dumped chicken in, and let sit for 15 minutes. Added pieces to hot oil after squishing excess batter off. Used a wok to fry. After frying, spread chicken on paper towels on a cookie sheet and kept in oven at ‘warm’ (170 degrees) for one hour, which eliminated a fair amount of grease AND achieved that ‘grocery store Chinese food’ crispy-soggy consistency of breading. Put chicken in big bowl, (same big bowl, washed out) warmed up dressing in microwave, tossed with sesame seeds and diced scallions. Absolutely amazing, finger-licking, deliciousness. Seriously.
Thanks for all of your suggestions.
It took a while for the chicken to brown and I worried that I had did something wrong but once it did start to brown it didn’t take long then to finish up. I was very pleased with the recipe and have put it on my menu again to have in a couple of weeks
This is one of our favorite dishes! So easy and quick to make. We double the sauce because it is sooooo good!
Our first try at this, the recipe left the batter too thin and it dissolved the second it hit the sauce, leaving the chicken uncoated. The sauce itself was alright but tasted more like mayo than honey and sweetened condensed milk.
The sauce leftover though is dramatically improved, I guess it just takes a while for the flavors to blend together because of the thick consistency. If you make the sauce beforehand and let it sit in the fridge for a few days, the flavor is completely different. It’s more balanced toward the honey and condensed milk, you only really get the sweetness from the mayo rather than an out-of-place vinegary taste. It’s extremely delicious and hard to stop eating.
For the batter itself, it just doesn’t work at all. For the second attempt we used the batter from your Tempura Shrimp recipe and it holds up so much better in the sauce.
So, 3/5 stars as written, but 5/5 stars with the adjustments. My grandfather claimed this was the best thing he’d ever eaten. I’ve tried most of your Chinese chicken recipes and this is my second favorite after the Sesame Chicken which is just a masterpiece.
I’m a “seasoned” cook and followed the recipe exactly. The battered chicken went soggy the second the sauce hit it. Disappointing. 🙁
I used Mochiko flour and when frying the chicken got stuck to the bottom of the pan and would stick together, any thoughts on what I did wrong?
Next time when placing the chicken in the oil, allow it to sit for a second before letting it go. It helps to get a crisp on the breading and it sticks better to the chicken than the pan. Hope this makes sense and helps.
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