Char Siu Chicken

January 31, 2023

You may also substitute chicken for roast pork in our traditional Char Siu Chicken. This recipe for oven-roasted char siu chicken is perfect if you’re allergic to pork or just don’t like it.

There is no need to give anything up when using this recipe. It’s simple to use chicken as a stand-in, adding a lot of flavor to the dish.

Chicken thighs and other dark meat achieve the same sticky and delectable effect as pork shoulder or boneless pig butt. If you don’t have thighs on hand, feel free to use drumsticks, leg quarters, or even wings.

We suggest using skin-on, split chicken breasts if you want to use chicken breasts. Be sure the white meat isn’t overcooked by checking the temperature within the bird periodically. When cooking chicken breasts, the internal temperature should be 160°F/71°C. This will allow the meat to finish cooking at 165°F (74°C) in the oven’s residual heat.


  • 2 pounds of bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 5 drops of red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of maltose
  • 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
  • 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil


  1. Remove any excess fat from the chicken thighs. Prepare the marinade by mixing together the dark brown sugar, salt, white pepper, five spice powder, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, garlic, and red food coloring in a bowl. Combine the marinade ingredients and use them to coat the chicken before placing it in a big bowl or baking dish. Refrigerate for 8 hours minimum, preferably overnight, covered.
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 2 1/2 hours before you plan to dine so that it can come to room temperature and cook more evenly. Put a rack in the middle of your preheated 375F (190C) oven.
  3. Sheet pan preparation is simplified by first lining it with heavy-duty foil, which can then be removed from the oven and discarded. Spread the chicken thighs that have been marinated out on the sheet so that they are not touching. Hold on to the leftover marinade.
  4. Put the chicken in the oven and roast it for 30 minutes. The situation should be monitored every 15 minutes. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil and/or reduce the heat if it appears to be burning.
  5. Make the basting sauce while the chicken bakes. Empty the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and add it to the water. Bring the ingredients to a low boil. Melt the maltose and incorporate it into the mixture (microwave the maltose for 15 seconds at a time until softened). Remove from heat and stir in maltose until it dissolves completely into the marinade.
  6. After thirty minutes, brush the chicken with the marinade that has been heated through. Roast the chicken for another 5-10 minutes, then use an instant-read thermometer to see if it’s done. When a thermometer is put into the thickest portion of the meat registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius), or the fluids run clear, the meat is done. The chicken can be baked for an additional minute and basted to achieve a darker char siu crust if desired.
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