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8 January 2021

This Szechuan chicken recipe is quick and easy to make with just the right amount of spice, with seasoned chicken, a variety of chili peppers and homemade Szechuan sauce. Great for an easy weeknight meal.

Who is ready for easy cooking? I know I am. So many nights I want a quick and easy recipe to whip together in the kitchen. Chicken is a simple go-to, but chicken can get a bit boring sometimes, right?

Not tonight! Tonight we’re making spicy Szechuan Chicken, and it is delicious. Pure satisfaction. Szechuan Chicken satisfies that craving I get for spicy food with big flavor. 

Yesterday I made this Homemade Szechuan Sauce Recipe, which you can totally make ahead of time if you want, though you don’t have to. It’s super easy to whip together while your chicken is marinating. Today I’m using it to make quick and easy Szechuan Chicken, and you’ll be shocked to know that I am making a spicy version.

Don’t worry, though. You can very easily adjust the heat and spice level to your own preferences by removing some of the peppers for milder heat, or adding in others to really blast off on the heat scale. I know some of you crazy chiliheads are going to REALLY spice things up on this one. I love it!

Consider this recipe when you get the urge for Chinese takeout. This is so much better when you make it at home. Homemade is always better. I hope you enjoy it!

Let’s talk about how we make Szechuan chicken, shall we?

Szechuan Chicken on a plate, garnished with chili flakes

Szechuan Chicken Ingredients

  • FOR THE SZECHUAN CHICKEN
  • Chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces (you can also use chicken thighs if you’d like)
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn starch
  • Sesame oil (or use olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • Bell pepper, chopped (I love red bell pepper)
  • Serrano pepper, chopped (optional for extra spicy!)
  • Dried chile de arbol peppers (optional for extra spicy, or use other dried red chilies you love)
  • Sichuan peppercorns (aka Szechuan Peppercorns, or use black peppercorns)
  • Peanuts, chopped (plus more for garnish – cashews are great here, too!)
  • FOR THE SZECHUAN SAUCE
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Ground ginger fresh minced ginger is good, too
  • Honey or more for sweeter
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Garlic powder fresh (minced garlic is good, too)
  • Sriracha or more to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Chicken stock
  • Cornstarch, for thickening
  • Sichuan peppercorns lightly toasted and ground (or use black peppercorns instead)
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • FOR SERVING
  • Cooked white rice or noodles, spicy chili flakes

Szechuan Chicken on a plate with lots of peppers

How to Make Szechuan Chicken – the Recipe Method

Marinate the Chicken. Add the chopped chicken to a large bowl. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes. You can marinate for longer if you’d like, though you’ll get good flavor from a quick 10-minute marinade. I like to marinate mine overnight in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

Seasoning the chopped chicken in a bowl

Make the Szechuan Sauce. Whisk all of the ingredients except the cornstarch together in a small bowl. Pour into a pot and bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. To thicken the sauce, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water until well mixed. Stir it into the szechuan sauce and stir until it thickens up, 2-3 minutes. Set it aside for now.

Szechuan Sauce Recipe

Cook the Chicken. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan to medium heat. Toss the chicken pieces with 1/2 cup corn starch to coat. Add it to the pan and cook, stirring, 5-6 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set it aside.

The cornstarch adds some nice texture to the chicken when pan fried, as opposed to being deep fried.

Cooking the seasoned chicken in a hot pan

Cook the Peppers. Heat the pan back to medium-high heat and add the peppers. Cook for 5 minutes to soften them up. I often like to get a bit of caramelization on them from the high heat. Stir fry, my friends!

Cooking the chopped peppers in a hot pan

Add the Flavor Builders. Add the chiles de arbol, peppercorns and chopped peanuts and cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Please see my notes below about the Szechuan peppercorns.

Complete the Dish. Add the chicken back to the pan along with the homemade Szechuan sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. You can simmer for longer if you’d like. If the dish gets too thicken, add in a bit of water to thin it out.

Finishing the Szechuan Chicken in a pan with Szechuan sauce

Serve it Up. Serve with rice or noodles. Garnish with extra chopped peanuts and spicy chili flakes. Green onions are good here, too, or fresh chopped herbs.

Szechuan Chicken on a plate with a fork, ready to serve

Boom! Done! Spicy Szechuan Chicken is ready to enjoy. I love this recipe. It’s so easy to make, isn’t it? So much better than takeout, even from your favorite Chinese restaurant. It’s a great quick and easy weeknight dinner. 

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Spice Factor. I use a lot of chili peppers in this recipe, specifically bell peppers, serrano peppers and chile de arbol peppers. The serranos and chiles de arbol are quite spicy, and are completely optional. Use a jalapeno pepper for a milder level of heat, or omit them entirely, or core them out to reduce the heat.
  • Make Ahead Szechuan Sauce. You can very easily make this sauce ahead of time, the night before or even up to a week. Just keep it in the refrigerator, covered, until you need it. You can also make a big batch of Szechuan sauce and use it for multiple recipes.
  • Szechuan Peppercorns. Szechuan peppercorns (aka Sichuan pepper) are an acquired taste, so keep this in mind if you have not tried them before. They are different from black peppercorns, with an almost floral taste described as lemony, perfumy, almost soapy. They are usually hit or miss with people, so I suggest trying one first before cooking with them.

Whole Szechuan peppercorns in a bowl

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my Szechuan chicken recipe. The ultimate Chinese chicken stir fry! Mine is an extra spicy version! I love spicy Chinese food. Who needs takeout? Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

Szechuan Chicken on a plate with a fork

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Spicy Szechuan Chicken with lots of peppers, ready to enjoy

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Szechuan Chicken Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Szechuan Chicken Recipe

This Szechuan chicken recipe is quick and easy to make with just the right amount of spice, with seasoned chicken, a variety of chili peppers and homemade Szechuan sauce. Great for an easy weeknight meal.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: chicken, chili peppers, recipe, soy sauce, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 392kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE SZECHUAN CHICKEN

  • 1 pound chicken breast chopped into bite-sized pieces (you can also use chicken thighs if you'd like)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or use olive oil
  • 1 large bell pepper chopped
  • 2 serrano pepper chopped (optional for extra spicy!)
  • 10 dried chile de arbol peppers optional for extra spicy, or use other dried peppers you love
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns or use black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup peanuts chopped (plus more for garnish - cashews are great here, too!)

FOR THE SZECHUAN SAUCE

  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger fresh minced ginger is good too
  • 1 tablespoon honey or more for sweeter
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder fresh minced garlic is good too
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch for thickening
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns lightly toasted and ground or use black peppercorns instead
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice

FOR SERVING

  • Cooked white rice or noodles, spicy chili flakes

Instructions

  • Add the chopped chicken to a large bowl. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.

FOR THE HOMEMADE SZECHUAN SAUCE

  • While the chicken is marinating, whisk all of the ingredients except the cornstarch together in a small pot.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • To thicken the sauce, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water until well mixed. Stir it into the szechuan sauce and stir until it thickens up, 2-3 minutes. For thicker szechuan sauce, use 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Remove from heat and set aside.

FOR THE SZECHUAN CHICKEN

  • Heat the oil in a large pan to medium heat.
  • Toss the chicken with 1/2 cup corn starch to coat. Add it to the pan and cook, stirring, 5-6 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
  • Heat the pan back to medium-high heat and add the peppers. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the chiles de arbol, peppercorns and chopped peanuts and cook another 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan along with the homemade Szechuan sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with rice or noodles. Garnish with extra chopped peanuts and spicy chili flakes.

Video

Notes

Calories are estimated without rice or noodles for serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1240mg | Potassium: 757mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1487IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 1/8/21 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 5/27/20.

 
Szechuan Chicken
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