Gluten Free Chinese Honey Chicken
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This Chinese Honey Chicken recipe is healthier and better than takeout. It’s easy to make in 29 minutes with THE BEST sauce, and it’s one of the best gluten free recipes on the internet!
Since 2015 this recipe has been a hit on the blog. With dozens of 5 star reviews and raving comments, the people have spoken, this is THE BEST Chinese Honey Chicken recipe!
“My daughter LOVED it! And that says a lot. She is a very picky eater. Definitely putting this on our favorite recipe list!”
I originally created this recipe after my brother was diagnosed with celiac disease and he requested a gluten free version of his favorite Chinese restaurant dish, honey chicken.
His favorite recipe of all time on the blog is this Gluten Free Orange Chicken, so I made a similar recipe with a new and delicious sauce. Seriously, this sauce is so good, you might just want to use it on shrimp and veggies, as well as chicken! I’ve had readers comment that they put the sauce on veggie and shrimp stir fries with great results.
The sauce recipe can easily be doubled, or tripled, and stored in the fridge to use on different recipes throughout the week, or to make this honey chicken more than once. I promise, after one bite, you’ll be hooked!
Whether you’re gluten free or not, you’ll love this easy recipe! The only special ingredient that it requires to make it gluten free is gluten-free soy sauce. If you’re not gluten free, feel free to use regular soy sauce. You can also make it soy-free, by using coconut aminos.
This recipe is very lightly pan fried in olive oil, instead of deep fried. And it’s lightly battered in cornstarch, instead of flour, making it a healthier, lighter, and of course, gluten free version of the Chinese Honey Chicken you would get from your local takeout restaurant!
Table of contents
- Gluten free soy sauce – to make this recipe gluten free, I used tamari, also known as gluten-free soy sauce. If you don’t need to make the recipe gluten free, you can use traditional soy sauce.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Cornstarch – you could also use tapioca starch or rice flour.
- Brown sugar
- Chicken – for this recipe, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could also use boneless chicken thighs, if you prefer.
- Olive oil
- Thai chili pepper – this ingredient is optional and will add a little spice to the recipe. If you prefer to keep it on the sweeter side, you can omit the chili pepper. If you can’t find Thai chilies at your local grocery store, you can use minced serrano peppers instead.
- Garlic – I always recommend fresh cloves for the best flavor!
- Green onions
Step by step instructions
- Prepare the sauce. Combine honey, gluten free soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.
- Pro tip! This sauce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Some people have even commented that they double the sauce recipe every time because they love it so much!
- Prepare the batter station for the chicken. Add one whisked egg to a shallow bowl or large rimmed plate. Combine cornstarch and brown sugar in another shallow bowl. Coat each piece of chicken in the whisked egg. Then move the chicken pieces to the cornstarch mixture, making sure any excess liquid from the egg drips off before you add the chicken to the cornstarch.
- Pro tip! Always use one hand for the wet mixture (the egg) and another hand for the dry mixture (the cornstarch). This will prevent clumping in the cornstarch mixture.
- Cook the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, or wok, on the stove over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the battered chicken, along with the minced garlic and chili pepper.
- Cook until browned. After 3-5 minutes, the chicken should be golden brown on all sides.
- Add the sauce. Once the chicken is browned on the outside, pour the honey sauce over the chicken in the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Simmer with the sauce. Reduce the heat on the stove to low, cover the skillet and simmer the chicken in the honey sauce for 6-8 minutes. Remove the lid and serve the chicken immediately topped with diced green onions and sesame seeds, if you’d like.
What to serve with it
- White rice – follow this recipe for how to cook white rice 3 ways, in a rice cooker, Instant pot or on the stove.
- Brown rice – follow this recipe for how to cook brown rice 3 ways, in a rice cooker, Instant pot or on the stove.
- Quinoa – follow this recipe for how to cook quinoa 3 ways, in a rice cooker, pressure cooker or on the stove.
- Cauliflower rice – for a healthy, low carb option, follow this recipe for how to make cauliflower rice and cook it in the oven, or on the stove.
- Stir fry vegetables – instead of serving the chicken with rice or quinoa, serve it with veggies to add more vitamins and fiber to the dish!
- Roasted Asian vegetables – if you prefer to roast veggies while preparing the chicken, instead of stir frying them on the stove, try this recipe for roasted Asian-style vegetables.
- Steamed broccoli, green beans or baby bok choy – for a simple, healthy side, steam some broccoli, beans or baby bok choy, while you prepare the chicken.
- Lettuce wraps – for another healthy option, wrap the honey chicken in lettuce wraps for an entree or appetizer.
If you’re preparing rice, quinoa or vegetables to serve with the chicken, be sure to prepare them before you start making the chicken recipe. Once the chicken is pan fried, you want to serve it immediately, so it’s hot and fresh!
Frequently asked questions
- Is it healthy? This gluten free honey chicken recipe contains only 476 calories per serving and provides 27 grams of protein per serving, making it a great addition to a healthy diet. Serving the chicken with vegetables or lettuce wraps makes it an even healthier option, with added vitamins and nutrients.
- Is it spicy? This dish is both sweet and spicy. If you’re sensitive to spice, remove the crushed red pepper flakes in the sauce and omit the chili pepper when pan frying the chicken.
- Can you make it ahead of time? You can make the sauce ahead of time, but I do not recommend making the chicken ahead of time, as it’s best served hot and fresh, right after it’s simmered in the sauce.
- Can you make this recipe soy-free? Yes, the sauce can be made with coconut aminos, instead of gluten free soy sauce, to make the recipe both soy free and gluten free.
- How do you make the recipe without egg? Either use a plant-based egg replacement, or create a “flax egg” by whisking together 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Let it sit to thicken for 5 minutes, then use it as a 1 to 1 replacement for an egg.
- Can you freeze this recipe? I do not recommend freezing the chicken, as the texture will not hold up after it’s frozen. That being said, you can make a big batch of the sauce and freeze it to use later. When you’re ready to make the recipe, simply defrost the sauce in the microwave. I recommend storing the sauce in the freezer in 1/2 cup servings, as that’s how much you’ll need for the recipe.
More gluten free Chinese recipes
This honey chicken recipe is another win for the “better-than-Chinese-takeout” gluten free menu that I’ve built up over the years!
Grab all of these gluten free recipes to build your own gluten free Chinese food menu at home!
- Gluten Free Orange Chicken
- Sweet & Sour Chicken Fried Rice
- Gluten Free General Tso’s Chicken
- Honey Walnut Shrimp
- 20 Minute Kung Pao Chicken
- Shishito Shrimp Stir Fry
- Healthy Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Gluten Free Kung Pao Beef & Noodle Bowl
I would like to tell you which one is my favorite, but that would basically be impossible because I love all of these gluten free recipes!
Do you have a favorite? If so, comment below and let me know!
Gluten Free Chinese Honey Chicken
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts , sliced into cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 thai chili pepper, seeded & sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons green onions, diced
- In a small bowl, whisk the honey, gluten free soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes together, set the bowl aside.
- Combine the cornstarch and brown sugar in a shallow bowl or on a rimmed plate.
- Place the whisked egg in a separate shallow bowl.
- Add the chicken to the egg, then coat it in the cornstarch mixture.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chili pepper, garlic and coated chicken.
- Cook the chicken until slightly brown on all sides.
- Pour the honey sauce over the chicken, sauté 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 6-8 minutes.
- Top with the diced green onions and serve.
- This dish is both sweet and spicy. If you’re sensitive to spice, remove the crushed red pepper flakes in the sauce and omit the chili pepper when pan frying the chicken.
- The sauce can be made ahead of time, but I do not recommend making the chicken ahead of time, as it’s best served hot and fresh, right after it’s simmered in the sauce.
- This recipe can be made soy-free by using coconut aminos, instead of gluten free soy sauce.
- To make this recipe without an egg, either use a plant-based egg replacement, or create a “flax egg” by whisking together 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Let it sit to thicken for 5 minutes, then use it as a 1 to 1 replacement for an egg.
- I do not recommend freezing the chicken, as the texture will not hold up after it’s frozen. That being said, you can make a big batch of the sauce and freeze it to use later. When you’re ready to make the recipe, simply defrost the sauce in the microwave. I recommend storing the sauce in the freezer in 1/2 cup servings, as that’s how much you’ll need for the recipe.
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62 Comments on “Gluten Free Chinese Honey Chicken”
Looks great!! I don’t typically fry chicken but I can see the kids loving this. I will likely use coconut oil to fry but otherwise this looks perfect
Wonderful Renae, I can’t wait to hear what you and the kids think!
This was a hit tonight! I am gluten and soy free, but really miss dishes like these! Totally loved this and my teenage boys even had seconds! Definitely will add to our monthly meals!
Wonderful!! I’m so glad the whole family enjoyed it Heidi! Thanks for sharing!
this is an awesome recipe! My three grandkids are totally gluten-free and I happen to come across this recipe and they devoured it. They thought I had ordered it and were thrilled when they found out I had made it. I didn’t have gluten free soy sauce so I use maple steer instead. I also didn’t have sesame oil so I used avocado oil. I did not use the Thai chili pepper, other than that I stuck to the recipe. My husband who is not gluten-free also absolutely loved this and I will be making it many more times!!
I LOVE to hear comments like this Terry!! My brother is gluten free & I’m so excited to provide gluten free recipes that everyone can enjoy! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
Can’t post the photo, but I used the sauce in this to make a honey soy stir fry instead. Absolutely amazing!
Awesome Tanika! If you’re on Instagram you can share the photo there and tag me @WhitneyBond, I’d love to see your creation! I’m so glad you enjoyed the sauce 🙂
I made an EoE friendly version (Dairy Free + Gluten Free + Soy Free) of this for young children by replacing the soy sauce with Cocomino Original which is a coconut based soy sauce replacement for those allergic to soy. I also left out the chilli, chilli powder and green onions for my plain eating boys. Instead I added steamed & diced broccolini and topped with seasame seed. Served with plain steamed rice. Thank you
I made this last night and really enjoyed it! When I first saw the picture on Foodgawker, I thought this was a shrimp dish. SO, I used shrimp instead of chicken. I decided to skip the dredging (I didn’t want to overcook it) and just stir fried fried the shrimp in some olive oil and added the sauce with a little corn starch to thicken it up. I also added ginger to the sauce and sprinkled some cayenne pepper on the shrimp as they were cooking. Yummy! I shall try it with chicken the next time! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Tina, love hearing about your spin on the dish! I’ll have to try the sauce with shrimp sometime!
The honey chicken is the first recipe I tried and it is a firm favourite in our family. However mine doesn’t look like the picture as I can’t get the batter to stick. Nevertheless, still tastes amazing. Thank you
I’m so glad to hear it’s a family favorite!
Make sure to let all of the extra egg drip off before dipping the chicken in the cornstarch, then make sure to shake off any excess cornstarch before adding the chicken to the oil, hopefully that will help with getting the batter to stick!
Still one of my all-time LLB, I mean WB favorites!!! I’m hungry just looking at the pictures! 🙂
It’s a classic! I’ll have to make it for you again soon 🙂
I could not find fresh red pepper at the store. Is it ok to use dried?
Hi Jennifer, yes, you can leave out the fresh red pepper or replace it with dried. Either way will work!
Can I substitute the GF Soy Sauce with Amino Acids? They taste the same, I’m just not sure how the amino acids would break down in the cooking process.
Came across this recipe trying to find gluten free recipes for my husband and I just finished making it(of course had to do a taste test for myself) and it is freakin amazing! Didn’t have the crisp but is still so delicious! ?
Awesome! So glad you enjoyed in Jenavieve!!
Love this recipe & so easy. I substitute the honey for maple syrup after all the press reports on heated honey & it tastes great if not better. I also add green beans instead of green onion.
Love your recipes
Thanks so much Becki! So glad that you’re enjoying the recipe 🙂
It is tasty but I am failing to get the crispy texture I would like when I fry the chicken. Any tips?
Hi Tabitha, I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it! For a crispier texture, I would recommend more oil or cooking at a slightly higher temperature.
This was super easy and seriously good!! I am a terrible cook but I made this no problem. Tasted like it came from chinese restuarant 🙂 So hard to find GF recipes that are good. This is a keeper. Thanks!
Hi Diane! That’s so great to hear! Thank you for sharing!
What’s the nutritional value of this meal?
Hi Penny, according to the website Yummly where I go for nutritional information for my recipes. This recipe is 460 calories, 16g fat, 27g protein and 55g carbs per serving.
For how many servings is this?
Hi Naomi, this serves 4. Enjoy!
Made this for the first time today, a last minute idea…can I say “oh my Wiw”…this is delicious! Will be making this again!
What would you suggest to use instead of corn starch? Tapioca Starch? Arrowroot? Potato Starch?
I would recommend Arrowroot as it’s a great one-to-one substitute for cornstarch!
Just wanted to say I made this last night and it was great! I made a couple swaps to fit it into my caloric restrictions (less oil, no brown sugar) but it was seriously delicious and my husband loved it too. It’s a special treat for him as he can’t eat Chinese food (anaphalactic shellfish allergy).
The only problem I had was that the garlic & pepper burnt badly while I was waiting for the chicken to cook – I would definitely add it in in the last minute of cooking the chicken next time.
Onto the general tao’s next!
Your recipes are awesome. Pinned!
Thank you so much Jane!!