Apricot chicken made with chicken thighs, apricot jam, and other pantry staples. No weird soup mixes or salad dressings here–just soy sauce, apricot preserves, and garlic. This apricot chicken is coated in cornstarch, dipped in egg and then shallow fried for that crisp, thick crust we all love.
Apricot Chicken Recipe
My love for chicken thigh pieces coated in cornstarch and shallow fried in a pan is huge. It’s the dinner I crave the most often, and I find it so comforting. It’s better than takeout, because my recipe actually creates the thick, crave-able crust you only see in restaurants or frozen dinners.
The secret to the crust is so simple–the chicken pieces are coated in cornstarch and then dipped in beaten egg before going into the pan. That’s it–totally gluten free by accident, because cornstarch created a thick, crispy crust. The egg puffs up on the chicken as it fries, and the result is the most perfect crust on a chicken.
We haven’t even talked about this super simple apricot sauce: apricot preserves, garlic, and soy sauce. I’ve always got apricot jam in my pantry to make thumbprint cookies, and garlic and soy sauce are pantry staples for me, too.
It blows my mind that this whole apricot recipe only requires 7 ingredients: chicken thighs, cornstarch, egg, apricot preserves, soy sauce, garlic and oil for frying. I serve mine with wild rice and chopped scallions, but broccoli on the side would be so good, too!
How to make apricot chicken:
- First, gather your 7 ingredients: 1 pound of chicken thighs, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 cup of apricot preserves, and 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Oh, plus salt and pepper, which is a given. Scallions are optional for serving, but I think they’re pretty. We also need 2 cups of a neutral oil for frying, like canola oil or grapeseed oil.
- Next, use kitchen scissors to cut each chicken thigh into 5-6 pieces, or 2-inch chunks. Place them in a bowl and coat them with cornstarch, salt and pepper. Beat the egg with a splash of water–yes, 1 egg is exactly enough to coat all of this chicken.
- Meanwhile, start heating the oil in a 10″ skillet for frying. While the oil heats, make the easy apricot sauce. Whisk together the apricot preserves, soy sauce and garlic in a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 375. Now, we’re going to take the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces and dip them in the egg mixture, and then fry them in the pan. When each piece is lightly golden brown and crispy, remove it from the pan and place it on a baking sheet. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through in the pan–it will cook in the oven. We just want the crust to be formed in the skillet.
- Spread the pan-fried chicken pieces on the baking sheet, and pour the sauce on top. Toss to coat the chicken in this flavorful sauce, and then bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes. The sauce will become thick, sticky, and coat the chicken very well.
- Once the chicken comes out of the oven, serve it with rice and chopped scallions.
I love using a jar of apricot preserves that has pieces of apricot in it because they look so beautiful in the final dish, and the pockets of sweetness are so good!
I love this recipe so much, that I’ll answer any questions you might have to help convince you to make it.
Can you make this apricot chicken with chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs?
Absolutely! As long as you cut up the chicken into 2-inch pieces, you can use either type of meat.
Can this recipe be doubled?
Since I cook for two, I use a 1-pound package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs because it serves two generously. You may scale this recipe up to serve more people.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup neutral oil for frying (canola or grapeseed)
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
1. Preheat the oven to 375, and line a quarter sheet pan with foil or parchment paper to keep the sauce from sticking.
2. Use kitchen scissors to cut each chicken thigh into 5-6 pieces that are about 2" chunks. Toss the chicken with the salt and pepper.
3. Add the cornstarch to bowl, and add the chicken pieces and stir to coat.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. This might not seem like enough egg, but it is!
5. Heat the oil in a 10" skillet over medium high heat. Test the oil by dropping in a pinch of the cornstarch mixture--if it bubbles and sizzles right away, the oil is ready for frying.
6. Dip each piece of chicken from the cornstarch into the egg mixture lightly, and then move it to the awaiting oil. Fry each piece of chicken on both sides until lightly golden brown. Do not worry about cooking it all the way through at this point. When each piece is done, move it to the prepared pan.
7. While the chicken cooks, whisk together the apricot jam, soy sauce, and garlic until homogenous.
8. When all of the chicken is done being fried and evenly spaced on the pan, pour over the sauce. Toss to coat the chicken evenly in the sauce, and then bake in the oven for 14-15 minutes.
9. Toss the chicken again before serving with rice and chopped scallions (optional).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 865Total Fat: 66gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 57gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 939mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 30g