Bang Bang Chicken is crispy chicken tossed in a creamy sweet and spicy sauce is a dish you can't stop eating. Great for dinner and also makes an amazing appetizer.
Chicken covered in sweet, spicy, and creamy bang bang sauce is a restaurant copycat dish that you will absolutely love. Makes a delicious dinner or appetizer and is ready in less than 15 minutes. We also love this Bang Bang Cauliflower for a vegetarian plant-based option.
This time of year I am always on the look out for recipes that come together quickly and can be the star of a dinner plate, quick lunch, or even game day appetizer.
Today’s recipe is a chicken version one of my favorite shrimp recipes – Bangin Good Shrimp, which is from the lovely Gina at Skinnytaste. The sauce is sweet, spicy, and creamy and is good enough to eat on just about anything. We love it with rice, soba noodles, or a great cabbage salad.
While traditional bang bang chicken is deep fried and covered in a crazy amount of mayonnaise sauce, this version is lightened up. Rather than deep-frying the chicken, this chicken is tossed with corn starch and cooked in a pan until it is nice and crispy.
The cornstarch helps the chicken get super crispy without needing lots of oil. You could also use flour or panko breadcrumbs, but I find that the cornstarch gives you a nicely browned, crispy exterior.
Now let's talk about the sauce. It starts with creamy mayonnaise. While you may be tempted to swap in yogurt for mayonnaise, it will actually change the flavor and for an authentic bang bang sauce, you want mayonnaise. To that, you add a combination of Thai sweet chili sauce and Sriracha. The sweet chili sauce adds sweetness and some heat. Then the sriracha kicks it up and adds just the right amount of heat.
What is bang bang chicken?
Bang Bang Chicken is a dish that originally was typical Chinese street food. Traditionally, it consisted of deep-fried chicken pieces served cold with a spicy mayo sauce. It got its name from the bang-bang of the cleaver used by street vendors to cut the chicken into small, bite sized pieces.
In the United States, Bang Bang Chicken and Bang Bang Shrimp got popular at both Bonefish Grill and Cheesecake Factory. The Bonefish Grill version is the closest to the Chinese version with deep-fried chicken covered in spicy mayo. On the other hand, the Cheesecake Factory version is slightly different and has more of a Thai flavor profile with coconut milk and curry paste.
How to make bang bang sauce? Use it on anything!
Once you start making bang bang sauce, you will want to use it on almost anything. It works for chicken, shrimp, tofu, or cauliflower. It is also amazing on meatballs, chicken nuggets, or drizzled on stir-fries and rice bowls. This is enough to make a larger portion. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- 1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (or full fat)
- 2/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 2 tbsp Sriracha
- Juice of 1 lime (or rice vinegar)
- Mix together and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
There is another version of this sauce that uses a combination of Frank's buffalo sauce and honey in place of the Thai sweet chili sauce. You won't need quite as much sauce, closer to 1/2 cup, and then 2-4 tablespoons of honey depending on how sweet you like it. Many people add garlic or garlic powder to this option as well.
Can I bake this in the oven?
If you prefer to make this in the oven, you can bake the chicken breast in the oven. Cut into small pieces, and toss with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Then toss with cornstarch and place on a baking sheet coated in cooking spray. Spray the chicken with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees until browned and cooked through.
For a breaded option, you can make a baked breaded chicken "nugget" and then toss those with the sauce. Start by tossing the chicken with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Then toss with cornstarch. Next dip the chicken into egg wash and coat in Panko bread crumbs.
Bake for 10-14 minutes, flipping halfway through until cooked through and browned. Make sure to spray the baking sheet with cooking spray and also spray the chicken with cooking spray.
Can this recipe be made in the air fryer?
Bang Bang Chicken can be cooked in the air fryer in under 10 minutes. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chicken with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Then toss with cornstarch. Spray with cooking spray and place in the basket. Cook for 8 minutes until crispy and cooked through.
You can also make the breaded version above. Once the chicken is breaded in the Panko, add it to the preheated air fryer and cook for 8-10 minutes until crispy and cooked through.
Recipe Ideas and Tips
- For a more traditional bang bang chicken, dip your chicken pieces in egg wash and then in Panko breadcrumbs. Bake them until crispy (or fry in a touch of oil) and then toss with sauce.
- Experiment with different proteins. This recipe works great with shrimp, pork, chicken thighs, tofu, and cauliflower.
- If you want to cut down on calories, you can replace half of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, but it will alter the flavor and make the sauce tangier. You could also simply drizzle the chicken with sauce instead of tossing it.
- Try out different combinations when it comes to the sauce to make the perfect version for you. For a less spicy option, leave out the Sriracha. For more tang, add fresh lime juice to your sauce. If you need it sweeter, add some honey. Add some fresh minced garlic or ginger to create a slightly different flavor.
- Instead of lime juice, use rice vinegar.
- For super tender chicken, marinate the chicken in buttermilk first.
What to serve with Bang Bang Chicken
Traditionally bang bang chicken is served with steamed white rice and vegetables. However, there are so many options.
- This sweet and spicy chicken tastes amazing with a crunchy Asian slaw like this one made with kale or this one with cabbage and pineapple.
- For a lighter option, serve this with some Cabbage Fried Rice or Healthy Fried Rice.
- Wrap your bang bang chicken up in lettuce wrap and serve them with grated carrots and crushed peanuts.
- Turn this tasty chicken into tacos with flour tortillas, cabbage slaw, and sesame seeds.
Bang Bang Chicken
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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