This lightened up Firecracker Chicken is made with chunks of white meat chicken breast that are lightly pan fried and then baked in an amazing sweet and spicy sauce until the sauce has thickened and begun to caramelize.
Serve these tender, sticky chunks of chicken over white or brown rice. Or lighten the dish up with cauliflower rice – a lower carb option to traditional white rice!
Firecracker Chicken is chunks of crispy, pan-fried chicken that is baked with a simple, sweet and spicy sauce. It is the perfect easy recipe that can be on your table in well under an hour! Don’t be daunted by the hour: 35-40 minutes of that is spent baking in the oven!
This healthier, lightened up version is pan-fried, instead of deep fried, before being baked to sweet, spicy, and sticky perfection.
Serve this with white rice, brown rice or quinoa. If you’re looking for an option that is lower in calories and carbs, try it with cauliflower rice. Plain or try it with my Easy Cauliflower Broccoli Egg Fried Rice.
This Firecracker Chicken dish has some heat to it, so if you’re not the biggest fan of heat, then add more sugar and reduce the amount of buffalo sauce use. This will help to balance out the sweetness and spice.
Full recipe with directions can be found via the printable recipe card below. Scroll down! 🙂
- Buffalo sauce
- Light brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- Cornstarch + water
- Garnishment: sesame seeds, chopped green onions/scallions
Serve this dish over cauliflower rice – frozen, store-bought or learn how to make cauliflower rice at home! Either will do, but I believe fresh is always best when it comes to cooking.
No matter what you decide to serve this on or with, this dish is so good – I guarantee it will be on your recipe rotation from now on!
LEFTOVERS + FREEZING
This recipe is right up the same alley, as far as ingredients and flavor, as my Crispy Firecracker Cauliflower Bites. So if you’ve tried that appetizer and enjoyed it, then you’re going to love the Firecracker Chicken rendition!
My husband and I devoured the leftovers last night. I had too much food in the fridge prior to leaving for the weekend, so I decided to freeze the leftovers of this dish with the hopes of having it when we were both home again.
Ever since I bought a vacuum sealer, I have been freezing things left and right. Freezing meals is essential not just because its great to have recipes prepped ahead of time, but also when you’re a food blogger and can only eat/give away so much food!
I was skeptical about how this dish would freeze. I thought the sauce would separate or become clumpy when I reheated it. Wrong! This dish tasted just as delicious out of the freezer as it did the day I made it!
REHEATING THIS DISH
If you’re looking to make this dish and freeze right away or save the leftovers for a later date, keep the Firecracker Chicken separate from the cauliflower rice or side dish of choice when freezing.
I also recommend that this dish stay covered during reheating to help keep the moisture trapped. Otherwise, you will end up with dry chicken and possibly chunky sauce.
- Microwave: Once the chicken has thawed, add it to a microwave-safe dish, cover and heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway. Reheating time will vary from microwave to microwave.
- Stovetop: Add the thawed chicken to a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Cover with a lid and allow to cook 6-8 minutes, or until warmed through.
If the sauce appears to have thickened too much during reheating, you can try stirring in a splash or two of water halfway through the cooking time to help thin the sauce out.
HERE ARE A FEW MORE TAKE-OUT INSPIRED RECIPES TO TRY
- Garlic Butter Shrimp with Asiago Risotto
- Chicken Tinga Lettuce Wraps
- Thai Red Curry Chicken Zoodle Soup
- Baked Crispy Spicy Chicken Nuggets
- California Roll Sushi Bowls
- Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (approximatley 3-4 breasts)
- salt and pepper, (to taste)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch, (or arrowroot)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup RedHot Buffalo Sauce (*SEE NOTES BELOW)
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water (THICKENER, add to sauce LAST)
- (2) 10 oz bags cauliflower rice, (steamed or sauteed)
- green onions, (chopped)
- sesame seeds
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Season the cubes of chicken with salt and pepper - to taste.
- To a large Ziploc bag, add half of the cubed chicken with half of the cornstarch. Seal the bag and toss to coat. Add the second half of the chicken and cornstarch to the bag, reseal and toss to coat once more.Make sure each piece of chicken is thoroughly coated with cornstarch.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the vegetable oil and cook chicken 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.Transfer chicken to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow paper towels to absorb excess oil before transfering to the baking dish.
- To make the sauce, place a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add all of the ingredients for the sauce (minus the cornstarch + water), whisking to thoroughly combine.Allow the sauce to come to a boil for 1-2 minutes before lowering the heat to a simmer.
- To a small mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and water (thickener). Pour the mixture into the sauce and stir to combine, continuing to stir until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, removing to stir halfway. Bake until sauce has thickened and is just starting to caramelize slightly.
- Serve over cauliflower rice, white or brown rice or with sauteed vegetables. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.
- *HEAT: This is a spicy dish, but not so spicy that you'll need a firetruck to hose your tongue down! If you're not a fan of a little heat, then I recommend cutting back on the amount of buffalo sauce you add to the saucepan.