chilli chicken

Chilli Chicken Recipe

By Swasthi on August 11, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Chilli chicken recipe – Learn how to make chilli chicken gravy & dry restaurant style recipe with step by step photos. Chilli chicken is one of the most popular Indo-Chinese style chicken appetizer or starter that is served in Indo-Chinese restaurants. Vegetarian alternates are made with paneer, mushroom, potato and tofu.

chilli chicken

If you are new to Indo-chinese foods, then read on to know ..

What is Chilli Chicken?

Chilli chicken is a sweet, spicy & slightly sour crispy appetizer made with chicken, bell peppers, garlic, chilli sauce & soya sauce.

This crisp fried saucy chilli chicken recipe is hands down the best that you can make at home. There are so many ways this chicken appetizer is made. The recipe shared on this post is my own which has been much loved by my friends & family.

To make the best Chinese chilli chicken, boneless cubes are marinated in soya sauce, chili sauce and pepper. Then deep fried until crisp. Later they are seasoned again in flavorful sauces.

This chilli chicken has a burst of flavors & tastes delicious. These tender bites taste mildly hot, sweet and sour. It is best served hot as an appetizer or with
Veg fried rice
Schezwan fried rice
Hakka noodles
Schezwan noodles

Is chilli chicken very spicy?

Most people assume it to be too hot & spicy. It is not very spicy. Chilli chicken has a right balance of sweet, spice & sour tastes. My young kids too enjoy this without any problem. You may reduce the spice levels by skipping green chilies.

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Chicken 65

How to Make Chilli Chicken (Stepwise Photos)


1. To a bowl, add 250 grams of cubed boneless chicken, 1 ½ tsp soya sauce, 1 ½ tsp chili sauce and ¼ tsp pepper powder.

adding marination ingredients to a bowl to make chilli chicken

2. Sprinkle cornflour, plain flour if using and salt on the chicken. If you like to have a thick crunchy coating of the flour like we get in restaurants, add 1 tbsp more of plain flour and 1 tbsp more of corn flour.

Pour egg white only as needed. You can also use water if you have brined the chicken. Do not use a lot of liquid.

Mix well to coat. If the chicken is too dry, sprinkle little water or more egg white and mix.

adding corn flour

3. Add chilli powder or paprika and mix again. This helps to get a good color. This is optional.

adding red chili powder

4. This is how the chicken looks. If you add too much egg or water or make a batter, it will absorb lot of oil and will not turn crispy.

marinade for chilli chicken recipe

Fry chicken

5. Heat oil until hot enough. Shallow fry or deep fry the pieces until golden. Drain off on the kitchen tissue. It can also be grilled in a preheated oven at 240 C for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.You can as well put them on a skewer and grill.

frying marinade
crisp fried chicken bites

6. Prepare the sauce for seasoning in a bowl. This way you will not end up using more sauces. Add 1 tbsp soya sauce, ¾ to 1 tsp. vinegar, ½ to 1 tsp. sugar, ½ tsp. red chilli powder or paprika, 2 tbsps red chilli sauce & 2 tbsps ketchup to a bowl.

Mix together all of these with 2 to 3 tbsps water. Sauce must be thick yet of pouring consistency. I am using red chilli powder here again for the color.

adding sauces to a bowl

Season Chilli Chicken

7. Heat 1.5 tbsps oil in the pan on a high flame. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Add onions, green chilies, spring onions and capsicum. Fry until they turn slightly tender. They must still keep the crunch.

frying garlic in a pan
adding onions bell peppers to make chilli chicken

8. Add the sauces and allow to bubble.

pouring sauce to the pan

9. Add the chicken and toss. Fry on high for 1 minutes till it looks dry.

Tossing chilli chicken in pan

Serve chilli chicken hot as a appetizer.

make chilli chicken

Pro Tips

Usually in the restaurant made chinese chilli chicken, ajjinomotto or monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used to give a unique flavor to it. Trust me! you can still make the best with out it.

Food color is also used to bring the deep red color, avoid that as well and just stick on to the best quality chilli powder or paprika for a vibrant color.

The restaurant served appetizer most often makes us grease sick and tend to dehydrate a lot. For a healthier option you can shallow fry or grill the chicken, details mentioned in the instructions below.

Try this at home! I am sure you will ditch the restaurants & make this best chilli chicken again.

If you wish to brine the chicken first as they do in restaurants to yield tender juicy bites, please check the notes in the recipe card.

chilli chicken recipe

To make the best out of the chilli chicken recipe I suggest using kashmiri chili powder or paprika and saute well in the sauces on high flame which also lends a smoky flavor. If you do not use enough chili powder, the final dish may not get a good color. So try adding more or less than mentioned in the recipe.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

chilli chicken recipe

Chilli Chicken Recipe

The best Indo chinese chilli chicken appetizer made with crisp fried chicken tossed in sweet sour & spicy chilli sauce. Pair it with hot stir fried noodles or fried rice. 
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings3 people

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ¼ cup Oil or more for deep frying

To Fry the Chicken

  • 250 grams chicken boneless cubes (½ lb)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon red chilli sauce (sweet & spicy, less spicy kind)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper powder (crushed pepper)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (white corn flour)
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder (optional) or paprika or red chilli paste
  • teaspoon Salt or as needed
  • 1 egg white (use only as needed) or 2 tbsps water (refer notes)

Seasoning for chilli chicken

  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
  • 2 tablespoons red chilli sauce (adjust to taste) (sweet and spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional) or paprika or red chili paste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper powder
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon vinegar (any or apple cider)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water

Other ingredients (veggies)

  • tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced or cubed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic fine chopped
  • ¼ to ½ cup bell pepper (capsicum) – cubed
  • 1 to 2 green chilies slit and deseeded (optional)
  • 1 sprig spring onion or scallions chopped (optional)
  • 1 to 3 tablespoon Spring onion greens for garnish



  • (Optional) If you prefer to skip the egg in the recipe, it is good to brine the chicken to keep it juicy, succulent and to prevent from drying up. Follow the instruction in recipe notes below. 
  • Slice chicken to bite sized pieces about half inch cubes. Add chicken to a mixing bowl. Ensure it is drained completely.
  • Add soya sauce, red chilli sauce, black pepper powder, red chili powder (optional) and salt. (Quantities as mentioned under the section "To Fry the Chicken").
  • Then sprinkle corn flour & plain flour.
  • Add the egg white or water just as needed to bind the flour with the chicken. If the mixture is dry add more egg white or sprinkle some water.
  • Set this aside until you prepare the ingredients & the sauce. You can also refrigerate overnight and use.
  • Cube the onions & bell pepper. Separate the layers and slit green chilies.
  • Prepare the sauce in a bowl. Add soya sauce, chili sauce, tomato ketchup, red chili powder, vinegar, sugar and water to a bowl. (Quantities as mentioned under the section "seasoning for chili chicken"). Mix well. Set this aside.

Fry Chicken

  • Heat oil in a pan for deep or shallow fry. It can also be grilled at 240 C for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven. 
  • Check if the oil is hot enough by gently sliding a small quantity of batter to the hot oil. It must rise without browning. 
  • Now add the chicken cubes one by one without crowding the pan.
  • Fry on a medium high heat until crisp, golden and evenly cooked from inside.
  • Keep stirring to fry evenly. Do not over fry as the chicken tends to turn hard. 
  • When the chicken is cooked completely, bubbles in the oil will begin to reduce. Drain on a kitchen tissue or a colander.
  • For extra crisp chicken, once done frying the entire chicken refry them in hot oil.

Seasoning Chilli Chicken

  • Heat oil in a wok or pan on a high flame. Add garlic & fry for about a min.
  • Add onions, capsicum, spring onion whites and green chilies.
  • Fry till they turn slightly soft for about a minute or so. The veggies must still be crunchy.
  • Pour the sauces. Let the sauces bubble up well & slightly thicken.
  • Taste the sauce and chicken as well. Add more salt, spice or sauce as needed.
  • Add the fried chicken, Mix well. Sauté chili chicken on a high flame for 1 minute.
  • Toss until the chicken is coated well with sauce. Garnish with spring onion greens.
  • Serve chilli chicken immediately hot as appetizer or with fried rice or noodles.


This recipe works best by brining chicken overnight in buttermilk as it tenderizes & keeps the meat more moist and juicy after frying. If you prefer to skip brining then do use egg white.
Brining chicken to skip egg.
Mix together 3 tbsp yogurt with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt. Add the chicken to this and leave it for 45 mins to 1 hour. Brining in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours gives the best results. Drain the chicken completely & use in the recipe.
To make chilli chicken gravy: Mix 2 tsps cornstarch with 1 cup water and pour it to the pan. Plus add 1 tbsp more soya sauce, 2 tbsps more chilli sauce and 2 tbsps more tomato ketchup. Taste test and adjust the sauces as needed. When the mixture thickens turn off. Cool the sauce a bit and then add the fried chicken.
You can double the above quantities to triple the gravy. But note that you will have to add a lot of sauces and the entire dish turns out to be so high in carbs due to starch and sauces added. It will also be high in sodium, so you may look for low sodium products.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.


NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Chilli Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 441 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 63mg21%
Sodium 966mg42%
Potassium 298mg9%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 904IU18%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

chilli chicken
Chilli Chicken Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I made this recipe and it was so good! One question tho. I brined the chicken overnight, then marinated for a few hours, then added the flour mixture but when I went to fry it the flour mixture did not stick too well even tho I patted it down with a paper towel. Any idea why ? It was still so good !

5 stars
Amazing recipe!

5 stars
Hi Swasthi! I like your recipés. They’re easy to follow, and I especially like the tips and notes you take care to add.😍
Thank you 😊

5 stars
Hey, thanks for the recipe! Turned out pretty good.

1 note though, MSGs do not infact have any negative health effects that was basically a smear campaign from the 80s. So there’s no reason people shouldn’t use it to get that delicious umami flavor!

As a medical professional I can attest that MSG can be a migraine trigger to migraine sufferers. Otherwise no I’ll effects.

5 stars
I want to try to make this dish this weekend. Do you use Maggi Mild Sweet Chili Sauce or Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce?

5 stars
Really like your recipes. They are simple to follow, quick to make and very tasty! Thank you! Have tried many of your recipes and made this chilli chicken today and it came out great!

Hello, what brand chili sauce do you use? I’m unsure what chili is so want to make sure I’m getting the right thing. Thanks!

I love all your recipes and regularly use them . A question can we fry the chicken in the Air fryer ? Or would it dry out. Thank you

Hi. I would love to do this but needs further instructions. I would like to do this as a meal instead of an appetizer but when I change the number of servings only the ingredients change — the instructions do not. Can you send me instructions based on about 4 lbs of chicken? Thank you!

5 stars
You can increase and decrease the amount of people you want to cook for have a look at the recipe card

5 stars
Easy to cook yummy recipe

5 stars
Made this, it was great! I love spicy foods so I didn’t deseed the green chiles. Perfect amount of heat.

5 stars
Perfection and I actually made this. Thank you for this.

5 stars
I tried this recipe tonight. It was absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!

5 stars
Love this recipe! Turned out delicious!

5 stars
Tasty recipe. No leftovers left.

5 stars
Very authentic recipe ! I will try it out today !

Hi Swasthi, I’m dying to make this but am confused about the red chili sauce. The only thing available at my store is a “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce”- would that be too sweet for this dish?

I have dried red chilies at home, can I use those to make my own red chili sauce and if so, how?

5 stars
Made paneer tikka and got all the love from my family 🥰thank you so much

5 stars
I made this several times, never have leftovers!!!

5 stars
Nicely explain..

5 stars
Loved it! Thank you so much. I took a few liberties on salt, spice and other proportions and it turned out great. I wanted atleast a little bit of gravy because I wanted to have them with tortillas. That was the only lack there. But the taste!❤️😍 homemade chilli chicken is way better than restaurant ones.. you can’t even compare them