Chinese Honey Chicken

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

 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.

SUPER CRISPY PF Changs Chinese Honey Chicken

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 Honey Chicken

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!
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 347mg | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Keyword: Chinese Honey Chicken

Chinese Honey Chicken

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!!!

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. This recipe was easy and delicious! The chicken turned out perfectly. I used almond milk because I had that on hand.

    1. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. This is one of our favorite dishes! So easy and quick to make. We double the sauce because it is sooooo good!

  10. 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.

  11. I’m a “seasoned” cook and followed the recipe exactly. The battered chicken went soggy the second the sauce hit it. Disappointing. 🙁

  12. 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?

    1. 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.

  13. its great, but the tempura batter didn’t really make the chicken that crispy. I had to add a little more cornstarch.

    1. I’ve never had this happen before. Next time, make sure to coat it while the chicken is still hot. I hope that helps.

    2. Scott, for the batter to adhere, I was taught the surface of the food has to be dry. I mix 1 tbsp of baking powder and 1/2 cup cornstarch very well in a bag or container, and then toss the chicken pieces in that mixture until all pieces are “dusty” and separated. Dip then in the batter just before dropping into the hot oil. Also, you can adjust the crunch and tenderness of the batter itself by adjusting the water content. If you need to hold the chicken a few more minutes before serving (let’s say you have a larger meal to prepare) then using a tbsp or two less water will give a slightly crunchier, sturdier version without entirely losing the delicacy of the batter. This recipe also worked up well by substituting a nut-butter or coconut cream for the mayo. It also worked up nicely using extra firm tofu as a substitute for the chicken.

  14. This looks amazing! I was excited about the freezing-the-chicken trick to slice it thin. I froze it for one hour, but I think next time it needs to be less because I couldn’t make a dent in it and just ended up with “chicken dust” when trying to cut it, so I just refroze the chicken and will try this recipe next time:)

  15. Great recipe!! If I can get three of the pickiest kids in the universe to ask for seconds, it’s a great recipe!!! This will definitely be made again, and it’s so easy!!!

    1. Just got done with this. Excellent! Cook for my elderly parents and their taste buds don’t work as well but they loved it. Never had P. F. Chang’s before so I can’t do a comparison but I really appreciated how easy this is to make. Also I really appreciated the built in timer you put in. So much easier than pushing all the buttons on my stove.

  16. this recipe is amazing! i added some pepper flakes into the batter to kick in some spice and for the sauce, i didn’t add the condensed milk but it was still amazing. i lessened the ratio between mayo and honey but if you don’t like a lot of sauce, i recommend lessening the ratio so there’s no extra sauce left or anything.

  17. Hi,making this tonight question can and will it come out the same if i cut it in half? I’m only one guy.Thanks

  18. The cooking of the chicken was great and the steps was easy to follow but the sauce flavors did not merge together for me. Sometimes, the honey was overwhelming then the condense milk hits you. My brother love it though. It did not taste like subtle honey asian recipes.

  19. Excited to try this tonight!! 2 quick questions. My plan is to fry the chicken in the air fryer, any tips? Secondly, am I using a single 1 lb chicken breast or a 1 lb pack?

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe using an air fryer so I don’t have any recommendations or tips for you. Also, you’ll be using 1 pound of chicken breast. Just cut it up into 1 inch chunks. Enjoy!

  20. I liked this recipe. However, I had way too much better left over . The chicken was light and airy with a nice crunch. I agree with others, it needs a little seasoning before being battered. I’ll definitely make this again.

  21. I put a little salt and pepper on my chicken before I threw it in the batter. I also threw some garlic powder and soy sauce in the honey mayo mixture. I’m a salty and sweet kind of person.

  22. Loved it
    Great easy recipe, my 11 year old cooked most of it
    She loved making it
    Whole family enjoyed it

  23. Quick question, I want to prepare this today, but have someone who truly hates mayo… how strong is this taste?
    Thanks

    1. So sorry I’m just now seeing this. I don’t think it’s a strong mayo taste but everyone’s taste buds are different. I hope you all enjoyed it.

    1. I haven’t tested it so I’m not sure. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  24. Hi I was wondering if theres anything I can substitute for the sweetened condensed milk? Was hoping to make this but don’t have any on hand. Thanks

    1. I’ve not tried any but I’ve seen recipes online stating that you can make a substitute using a handful of pantry items. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a few options online. Good luck!

  25. Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It was delicious.

    I didn’t have sweetened condensed milk, so I just used two tablespoons of milk with two tablespoons of sugar. Worked like a charm!

  26. It was SOOOOO good even the picky eaters in my family couldn’t get enough! Now they are going to expect it at every potluck lol

  27. Omg, this was INCREDIBLE! Exactly like the PF Changs version. This was super easy to make too, only a handful of basic ingredients! Cant wait to make again! Thanks for the recipe!

  28. the sauce would be good if it didn’t taste like a hint of mayo… i hate mayo with a passion, but i figured if i added the honey/condensed milk that it will change the flavor, but that mayo flavor doesn’t go away unless you lightly sauce the chicken. the sauce is just way too much, so i ended up blotting a lot off the chicken, and yet it was still too much. i suggest slowly adding it to the chicken until you get the amount you like.

  29. Do you have any substitution ideas instead of mayo? My husband hates mayo and won’t eat things that have it in the recipe even if he can’t taste it.

    1. google is your friend. clearly the recipe provider does not know how to use that since there are many mayo substitutes like greek yogurt that would fair well with this. try budget bytes for recipes next time

  30. I’m sorry, I’m so confused. Do you dredge the chicken in the egg whites and then the cornstarch mixture or are the egg whites and the cornstarch mixture mixed together?
    Thanks so much.

  31. I always get this Honey Walnut shrimp from this one place we get take out, but every time the sauce gets watery. so I vowed to figure out the sauce. I always thought it was from putting it in the container while it was hot and the condensation watered it down.

    then I stumbled on this recipe for the breading, and decided to make the whole recipe. oh man, it was amazing, and it was the Honey Walnut sauce I was looking for!(without the walnuts and shrimp obviously) but my sauce also watered down after it sat for a while with the chicken in it, is there anyway to fix that?

    I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe in mind, even for the breading for other stuff. glad I stumbled on it!

    1. I’m so glad you love the recipe! Because this recipe has mayo in it, it will breakdown over time. It’s best to serve immediately.

    1. You can substitute with Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour. If you don’t have that either, you can use AP flour in a pinch though it will change the flavor.

  32. Super yum!! I cooked with a bit of sesame oil, and that added a delish flavour. Great being Gluten Free. Very yum! Would make again any time.

  33. I made this. It was delicious and easy. My husband was in heaven said it was one of his top 5 meals. Making again this week, because of left over ingredients. We are really looking forward to it. I usually try to go a couple months before making something over, but this is too good to wait.

  34. This turned out amazingly well. Tastes just like takeout but better. Impressed everyone who had it tonight. Thanks for the concise but delicious recipe! Love that it’s only 6 ingredients!

  35. The egg whites and corn starch don’t mix well together it’s doughy. Is it supposed to be doughy it’s definitely not a coating.  

    1. No my sincerest apologies, there was a glitch in the recipe plugin I use, it has been corrected. Some water needs to be added to the mix as well.

  36. This recipe looks great! Just curious about the amount of honey… is it really only 1/4 Tablespoon?
    Thanks for clarifying 

  37. I’m going to try this tonight, but I am confused. How much oil do I use? Do you use enough for like a deep fryer or use a few tablespoons to pan fry? Thanks for the clarifications.

    1. I deep fry. You can certainly pan fry, the texture won’t be the same though and the breading wouldn’t hold as well.

    1. You’ll want to add each chicken piece to the oil individually but you’ll cook them all at once. Hopefully this helps clear up any confusion.