Copycat Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

Day 16 of my 8 week Pantry Challenge!

I almost caved and ordered Panda Express. I REALLY wanted their Sweet Fire Chicken, Broccoli Beef and Fried Rice. But then I remembered that it costs $12/plate and I have what I need to make it for around $5. You can use bottled Sweet Chile Sauce as is, but it’s way too sweet for me. So I tinkered with it to balance the sweetness and…heatness? I’m also addicted to Panda’s Egg Rolls, so I made way too many of those as well. Lord, help my waistline. 

Oil for frying 

2 large Chicken Breasts; cubed


1 cup Flour

⅓ cup Cornstarch

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice

½ teaspoon Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 ⅓ cup Sprite Soda


⅔ cup Sweet Chile Sauce

½ teaspoon Soy Sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha

¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder

  1. In a large bowl, combine the batter ingredients, whisking until frothy and well combined. Add the chicken and set in the fridge for 20 minutes. There’s no need to cover it. 
  2. Meanwhile, add the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk until incorporated. Taste and season accordingly (if it’s too hot, it will only get hotter as it simmers so add sugar and water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until it reaches your desired heat level). Reduce heat to low and cover, stirring occasionally.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until it reaches 360°F or until a wooden spoon dipped in the oil bubbles. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the bowl and fry in batches until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the batter coating is golden brown. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan as this will reduce the temperature and your chicken will absorb too much oil and get soggy. Place the chicken on a paper towel as they’re finished frying.
  4. Add the chicken (as well as the pineapple and peppers if you have them) to a large bowl and drizzle the sauce over top. Toss to coat and serve with a sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes if desired.
  5. Enjoy!

Looking for a side dish? Try one of these recipes!

Published by ashsinthekitchen

Home cook, gardener and lover of life!

One thought on “Copycat Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken

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