This easy recipe for Mongolian Chicken uses chicken breast and a sweet and savory sauce to create a satisfying meal that’s better than takeout. Serve it over noodles or rice for a quick weeknight dinner everyone will enjoy!
Instead of the traditional beef, sliced chicken breasts are pan-fried and dressed in a classic Mongolian sauce made from ginger, garlic, red chili peppers, and broth. It’s a delicious and filling protein you can serve over rice, quinoa, or noodles!
Skip your usual Friday takeout and serve the chicken and rice with a side of Veggie Stir Fry or a heap of low-carb Cauliflower Fried Rice. It’s a satisfying and comforting meal that is kind to your wallet and completely delicious.
What is Mongolian chicken?
Mongolian chicken is made with pan-fried sliced chicken breasts and a homemade sticky and slightly spicy sauce. It has bold flavors that are toned down when served with grains, noodles, or vegetables.
Even though we call these recipes Mongolian, the version we eat in America has little ties to the traditional ingredients or methods in true Mongolian cooking, making this more of an American-centered meal.
This popular Chinese-American takeout choice can be made with chicken, beef, or tofu. The most important element is the sauce! It always gives the dish a comforting mix of sweet and savory.
Szechuan chicken vs. Mongolian chicken
Szechuan chicken uses Szechuan peppercorns which creates a tingly, numbing sensation in your mouth. Mongolian chicken is less spicy, more tangy and a bit more saucy than the Szechuan version. It’s also a bit more sweet with the addition of brown sugar.
- Chicken breasts – Boneless and skinless. Or, you can use chicken thighs.
- Vegetable oil
- Red chili peppers
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Chicken broth (or water)
- Rice wine vinegar
How to make it
Prepare the chicken breasts by cutting them into strips. Place them in a bag with the cornstarch and shake until every piece is evenly coated.
Cook the chicken in a skillet with oil until browned and crispy. It’s best to do this in batches. Set the chicken aside on a paper towel-lined plate and tent with foil.
In the meantime, prepare the Mongolian sauce by whisking the soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, chicken broth, and rice wine vinegar together in a small bowl.
Saute the garlic, ginger, and red chili peppers in the empty skillet. Pour in the sauce and bring it to a simmer, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Add the chicken back in with the green onions and toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!
You can add in some extra sauteed veggies to make this dish more filling and nutritious. Bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and carrots are all great options.
Making ahead and storing leftovers
Mongolian chicken leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Freeze any leftover Mongolian chicken in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.
To reheat the leftovers, place the chicken back in a skillet and cook over medium heat until warmed through. You can also reheat it in batches in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.
The sauce can be made up to 4 or 5 days ahead of time and stored in a jar or container in the fridge. I recommend cooking the chicken fresh for the best flavors and a crispy texture.
What to serve with Mongolian chicken
I love to serve my Mongolian chicken with starch and vegetables to help replicate my favorite takeout version. A few side dishes also transform it into a full and satisfying meal. Pair the chicken, sauce, and white rice with any of these delicious options on the side:
- The sugar and acid in a Riesling will pair nicely with the dish’s salty, sweet, and sticky elements.
- A dry and fruity Sauvignon Blanc will complement the bold flavors from the ginger and garlic in the chicken.
More Asian-inspired recipes
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Mongolian Chicken Recipe
- 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs, cut into ¼ inch thick slices)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon garlic (minced (6 cloves))
- 2 teaspoons ginger (grated or minced)
- 8 dried red chili peppers (optional)
- 3 scallions (cut on a diagonal into 1-inch slices, to garnish)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place the chicken and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a large ziploc bag and shake to coat evenly.
- In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add some of the chicken in a single layer and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. You will need to do this in batches. Set aside the browned chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel and tented with foil.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- To the now empty skillet, add the garlic, ginger, red chili peppers and saute for 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. If you find the sauce is too thick add a bit more chicken broth or water. Add the chicken and green onions to the pan and toss to coat.
- Serve over rice or noodles.
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