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Firecracker Chicken

This Firecracker Chicken is crispy and spicy-sweet! The chicken is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and the flavor is a perfect balance of heat from hot wing sauce, sweetness from brown sugar, and a hint of tanginess from apple cider vinegar. 

Serve it over rice for a unique dish that is as easy as it is delicious.

Firecracker Chicken in a bowl with white rice.
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This Firecracker Chicken is a sweet and spicy main dish that you’re going to love.

The sauce is absolutely magical. Hot wing sauce, brown sugar, and a splash of apple cider vinegar come together to make sweet, spicy, tangy goodness.

I love serving it over a bed of fluffy rice. The sauce soaks into the rice, making every bite flavorful. Sprinkle some green onions or chives on top for a fresh kick.

You can also use the leftovers to make firecracker chicken wraps! All you need is the chicken, tortillas, lettuce, and maybe some crispy bell peppers. Dip it in ranch dressing and you have a fantastic lunch the next day!

Ingredient Notes

See the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

Ingredients to make Firecracker Chicken set out on the counter.
  • Chicken Breast: The star of the show, providing the protein and heartiness.
  • Cornstarch: Coats the chicken, giving it that irresistible crispy texture when fried.
  • Oil: Used for frying the chicken.
  • Hot Wing Sauce: Brings the heat and that classic buffalo flavor to the dish.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a sweet element that balances out the spiciness, creating a deliciously sweet and spicy sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Provides a touch of tanginess to the firecracker sauce. 

How To Make Firecracker Chicken

Chicken and cornstarch in a glass mixing bowl.
Chicken coated with cornstarch in a glass mixing bowl.

Mix the chicken and cornstarch until the chicken bits are all coated. This step gives it that crispy goodness when cooked.

Chicken cubes coated with cornstarch added to oil in a hot skillet.
Golden brown cubed chicken fried in a cast iron skillet.

Then, get a skillet, pour in your oil, and heat it up over medium heat.

Once oil sizzles fry the chicken until it's golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each.

Remove the golden brown chicken pieces from the pan. Set them aside.

Hot wing sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a cast iron skillet.
Firecracker Chicken sauce simmering in a cast iron skillet.

Next, in the same pan, add hot wing sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer until it thickens up a bit.

Put the chicken back into the sauce. Stir it around until each piece is coated. Let it simmer until the chicken is fully cooked inside.

Firecracker Chicken in Cast Iron Skillet.

Last, sprinkle green onions or chives on top. Serve it over rice. The rice soaks up the sauce, making it extra tasty. 

Substitutions and Variations

  • Make firecracker shrimp. Use this same recipe, but replace the chicken with shrimp for a totally different twist. 
  • Make it a wrap. Make a wrap with firecracker chicken, romaine lettuce, and crunchy vegetables like bell peppers and cucumbers. Serve it with ranch dressing for the perfect handheld meal. 
  • Adjust to suit your tastes. Change the amount of buffalo sauce to make it more or less spicy, brown sugar to make it more or less sweet, and apple cider vinegar to make it more or less tangy. 

Storing and Freezing

Storing: If you have leftovers, store the Firecracker Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should be good for about 3 days. 

Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze your Firecracker Chicken. Put it in a freezer-friendly container, making sure to leave a bit of space for expansion. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

When you're ready to enjoy it again, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it. Keep in mind that the texture might be a bit different after freezing, but the flavors will still be amazing.

Recipe Tips

  • Cut those chicken pieces into evenly sized cubes. This helps them cook at the same rate, so you don't end up with some pieces overcooked and others undercooked.
  • When frying, don't worry too much about the chicken being fully cooked inside. It gets another round in the sauce later, so focus on getting that golden exterior.
  • Adjust the sauce according to your taste. Like it spicier? Add more hot sauce. Too sweet? Adjust the sugar.
  • Let the chicken simmer in the sauce until it's fully cooked inside. You can cut a piece open to check, making sure there's no pink.

Recipe FAQs

What other vegetables can I add to this dish?

Use what you have! This recipe is very easy to customize. Feel free to use vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, or snap peas.

Is firecracker chicken spicy?

Yes, firecracker chicken has a sweet and spicy flavor combination. The hot wing sauce gives it a spicy kick.

Firecracker Chicken served in a bowl with white rice.

Here are a few more Asian-inspired recipes you might like!

I can’t wait for you to try this sweet, spicy Firecracker Chicken recipe! It’s such an easy dish to throw together, and I know it will become a family favorite. 

Firecracker Chicken in a bowl with white rice.

Firecracker Chicken Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
This Firecracker Chicken is a sweet and spicy main dish that you’re going to love. Serve it over rice for a unique dish that is as easy as it is delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4
Calories 494 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound chicken breast (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • cup hot wing sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons green onions or chives

Instructions
 

  • Make sauce by whisking together the wing sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside.
  • Toss the chicken and cornstarch in a bowl until the chicken is completely coated.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • When oil is hot enough to sizzle, add the chicken and fry until golden brown.
  • Flip once the bottom of the chicken is golden brown. Fry about 3-4 minutes per side. 
  • Use a slotted spoon and remove the chicken from the skillet, drain, and set aside.
  • Add the sauce ingredients to the skillet and cook until brown sugar dissolves into sauce.
  • Bring to a simmer, and add the chicken back to the skillet.
  • Stir to coat the chicken, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick.
  • Sprinkle with green onions or chives, and serve over rice.

Notes

Store the Firecracker Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 494kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 24gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 762mgPotassium: 504mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 53gVitamin A: 64IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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