Firecracker Chicken

Modeled after one of the most delicious and popular recipes housed on my site, this firecracker chicken was originally sent to me by my sister, Cerissa, as a sticky-finger type recipe for chicken. I loved the idea, but wanted to change it up to be prepared similar to my beloved sweet and sour. So I did.

And the result is lightly breaded and browned chicken pieces coated in a spicy, sweet sauce and baked to perfection, soaking up the sauce along the way. Be aware that this sauce packs a bit of a punch, thanks to the hot sauce, but the spiciness is offset by the brown sugar and in the end, I absolutely loved the contrast of sweet and spicy. The name? Well, it came about because my 8-year old declared he felt like there was a firecracker going off in his mouth when he took his first bite (which, incidentally, didn’t keep him from eating seconds and stealing three precious bites of tender, flavorful chicken from my plate, the little stinker). If you like the excitement of a little heat in your dinner, this meal’s for you.

What To ServeBaked Brown Rice
Summer Corn Salad or Grilled Corn Salad
Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad or fresh, seasonal fruit

One Year Ago: Baked Doughnuts
Two Years Ago: Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Three Years Ago: Strawberry Cream Puff Cake

Firecracker Chicken

Yield: Serves 4-6

Firecracker Chicken

Note: This dish packs a bit of a kick and depends mightily on what type of hot sauce you buy. Apparently (thought I haven't tried it), if you buy the buffalo flavor it's a bit more mild and less spicy. Also, I cut down on the sugar by 1/2 cup from the original recipe. If you really want to minimize the spiciness, you can consider adding that extra 1/2 cup back in (I just had trouble bringing myself to use 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a dinner recipe). Either way, the spicy/sweet combo is delicious!


  • 2-4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce (like Frank's brand for hot wings, for instance)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through. Place in a single layer in a 9X13-inch baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce. Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my sister Cerissa sent me

115 Responses to Firecracker Chicken

  1. Malorie E. says:

    I just wanted to comment and let you know – my family and I love it!
    I’ve made a couple changes, mainly doubling the sauce, because my family likes to mix the extra with the rice. We served it to my cousin the other day, and she loved it too – my brother is constantly begging me to make this one.
    Thank you for this awesome recipe!

  2. Matt Loehrer says:

    Hi Mel, thanks for another great meal! I would echo everyone who said to double the sauce, and because my kiddos aren’t fans of hot stuff (unlike their dad), I used just a couple tablespoons of what was admittedly a pretty spicy hot sauce. And because I was a bit under the gun, I cooked them through a little longer in the skillet, turned up the oven to 450 and cut baking time down to 45 minutes. Anyway, they were awesome—another to add to our already lengthy list of Mel’s favorites!

  3. Linda says:

    FANTASTIC!! Better than take out and so easy to make!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Aline says:

    Been seeing this dish all over Pinterest for some time now and decided to try it. It’s really good. Husband loves it. It has heat but it’s a very flavourful heat. Husband said it’s a definite keeper! I baked it in 325F oven for 45 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Chicken was not dry at all. I wasn’t too sure if I would like it because I don’t like my food too hot/spicy but it is good. You get the heat at roof of the mouth with a great flavor and the heat doesn’t stay stuck there whereas you can’t taste anything else anymore LOL It’s a great change from sweet & sour chicken. Thanks!

  5. Jolie says:

    Mel!! After all these years I had never made this chicken until last night! I loved it so much! Some of my wimpy offspring thought it was spicy hot, but that just meant more for Mitch and I. DELISH!!

  6. Lana says:

    Way too spicy. My husband refused to eat. A waste of time and chicken unfortunately 🙁

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