Paleo 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!
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.
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, whole 30, 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.
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.
How To Make Firecracker Chicken
- Coat the chicken. Shake the chicken pieces in a bag of arrowroot powder, coconut flour, and salt.
- Mix the sauce. Mix the hot sauce and honey in a baking dish so it’s ready to pop in the oven.
- 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.
- Bake. Bake the chinese chicken for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken and saturate the breading.
See the Full (Printable) Paleo Firecracker Chicken Recipe Below
Paleo Firecracker Chicken FAQ
Yes, but maple syrup has a much stronger flavor and may take away from the overall appeal.
Oh my gosh, YES. In fact, it’s a wonderful meal prep meal because it tastes great several days later.
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.
Personally, I wouldn’t. The crispy coating covered in sauce wouldn’t retain its original texture after thawing.
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.
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.
More Healthy Takeout Recipes
- Paleo Lemon Chicken
- Paleo Cashew Chicken
- Paleo Chinese Dumplings
- Keto Thai Larb Rolls
- Skinny Chinese Orange Chicken
- Thai Red Curry Chicken Salad
- Low Carb Vietnamese Pho
Paleo Firecracker Chicken
- 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.
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