Restaurant quality Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken that's easy to make at home and bursting with flavor!! Crispy pieces of chicken fried with onion and spicy peppers, and seasoned with Chinese 5 Spice, salt and black pepper.
Chinese salt and pepper chicken is a flavor explosion! Salty, a little spicy, and deliciously seasoned with Chinese 5 Spice, a unique blend of 5 spices that are commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
Saucy Chinese chicken is certainly more common, but once you take one bite of Salt and Pepper Chicken you'll understand why I love it! The seasoning is just so unique, I can't get enough. Even Nate loves it!
I like to serve the chicken with white rice.
- Chicken thighs or breasts
- Yellow onion
- Bell pepper
- Green chili pepper
- Chinese 5 spice
- Black pepper
- Green onions
- Soy sauce
How to make salt and pepper chicken
This restaurant quality chicken is quite simple to make, yet full of flavor! Here's a quick overview.
- Marinate the chicken. The chicken gets marinated in a soy sauce mixture to help tenderize the chicken, while adding flavor.
- Toss with cornstarch. After marinating, the chicken is tossed in a seasoned cornstarch mixture. This gives the chicken a nice, light crunch on outside.
- Fry the chicken. I like to shallow fry the chicken in about 1 inch of oil. If you prefer, you can deep fry them.
- Cook the onion and peppers. Fry diced onions and peppers to garnish the chicken. This adds flavor and a little spice!
- Serve! Enjoy the chicken as an appetizer or as the main course served with rice.
Scroll down to the recipe card for full instructions.
Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Chicken
Cooking Salt and Pepper in the air fry saves on calories and mess! Follow the recipe in the recipe card, but instead of frying the chicken, here's what you'll do:
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Once preheated, spray the tray with cooking oil. Working in batches, add the chicken to the air fryer so they are not touching each other. Cook for 8 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 8 minutes.
- After you flip the chicken, heat a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and peppers for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a serving dish and top with the cooked onions and peppers, then garnish with green onions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is salt and pepper chicken made of?
Salt and pepper chicken is made from small, bite size pieces of chicken thighs that are tossed in a blend of seasonings, including Chinese 5 spice, then fried until crispy and golden brown. The chicken is then garnished with spicy sautéed peppers and onions. Serve as the main course or as an appetizer.
Where does salt and pepper chicken come from?
Salt and pepper chicken originated in Guangdong, the Southern region of China. It is often served at Chinese restaurants throughout the United States.
Is Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken spicy?
Salt and pepper chicken is relatively mild, but the chili pepper does make the chicken a little spicy. You can skip the chili pepper if you don't want the dish spicy.
What is Chinese 5 spice?
Chinese 5 spice is a flavorful blend of 5 spices that are commonly used in Chinese cuisine: Star anise, fennel, szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves.
Chinese 5 spice adds a ton of flavor to the chicken! You can buy Chinese 5 spice at most grocery stores.
Storage & Reheating
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven on a sheet pan at 400 degrees until heated through, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can reheat in the air fryer at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below! I'd love to hear from you! If you’re on Instagram, share a picture of the food you created and tag me at Modern Farmhouse Eats! I enjoy seeing all the pictures! 😊
Salt and Pepper Chicken
- 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces (or chicken breasts)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 green chili pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ tablespoon Chinese 5 spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Garnish: green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Mix together the marinade ingredients then add the chicken. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix together the cornstarch, Chinese 5 spice, salt and pepper. Toss the marinated chicken with the cornstarch mixture.
- Add about 1 inch of vegetable oil to a skillet, and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To check if the oil is ready, you can stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, and if bubbles form around it then it's ready.
- Working in batches, add the chicken to the hot oil one piece at a time so they don't stick together. Fry the chicken for about 6-8 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through.
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra grease. Once you've finished cooking all the chicken, discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the diced onion and peppers. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the onion and peppers soften.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and top with the onion and peppers then garnish with green onion.
- Salt and Pepper Chicken is great served with white rice or as an appetizer!