This amazing salt and pepper chicken recipe is the perfect recipe for a salty, crispy chicken with a sticky sweet sauce. Whole30 friendly ingredients.
So here's the deal: I am in love with this at home take out "fakeout" recipe. Like a little obsessed.
It's salty, and little sweet, and tastes deep fried but totally healthier for you than typical Chinese food takeout. It's the kind of recipe that if there is more than one person eating you are gonna want to double or triple the batch.
This recipe is totally my take on Salt and Pepper Chicken and I promise it will not disappoint. You will get the crispy salty chicken with a hint of warm spices from the Chinese 5 spice powder, and then there is a touch of a sticky sauce that MAKES the dish irresistible.
It takes it from good to next level really freaking good.
This version of salt and pepper chicken isn't spicy from peppers, which is a plus for any household with kids to feed, since kids are always down for chicken nuggets but not for spice.
This is one of those recipes that will feel kinda fancy, kinda special, but totally relaxed eating "takeout" in your sweats and a glass of wine.
Oh, and did I mention that this salt and pepper chicken recipe is gluten free, grain free and soy free?! That officially makes this recipe Whole30 friendly, almost paleo if you eat potatoes (we do) and won't mess with your hormones because it's soy free. BOOM!
Ingredients and substitutions
Making this healthy Chinese "fakeout" recipe requires easy to find ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store or Amazon! Check out the substitutions for additional tips on ingredients you can use.
- Chicken breast- feel free to use any type of chicken you love. Chicken thighs would be an excellent replacement and stay especially moist during the cooking. Just be sure to cut in even bite size chunks for even cooking.
- Bell peppers- I love using red and green bell peppers for this recipe but have also used just red. If you prefer something spicier use one of your favorites in it's place.
- Garlic cloves- Fresh is best and I like them grated because it is easier but feel free to mince.
- Green onion- Don't skimp on the green onions. They really make this dish. Be sure to use only the white and light green parts.
- Salt and Pepper- We use Himalayan salt at our house but any salt and ground black pepper will work. Feel free to up the pepper for a spicier meal.
- Potato starch- Potato starch is not the same as potato flour so do not confuse the two. Potato starch is the starch extracted from the potato and cooks and reacts differently than flour. You could sub in corn starch or arrowroot starch, but I haven't tested either of those.
- Chinese 5 spice powder- This spice is easy to find at your local store but in a pinch you could sub in ground ginger and the dish will still be superb.
- Coconut aminos- Coconut aminos is a healthier substitute for soy sauce. If you prefer soy use that instead.
- Rice vinegar- this goes in the sauce, and cuts thru the sweetness. Don't skip or replace with another vinegar.
- Sesame oil- Sesame oil is used for the sauce as well and gives it a very nice mild nutty finish.
Let the chicken cook until it easily releases. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when the chicken is ready to be flipped and the coating be nice and golden. A sure sign of it not being ready is when the chicken is still stuck to the pan. Don't force the flipping instead let it cook a little longer and it will release when ready.
Have the rice ready. Have your rice or sides ready to go while you are cooking the chicken. I used instant pot rice so it was hands off, but another hands off option would be to get microwavable organic white rice or cauliflower rice. This chicken does actually stay crisp even if it sits a while after being made.
Store in the fridge. Be sure to store any leftovers in the fridge up to 3 days. But trust me you won't have any.
My chicken isn't getting golden what's the deal?
A few things, can result in your chicken not getting golden. Be sure to coat all pieces evenly with the potato starch. Secondly be sure you are letting it cook long enough on each side. It really helps to have a pan that heats evenly. My pan does not so only one side of the pan would produce golden chicken.
Is this meal hard to make?
It is surprisingly super duper easy. I honestly thought it was going to be kind of a "to do" to make but it was absolutely and surprisingly not. While the chicken can take some time because you may have to cook in batches, once the chicken is done the rest of your dinner takes like 5 minutes.
What should I serve with this chicken?
White rice, brown rice, this Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice, cauliflower rice or even double your veggies and eat just the chicken and the peppers
What diets does this recipe work for?
This recipe is gluten free, grain free and soy free. There are not nuts included in the recipe either.
This recipe is made with Whole30 friendly ingredients. While potatoes are not strict paleo if you eat them on your diet this recipe is also Paleo. If you are strict paleo you can use arrowroot starch as a sub.