When that itch for takeout strikes, try out something new with this 30-Minute Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry! Brightly colored veggies and fried chicken, tossed in a sweet and spicy Szechuan sauce, welcome you to the Far East any night of the week!
Szechuan Chicken Recipe
As a food blogger, I cook A LOT. There is rarely a day you could walk into my house and not find some sort of leftovers from a shoot in one of my two refrigerators. Yet, somehow, my husband still manages to talk me into ordering takeout at least twice a month.
Sometimes it’s pizza, occasionally we get subs from an excellent local place. More often than not, though, it’s Chinese. He’s obsessed, and I’m pretty sure he could eat it every day if he was given the option.
Since he always orders the same stuff from the takeout joint, I try to mix it up when I make Chinese food at home. Hence this Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry – it’s something neither of us had ever tried, but now plan to order next time we call in!
Even if it’s just to see just how well it compares. As stir fry recipes go, this one is definitely our favorite.
What Is Szechuan Chicken?
Hailing from the Sichuan province of China, Szechuan Chicken (also sometimes referred to as Laziji) is a sweet and spicy dish, consisting of marinated then deep-fried chicken and a chili-based sauce. The chicken is usually served with steamed white rice, and people pick around the dried chili peppers with chopsticks as they eat.
Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients
The main ingredients you’ll need for Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry are:
- Chicken breast or thighs
- Fresh ginger and garlic for flavor
- Dried red chiles for heat
- Snap peas, green and red bell peppers, green onions – feel free to mix it up with the veggies, like adding green beans, carrots, baby corn, or water chestnuts.
- Peanuts for crunch
The sauce is whisked together, then added at the very end to form a thick sauce that coats the chicken and vegetables.
- Chicken stock
- Soy sauce
- Chili paste
- Rice wine vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Red pepper flakes
Recipe Tips and FAQs
What does chicken Szechuan taste like? When people talk about Szechuan, they are actually referring to the type of cuisine, and not necessarily the main ingredients. Szechuan cuisine is typically a very spicy and flavorful type of Chinese food, often incorporating lots of garlic and chilies.
What cut of chicken is best for stir fry? Boneless, skinless chicken is best for stir fry, and thighs work just as well as chicken breasts. I prefer the flavor of white meat but it can dry out quickly if overcooked, so pay attention to the internal temperature.
How do you know when chicken stir fry is done? Chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. A digital meat thermometer is a vital tool to have in your kitchen so you can avoid overcooking your chicken.
What Else Can Be Made Szechuan-Style?
Since Szechuan-style isn’t restricted to just chicken, you could really try anything with the sauce base in this recipe!
- Broccoli (or other mixed veggies)
How To Make Szechuan Chicken:
Making this Chinese favorite is so quick and easy! Scroll down to the printable recipe for detailed instructions.
- First, combine cornstarch, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Mix it up until it’s sauce-like, then toss in the bite size chicken pieces and stir it all around to coat. Set the chicken aside and prep your veggies – slice the bell peppers and green onions, trim the peas, and chop the peanuts. Having all of your ingredients ready to go (mis en place) makes the stir frying process go super smoothly!
- Next, mix up your Szechuan sauce base. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of stock, soy sauce, chili paste, vinegar, cornstarch, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set it aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium high heat. Fry the chicken (in batches, if needed, to ensure even cooking) until it’s browned and mostly cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each batch to a bowl on the side of your workspace.
- Carefully drain the oil from the wok and wipe it out, then return it to the stove. Heat sesame oil in the wok, and add ginger, garlic, and dried chili peppers. Stir fry for a minute until they’re fragrant, then add the prepped vegetables and peanuts. Stir fry everything for another minute or two before adding the chicken back into the pan and stir-frying for 2 to 3 minutes.
- When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, reduce the heat and add the sauce. Toss everything to coat, then allow it to simmer and thicken for about 3 minutes. Serve the Szechuan Chicken garnished with sesame seeds, freshly sliced green onions, and more chopped peanuts, over a bowl of steamed white rice.
And If You Like It Even Spicier…
Traditionally, Szechuan Chicken is made with Sichuan peppercorns, a fragrant, citrusy spice that causes a tingly sensation in the mouth. If you happen to have them, feel free to add them to the stir frying steps in this recipe.
You can also double up on the chili paste (sambal olek works well here) and dried chilies if you’re looking for an even hotter meal!
More Asian Inspired Dinners To Enjoy
- Weekday Chicken Pad Thai
- Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
- Cashew Chicken and Broccoli
- Crockpot Orange Chicken
- (Instant Pot) Spicy Chicken Ramen
- Honey Garlic Chicken
Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast sliced into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons chili paste such as sambal oelek
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 1- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 5-6 dried red chilies chopped
- 1 cup snap peas
- ½ green bell pepper thinly sliced
- ½ red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 3 green onions chopped into 1-inch pieces, plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup peanuts chopped
- 2 cups steamed white rice for serving
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk well, then add chicken and toss to coat; set aside to marinate.
- In a small bowl, whisk together stock, soy sauce, chili paste, vinegar, cornstarch, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- In wok or large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot, about 120 degrees F.
- Fry the chicken in batches until mostly cooked through and browned, about 5-6 minutes for each batch. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Drain oil from wok, reserving 2 tablespoons for frying vegetables. Return wok with reserved oil to heat.
- Add ginger, garlic, and red chilies and stir-fry until fragrant, 1 minute. Add peas, bell pepper, green onions, and peanuts and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes.
- Return chicken to wok and continue stir-frying 2-3 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, pour on sauce mixture, and toss to coat. Simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Serve over white rice, and garnish with additional chopped green onion.