The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe

10 ingredients or less 30 minutes or less dinner & chill easy meat snacks
One of the great fried chickens of the world - Taiwanese popcorn chicken - now oven baked and only 8 ingredients.
Posted July 9, 2019 by Mike

Taiwanese popcorn chicken is a classic snack you can find at almost any proper taiwanese restaurant, street side stand, or cafe. Anyone who’s ever had it can tell you it’s an addictive dish that will have you eating a pound of chicken before you know it. It’s easily one of the best fried chicken variations in the world; standing shoulder to shoulder with other fried chicken stalwarts such as southern fried chicken or Japanese chicken karaage. This is an easy 8 ingredient oven baked version that tastes surprisingly close to the real thing.

Cooking Notes

Instead of a small bowl, you can definitely marinate the chicken in a ziplock bag. But if you do so, you should still transfer to a second bag to keep it as dry as possible so the corn starch sticks mostly to the chicken, and not to your bag.

We do two layers of cornstarch for this chicken because of the wet rub (which is essentially what this paste is), once to dry out the rub and again to get a crispy coating. After the second layer, your chicken should look nice and dry.

Ingredient Notes

Five spice is a chinese spice mix of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sichuan peppercorns, and fennel. It’s easily available at most grocery stores in the spice aisle or available online. If you can’t find it, skip it or sub in any of the spices you have on hand.

Toasted sesame oil is dark brown in color and found in the Asian aisle of any grocery store or online. If you can’t find this, skip it, but once you try it, you’ll want it in everything.

What do you need?

A baking sheet with a snug fitting rack.

What do you serve it with?

Enjoy with white rice, mixed into fried rice, or just on its own with some beer, Taiwanese style.


Traditionally this dish is garnished with fried Thai basil (which is what I’ve done here), but being that this is oven baked and not fried, you can garnish with fresh Thai basil, cilantro, or any herbs you have on hand.

The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe |

The easiest oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe
Serves 2

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp five spice
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

1. In a small bowl, make a paste with the garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, five spice, white pepper, and sugar. Toss your chicken in the paste until well coated and marinate for 15-30 minutes.
The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe |

2. Once you are ready to cook, preheat your oven to 450ºF. Place your chicken in a ziploc bag along with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, then shake. Once the chicken is well coated, add a second tablespoon of cornstarch and shake again to coat. The chicken should look dry at this point.
The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe |

3. Arrange the chicken pieces on a well oiled rack fitted into a foil covered baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe |

4. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken and bake for another 5 minutes.
The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe |

5. Remove and enjoy immediately with some fresh herbs, rice, and beer.
The easiest 8 ingredient oven baked Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe |

Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.


  1. Jessica says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! Trying to get my summer-body on late and all your recipes for oven baked versions of fried things are a real gift. I can’t wait to try this.

  2. Joseph Chai Whan Kim says:

    Can’t wait to try this next week. I’ve been looking for something just like this!

  3. Kay says:

    I’ve made this multiples times now and it has become a mainstay in our kitchen! My five-spice mix is unfortunately a tad too anise-y, so I had to dial it back a bit, in addition to holding back some sugar. But I’ve also attempted this with shish-taouk spice and again, rave reviews! I’m going to keep trying this with other spice mixes… sharwarma spice, garam masala, jerk mix – the options are endless!

  4. Monica says:

    Made a double batch of this recently and turned out great. I thought flavors were spot-on (we’d recently eaten some in Toronto). Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Alison says:

    I loooooved the flavor of this, but it didn’t get as crispy as I hoped. I think next time I’d toss in a bowl of cornstarch instead of shaking in the bag.

  6. Cat says:

    Hi! Uber amateur cook over here. I’m assuming that if I don’t have a baking pan with rack, I can fry this? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      you can definitely deep fry it :)

  7. Kamilla says:

    Loos so good! Do you think I could sub tapioca starch for the corn starch? Would it count as crispy?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kamilla,
      yes, you can use tapioca starch and it will definitely be crispy!

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