Jalapeno Chicken is bite-sized pieces of pan-fried chicken thighs, onions, and jalapeno peppers, all smothered in a sweet and salty sauce. Garnish the chicken with sesame seeds and serve it over a bed of rice for a flavorful and satisfying meal. I will also let you know how to cook the chicken in an air fryer! Check out my General Tso Chicken for another delicious, easy-to-make chicken recipe.

Skillet of Jalapeno Chicken.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe for more flavor. However, you could substitute chicken breasts if that is what you prefer.

Cornstarch: Coating the chicken bites in cornstarch helps them become nice and crispy when pan-fried.

Sauce: The sauce is a sweet, salty, and savory sauce made with soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.

Jalapeno Peppers: It’s all about the jalapeno peppers to give this dish a little bit of a kick. You have control over the heat level of the dish, which I will explain next.

Raw Ingredients Needed to Make Jalapeno Chicken.

Is Jalapeno Chicken Spicy?

Jalapeno chicken can be customized to your desired level of spiciness, ranging from mild to hot. The heat of the dish depends on the type of jalapeno peppers you choose and how you prepare them. If you prefer a spicier flavor, opt for older jalapeno peppers that have white marks on them. When cutting the peppers, keep the seeds and ribs intact, as this will enhance the spiciness of the dish. To achieve this, simply cut the peppers into rounds without removing the seeds and ribs. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder taste, remove the seeds and ribs before cutting up the peppers.

Plates of Jalapeno Chicken Served over Rice.

Can I Make This Ahead of Time?

Sure! You can get a head start on this recipe by making the sauce. In an airtight container, mix together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic until the brown sugar has dissolved. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also cut up the chicken and store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before cooking.

How to Store Jalapeno Chicken

If you have any leftover chicken, store it in an airtight container. It will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator, but the chicken may get a little rubbery the longer it is stored. Reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.

Jalapeno Chicken Served over Rice.
Skillet of Jalapeno Chicken.
5 from 41 votes

Jalapeno Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Jalapeno Chicken is bite-sized pieces of pan-fried chicken thighs, onions, and jalapeno peppers, all smothered in a sweet and salty sauce.


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • cup (85 g) soy sauce
  • cup (83 g) water
  • cup (67 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, sliced into thin rounds
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • cooked white rice, for serving


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat evenly on all sides. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine water, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
  • To a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.* When the oil is shimmering, carefully add chicken to the hot oil. (Depending on the size of the skillet, you may have to work in batches.) Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and tent to keep warm.
  • To the same skillet, add onions and jalapeno. Cook until softened (about 4-6 minutes).
  • Add the chicken and the soy sauce mixture to the pan and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve garnished with sesame seeds over cooked white rice.


*Air Fryer Chicken
To make the chicken in an air fryer, first, preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Next, coat the chicken in the cornstarch, salt, and pepper mixture. Then, place the chicken into the basket of your air fryer. Cook for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
Set the chicken aside as you prepare the sauce and cook the onions and jalapeno peppers.

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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve already made this twice within a week! The first time I used 2 serrano pepper (that’s what I had) and it what very spicy but we loved it. The 2nd time I used 3 jalapeño peppers. This did not have near the kick as the Serranos. My husband and I prefer the spicier version so I’ll be using Serrano peppers. GREAT RECIPE!

  2. 5 stars
    2nd time making this in 2weeks. Followed the recipe as written but doubled sauce because we like lots of sauce to serve over rice. Was amazing, easy to make and tasted like I worked really hard😆. Thank you for sharing recipe! I might try a bit of fresh grated ginger next time and maybe water chestnuts.

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