This Bang Bang Chicken recipe features homemade crispy chicken nuggets covered in a creamy sweet chili sauce. Enjoy this delicious recipe for an appetizer or add it to your favorite rice or pasta dish.
Bang Bang Chicken Recipe
This is by far one of my favorite chicken recipes to make. Crispy chicken is doused in a Bonefish Grill copycat bang bang sauce; it’s saucy and packed full of flavor! You can make it for game day, a work party, or even an easy dinner.
What do I need to make Bang Bang Chicken Sauce?
Mayonnaise: mayo is added to this sauce as a base because it has a mild flavor. It will create the perfect creamy consistency.
Honey: the sweetness of honey helps cut the spice from the chili sauce and chili paste.
Sweet chili sauce: it’s sweet, sour, and spicy. It gets its spice from red chili peppers and adds the signature reddish-orange color of the sauce.
Red chili paste: Red chili paste is going to help spice up the sauce. Mixed with honey, it creates a great sweet and spicy flavor.
Kosher Salt: I like to add a little bit of salt to this sauce. I prefer kosher salt that isn’t too coarse. We don’t want any large pieces of salt in the sauce.
Black pepper: brings an earthy, pungent flavor to the sauce. I like to use fresh cracked pepper.
What do I need to make crispy chicken bites?
Buttermilk: when brining chicken in buttermilk, the acidity helps tenderize the meat and adds flavor. If you don’t have buttermilk, that’s okay!
You can easily make your own. Just add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk, and you have homemade buttermilk.
Egg: adding egg to a brine before coating chicken with flour helps create a thicker and more flavorful crust, as the egg acts as a binder and helps the flour adhere to the chicken.
Hot sauce: you might not have used hot sauce in your brine before, but it infuses the chicken with so much flavor! I like Frank’s Red Hot, but you can also use sriracha sauce.
Cornstarch: adding cornstarch to the brine can help tenderize the meat by breaking down proteins and enhance the crispiness of the coating when frying or baking, resulting in a more delicate texture.
All-purpose flour: adding flour to a brine can help thicken the liquid, creating a more substantial coating when frying or baking the chicken. It can contribute to a crispy and golden exterior while also adding a light layer of flavor and texture.
Seasoning: you will need black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika and garlic powder to flavor the brine.
Vegetable oil: this is what you will fry your chicken in, you can also use olive oil if you like.
Chicken breast: I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for my homemade chicken nuggets, but you can use chicken thighs too if you prefer!
Panko bread crumbs: I like to use panko for frying chicken instead of traditional breadcrumbs because it creates a lighter and crispier coating. The larger and flakier texture of panko breadcrumbs allows for better air circulation during frying, resulting in a more crunchy and evenly browned exterior on the chicken.
How to Make Air Fryer Bang Bang Chicken
1. Prepare the sauce. To make the sauce, combine the mayonnaise, honey, sweet chili sauce, red chili paste, salt, and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Cover it and chill in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.
2. Prepare the buttermilk batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, hot sauce, cornstarch, all-purpose flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
3. Brine the chicken. Add the chicken cubes to the buttermilk mixture, tossing to fully coat, and brine for 30 minutes.
4. Bread the chicken. Add the panko to a shallow plate and dip the chicken cubes into the breadcrumbs. Press to coat each piece of chicken evenly and shake off any excess panko. Work in batches; don’t add all the chicken cubes at once.
I like to place them all on a parchment paper lined baking sheet until I’m ready to cook the chicken.
5. Fry the chicken. Heat the vegetable oil in a cast iron frying pan on medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken in an even layer and cook for about 5 minutes, turning every 1-2 minutes, or until it is evenly golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 165℉.
6. Serve. Transfer the cooked chicken onto a serving platter and drizzle with bang bang sauce, then garnish with fresh parsley on top.
If you really want to turn up the heat, drizzle some chili oil over the chicken before serving!
What is the origin of bang bang chicken?
Bang Bang Chicken originated in the streets of the Hanyang district in China. Street vendors served cold chicken drizzled with bang bang sauce on the top.
At this time, it was mainly served as a snack but has transitioned into a delicious dinner. Bang Bang Chicken got its name from the way they loosened the chicken fibers, which was hitting it with a hammer or cleaver.
How to Serve Bang Bang Chicken
Bang Bang Chicken Tacos: this bang bang chicken is perfect for tacos! Just add shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, or taco slaw before adding chicken that has been covered in bang bang sauce onto a warm tortilla. Top it with green onions or more hot sauce.
Bang Bang Chicken Rice Bowl: bang bang chicken (or shrimp) rice bowls are super simple to make and full of flavor. First, add your choice of rice to the bowl, whether that is white rice, ginger rice, or cauliflower rice.
Then add in shredded cabbage or shredded coleslaw mix (without the sauce). Place your bang bang chicken on top and then garnish with green onions. I like to add a sliced avocado on the side of mine too.
Bang Bang Chicken Sandwich: place your cooked chicken nuggets on a brioche bun or bun of your choice. Then drizzle on the bang bang sauce and top with crisp lettuce and pickled onions.
More Bang Bang Sauce Recipes
Bang Bang Sauce is a creamy sweet, and spicy sauce that is great to put on chicken and seafood (like shrimp and salmon) and to drizzle on veggies. Because it’s such a versatile sauce, you can add it to many different recipes.
One of my favorite bang bang seafood recipes is Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp. They’re ready in just 30 minutes, and while they’re great for an appetizer and to eat on their own, they can be added to many different dishes, like tacos, pasta, or rice bowls.
Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos are super simple to make. Add Bang Bang Shrimp, cabbage slaw, jalapenos, and cilantro to a warm tortilla for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta is another one of my favorite dishes. This copycat seafood pasta combines shrimp, noodles, and a creamy bang bang sauce. I’ve had this pasta at restaurants like Bonefish Grill and the Cheesecake Factory, but I promise homemade is best!
- Make the sauce ahead of time. You can prepare the sauce before you make your chicken and keep it in the fridge for up to three days. I recommend reheating it on the stove before drizzling it onto the chicken.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before brining to remove any excess moisture.
- The chicken can be brined for up to 4 hours if you want to prepare it ahead of time. Make sure you at least plan for 30 minutes of brining to keep your chicken nice and juicy.
- When breading the chicken, try to keep one hand “wet” and one hand “dry,” meaning use one hand to put the buttermilk-covered chicken into the breadcrumbs and then use your other to take it out.
How do I store leftover bang bang chicken?
To store leftover chicken and bang bang sauce, be sure that it cools down first, preferably to room temperature. Then place them in separate airtight containers.
I don’t recommend putting them together because they will get soggy. You can keep leftovers in the fridge for three to four days. You can keep them in the freezer, in an airtight container, for about three months.
How do I reheat leftover Bang Bang Chicken?
You can reheat your leftovers on the stovetop or in an air fryer. I don’t recommend reheating them in the microwave because this will affect the texture and quality of the chicken.
To reheat in the oven, cook at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes or until it’s heated through.
In the air fryer, preheat it to 350 degrees F and heat the chicken for 4-6 minutes or until it’s heated through.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
- One Pot Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Fajita Nachos
- Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
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Bang Bang Chicken
Bang Bang Sauce
- To make the sauce, combine the mayonnaise, honey, sweet chili sauce, red chili paste, salt, and ground black pepper in a bowl. Cover it and chill in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.
- In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, hot sauce, cornstarch, all-purpose flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Add the chicken cubes to the buttermilk mixture, tossing to fully coat, and brine for 30 minutes.
- Add the panko to a shallow plate and dip the chicken cubes into the breadcrumbs. Press to coat all the chicken pieces evenly and shake off any excess panko. Work in batches, don’t add all the chicken cubes at once.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a cast iron frying pan on medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken in an even layer and cook for about 5, turning every 1-2 minutes, or until it is evenly golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 165℉.
- Transfer the cooked chicken onto a serving platter and drizzle with bang bang sauce, then garnish with fresh parsley on top.