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Volcano Chicken

Let’s learn how to make volcano chicken – the most delicious sweet and savory chicken dish that’s perfect over a bed of rice! And don’t worry, just because volcano is in the name, it’s not fiery spicy. Just a tiny little kick.

What Is Volcano Chicken?

There’s a really good restaurant in Orange County, California that my sisters and I love and on their menu is something called Volcano Chicken. It sounds like an explosion of flavor but what is it exactly?

Picture crispy breaded chicken glazed in a sweet and savory sauce that has a slight spicy kick. The restaurant makes it a bit more spicy, hence the name volcano. The spice level matches the fire erupting but to make this recipe more accessible to everyone, we’re making a mild version!

How To Make It

There are 4 major steps to making volcano chicken and don’t worry, they’re all super simple.

1. Prepare your chicken: Cut your chicken breast into small chunks or thin slices. I prefer chicken breast but feel free to use dark meat/chicken thighs. 

2. Make the dry and wet batter for dunking the chicken in: To make the wet batter, just beat together two eggs with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. To make the dry batter, just whisk together cornstarch with another sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

3. Before dunking the chicken, make the sauce: In a saucepan, we’ll add buffalo sauce, brown sugar (light or brown will work), rice vinegar, sriracha, butter, honey, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then drop the heat to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes so it can thicken up. Transfer it to a bowl and set aside. *To make it spicier, add more sriracha and/or red pepper flakes!

4. Fry the chicken: Heat vegetable, canola, or peanut oil to 350°F in a deep frying pan. Dip each piece of chicken first into the cornstarch and shake off any excess. Then dip into the egg and let any excess drip off. Drop into the hot oil and fry until golden brown all around. Toss the chicken in the glaze and serve warm. Optional, garnish with chopped green onions and/or sesame seeds. 

Can I Make This Lighter?

Yes and it’s still so good! We tried and loved it just as much as the fried version.

To make it lighter:

1. First, skip the dry batter and wet batter. 

2. Prepare the sauce the same way you would as in the recipe.

3. Take the same amount of chicken breast that’s been sliced thin or into small chunks and toss it with 1/4 cup of cornstarch and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper so that each piece of chicken is evenly coated.

4. To a heated pan over medium-high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan. Then add the chicken that was coated in cornstarch, salt, and black pepper and cook it until it has some nice browning. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes. Then add the sauce in and mix around to coat the chicken evenly in it. 

5. Garnish with green onions and/or sesame seeds and it’s ready to enjoy!

What To Serve This With

Here are some ideas of side dishes to make that pair perfectly with Volcano Chicken!

  • Jasmine Rice! A classic that you can’t go wrong with.
  • Steamed Broccoli: You can also add carrots to this or any stir fry vegetables you like.
  • Chow Mein: Or any type of noodles you love. 
  • Crab Rangoons! The perfect appetizer to add to the menu.

We enjoyed it with some jasmine coconut rice, steamed broccoli, and more sriracha and it was absolute perfection.

Tips & Notes

  • This recipe uses chicken breast but feel free to use chicken thigh if that’s all you have or what you prefer.
  • To make it more spicy, add more sriracha or add more red pepper chili flakes to taste.
  • If you want to skip the deep frying and make this lighter, don’t bread and fry the chicken. Just coat chicken in some cornstarch and saute it in a pan to brown it. Then just toss it in the sauce!
  • And BTW this recipe is gluten-free! Just make sure to read the rice vinegar label carefully.
  • Rice vinegar can be found in the Asian section of the international aisle of your grocery store. If you cannot get your hands on it, replace it with apple cider vinegar. 

Volcano Chicken

Let's learn how to make volcano chicken - the most delicious sweet and savory chicken dish that's perfect over a bed of rice! And don't worry, just because volcano is in the name, it's not fiery spicy. Just a tiny little kick.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

VOLCANO SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to taste

BREADED CHICKEN

  • 1 1/2 pound chicken breast cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions
 

TO MAKE THE SAUCE

  • Over medium heat, add buffalo sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sriracha, minced garlic, honey, butter, and red pepper flakes to a pot or saucepan. Bring to a simmer to thicken into a glaze. Once it is thick, take off the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Cut chicken breast into small pieces.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together cornstarch, a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of black pepper.
  • In small deep bowl, whisk together eggs, a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of black pepper.
  • Heat vegetable oil to 350°F in a frying pan.
  • Dip a few chicken pieces at a time first in the dry batter, shaking any excess drip off, and then into the wet, letting any excess drip off.
  • Drop the breaded chicken in, making sure not to overcrowd. Fry in two batches. Once golden, about 6 to 7 minutes, take out of the oil and drain any excess oil on a wire rack.
  • Toss the chicken in the glaze. If the glaze has thickened too much as it cools, warm it up for 10 seconds in the microwave first and then toss.
  • Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and enjoy with rice, noodles, or veggies!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    • Renee Dittmar
    • August 25, 2021
    Reply

    5 stars
    I just made this tonight for dinner. My very picky 17 year old son said “Mom, if you make Volcano Chicken again I’ll be excited about it.”
    It has the perfect amount of kick. The entire family loved it!

      • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
      • September 8, 2021
      Reply

      WOW that’s amazing! So glad your son loved it too 🙂

    • Kelsey
    • August 26, 2021
    Reply

    5 stars
    I air-fried tofu and then put this sauce on and it was amazing! I served with jasmine rice, broccoli, bok choy and red bell peppers. Topped with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Will definitely be making this sauce again and will be trying it on chicken as well!

      • hajarlarbah@gmail.com
      • September 8, 2021
      Reply

      Hey Kelsey! I definitely need to try it with tofu next because that sounds sooo soo good with the veggies. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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