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5 from 3 votes

Salt and Pepper Chicken

This Salt and Pepper Chicken is crispy, packed with spices, and is super easy to whip up. While it does require shallow frying, the chicken is coated in a large baggie for easy cleanup. The crispy salt and pepper chicken is finished with chilis, scallions, and garlic for even more flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 193kcal
Author: Brianna May


  • vegetable oil for frying*
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs diced into 1 inch pieces


  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chinese five spice*


  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil*
  • ¼ cup finely diced white onion
  • 1-2 fresno or thai chilis seeds removed & diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeds removed & diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup sliced scallion


  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
  • Line a large plate with paper towels. Fill a large heavy duty pot with about 1.5 inches of vegetable oil.
  • Heat the oil over medium to medium heat or until the temperature is about 360-375 degrees. The oil temperature will drop as the chicken is added.
  • While the oil heats, combine the chicken, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and chinese five spice in a large bag or bowl.
  • Add about half of the chicken to the oil so that none of the pieces are touching. Fry the chicken for 3-5 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken from oil and place on the plate.
  • Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • In a skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the chilis, jalapeño, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until fragrant.
  • Top the salt and pepper chicken with the peppers and scallions. Serve hot.



Vegetable Oil: You can swap this for any neutral flavored oil. It must have a high smoke point. Some great oils for frying are safflower, peanut, corn, or grapeseed. 
Chinese Five Spice: You can find this spice blend in most grocery stores on the spice aisle. It is a combination of cinnamon, fennel, star anise, and white pepper typically. I do not recommend skipping this ingredient. It really gives the salt and pepper chicken a unique flavor. 
Toasted Sesame Oil: Be sure to use toasted or dark sesame oil, instead of the regular lighter sesame oil. It has a completely different taste.
Refrigerator: Store leftover salt and pepper chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Be prepared. Get a plate with paper towels prepped and clean tongs ready for removing the cooked chicken from the oil. Since the chicken cooks so fast, it is best to have these items ready. 
Use thermometers. The oil needs to be around 375 degrees and the internal temperature of the cooked chicken needs to be at 165 degrees. It is very hard to know when the oil is hot enough or the chicken is done without a thermometer. 
Shake the chicken in a bag. I like to put the coating and the chicken in a large bag and shake it for a minute or so. This ensures the chicken is well coated. There should not be much coating leftover. 
Do not overload the frying pot. I use a large stock pot and find that cooking this chicken in two batches is perfect. If you are using a smaller pot, you may have to cook it in 3 batches.
The peppers are spicy. If you are extremely sensitive to spice, you can omit the peppers.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1007mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g