Easy and flavorful Bang Bang Chicken is made with crispy chicken bites topped in a delicious sweet chili mayo sauce (like yum yum sauce). Serve it for dinner over white rice with a favorite side or as an appetizer with the dipping sauce.
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Better Than Takeout!
This bang bang chicken recipe with tender juicy pieces that are coated in crispy crunchy breadcrumbs and then drizzled with a simple creamy spicy sauce is irresistible. One bite and it will quickly become a new favorite the whole family loves!
If you are a fan of bang bang shrimp, you won’t be able to keep your hands off this chicken version made with bite-sized chicken pieces
It can be served as a dinner main and yet it is easy enough to transform into a spring roll bowl for a quick lunch. Make it as part of your game day appetizer spread along with oven baked chicken wings and you may want to consider doubling or tripling the recipe.
What is Bang Bang Chicken?
Traditionally it originated in China and was a snack food sold by street vendors that consisted of shredded chicken covered in a spicy sauce. The name came from the batons that were used to hammer (bang) the meat to tenderize and shred it.
While the dish has evolved in America from shredded to diced chicken that is soaked in buttermilk, breaded, and then fried, it’s still coated in the most amazing sweet and spicy sauce similar to its roots.
For the Chicken
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed then cut into 1-inch small pieces.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk helps tenderize meat. If you only have regular milk, I include how to make your own under substitutions.
- Breadcrumbs: Panko bread crumbs are the best as they will give your chicken pieces the signature crunchy coating.
- All-purpose flour: Flour is used for dredging the chicken pieces before frying. Use gluten-free flour if needed.
- Cornstarch: Creates a moisture barrier that will result in a crisp coating.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt all add additional flavor to the breading.
- Vegetable oil or sunflower oil: You can use any oil that has a high smoke point for frying. Sesame oil is also great for adding additional Asian flavor.
Bang Bang Sauce
- Sweet chili sauce: It’s sweet and tangy and adds so much flavor. You may find it labeled at your store as Thai chili sauce.
- Mayonnaise: Adds a nice creamy touch to the base of the sauce. Use whatever brand you prefer.
- Sriracha: Adds a touch of heat to the sauce, but can be omitted if you like a milder sauce.
1. For additional spicy flavor add an ⅛ teaspoon of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the bang bang sauce.
2. Add some exotic taste to the sauce by using gochujang, a Korean chili sauce instead of the Thai sweet chili sauce.
3. To make your own homemade buttermilk add 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to your milk, stir to combine, and then let it rest for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe.
4. Substitute your favorite brand of hot sauce for sriracha.
5. Instead of mayo use sour cream or Greek yogurt for a lighter version.
6. For additional tang, add some freshly squeezed lime juice to your sauce.
7. In the summer try grilling your chicken, dicing it, then tossing it with the bang bang sauce.
How to Make this Bang Bang Chicken Recipe
This recipe will come together in several simple steps. Here’s how to make these little golden nuggets.
Step 1 – In a large bowl, marinate the chicken pieces in the buttermilk.
Step 2 – Make your breading mixture by combining Panko, flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt in a small bowl.
Dip each piece of chicken in the breading mixture and then toss to coat. Repeat until all pieces are coated.
Step 3 – Heat oil over medium heat in a non-stick or cast iron skillet. Add the breaded pieces in an even layer and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 165° F and are golden and crispy.
Step 4 – After frying, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Step 5 – Whisk together your sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, stir, then set aside.
Serve bang bang chicken immediately drizzled with the sauce and garnished with green onions if desired. Enjoy!
What should I serve it with Bang Bang Chicken?
While these are perfectly delicious on their own, you could make a full meal by serving them over coconut rice with a favorite vegetable like broccoli, snow peas, or zucchini. Or turn it into a stir fry like cashew chicken stir fry.
Can I make this Bang Bang Chicken in the oven?
To bake this bang bang chicken instead, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top. Place the breaded chicken pieces on the rack and bake it at 450° F for 20 – 30 minutes, flipping halfway through around 15 minutes.
It won’t be quite as crispy, and more similar to baked chicken tenders but still so good!
- Time permitting, marinate your meat for 10-15 minutes in the buttermilk so it has time to tenderize it.
- Instead of adding your breading ingredients to a bowl, add them to a bag and then shake your pieces in it. This makes for evenly coated chicken and it’s even easier to clean up!
- Wait to add the sauce until right before serving so the coating stays crispy.
- Add green onions as a garnish when serving for additional flavor.
- Do not overcrowd the skillet! Cook in batches as needed for the best crispy results.
Yes! Place chicken in a single layer in your air fryer basket and air fry chicken pieces for 15 minutes at 400° F flipping halfway through. After it’s done, drizzle with the sauce and serve.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The sauce will last up to 1 week in the fridge.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to two months. Note that texture may change upon thawing.
Bang Bang Chicken
For the Chicken
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast skinless, boneless, and cut into 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Vegetable or sunflower oil
For the Bang Bang Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
Cook the Chicken
- In a medium bowl, add the diced chicken and buttermilk.
- In a separate medium bowl, add the Panko, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt in a small bowl.
- Place each chicken piece in the breading mixture and toss to coat.
- Heat sunflower oil or vegetable oil or any neutral flavor oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet.
- Add the breaded chicken and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side until crispy,
- Place the coked chicken on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Make the Bang Bang sauce
- Add the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha sauce to a small bowl and mix together well.
- Serve the chicken with the bang bang sauce drizzled over top.
- Garnish with sliced green onions.