Szechuan Chicken

5 from 9 votes

This Szechuan chicken recipe features succulent and crispy chicken bites drenched in a flavorful sweet and spicy sauce. Ready in just 15 minutes and tastes like Takeout! 

szechuan chicken.

We make lots of chicken stir-fries around here.

9 times out of 10, they are a copycat recipe of one of our favorite takeout dishes. These include Mongolian chicken, Hunan chicken, and this homemade Szechuan chicken. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick to make. From prep to plate, this entire dish takes less than 15 minutes to make. 
  • Perfect for meal prep. If you are anything like me, you’ll make a big batch of this on weekends and meal prep it with a side of rice
  • Customizable. Easily switch up the cuts of chicken, the vegetables, or even the heat level.

What I love about this chicken stir fry recipe is just how much it tastes like takeout, except so much better for you and even more delicious. 

Ingredients needed

This recipe calls for very simple ingredients and a few staples you’ll find in Asian recipes. Here is what you’ll need: 

  • Chicken. Skinless and boneless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes. 
  • Cornstarch. To coat the chicken bits and make them crispy. 
  • Ginger. Minced.
  • Garlic. Minced. 
  • Onion. Yellow onion, quartered. 
  • Bell peppers. Red and green bell peppers are sliced or cut into squares. 
  • Dried red chiles.  Get small dried chilies and use as many as you like. I use 15 to 20 dried chiles for my Szechuan chicken. 

For the Szechuan sauce:

  • Soy sauce. The base of the Szechuan sauce. It provides saltiness and a rich umami flavor.
  • Rice vinegar. Gives the sauce its glossy and sticky texture. 
  • Water. 
  • Hoisin sauce. Another staple Asian sauce with a salty and slightly sweet flavor. 
  • Brown sugar. To add sweetness. You can use the sweetener of your choice, including honey and maple syrup. 
  • Cornstarch. To thicken the sauce.

How to make Szechuan chicken

This recipe is quick to make and besides a quick fry of the chicken and veggies, there isn’t much hands-on time needed. 

Step 1- Prep the chicken

Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes. Put the chicken pieces into a zip-top bag, add cornstarch, and shake until the chicken gets coated in starch. 

chicken with cornstarch.

Step 2- Make the sauce

Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or a measuring cup. When adding the cornstarch, mix it with a small amount of water to make a slurry, and only then add it to the rest of the ingredients. 

szechuan sauce.

Step 3- Cook the chicken

Add vegetable oil to a non-stick pan and heat it on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken pieces. Stir-fry the chicken for 7 to 8 minutes or until they are golden and crispy. Remove the chicken. 

pan fried chicken breast pieces.

Step 4- Cook the vegetables 

Remove the oil from the pan leaving only a tablespoon of it. Cook minced ginger and garlic until fragrant and add the chopped vegetables. Cook onion and bell peppers until they are tender. 

sauteed vegetables.

Step 5- Bring everything together

Bring back the cooked chicken and drizzle everything with the sauce. Cook everything together until the sauce thickens. 

szechuan chicken in pan.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Follow the cooking order of the ingredients. When making stir-fir fries, you should first fry the chicken or meat, remove it from the pan, and only then pan-fry the vegetables, starting with onions and hard vegetables and finishing with the fast-cooking ones. 
  • Cut the ingredients evenly. This will not only make the stir-fry look more presentable but also ensure that the ingredients are cooked evenly. 
  • Use Chinese five-spice powder. This mixture of five or more spices will give Szechuan chicken an authentic Asian flavor. Chinese five-spice powder is typically a combination of fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, or white pepper. 

Variations

The beauty of this dish is just how easy it is to customize with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Here are some ideas: 

  • Add more vegetables. Mushrooms, broccoli, green peas, baby corn, and eggplant are all good choices to add to this sweet-spicy stir-fry. 
  • Make it vegan. If these Asian flavors and colors are too tempting for you but you’re vegan, swap the chicken breast with tofu. Both are great sources of protein and are good at absorbing different flavors. 
  • Add nuts. Adding nuts to this stir-fry is a great way to add some crunch. Cashews and peanuts are popular choices though almonds work well too. 
  • Use other cuts of chicken. Skinless thigh fillets, chicken tenderloins, and even cutlets will all work. 

Storage instructions

  • To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container. It will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge. 
  • To freeze. Place the cooked and cooled chicken stir fry in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 6 months. 
  • To reheat. Reheat leftover Szechuan chicken in a non-stick pan over low to medium heat. You can also the chicken in the microwave.
chicken szechuan style.

More Asian stir-fry recipes to try

Frequently asked questions 

Is Szechuan food hot and spicy?

Szechuan food is known to be on the spicier side. The dishes of Szechuan cuisine are spicy as they are commonly made with Szechuan peppercorns and chilis. 

What does Szechuan chicken taste like?

Szechuan chicken has a sweet and spicy flavor thanks to the sauce. It is a savory aromatic dish with flavors of garlic, ginger, and onion, as well as spicy and sweet peppers. 

What is the difference between Szechuan chicken and General Tso’s chicken?

Szechuan chicken is a Chinese dish while General Tso’s chicken has Chinese-American roots. This is the reason why General Tso’s chicken is less spicy. While both chicken dishes have a sweet-spicy flavor, Szechuan chicken is usually spicier. 
Another key difference is that the chicken pieces for General Tso’s chicken are breaded and deep-fried while Szechuan chicken is pan-fried. 

szechuan chicken recipe.

Szechuan Chicken

This Szechuan chicken recipe features succulent and crispy chicken bites drenched in a flavorful sweet and spicy sauce. Ready in just 15 minutes and tastes like Takeout!
5 from 9 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Arman

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast skinless
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large yellow onion quartered
  • 2 large bell peppers sliced
  • 15 small dried chilis optional

Szechuan style sauce

Instructions

  • Add the chicken in a ziplock bag with the cornstarch and mix together until combined. 
  • Make the sauce by whisking everything together in a small bowl.
  • Add the oil to a non-stick pan or skillet and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, until crispy. Remove from the heat.
  • To the same pan, add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until tender.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan and then drizzle the sauce on top. Cook everything together until the sauce has thickened.

Notes

TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight container. It will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled chicken stir fry in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 6 months. 
TO REHEAT: Reheat leftover Szechuan chicken in a non-stick pan over low to medium heat. You can also reheat the chicken in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 1015mg | Potassium: 732mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 3099IU | Vitamin C: 110mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg | NET CARBS: 19g
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

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