Mongolian Chicken

By: MeganPosted: 23/03/2024 Updated: 23/03/2024
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 20 minutes
This easy Mongolian chicken recipe features crispy yet tender fried chicken coated in a sweet, spicy and savory sauce that pairs perfectly with a bowl of steamed white rice for a deliciously quick weeknight meal.
Mongolian Chicken

This Mongolian chicken recipe is a simple under 20-minute dish where the tender chicken is coated and fried to juicy perfection and then tossed in a sweet and salty Mongolian sauce that is layered with deep fragrant aromas from the garlic, ginger, red chili peppers, and green onions. This easy-to-make popular Chinese takeout recipe is packed with delicious fragrant flavor and now you can make it in the comfort of your home.

A pair of chopsticks holding up a piece of Mongolian chicken.

What is Mongolian Chicken?

Mongolian chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish that is served in many Chinese restaurants. Despite its name, Mongolian chicken is not a traditional Mongolian dish but rather it was created in Chinese-American restaurants.

This popular Chinese takeout dish brings together juicy pieces of chicken thighs that are coated and then pan-fried for a crispy on the outside and a tender on the inside. The chicken is then tossed in a sweet, salty, and slightly spicy sauce and then served with steamed rice or noodles. Typically, this popular Chinese dish is made with beef, but some people simply prefer chicken over beef so here we are.

A plate of Mongolian chicken surrounded by table settings.

Ingredients

All of these Mongolian chicken ingredients can be found at your local Asian grocery store. I’ve linked everything that I used for you below.

Mongolian Chicken

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: chicken thighs are ideal because they are harder to accidentally overcook. The chicken thighs can be sliced or cubed.
  • Shaoxing Wine: Shaoxing wine lightly seasons and marinates the chicken.
  • Cornstarch: the cornstarch creates a thin, crispy coating on the chicken.
  • Vegetable Oil: vegetable oil or any neutral oil with a high smoke point such as canola oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil will work to fry the Mongolian chicken.
  • Ginger and garlic: minced ginger and garlic are the main aromatics.
  • Dried Chilis: dried chilis add a touch of heat to the stir fry.
  • Green onion: green onion to finish for another aromatic layer.
All the ingredients for Mongolian chicken organized and labeled.

Mongolian Sauce

  • Soy Sauce: soy sauce is the base of the sauce. It adds a salty, savory, and umami flavor to the Mongolian chicken recipe.
  • Dark Soy Sauce: dark soy sauce is a sweeter soy sauce that is thicker, less salty, and sweeter than regular soy sauce. It adds a gentle sweetness to the Mongolian sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: brown sugar sweetens the sauce and balances out the salty flavors.
  • Sesame Oil: toasted sesame oil adds a hint of umami nuttiness to the sauce.
  • Cornstarch: cornstarch thickens the sauce for glossy, thick coverage.
  • Water: water dilutes the soy sauce making it less salty and more palatable.
All the ingredients for Mongolian chicken sauce organized and labeled.

Substitutions and Additions

This recipe for Mongolian chicken can be easily customized based on your preferences. I have listed some suggestions for you below.

Substitutions

  • Chicken: instead of chicken thighs, you can alternatively use chicken breast chicken tenders.
  • Protein: instead of chicken you can easily use beef or tofu instead!
  • Fresh chili peppers: instead of dried chili peppers, you can use freshly sliced chili peppers for more of a spicy kick.
  • Tamari or coconut aminos: instead of soy sauce, you can use tamari or coconut aminos as an alternative.
  • Hoisin sauce: instead of dark soy sauce, you can use hoisin sauce for a sweeter sauce.
  • Low sodium chicken stock: for a richer more savory and comforting flavor, you can substitute the water with chicken stock instead.

Additions

  • Vegetables: you can add more vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, snap peas mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
  • Toasted sesame seeds: sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds for additional garnish.

How to Make Mongolian Chicken

Here are the step-by-step instructions for how to make this Mongolian chicken recipe.

  1. Mix the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is fully mixed in. Then add the soy sauce, brown sugar, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until combined. Set aside.
The sauce for Mongolian chicken mixed inside a small glass bowl.
  1. Prepare the chicken. In another mixing bowl, coat the sliced chicken with Shaoxing wine. Then toss the chicken with the cornstarch until evenly coated. Shake off the excess and set aside.
Seasoned chicken thighs coated in cornstarch.
  1. Fry the chicken. In a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Working in batches, gently lower the chicken, making sure that you don’t crowd the pan. Fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.
  1. Cook the sauce. In the same pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the minced ginger, minced garlic, and dried red chili peppers. Saute for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add in the sauce and bring to a simmer.
  1. Add chicken and green onion. Then add the chicken and green onion and toss together until the chicken is evenly coated. Serve with rice and enjoy!
Mongolian chicken tossed together in a wok and ready to serve.

Tips for the Best Mongolian Chicken

  • Make sure the chicken is coated before frying. If the chicken has absorbed the cornstarch, lightly dredge the pieces again before frying.
  • Prepare the ingredients before cooking. This stir-fried chicken dish comes together quickly. It is best practice to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you begin cooking.
  • Use high heat: when frying the chicken, make sure the oil is very hot at about 350 degrees F. Stir fry the chicken in batches to ensure even cooking and for the best texture.
  • Cook the aromatics first: before cooking the sauce, saute the garlic and ginger to release their flavors for the best flavor.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste: taste the sauce before adding it to the chicken and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more soy sauce for more saltiness, more brown sugar for sweetness, or more water for less intensity.

Storage Instructions

You can store this Mongolian chicken stir fry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Reheat: you can either cook on the stove until warm or microwave-covered until warm.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

What does Mongolian chicken taste like?

Imagine crispy, lightly fried coated tender, and juicy chicken covered in a brown, glossy, sweet, savory sauce with notes of ginger, garlic, and red chilis.

Is Mongolian Chicken spicy?

This Mongolian chicken recipe uses dried red chilis which add a touch of heat but not as much as a fresh chili would. You can also eliminate the use of chilis if you don’t want any spice.

What is the difference between Mongolian chicken v. Szechuan chicken?

Mongolian chicken and Szechuan chicken are similar in their cooking processes. However, they differ in their flavors. Szechuan chicken uses Szechuan peppercorns which is known for their hot and numbing quality whereas Mongolian chicken is less spicy and has a sweeter sauce.

How do you serve Mongolian chicken?

You can serve Mongolian chicken over steamed white Jasmine rice or with noodles.

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Up close with a plate of Mongolian chicken.

Mongolian Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
This easy Mongolian chicken recipe features crispy yet tender fried chicken coated in a sweet, spicy and savory sauce that pairs perfectly with a bowl of steamed white rice for a deliciously quick weeknight meal.
Servings: 3 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Mongolian Sauce

Mongolian Chicken

Instructions

  • Mix the sauce. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is fully mixed in. Then add the soy sauce, brown sugar, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  • Prepare the chicken. In another mixing bowl, coat the sliced chicken with Shaoxing wine. Then toss the chicken with the cornstarch until evenly coated. Shake off the excess and set aside.
  • Fry the chicken. In a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Working in batches, gently lower the chicken, making sure that you don’t crowd the pan. Fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Cook the sauce. In the same pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the minced ginger, minced garlic, and dried red chili peppers. Saute for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add in the sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Add chicken and green onion. Then add the chicken and green onion and toss together until the chicken is evenly coated. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make sure the chicken is coated before frying. If the chicken has absorbed the cornstarch, lightly dredge the pieces again before frying.
  • Prepare the ingredients before cooking. This stir-fried chicken dish comes together quickly. It is best practice to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you begin cooking.
  • Use high heat: when frying the chicken, make sure the oil is very hot at about 350 degrees F. Stir fry the chicken in batches to ensure even cooking and for the best texture.
  • Cook the aromatics first: before cooking the sauce, saute the garlic and ginger to release their flavors for the best flavor.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste: taste the sauce before adding it to the chicken and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more soy sauce for more saltiness, more brown sugar for sweetness, or more water for less intensity.

Nutrition:

Calories: 635kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 1514mg | Potassium: 505mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

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