Tender chicken pieces are stir-fried and tossed in a deliciously sticky, savory, and slightly sweet sauce that perfectly coats the chicken! Made in one skillet, and ready in about 30 minutes, it’s the ultimate weeknight dinner idea. Skip the takeout and make your own!
This is one of my Chicken recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
Chicken is so versatile, but can sometimes be a bit boring and lackluster in the flavor department.
But not in this recipe! The sauce that so thoroughly envelopes the chicken is the perfect blend of savory, spicy, sticky, and sweet. If you find yourself licking an excess sauce off your plate… let’s just say you’re not alone in that desire lol.
Our local Chinese takeout restaurants don’t have a chicken stir fry with this sauce, but it definitely tastes reminiscent of a comforting box of sticky takeout chicken.
Making your own takeout stye meals is not only cost-effective, but you get to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients used.
How to make garlic black pepper chicken?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
When cutting up the chicken breasts, try to keep them all very similar in size. This way they all cook evenly, and in about the same amount of time. As written, the chicken pieces are an average bite-size, but feel free to adjust that size. Just note that any change in size will also affect the cooking time for the chicken.
Variations of this recipe
- Chicken – we like the convenience of chicken breasts, but this recipe will work with chicken thighs or tenders as well.
- Crispy chicken – for a bit of a crispy crust on the chicken, coat the chicken in a bit of cornstarch or flour before cooking it in the skillet.
- Other protein – this sauce would be fantastic on pork, shrimp, or even tofu.
- Vegetables – I kept this stir fry to be mostly chicken, but if you’d like to bulk up the meal with some veggies, carrots, celery, bell peppers, snow peas, green beans, etc are great alternatives. If you add a lot of vegetables, you may want to double the sauce ingredients so you have enough to cover the larger volume of food.
- Spicier or milder – feel free to adjust the amount of chile peppers and black pepper to your tastes.
- Sweeter – for a sweeter sauce, increase the amount of honey, or add some maple syrup.
- Wok – if you have a wok, this is a great recipe for it!
I don’t make any claims to the authenticity of this recipe. This is just my version of takeout-style chicken dish, based on my family’s taste.
I know the amounts might seem a bit unusual, given that there’s so much garlic and pepper. But I promise they’re correct, it’s a bold and ultra-flavorful sauce!
Making a chicken stir fry ahead of time
I think this recipe tastes best when made fresh, but the good news is it’s a quick-cooking meal.
You can also prep ahead for this recipe:
- Chicken – chicken can be sliced into pieces and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or two.
- Vegetables – the shallots, chile peppers, garlic, and ginger can be minced/grated, and kept refrigerated in an airtight container for a day or two.
- Sauce – the sauce can be whisked together (except the cornstarch), and kept refrigerated in an airtight container for a day or two.
Leftover chicken stir fry should be refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoyed within 4-5 days.
Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet, adding a splash of chicken broth or water to loosen up the sauce if needed.
This recipe can be frozen for longer storage!
Let chicken cool completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers, label them with the date, and freeze for up to 3-6 months.
This pan is definitely not cheap, but I wanted to be transparent that this is the pan I most often use in my kitchen. However, you can use any large skillet/pan; I just recommend at least 10-12″ in diameter and/or a 3 quart capacity.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast diced into small bite-sized pieces
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil divided
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 small shallots finely minced
- 1 – 2 Thai red chile peppers minced (1 small jalapeño pepper can be substituted)
- 14 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
Honey black pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- green onion sliced at an angle
- Thai red chiles sliced
- sesame seeds
- Since this is a stir fry, it's very helpful to make sure everything is chopped/minced, and measured out before starting the cooking process.
- Heat a large skillet over MED HIGH heat and add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add half the chicken pieces and cook, for about 2 minutes on one side, then flip over and cook another minute or two until chicken is cooked through.
- Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat with another 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and the other half of the chicken.
- While chicken is cooking, in a small mixing bowl whisk together water, chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, black pepper and cornstarch. Set aside.
- After all the chicken has been added to the plate, don’t clean out the skillet.
- Add remaining 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and 1 Tbsp butter to the skillet. Add shallot and Thai chiles and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until softened and fragrant.
- Reduce heat to MED and add garlic and ginger, cooking about 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Give the soy sauce mixture in the mixing bowl a whisk to redistribute the cornstarch, then pour the sauce into the skillet.
- Cook several minutes, stirring often, until mixture simmers and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Return chicken to skillet
- Remove skillet from the heat, add cooked chicken to sauce and stir until well coated.
- Serve hot, garnished with plenty of green onions, sesame seeds, and some additional sliced Thai chiles. We like to serve this chicken over rice.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- Since this is a stir fry, things move fairly quickly. I definitely recommend following the steps in the order I’ve written them, so things are prepped and ready for you. Otherwise, it can get pretty hectic.
- Recipe serves approximately 6, but this is just an estimate.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.