Sticky Soy Sauce Chicken

by Sarah

in Asian Dishes, chicken, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Entrees

sticky soy sauce chicken ~

This chicken dish is the chicken dish I make when I feel like making chicken. It’s delicious and easy to make.

I’ve made the liquid version of soy sauce chicken many times adapting the wonderful recipe from Appetite for China, but until now had trouble making the chicken look dark brown. The flavor is delicious each time – yummy coating with soft drumsticks underneath – but I really wanted to make a dark brown drumstick that also had a sticky coating instead of a soupier (but still delicious) chicken.

To make the meat turn browner, I let all the sauce boil off until all the flavor (and color) had condensed on to the chicken. Towards the end of the boiling there was so little water my pot was foaming over the chicken instead of really boiling. Beware not to let it boil too long because then the chicken is so sticky it sticks to your pot and burns black. To avoid over-boiling, simply stop boiling when you have about a 1/4 inch of liquid left in your pot.

This means you are boiling off from your starting point of enough liquid to almost submerge the chicken, to just 1/4 inch of liquid left! It will take about 1 hour on medium heat if you use a thick stone pot like me,  but check on the liquid every 15-20 minutes and use that as your guide of when to stop. If you use a thin metal pot it will probably take less time.

sticky soy sauce chicken ~

I’ve also tried making soy sauce drumsticks in a crock pot a few weeks ago. While it still tastes great, I don’t recommend it because the meat fell off the bone so it was more like chicken stew in the end. And the fat also came out of the chicken skin and created a yellow layer. In my experience, the crock pot is better for making shredded meat or stew.

I brought these soy sauce drumsticks to a family friend’s house for dinner and they really enjoyed it.

sticky soy sauce chicken ~ www.savoringspoon.comWhile I was at our friends’ house I also tried some of their home-made yogurt, and tasted AMAZING. I just ordered a yogurt incubator and yogurt starter packet today, and am excited to start making yogurt. Expect a post about yogurt soon!

Sticky Soy Sauce Chicken


  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cups water (more if you need to cover chicken)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings or drumsticks
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 scallion, chopped for garnish


  1. Marinate the chicken in just the 1 cup soy sauce overnight or for a few hours. Make sure the soy sauce touches every part of the chicken before you put it in the fridge to marinate (swish chicken around with your hands). There will not be enough soy sauce to submerge the chicken, but you wan to coat everything with some soy sauce and hence the swishing.
  2. Dump the chicken and soy sauce mixture into a large pot. Add water till chicken is covered at least 3/4 of the way. Heat on medium high untill boiling (you can put a cap on the pot for faster heating, but make sure the pot does not boil over).
  3. Add ginger, garlic, sugar, cinnamon, and star anise. Then reduce to gentle shimmer. Let chicken simmer until almost all the sauce is boiled off and only 1/4 inch of sauce is left. Toward the end of the boiling, you'll see foamy bubbles instead of boiling water.
  4. Pick the chicken out of the leftover sauce and put on a plate. Garnish with chopped scallions.

For more Asian inspired dishes, check out these recipes:

General Tso’s chickenGeneral Tso's chicke

Szechuan String Beans

Szechuan string beans

BBQ Pork Ribs

Chinese BBQ pork ribs


Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Memoria June 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

I’ve made soy sauce chicken before, and it so good to be such a simple dish! I will have to try out your recipe very soon.


2 Sarah June 16, 2014 at 10:35 am

I’m glad you like it, let me know how it goes!


3 Ami@NaiveCookCooks June 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm

These look so juicy and mouth watering!


4 Sarah June 26, 2014 at 1:59 pm



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