A Spicy Perspective

Firecracker Chicken Recipe

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Paleo Firecracker Chicken Recipe: Whole 30 baked fire-cracker chicken with a crispy crust and spicy sticky-sweet glaze! This is an unbelievable family favorite made with clean ingredients!

firecracker chicken

Homemade Chinese Takeout

When you are trying to clean up with your diet it can be hard letting go of certain comfort foods or convenience foods.

I always struggle with giving up Asian takeout.

Although I know fast service Asian restaurants include ingredients that I need to ditch to stick to a whole foods or paleo diet, Chinese takeout is so satisfying (and easy on busy nights) it makes me sad to let it go.

Yet with just a few minor adjustments, many takeout favorites can be tweaked to fit into a Whole 30 diet, and made in a hurry!

Best Paleo Firecracker Chicken Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #whole30 #paleo #stirfry #takeout

What is Firecracker Chicken?

The first time I saw firecracker chicken on a Chinese takeout menu I was a little confused… And even more confused after I tasted it.

No ginger. No garlic. No sesame oil. No soy sauce or hoisin.

Wait… Is this really Chinese?

It’s true. The lightly-breaded glistening red Firecracker Chicken Stir Fry you find at most takeout joints is not a traditional Chinese recipe.

It’s the epitome of Americanized Chinese food.


Firecracker Chicken

In fact, most recipes are made with cayenne pepper hot sauce. The kind you find in buffalo wing sauce.

If General Tso’s Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken had a love child, it would be named Firecracker Chicken.

Firecracker Chicken is quickly fried in a skillet then doused in a spicy tangy sauce and place in the oven to bake. The sauce saturates the breading and thickens into an intensely sweet and spicy sticky glaze.

It ridiculously addictive. You’ve got to try it!

Paleo Firecracker Chicken

If you happen to be on a paleo or whole foods diet… No worries!

We’ve adjusted the recipe to include only very clean ingredients.

Yes, it’s still breaded and fried. Yes, it’s still sweetened. So this isn’t a dish you’d want to make week after week.

Yet if you need a comfort food fix, this will do it, while not totally breaking your diet.

americanized Chinese

Chinese Firecracker Chicken Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken. I like to use boneless chicken thighs, but you can also use chicken breast.
  • Arrowroot powder. This takes the place of cornstarch in a traditional non-paleo recipe.
  • Coconut flour. To create the base of the breading.
  • Salt. For obvious reasons.
  • Eggs. To expand the breading into a light crispy coating.
  • Frank’s RedHot Sauce. One of the cleanest condiments you can buy, made with just aged cayenne peppers, salt, vinegar, and garlic powder.
  • Honey. This takes the place of processed brown sugar in classic recipes.
  • Apple cider vinegar. For tangy flavor.
  • Crushed red pepper. To add a little more kick!
  • Coconut oil. Or avocado oil for frying.
whole 30

How To Make Firecracker Chicken

  1. Coat the chicken. Shake the chicken pieces in a bag of arrowroot powder, coconut flour, and salt.
  2. Mix the sauce. Mix the hot sauce and honey in a baking dish so it’s ready to pop in the oven.
  3. Fry. Dunk the chicken pieces in egg right before frying, so the coating expands in the oil. Then fry for just a minute per side. The chicken does not have to be fully cooked, because it’s going into the oven.
  4. Bake. Bake the chinese chicken for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken and saturate the breading.

See the Full (Printable) Firecracker Chicken Recipe Below. Enjoy!


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Maple Syrup Instead of Honey?

Yes, but maple syrup has a much stronger flavor and may take away from the overall appeal.

Is This Good As A Leftover?

Oh my gosh, YES. In fact, it’s a wonderful meal prep meal because it tastes great several days later.

Is Firecracker Chicken Low Carb or Keto?

No. It’s paleo, but not low carb. Without the addition of the honey, or another form a sweetener, it would not have the same sticky-sweet quality.

Can I Freeze It?

Personally, I wouldn’t. The crispy coating covered in sauce wouldn’t retain its original texture after thawing.

Can I Make A Non-Paleo Version?

Of course! Use an equal amount of cornstarch in place of the arrowroot and coconut flour. You can also swap the honey for an equal amount of brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons water. Then use any kind of fry oil you like. However I must say, this cleaner recipe is just as delicious as the naughtier version.

Do I Have To Fry The Chicken?

No. You could skip the breading altogether, brown the chicken, and bake it in the sauce. It will still taste great, yet it won’t have the same dazzling comforting quality.

whole 30 chicken recipes

More Healthy Takeout Recipes

baked chicken
Easy Paleo Firecracker Chicken Recipe: Whole 30 baked fire cracker chicken with a crispy crust and spicy sticky-sweet glaze! A family favorite made with clean ingredients!
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4.97 from 31 votes
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Firecracker Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Paleo Firecracker Chicken Recipe: Whole 30 baked fire cracker chicken with a crispy crust and spicy sticky-sweet glaze! A family favorite made with clean ingredients!
Servings: 8



  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set out a 3-quart baking dish. Pour in the hot sauce, honey, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to mix.
  • Cut the chicken thighs into 3/4 inch chunks. Pour arrowroot powder, coconut flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a gallon zip bag. Add the chicken, zip the bag, and shake to thoroughly coat the chicken. 
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Whisk well. Then set a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 1/4 inch oil. Set a plate near the stove lined with paper towels. 
  • Working in small batches, add a handful of the chicken to the eggs. Toss, shake off the extra egg, and gently place each piece of chicken in the hot oil. Fry for one minute, flip the chicken with tongs, and fry one more minute.
  • Move the chicken to the holding plate to drain and repeat in several more small batches. 
  • Once all the chicken is fried, place it in the baking dish with the sauce. Toss to coat the chicken in the sauce.  
  • Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Toss the chicken and bake another 10 minutes. Toss one more time and bake another 10 minutes, thirty minutes total. 
  • The sauce should be thick and sticky. Serve warm. 


Serving: 6oz, Calories: 468kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 242mg, Sodium: 1506mg, Potassium: 303mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 300IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 1.7mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Author: Sommer Collier

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33 comments on “Firecracker Chicken Recipe”

  1. Pingback: 5 Day Whole30 Meal Plan: May 23rd - Joy in the Meantime

  2. This recipe looks delish! However, NOT Whole30 compliant. Honey is not allowed.

  3. Pingback: Whole30 Meal Plan Oct 11th-15th - Joy in the Meantime

  4. This looks delicious but honey is not whole30 compliant.

  5. I rarely leave reviews but I just had to for this recipe! I started the paleo diet about a month ago and have been on the hunt for yummy recipes. This chicken was incredible and super easy to make! 

    So glad I found this. Thank you!!

  6. Pingback: Quick and Easy Family-Friendly Whole30 Meal Plan - Joy in the Meantime

  7. Oh these look delicious, bet they are great for parties too

  8. We have really enjoyed this recipe as a family (dinner guests too!) I do add some crushed fresh garlic to the sauce recipe. I appreciate that the recipe is naturally gluten free – we do not require this, but we have friends that do and it’s nice to be able to make something GF that isn’t contrived to be so. I have very successfully substituted both blanched cauliflower and extra firm tofu alongside the chicken, which even my meat-eaters enjoy. I serve it with Traditional Indian Lemon rice and roasted bell peppers and onions with additional red pepper flakes and sambal olek on the side.

  9. This. Was. Delicious!! The best chicken dish I’ve had in a long time. Perfect combo of flavors and the best kick! We enjoyed it with an Asian salad and were absolutely satisfied.

  10. 5 STARS!!!! This was delicious!

  11. I cook from online recipes 99% of the time, and I cook A LOT, yet this is the first time I have ever commented on a recipe. This recipe is AMAZING! I followed it to a T except I used corn starch bc I didn’t have the arrowroot flour. I chopped some extra chicken to leave plain fried for my young kids and they loved it as well! We felt like we were having a restaurant meal, but better bc we knew it was all clean! No MSG! Not a ton of salt! It was crispy, spicy, and delicious! I served it with rice and snap peas for the kids (we were out of quinoa or it would have been that), but for us I served it with steamed riced cauliflower and butter lettuce leaves, which we used like little wraps. We both agreed the butter lettuce was really nice to cool down the spicy in our mouths 😁 I’ll definitely be making this often and shouting its praises as a wonderful take-out dupe! Thank you so much for this! 

  12. Off whole30 food freedom recipe keeper!!!!  I made with cauliflower rice and sautéed asparagus and broccoli. Family also loved!!!

  13. Family loved it! Delicious and easy

  14. Tastes even better with orange zest and juice added!

  15. I can’t comment on the taste because I just have a quick second to leave this and its baking but I will say the timing is way off.  Can anyone actually fry up 2 lbs of bite size pieces of chicken in 10 minutes? In small batches as suggested?  If so, I salute you. Took me 30 just to do that portion. Excited about the recipe but you may want to adjust the time for us typical chefs. :)

  16. OMG. This turned out so good. The sauce is to die for. I’ll definitely be making again!

  17. The honey makes this non-whole30 compliant.

  18. I’d love to make this, but the addition of honey is NOT Whole 30. :(

  19. Wow! This did not disappoint! The flavor was out of this world and so easy to make!

  20. Absolutely fabulous recipe!! My family loved it…make are to double it!! You’ll need it.

  21. This was great. My whole family loved it. Never ordering Chinese again. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. thank you for this, especially since I too miss so many Chinese food recipes that don’t work on so many levels except as a rare calorie and other splurge, so really appreciate these ingredient swaps and flavors here

  23. This looks great, and I will be trying it. I quit eating Chinese takeout around here because it tastes exactly like the grocery store frozen section. It probably literally is.

  24. Fire cracker is right! This is so flavorful and delicious.

  25. Maybe this isn’t traditional Chinese food, but man it looks amazing! I’ll take Americanized Chinese any day. Can’t wait to try this one, I think my whole family will love it!

  26. My family really loved this! And they can’t wait for me to make it again!

  27. What a great recipe! My family really enjoyed it! Definitely better than takeout.

  28. Love! I am always trying to look for new paleo recipes!

  29. My whole family loved this! I was hoping to have the leftovers the next day but looks like my husband loved it so much, he got to it before me. haha!

  30. This looks sooo good! Adding it to my menu for sure.

  31. Sweet, spicy and delicious!! Such a terrific chicken recipe!!