Mandarin chicken recipe

This braised mandarin chicken recipe is an easy weeknight dinner. Quick, healthy, and delicious. Served over fluffy basmati rice with some steamed broccoli it is going to be your new go-to family dinner. Don’t forget to pin it!

mandarin chicken thighs served with fresh scallions

Mandarin chicken recipe

I do like Asian food, a lot! However, when ordering takeaway from the local restaurant I can’t stop but wonder what ingredients did they use. Unfortunately, Asian food products often contain artificial ingredients. In particular, MSG is commonly used, which I personally would never consciously consume. So this dish is perfect when you want some real Asian flavors. Put the takeout menu down!

Ingredients for mandarin chicken recipe

This recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients.

  • Chicken. I used marylands, which makes this recipe also very budget-friendly. As you might know by now, dark chicken meat is not only cheap but also healthy. In fact, dark meat contains more iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12 than chicken breast (source). You can use chicken thighs or just chicken drumsticks, skin-on, bone-in.
  • Mandarins. This recipe is versatile and can be made with any type of mandarin. If mandarins are not available, you can substitute them with oranges.
  • Dry sherry. You can swap sherry for any sweet dessert wine in a recipe, such as port or Madeira. Keep in mind that each type of wine will have its unique flavor, so the resulting dish may have a slightly different taste.
  • Tamari. I use Tamari sauce which is gluten-free soy sauce You can use any soy sauce you have on hand.
  • Sugar. Always use organic raw sugar, if possible. It is not as highly processed as white sugar.
  • Peppercorn. Just your normal black peppercorn, crushed.
  • Olive oil. I use organic extra virgin olive oil and do not recommend using vegetable oils. There are often highly processed and may contain harmful chemicals such as solvents and pesticides. It is generally recommended to choose oils that are less processed, such as olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil, for cooking.
  • Ginger. We need fresh ginger for this recipe, the ground ginger won’t work.
  • Dried Chillies. Use them if you like spicy food. Leave them out if cooking for little ones. It is really optional.
  • Spring onions: Use the white and green parts of the onions.
  • Sesame oil. You will only need a tiny teaspoon for this recipe but I would recommend you don’t skip it because it adds authentic Chinese flavor to this dish.

How to make Mandarin Chicken:

  • Start by preparing the sauce. Squeeze the juice from a mandarin into a mixing bowl. Add sherry, tamari, and sugar to the bowl and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Add crushed black pepper and stir everything well. Do not through away the mandarin peels as they’ll be used later in the recipe. Set the sauce aside.
  • Next, take the reserved mandarin peels and slice them into very thin ribbons. Set them aside for later use in the recipe.
braised mandarin chicken recipe, mandarin rinds
  • Heat a wok over medium heat. Once the wok is hot, add olive oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the wok. Next, add finely chopped ginger, mandarin rinds, and dry chilies (if using) to the wok. Stir the ingredients continuously for about 15 seconds while frying them on medium-high heat. Be sure to stir the ingredients constantly to prevent them from burning.
ginger and mandarin rinds in a wok
  • Add the chicken and fry it for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken pieces are seared and no longer pink.
  • Next, add the prepared sauce to the wok and cook for a minute or two until the sauce starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the wok with a lid, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the chicken and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When cooked the chicken should be very tender.
chicken pieces in a wok
  • After 30 minutes of simmering, open the lid of the wok and add onions to the dish. Allow the chicken to cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened. Be sure to watch it closely to prevent burning, as the sauce will reduce quite quickly. Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency, remove the wok from the heat.
chicken pieces in a wok with green onions
  • Add the mandarin pieces into the wok, gently stir, and sprinkle with sesame oil. Spoon the mandarin chicken over a bed of basmati rice and steamed broccoli. The combination of savory and sweet flavors with the nutty aroma of sesame oil makes for a delicious and healthy meal. Enjoy!

What to serve with mandarin chicken?

Mandarin chicken is a flavorful and satisfying dish that paired with some steamed vegetables and freshly cooked rice (cauliflower rice for low-carb) makes a complete meal. However, if you would like to explore more options, here are some delicious ideas to consider:

  1. Fried rice – A classic pairing with Chinese-inspired dishes, fried rice is a delicious way to round out your meal. You can use white or brown rice.
  2. Steamed vegetables – To balance out the richness of the chicken, consider serving steamed vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, or bok choy. Season with soy sauce or sesame oil for extra flavor.
  3. Stir-fried vegetables – Stir-fry your vegetables with a little oil and garlic, ginger, or soy sauce. This adds a nice crunch and savory flavor to your meal.
  4. Noodles – You can also serve your mandarin chicken with noodles such as lo mein or chow mein. These noodles are filling and pair well with the flavors of the chicken.

No matter what you choose to serve with your mandarin chicken, be sure to enjoy it with friends and family for a truly delicious and memorable meal.

mandarin chicken served with rice and broccoli
Mandarin chicken

How to store mandarin chicken

If you happen to have any leftovers of your dish, storing them is easy. Simply put the remaining portions in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

If you want to keep it longer, freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To use the frozen chicken, take it out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave as needed. In my opinion, rice doesn’t freeze well, so it’s best to make fresh rice on the day.

Healthy chicken recipe

This easy recipe is an excellent choice for a family dinner as it is both tasty and nutritious. The addition of one teaspoon of sugar, divided among four people, is reasonable and acceptable.

As previously mentioned, chicken is a healthy protein source, and when paired with basmati rice and steamed broccoli, this meal becomes an even more nutritious dinner option.

Overall, this chicken dinner is a great way to nourish your family with a balanced and wholesome meal.

mandarin chicken close up shot
mandarin chicken legs

Chinese Braised Mandarin Chicken

Elena Elliott
This braised mandarin chicken is the perfect weeknight dinner. Quick, healthy, and delicious. Served over fluffy basmati rice with some steamed broccoli it is going to be your new go-to family dinner. 
5 from 1 vote


  • 500 g chicken Maryland
  • 3 mandarins
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce I use Tamari
  • 1 teaspoon organic raw sugar
  • 1/2 crushed black peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 fresh hot chilies sliced optional, leave out if cooking for kids or you are sensitive to spicy food
  • 1/4 cup spring onions sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • To make the sauce for the recipe, start by squeezing the juice from one mandarin into a mixing bowl. Then, add in sherry, soy sauce, and sugar to the bowl. Use a whisk or spoon to mix all the ingredients together until they are well combined.
  • Crush green peppercorns and mix them into the sacue.
  • To prepare the mandarin for the recipe, begin by scooping out the pith from the mandarin halves. Then, cut the rind into fine shreds. Be sure to cover the shreds to prevent them from drying out before they are needed for the recipe. The mandarin shreds will be used to add a burst of citrus flavor to the dish, so it's important to keep them fresh and moist.
  • Heat up the wok over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the wok is hot, add the finely chopped ginger, dried chilies, fresh chilies (if using), and the mandarin rind to the wok. Stir-fry the ingredients for about 10 seconds until the aromas are released and the ingredients are lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the ingredients or they will become bitter.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the wok. Turn up the heat to high and toss the chicken continuously, pressing it against the sides of the wok, until the chicken is no longer pink. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce that you prepared earlier (the mixture of mandarin juice, sherry, soy sauce, and sugar) into the wok and stir to combine. Lower the heat to low, cover the wok with a lid, and let the chicken simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is tender and fully cooked.
  • While the chicken is cooking, peel the remaining mandarin and segment it into pieces. To segmentthe mandarin, cut off both ends of the fruit. Then, carefully cut along the sides of each segment, separating the fruit from the white pith. Repeat this process until all the segments have been removed. Set the segmented mandarin aside until it is time to add it to the wok.
  • Once the chicken is cooked and tender, add the sliced spring onions to the wok and cook on high heat, uncovered, for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
    Then, add the segmented mandarin slices to the wok and gently stir to combine with the chicken and sauce.
    Cook for another minute or so until the mandarin slices are heated through. Turn off the heat and drizzle with a little sesame oil.
  • Happy cooking and enjoy your delicious mandarin chicken If you have any further questions or need any more assistance, leave me a comment in comments section below.


  1. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar and chili peppers based on your personal preference for sweetness and spiciness.
  2. I used chicken marylands but you can use chicken legs or chicken breasts in this recipe. 
  3. To make the dish gluten-free, you can use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce.
  4. If you want to make the dish vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the chicken with tofu or seitan.
  5. Be sure to keep an eye on the chicken as it simmers with the sauce, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
  6. Garnish the dish with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and sesame seeds.
  7. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to reheat thoroughly before serving.
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