Skip to Content

Salt and Pepper Chicken

Sharing is caring!

Homemade salt and pepper chicken, a delicious Chinese-style takeaway that you can easily make at home. Either fried or baked.

chinese salt and pepper chicken with vegetables served on a large plate

A wonderful, simple recipe for salt and pepper chicken, which only takes minutes to prepare and cook. Either you are making the fried or the oven-baked version, you will not need more than half an hour to serve dinner. And everybody will just love it!

And if you are in the mood for some more Chinese dishes, have a look at the Sweet and Sour Tofu, the Mushroom Noodle Soup, or the Rice Noodle Beef with Green Onions.

What do you need for the Chinese chicken “takeaway”?

Chicken:

  • Boneless, skinless thighs. I strongly recommend using thighs.
  • I’ve cooked this recipe with breast as well, and while it is fine, the thigh version is so much better. Moister, softer, more flavorful meat.

Spices:

  • Salt and pepper are the stars of the show. Despite the large quantity of salt used, the dish will not taste salty, it will just be delicious.
  • I always use fine sea salt, which (similar to kosher) is less powerful than table salt. If using table salt, you might need less.
  • You will also need Chinese five-spice powder, which is actually quite easy to get just about anywhere.
close up fried chicken pieces and peppers

Cornstarch:

  • You will need it if you decide to fry the meat.
  • When making the oven-baked version, I don’t add it anymore. I’ve tried both versions (with and without cornstarch) and when it comes to cooking the pieces in the oven, I prefer to leave out the starch. This way the meat stays moist and delicious without dry cornstarch bits here and there.

Vegetables:

  • Onions, garlic, green onions, red bell pepper, and 1 long green chili. I had a Turkish green chili, a rather hot one.
  • Use chili to taste.
chinese chicken served on a brown plate with chopsticks

How to make fried salt and pepper chicken?

  • Prepare the vegetables and set them aside.
  • Mix the spices and cornstarch in a large bowl, set aside.
  • Cut the thighs into bite-sized pieces and set them aside. Only coat them with the cornstarch mixture just before adding to the hot oil.
  • Heat the oil in a larger saucepan, skillet, or wok.
  • Toss about half of the meat pieces with the cornstarch mixture, patting them slightly to remove the excess.
collage of two pictures showing how to spice meat pieces
  • Carefully, place them into the hot oil and fry them until golden brown. It should take about 2-3 minutes. Check to see if they are cooked through by cutting one piece in the middle.
  • Turn them in the oil using a slotted spoon a couple of times during frying to make sure they get nice and crispy all over.
  • Remove from the pan with the slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towels to help remove the excess fat.
frying meat pieces in hot oil in large saucepan
  • Repeat with the second batch.
  • Once all the meat pieces are cooked, carefully pour away most of the oil, keeping only about 1-2 tablespoons of it.
  • Immediately add the vegetables and stir fry them for about 2 minutes. Season and mix with the meat.
  • Serve immediately.
collage of two pictures of stir frying vegetables

Tip

Make sure the frying oil has the right temperature before adding the chicken. Check with a meat thermometer, the temperature should be about 180 degrees Celsius/ 355 degrees Fahrenheit. (Amazon affiliate link)

You can also check by frying a cube of bread, if it takes about 10-15 seconds to get brown then the oil has the right temperature.

The oil needs a while to get hot, meaning that once the temperature is reached it will not get too hot too soon, so you will not have to worry about overheating the oil during the frying process. If you notice that it might get too hot (smoking), just turn down the heat a little and wait shortly before adding the next batch.

checking oil temperature with a piece of bread
plate with fried chicken pieces and vegetables

How to bake salt and pepper chicken?

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
  • Mix together cornstarch, salt, pepper, and Chinese five-spice powder in a large bowl.
  • Toss the meat first with the oil and then with the spice mixture and place on the tray in a single layer.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Depending on your oven, either turn on the grill or preheat it.
  • Grill for about 2-3 minutes to make the chicken crispier. Keep an eye on it, the meat pieces should not get too dark.
  • While chicken bakes prepare the vegetables and stir-fry them in a large pan with 1-2 tablespoons oil. Mix the meat and vegetables and serve immediately.
chicken and colorful vegetable pieces with chopsticks

How to serve?

Serve over rice or even noodles, my family loves both versions.

Leftovers can be stuffed into wraps or pita bread with more fresh vegetables and some sauce of choice. You can also reheat the leftovers in the pan.

More Asian-inspired chicken recipes:

fried salt and pepper chicken on a plate close up

Salt and Pepper Chicken Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Homemade salt and pepper chicken, a delicious Chinese-style takeaway that you can easily make at home. Either fried or baked.

Ingredients

  • Vegetables:
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ about ½ an onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 green onions
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 1 long green chili (use to taste)
  • each ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt and pepper
  • Fried salt and pepper chicken:
  • 800 g/ 1.8 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 40 g/ 1.4 oz/ 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • ¾ tablespoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 240 ml/ 8 fl.oz/ 1 cup oil
  • Baked salt and pepper chicken (Note 1)
  • 800 g/ 1.8 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¾ tablespoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder

Instructions

Vegetables:

  1. Slice the onion and the garlic. Cut the green onions into thin rings. Deseed the peppers and slice them as well. Set aside until ready to cook.



Fried chicken:

  1. Mix together cornstarch, salt, pepper, and Chinese five-spice powder in a large bowl. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, wok, or skillet (Note 2).
  3. When the oil is hot, place ½ of the chicken pieces into the bowl with the cornstarch and spices and toss until coated.
  4. Immediately and carefully place them into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, moving the pieces a few times in between. Check if the meat is cooked through by cutting a piece in the middle. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towels to remove the excess fat.
  5. Repeat with the second batch, only coating the chicken pieces with cornstarch just before adding to the frying pan.
  6. Pour away all the fat from the pan, keeping only about 2 tablespoons of it. Add the vegetables and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper, mix well.
  7. Mix with the chicken pieces and serve.



Baked chicken:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix together cornstarch, salt, pepper, and Chinese five-spice powder in a large bowl.
  3. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Toss with the oil, add to the bowl and toss to coat with the spices.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Place under the grill (or turn on the oven grill) and grill for about 2-3 minutes to make the chicken crispier. Keep an eye on the grill, the chicken should not get too dark.
  6. While the chicken bakes prepare the vegetables and stir-fry them in a large pan with 1-2 tablespoons oil.
  7. Mix the chicken and veggies and serve.

Notes

  1. Basically, the same ingredients without the cornstarch. I've tried both versions, the oven-baked chicken tastes better without the cornstarch.
  2. Make sure the oil has the right temperature for frying, about 180 degrees Celsius/ 355 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also check by frying a cube of bread, if it takes about 10-15 seconds to get brown then the oil has the right temperature.
  3. The nutrition for the fried chicken is calculated considering only 4 tablespoons of oil, as you will discard most of the frying oil anyway. The nutrition calculation is only an approximation. The oven-baked chicken has about 420 calories per serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 244mgSodium: 1845mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 50g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

Ein Dekoherzal in Bergen

Sunday 24th of January 2021

WERDE ich ausprobieren..... sehr lecker...

wünsche noch einen schönen ABEND bis bald die BIRGIT aus TIROL

Adina

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Super, Birgit! Ich wünsche dir auch alles gute!

mjskitchen

Saturday 23rd of January 2021

This is one of those dishes I use to order when we went out. The restaurant we frequented has shutdown, for thank you so much for the recipe because now I can make it at home. YAY!

Skip to Recipe