Hunan Chicken

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Chinese takeout favorite Hunan Chicken is an easy classic Chinese stir-fry dish with garlic, ginger, broccoli, bamboo shoots and mushrooms in a garlic and ginger spicy stir fry sauce.

We love Hunan Chicken, paired with Chicken Lo Mein or Classic Chinese Chow Mein and Crab Rangoon this recipe makes for an easy Chinese takeout meal at home!

Hunan Chicken Stir-Fry
 Hunan Chicken Recipe

When you tell someone you are going to make Hunan Chicken you may get a confused look. Most people are not familiar with the name of the dish, but if they were to eat it they’d recognize the flavors immediately. This is your classic Chinese Chicken Stir-Fry dish. And it’s done in less than 30 minutes.

We use chicken breast in this dish because it cooks so quickly that the chicken stays tender. I don’t generally use white meat in Chinese food recipes with the exception of noodles or stir-fries. Anything battered and fried is always dark meat chicken unless you’re making Sweet and Sour Chicken which has long been seen as the “healthy” version of Chinese fried chicken recipes.

How to cut chicken thinly:

One of the traditional takeout things about chicken stir fries is how they have chicken that looks like it was almost shaved, similar to Mongolian Beef in restaurants. The trick to this is to freeze the chicken for about one hour. Once you do you can very easily slice the chicken very thinly against the grain. Since the slices are so thin you’ll find that even though it was in the freezer, it will come back to a good cooking temperature very quickly.

What is in Chinese Hunan Sauce:

Hunan sauce is made of rice wine vinegar, sugar, chili paste and an oyster and soy sauce based sauce that is made in just minutes. Chicken broth adds some bulk to the sauce and cornstarch helps to thicken the mixture quickly.

Hunan chicken Stir Fry bite

Hunan Chicken, while popular, is sometimes just categorized as a Chinese Chicken Stir Fry as the sauce is very similar to most peoples classic stir fries. Because of that it often gets overlooked for more popular items on a Chinese restaurant’s menu. Let’s examine the two other recipes it most often gets mistaken for:

Hunan Chicken vs. Szechuan Chicken

Hunan chicken is a stir-fried dish that is just coated in a dusting of cornstarch with a spicy chili paste sauce coating a mixture of vegetables. Szechuan Chicken is generally battered and fried before being added to a pan of stir fried vegetables and coated in a much sweeter sauce than Hunan chicken.

Hunan Chicken vs General Tso’s Chicken

Hunan chicken is a stir fried dish with vegetables and a much lighter sauce that is spicy and made with oyster sauce. General Tso’s Chicken is a delicious but battered and fried dish similar to orange chicken with is tossed in a very sweet but slightly spicy sauce, normally with no vegetables.

Quick and Easy Chinese Chicken Stir Fry

Easy Chinese Stir-Fry Recipe

Many people think of easy stir-fries and even buy “stir fry” sauces that are pre-made. When I had clients who would ask for a chicken stir fry this Hunan Chicken Recipe is the one I would use. You can adjust the heat more or less to your tastes by the amount of chili paste you add to the dish, but the mixture of broth, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar and a touch a sugar are the classic ingredients in a Chinese stir fry.

The stir-fry sauce is so versatile it can be used with chicken, beef, pork, tofu, shrimp, scallops and most fish including salmon, and sea bass. You can make the sauce in larger quantities and freeze in portions as well. Ice cube trays are a great option, 6 standard cubes is plenty for a recipe and the garlic and ginger can be added to the sauce mixture to make cooking even easier when you’re ready for the sauce.

Want more Chinese Food Recipes?



Hunan Chicken

5 from 11 votes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Chinese takeout favorite Hunan Chicken is an easy stir fry dish with garlic, ginger, broccoli, bamboo shoots and mushrooms in a garlic and ginger spicy stir fry sauce.



  • 1 pound chicken breasts shaved thinly
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 green zucchini cut into half moon shapes
  • 4 ounces mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 can bamboo shoots drained



Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add the chicken and cornstarch in a large ziplock bag with air in the bag, closed tightly.
  2. Shake the bag until the chicken is well coated.
  3. Add the canola oil to the pan on medium-high heat and cook the chicken until cooked through on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

  4. In a small bowl mix the sauce ingredients together.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and add in the garlic, ginger, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli and bamboo shoots.
  6. Stir, cooking for 2-3 minutes.

  7. Add in the sauce and chicken and toss to coat, cooking 1-2 more minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 Servings, Amount per serving: 337 calories, Calories: 337g, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 786mg, Potassium: 967mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 555g, Vitamin C: 75.7g, Calcium: 58g, Iron: 1.7g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Hunan Chicken
Chinese Hunan Chicken Stir-Fry
Easy Chinese Stir Fry with Hunan Sauce

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  1. The Ingredients for the Hunan Sauce that you list in the main instructions section do not seem to agree with what you list in the section called …What is in Chinese Hunan Sauce…

    1. So sorry, your comment got stuck in my spam filter. Thank you for catching that. I made a few variations and it looks like it never was adjusted.

  2. This was amazing! I followed the recipe as written, but, doubled the sauce. My kids & husband said to “put it on the list”….. Definite keeper

  3. This is a good recipe. Easy to make, the only substitution I made is using frozen oriental mix vegies for the fresh. I blanched the vegies first then cooked in pan as directed.

  4. I have spent years looking for a recipe to taste just like this. I NEVER comment on any recipe but I have to today. This is just perfect. It tastes just like our favorite go to Chinese dish that we’ve eaten for about 8 years. Thanks so much! We’ve made it with pork tenderloin, steak and chicken. It’s awesome.

  5. I want to make the Hunan Chicken what can I substitute the oyster sauce with. My husband and children has a sea food allergy.

    1. They do make a vegetarin oyster sauce that you might be able to find in an Asian market. If not, just omit it knowing it’ll change the flavor.

    2. I too have a shellfish allergy. We use the vegetarian version of Oyster sauce, which is made from mushrooms. All Asian grocers carry it; worth your time to find it. If no grocer, there’s always Amazon.

  6. Hi Sabrina! I live in a small town with a small grocery store. What should/could I use in place of the sambal oloek chili paste? Thanks?

    1. I think the chicken would dry out so if you’re going to try it in a slow cooker, my recommendation is to use chicken thighs knowing that it’s changing the recipe but still getting the same flavors. Good luck!

  7. I made this last night, along with your Panda Express Mandarin Teriyaki copycat. Both were easy recipes, and tasted great!