Caramelized Asian Chicken Recipe: A 20-Minute Restaurant-Worthy Stir-Fry Dinner by Donna John

Caramelized Asian Chicken Recipe: A 20-Minute Restaurant-Worthy Stir-Fry Dinner

Sweet, sticky, tangy with a little heat, this Asian caramelized chicken recipe has it all. It is one of my all-time favorite recipes to make for dinner. It's quick and tastes like you ordered it from a restaurant. It makes me feel like a chef! The one-pan recipe is incredibly easy and quick to prepare you don't even brown the chicken. (Yes, I was not sure about this either, but it works.) You'll be planning when you're going to make it again as you eat it.

Start this Asian recipe by stirring together the sauce ingredients. The sauce is made with brown sugar (aka caramelization), fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, fresh garlic, fresh grated ginger, black pepper and a fresh Thai chile (you could omit this). Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet and cook the shallot and green onions for a few minutes, then add the sauce and raw chicken. The chicken and sauce simmer over high heat, so don't walk away from the pan. Stir and watch the magic slowly happen as all the ingredients cook together and start to get dark and caramelized. This happens fast, so as soon as it hits the darkness you want, turn off the heat and have your rice ready to eat.

Serve this Asian caramelized chicken stir fry for dinner with rice and any other side dish you enjoy.

Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 


  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 green onions, sliced 


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I used 1 cube of Dorot Gardens crushed ginger)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 fresh Thai chile, chopped, (I used a red jalapeno)

For Serving

  • chopped cilantro, chopped green onions and chopped hot pepper, for garnish
  • cooked jasmine rice or white rice

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the shallot and sliced green onions and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sauce and chicken.
  3. Turn the heat to high and simmer, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened, darkened and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro, green onions and chopped hot pepper.

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Elisa Schmitz
OMG, this looks delicious. I made chicken thighs last night. Wish I would have seen this recipe first, Donna John ! YUM!
This looks delicious. 🔥
Sujata Gazder
Super delicious! My daughter made it for us for dinner tonight.
Donna John
So glad ya'll enjoyed it!! Looks like your daughter did a great job. I am making it again next week. We really enjoyed it, too. My husband said some of his bites tasted like candy. lol You left more sauce than I did. I guess I cooked mine longer. If you (or your daughter) have any recipes to share, please submit! Sujata Gazder
Donna John
I absolutely love this recipe. Made it again last night, but served it with rice noodles instead of rice. So. Good. Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds Sujata Gazder
Elisa Schmitz
That looks amazing, Donna John ! I'm going to try and make a version of this tonight. I don't have all the ingredients, but close enough. I'll report back, LOL! Sujata Gazder AngelaKG I wonder if you would like this one?
Donna John
Pro tips: 1) It's going to look a mess when it first starts cooking. You are going to think there's too much liquid. 2) HIGH heat so the sauce can evaporate and caramelized and not overcook the chicken. (I think breast would dry out, so thighs work perfect in this recipe.) 3) One minute it's not caramelizing, the next it is. Watch it close and stir a lot when it starts turning brown. 4) Fish sauce smells like ass, but it's worth the house smell for a while. 5) I slice up a cayenne pepper (I'm growing them) and put it on mine because I make it less hot/spicy because Martin is not right in the head. lol 6) Use the biggest skillet you have so there's more surface area. Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Donna John
Tip: I have made this recipe so many times now. I did learn the last time I made it NOT to walk away when it starts to get brown. It happens fast and can easily burn because of the sugar. So when you see it starting to caramelize, stir constantly and stay put! On the menu for next week ... again. Delish.

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