Mongolian Chicken. Crispy fried chicken smothered in a sticky sweet ginger hoisin sauce. A delicious dish to make for dinner or lunch that comes together in 25 minutes or less!
My easy Mongolian chicken pairs well with white rice or brown rice with green beans or any vegetables! This Asian chicken recipe has easily become a family favorite thanks to it's simplicity and complex flavors!
What does Mongolian chicken taste like?
Imagine crispy fried chicken coated in a sticky sweet savory sauce with a hint of ginger, mild in spice. This popular Chinese takeout dish possesses a wonderful savory flavor. The juicy chicken is fried to crispy perfection. Also, the best part is that it's one of those easy chicken recipes you can make at home!
What is Mongolian chicken made of?
Mongolian chicken is chicken coated in cornstarch and then fried in oil. Then once fried it is then mixed in with a delicious gingery, spicy, garlicky and sweet hoisin-based sauce. The red chili, ginger, and garlic give it a wonderful aroma and taste.
You'll find this Chinese-American dish served at your local Chinese restaurant. It was made popular by a restaurant chain called P.F. Changs, known for it's Americanized Chinese food. Furthermore, specializing in chicken stir fry, it's a restaurant favorite to many families.
My Mongolian chicken recipe is also incredibly easy to make. Firstly, you are simply coating your tender chicken pieces in corn starch and shallow frying them in oil. Finally, in a couple minutes, stir fry the crispy chicken pieces in a simple sauce with the aromatics. It's a great recipe for those busy weeknights!
You will need the following Mongolian chicken ingredients. Please scroll down to the recipe card for full measurements.
Note: Most Asian grocers will carry these ingredients. You may find them at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- boneless skinless chicken thighs: you may substitute with boneless skinless chicken breasts for a leaner alternative
- cornstarch: or substitute with potato starch or tapioca starch
- green onion
- neutral oil: like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil.
- red chili: any long red chili will work for this recipe. For a mild level of spice, de-seed the chili
- fresh ginger
- regular soy sauce: your all-purpose soy sauce. The bottle should just say "soy sauce", not light soy sauce or dark soy sauce.
- If you're gluten free, substitute with gluten free soy sauce, tamari sauce or coconut aminos
- hoisin sauce
- brown sugar: dark brown sugar or light brown sugar will both work
- sesame oil
- cornstarch: or substitute with potato starch or tapioca starch
- water: or substitute with unsalted chicken stock or chicken broth
- green onion
- red chili
How to make Mongolian Chicken
In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch and ½ cup water until well combined. Set aside.
Slice chicken thighs into 1.5-inch pieces, about 4-6 pieces per thigh.
In a large mixing bowl, add sliced chicken thighs, followed by cornstarch. Give it a few mixes until each piece is coated in cornstarch. Set aside.
Then in a large skillet or wok on medium high heat, heat vegetable oil. Lower chicken in batches, Fry until crispy golden brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Afterward, in the same pan or wok set over medium heat, add ginger, garlic, and red chili. Fry for 10 seconds.
Next add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and mix well before adding cornstarch slurry. (You may need to give the cornstarch water another stir before adding to the hot pan). Mix sauce ingredients until combined. Simmer to thicken.
Add crispy chicken back into the pan and toss with sauce. Remove off heat. Transfer to serving dish. Optional: Garnish with red chili and green onions if desired. Enjoy!
Cooking Tips for the Best Mongolian Chicken
- Have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go! With any quick stir fry, have ingredients ready to toss into the pan or you may overcook the dish, like the crispy chicken strips.
- Chicken thighs are recommended. Chicken thigh is such a forgiving and delicious cut to cook with. Because it contains fat running through it, you can overcook it and it will still remain somewhat juicy and tender.
- Use medium-high heat to fry chicken, but only until golden crispy brown. It can burn if left in the pan for too long.
- Fresh ingredients are important. Especially when it comes to the red chili, garlic, ginger and green onions. This is a dish that relies on this for that wonderful gingery, spicy, garlicky flavor.
This dish will last up to 4 days in the fridge. To store leftovers, transfer leftover Mongolian chicken into an airtight container. To reheat the next day, microwave or reheat on the stove top on medium heat.
Why is it called Mongolian Chicken?
Despite the name, this homemade Mongolian chicken does not originate from Mongolia. In fact, this is a Chinese dish. Many Chinese-American restaurants serve it. It's because of the stir frying technique in Mongolian barbecue created in Taiwan in the 1950s,
What is Mongolian sauce made of?
Mongolian sauce is a mixture of hoisin sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil with a cornstarch slurry to thicken it. It is additionally flavored with ginger, garlic and red chili (sometimes).
What is the difference between Mongolian chicken vs Szechuan chicken?
Szechuan chicken tends to be spicier and sweeter or spicy and sour using Szechuan peppercorns. Mongolian chicken is milder and sometimes doesn’t even use spices but in my version I wanted a kick but feel free to omit this if you cannot tolerate spice.
Can I add some vegetables to Mongolian Chicken?
Yes! Feel free to add bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snap peas or snow peas to make it a well rounded dish.
Can I air fry the chicken?
Yes! To air fry the chicken:
- Spray air fryer basket with sufficient oil.
- Place coated chicken into the basket in a single layer, giving each piece enough room. Do not overlap. You may need to air fry in two batches.
- Lightly spray the chicken with oil.
- Air fry at 400 F for 10-14 minutes until desired crispiness.
Other Chicken recipes you may like!
- Honey Sesame Chicken
- Sweet And Sour Chicken
- General Tso Chicken
- Lemon Chicken
- Orange Chicken
- Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken
- Korean Fried Chicken
Easy Mongolian Chicken
- 1 lb or 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup cornstarch for coating chicken (or sub with potato starch or tapioca starch)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 red chili pepper sliced (optional)
- 5 slices ginger
- 4 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoon regular soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or sub with potato starch or tapioca starch
- ½ cup water
- 1 stalk green onion finely chopped
- 1 red chili pepper sliced
- In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch and ½ cup water until well combined. This is your cornstarch slurry. Set aside.
- Slice chicken thighs into 1.5-inch pieces, about 4-6 pieces per thigh.
- In a large mixing bowl, add sliced chicken thighs, followed by ¼ cup cornstarch. Give it a few mixes until each piece is coated in cornstarch. Set aside.
- Then in a large skillet or wok on medium high heat, heat vegetable oil. Lower chicken in batches, Fry until crispy golden brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. To Air Fry the chicken, please see Notes below for instructions.
- Afterward, in the same pan or wok set over medium heat, add ginger, garlic, and red chili. Fry for 10 seconds.
- Next add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and mix well before adding cornstarch slurry. (You may need to give the cornstarch water another stir before adding to the hot pan). Mix sauce ingredients until combined. Simmer to thicken.
- Add crispy chicken back into the pan and toss with sauce. Remove off heat. Transfer to serving dish. Optional: Garnish with red chili and green onions if desired. Enjoy!