Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (2024)

Published: · by Khin · This post may contain affiliate links.

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Homemade simple Char Siu Chicken recipe made with juicy chicken thighs and aromatic classic Chinese BBQ marinade. You can either roast in an oven or air-fry to charred perfection. Juicy tender chicken with sweet and savoury char siu sauce is irresistible.

Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (1)

If you love Asian roasted chicken recipes, you will also love our oven-roasted Chinese Five Spice Chicken with simple soy sauces, fresh herbs, and Chinese five-spice seasonings.

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  • Why you would love this recipe
  • Ingredients
  • Top Tips
  • Variations
  • FAQ
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Reviews

Why you would love this recipe

It's one of our family's favourite fool-proof recipes that everyone can simply recreate at home. If you are trying char siu for the first time, it's a classic Chinese BBQ dish and is sweet and savoury in taste. Char Siu Pork is a popular dish and if you don't eat pork, this Char Siu Chicken is the perfect recipe to try out.

You can use roasted char siu meat in various dishes, from chow mein to buns and is adaptable. When you roast it at home, you can customize the flavour and meat to your own style. You can prepare everything ahead for batch cooking, dinner, gatherings, and parties.

In this post, I am sharing easy Chinese BBQ chicken with the best marinade and you can either bake, air-fry, or grill it. All of the ingredients used in this recipe can be easily bought at local supermarkets or local Chinese grocery stores. Impress your friends and family with the best Chinese BBQ Chicken recipe!

Ingredients

Following is a quick guide with photo instructions and you can find detailed measurements on the recipe card, at the bottom of this post.

Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (2)
  • Chicken - I used skin-on boneless chicken thighs in this recipe. You can either use skin-on or skinless chicken thigh to your preference.
  • Ground Spices - Chinese five spices powder and ground white pepper are ideal for chicken marinade.
  • Hoisin Sauce - is one of the key ingredients for chicken char siew and it has a sweet and savoury flavour and is made of fermented soybean paste.
  • Garlic & ginger - Add freshly grated ginger and garlic for the best flavour.
  • Sauces & seasonings - I add soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, and salt to taste.
  • Food colouring - is an optional. You can add vibrant red food colouring, like the restaurants and takeaways char siu or you can omit to your preference.
Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (3)

Prepare chicken and char siu marinade

  • In a large mixing bowl add the marinade ingredients, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, Shao Xing wine, white pepper, Chinese five spices, garlic paste, ginger paste, salt, food colouring, and sesame oil. Mix it well until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add chicken thighs and combine well with the marinade. Cover and let it marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Air-fryer Option

  • Preheat the air-fryer for 2-3 minutes. Line the air-fryer basket with a baking sheet or kitchen foil. Place the chicken thigh in the air-fryer skin-side up and air-fry at 190-200°C for 7-8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, the chicken is in the air-fryer, prepare the basting sauce. Add the leftover chicken marinade to the small saucepan, water, and honey. Stir it well and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and slightly thick.
  • Brushthe chicken thighs with the prepared basting sauce, place it back in the air-fryer, and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and charred.

Baked Char Siu Chicken

  • Preheat the oven to190-200°C for 4-5 minutes. Line the baking tray with foil or baking sheet. Place the chicken thighs skin-side up over the baking sheet/kitchen foil. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Prepare the basting sauce while the chicken is roasted in the oven. Add the leftover chicken marinade sauce, water, and honey into a small saucepan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set it aside.
  • After baking for 10-12 minutes, brush the chicken with the basting sauce. Then continue bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and glazed to the desired texture.
Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (4)

Top Tips

  • Meat: For this baked or air fryer char siu recipe, recommend using chicken thigh fillets which contain more fat, compared to leaner breast meat.
  • Allow time to marinate: Marinate the chicken preferably overnight or at least 2 hours, to allow the meat to absorb the flavour of spices and sauces.
  • Basting: Baste for 1-2 times while cooking for the delicious glazed finish.
  • Slicing: Use a sharp knife to cut thin slices to preserve the best serving presentation.

Variations

  • Hoisin sauce substitute - You can use oyster sauce or Lee Kum Kee Char Siu sauce as a hoisin sauce substitute.
  • Other ingredients you can add - Traditionally Chinese preserved fermented red bean curd is used in the marinade, but it is not easy to buy at our Asian supermarkets. So we don't usually add red bean curd. If you can find one, you can add it to the marinade for extra umami flavour.
  • If you have leftover char siu chicken, you can cut it into small bite-size pieces and add it to stir-fries, buns, salad, or noodle soups. Char Siu Chow Mein, Char Siu Fried Rice, char siu ramen noodle soup, char siu bao buns, char siu spring rolls, char siu puff, and char siu lettuce wraps are popular options.

FAQ

How to make it ahead?

Marinate the chicken in the char siu sauce overnight in the fridge. Bake or air fry to perfection, then let it cool down completely. Store it in an air-tight container and keep it in the fridge or freezer for later use.

Can you freeze char siu chicken?

Yes, you can freeze the leftover baked chicken char siu. Allow them to cool and wrap them tightly with the cling film, then place it in the freezer-safe bag or container. You can freeze up to 3-4 months.

How to reheat it?

If you are reheating the frozen one, defrost it in the fridge overnight. Brush the leftover char siu sauce to maintain the moisture. Then reheat it in the preheated oven or air-fryer for 4-6 minutes or until it reaches the desired heat. You can also reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until the chicken is warm through.

Can you make it spicy?

To make it spicy, you can add hot chilli powder, paprika powder, crushed chilli flakes, or a choice of hot chilli sauce in the marinade.

Why do you add food colouring?

The purpose of adding food colouring is for the appealing presentation just like you've had from your local Chinese takeaways and restaurants char siu pork or char siu chicken. You can add or omit the food colouring to your preference. Without red colouring, char siu sauce won't be vibrant red but it won't affect the taste and flavour of the dish.

What to serve with this Chinese BBQ Chicken?

Chinese BBQ chicken pairs well with plain rice, stir-fry vegetables, stir-fried noodles, or fried rice. Instead of char siu dipping sauce, you can also serve it with sweet chilli sauce, hot Sriracha chilli sauce, plum sauce, or chilli garlic sauce. We love to serve it together with jasmine rice, steamed broccoli or bok choy, and a dash of homemade chilli oil.

More Fantastic Chinese Chicken Recipes

  • Crispy Honey Chilli Chicken
  • Chicken Siu Mai ( Shumai )
  • Chicken with Ginger and Spring Onions
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong Style

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📖 Recipe

Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (9)

Char Siu Chicken

Homemade easy Char Siu Chicken recipe made with juicy chicken thighs and aromatic classic char siu marinade. You can either roast in an oven or air-fry to charred perfection. Complete the dish with plain jasmine rice and steamed vegetables.

5 from 13 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Chinese

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes minutes

Servings: 4

Calories: 522kcal

Author: Khin

Ingredients

Chicken and Marinade Ingredients

  • 800 grams Chicken thighs Boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar Or regular white sugar
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spices powder
  • ½ tsp White pepper powder
  • 3 tbsp Hoisin sauce or oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shao Xing wine Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 1 tbsp Light soy sauce or regular all-purpose soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic grated garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Finely grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp Salt or salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Food colouring Mixed with 1 tbsp water

For basting sauce

  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • Leftover sauce from the chicken marinade

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl add the marinade ingredients, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, Shao Xing wine, white pepper, Chinese five spices, garlic paste, ginger paste, salt, food colouring, and sesame oil.

  • Mix it well until the sugar is dissolved.Add chicken thighs and combine well with the marinade. Cover and let it marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Air-fryer Option

  • Preheat the air-fryer for 2-3 minutes. Line the air-fryer basket with baking sheet or kitchen foil. Place the chicken thigh in and air-fryer skin-side up and air-fry 190-200°C for 7-8 minutes.

  • Meanwhile the chicken is in the air-fryer, prepare the basting sauce. Add the leftover chicken marinade in the small sauce pan, water, and honey. Stir it well and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and slightly thick.

  • After air-frying for 7-8 minutes, brushthe chicken thighs with the prepared basting sauce, place it back in the air-fryer, and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and charred.

Oven Option

  • Preheat the oven to190-200° for 4-5 minutes. Line the baking tray with foil or baking sheet. Place the chicken thighs skin-side up over the baking sheet/kithen foil. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

  • Prepare the basting sauce while the chicken is roasted in the oven. Add the leftover chicken marinade sauce, water, and honey into a small saucepan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set it aside.

  • After baking for 10-12 minutes, brush the chicken with the basting sauce. Then continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and glazed to the desired texture.

To serve

  • Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 5-6 minutes. Then cut it into medium slices and serve together with plain rice and blanched vegetables for a complete meal.

Nutrition

Calories: 522kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 893mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 157IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kev says

    Hi could I use this recipe for pork?

    Reply

    • Khin says

      Yes, you can use pork or lamb for this recipe but you might want to increase the cooking time.

      Reply

  2. Paul says

    Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (10)
    I used oyster sauce as I don’t have hoisin sauce. It tastes absolutely delicious. Made big batch and saved for busy weekdays. Thanks for writing all details and tips.

    Reply

    • Khin says

      Hi Paul, thanks for trying it out. Oyster sauce is a great substitute for hoisin sauce.

      Reply

  3. Frank says

    Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (11)
    I’ve been searching simple char siu chicken for years and finally I can try it out. Can I also pan fry like Teriyaki Chicken? Please share your thoughts and looking forward to see your cooking instructions video too.

    Reply

    • Khin says

      Hi Frank, yes definitely you can. Pan fry the skin-side down for 2-3 minutes then flip and fry another side and add the marinate sauce. Continue cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened. I will add the recipe video soon. Hope you enjoy trying it out.

      Reply

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Char Siu Chicken - Khin's Kitchen (2024)

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