Chicken Bites Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2024)

Crispy, tender, and perfectly seasoned, chicken bites will be an instant hit. My family loves them and the bonus? They are so easy to make.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Crispy chicken bites are so versatile. Serve them just as they are or add them to a bowl, salad, rice or pasta.

How long it takes: 25 minutes, tops
Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowl, skillet
Servings: 4

Chicken Bites Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (1)

Table of Contents close

  • 1 Recipe Overview
  • 2 About Chicken Bites
  • 3 What You’ll Need
  • 4 How To Make Chicken Bites
  • 5 Cooking Tip
  • 6 Make It Your Own
  • 7 Make-Ahead Ideas
  • 9 Leftover Love
  • 10 Free Meal Plan
  • 11 More Crispy Chicken
  • 12 Get the Recipe: Chicken Bites

I’m always searching for new ways to cook chicken, aren’t you? Boneless skinless chicken breasts are handy and they are a great source of low-fat protein. The only problem is they can be a bit boring. No skin, no bones, no excitement.

They really don’t even have all that much flavor unless you sauce them up, soak them in a marinade, or add a crispy coating. Air fryer chicken nuggets and air fryer chicken tenders boast that crispy coating and I make them often. But face it, it is a bit of a process.

This chicken recipe is fast and easy! That’s why I’m so excited about this recipe (and so are you judging from the response when I shared a teaser on social media). Don’t you love those two words when it comes to meal prep? I know I do. And the chicken bites are pretty irresistible. I can never stop nibbling on them, and my family loves them, to the point where I have to make a double batch sometimes.

Chicken bites are versatile. We like them just plain; the kids like to dip the chicken bits in BBQ sauce. I love to drizzle them with chimichurri or ranch dressing. We add them to pasta (mac and cheese!) or Mexican rice. You can make any salad a main course salad with crispy chicken bites and some honey mustard vinaigrette.

Crispy chicken bites are here to stay. They aren’t a flash in the pan, momentary celebrity, here today and gone tomorrow. These guys will be sticking around and you need to get to know them.

About Chicken Bites

What’s the big deal about this chicken recipe? What makes it so great? I’d say there are three things that really make this recipe a win.

It doesn’t take long to cook.The chicken is cut into half inch pieces, which is pretty small. This ensures that the chicken bits cook really quickly and that there’s a lot of surface to get crispy. Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside makes a flavorful little bite of chicken.

A “secret” ingredient adds crispness. The bits of chicken are tossed in a seasoned cornstarch mixture. When the chicken is added to the hot oil, the cornstarch seals the juices in and crisps up the outer surface. It’s almost magical. It’s like breading without the bread.

The chicken bites are healthy. They aren’t deep fried but they taste deep fried. You’ll use only a couple tablespoons of healthy olive oil. Each 4 oz. serving has just 214 calories, 24 grams of protein, and very little saturated fat.

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Ready to try crispy chicken bites? I’ll run through the recipe here to get you started and give you a bunch of helpful tips. The recipe card below has specific measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.

What You’ll Need

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: The recipe calls for 1 pound (16 ounces). That could be anywhere from 1 to 3 chicken breasts, depending on the size. Boneless chicken breasts are easy to cut which makes them a natural choice for this recipe. Boneless skinless thighs can be substituted if you prefer dark meat.
  • Cornstarch: Coating the chicken in cornstarch ensures that each piece will be nice and crispy. You can use the same technique with stir fries.
  • Paprika: This bright red spice is made from sweet red peppers that are dried and finely ground. Paprika adds color and a light flavor but isn’t spicy at all.
  • Garlic Powder: Pure garlic in a powdered form, garlic powder is an easy way to add plenty of savory oomph to any dish. Adjust the amount to fit your own personal preferences.
  • Onion Powder: Since chopped onion would scorch in the hot oil, onion powder is a great vehicle for adding onion flavor without having bits and pieces of chopped onion mixed in with the chicken bites.
  • Salt & Pepper: Choose coarse salt (kosher) and coarsely ground black pepper for the best flavor.
  • Olive Oil: You need an oil with a relatively high smoke point. Olive oil is one choice but there are others that work well too, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, avocado.
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How To Make Chicken Bites

Make the breading. You’ll need a mixing bowl that’s large enough to toss the chicken with the seasonings. Measure out the cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Put it all into the bowl and stir to combine. Set that aside for now.

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Cut the chicken. Dice the chicken into half inch pieces. That may seem kinda small but smaller pieces work better for this recipe. They cook more quickly and get crispier.

Here’s how to do it: Cut the chicken into long vertical strips. The thicker strips can be cut in half again vertically if they’re thicker than a half inch. Next, make horizontal cuts across the long strips, about a half inch apart.

Now, I’m not saying you have to stand by the cutting board measuring each piece with a ruler. It’s not an exact science but try to get the pieces fairly even. Tiny pieces will cook very quickly; large pieces would take longer. Our goal is to have them all cooked at the same time!

Cooking Tip

Use a very sharp knife. Chicken that is ultra chilled, even to the point of having a bit of frost in it, will cut more easily. If you think of it, put the chicken in the freezer for a half hour or so before you cut it.

Season the chicken. Put the diced chicken in the bowl with seasoned cornstarch and toss it around so that the cornstarch evenly coats each piece. If there’s excess cornstarch in the bowl, don’t worry, you can throw that in the pan when you cook the chicken.

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Fry the chicken bites. Put a large skillet on the stove over medium high heat. After it’s heated up, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil shimmers, the pan is ready for the chicken.

If you’re not sure whether the pan is hot enough, throw one piece of chicken in there. It should make a nice sizzle.

Add all the chicken at once, along with any remaining cornstarch mixture. Stir it once so it’s in an even layer in the pan. Let it fry undisturbed for 4 minutes. You should hear quite a bit of sizzling.

Stir the chicken and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. It should be browned, crispy, and cooked all the way through. Once it’s done, remove the chicken from the hot pan so it doesn’t continue cooking.

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That’s it! Your crispy chicken bites are ready to serve. Eat them just as they are or top your favorite salad or bowl. Add them to creamy pasta or cooked rice.

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Make It Your Own

  • Rather have dark meat? Substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs.
  • Try it with turkey. Substitute boneless skinless turkey breast or cutlets, if you like. You might also like our turkey tenders!
  • Play around with the seasoning. Use more or less garlic powder. Try smoked paprika instead of regular paprika (use less). Add a pinch of cayenne. Try my homemade Cajun seasoning or southwest spice blend.
  • Air fryer note: We would like to say that you can make these in your air fryer, with no added oil, but they really don’t turn out well. So while you can do it, we really don’t recommend it.
  • Not in the mood for chicken? Try garlic butter steak bites or salmon bites with optional hot honey.
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Make-Ahead Ideas

This is a really fast recipe but if you want to do a little prep work ahead of time, you can mix the cornstarch and seasonings. Put the mixture into a small covered container; it will keep indefinitely.

The chicken can be cut a day in advance and refrigerated. I wouldn’t advise mixing it with the cornstarch mixture ahead of time.

If you do both of those steps ahead of time, you can pretty much start right in with heating the pan, mixing the chicken with the cornstarch and frying it. You could probably whip that out in 15 minutes.

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Storage & Reheating Tips

Refrigerate/Freeze: Refrigerate leftover chicken bites in a covered container for up to four days. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Reheat: The chicken won’t be as crispy when you reheat it, especially if you use the microwave. To get them crispy again, reheat quickly in a hot skillet. You may want to add just a bit of oil. An air fryer works well for reheating, too.

Remember, it won’t take long to heat them. The pieces are small and they’ll reheat quickly. Avoid overheating them because they will dry out.

Leftover Love

Since these chicken bites are so versatile, I almost hate to call them leftovers. I call them treasures. Add them your salad or bowl tomorrow to boost the protein. Make a quick veggie hash with crispy chicken bits. Roll them up in a tortilla with shredded lettuce, guacamole or sliced avocado, and salsa or pico de gallo. Mix them into beans and rice.

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Free Meal Plan

Interested in a weekly meal plan (it’s free!) that includes this easy chicken recipe? Take a look at my Meal Plan (#2) or Meal Plan #28. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week!

We’ll be adding a new meal plan weekly. If you’re interested, browse all of our meal plans.

More Crispy Chicken

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Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Chicken Bites Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (15)


Get the Recipe: Chicken Bites

4.76 from 25 votes

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 15 minutes mins

Total Time: 25 minutes mins

4 servings

Print Rate Recipe

Crispy, tender, and perfectly seasoned, chicken bites will be an instant hit. My family loves them and the bonus? They are easy to make.


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (more or less according to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (boneless skinless chicken thighs can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (avocado, canola, sunflower, or peanut oil can be substituted)


  • In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

  • Dice chicken evenly into small pieces, about ½ inch. I like to cut it into long strips, about ½ inch wide, and then make horizontal cuts, about ½ inch apart.

  • Toss the diced chicken with spice and cornstarch mixture until it's coated. It’s okay if there is a little extra in the bowl that doesn’t attach to the chicken.

  • Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add oil. When oil is shimmering, add chicken in a single layer (and any leftover spice mixture). Cook without stirring for 4 minutes.

  • Stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until browned, crispy, and cooked through.


  • Serving suggestions: rice bowl, salad, veggie hash, wrap, taco, rice and beans, etc.
  • Leftover chicken will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • We tested these in an air fryer and they don’t turn out as well. They can be reheated successfully in the air fryer.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 4oz., Calories: 214kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 424mg, Potassium: 451mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 113IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

© Author: Rachel Gurk

Chicken Bites Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2024)


How to make chicken soft like restaurants? ›

For every 250g/8oz chicken breast strips or pieces, toss with 3/4 tsp baking soda (bi-carb) Marinate for 20 minutes. Rinse well under running water, pat with paper towel to remove excess water. Cook per chosen recipe and marvel at the most tender chicken breast you've ever had, just like at Chinese restaurants!!!

What is special about Shake Shack chicken bites? ›

Our Chicken Bites are always made fresh to order with all-natural, 100% cage-free chicken breast, which is then sous-vide cooked to maximise the flavour, moisture and texture, making the bites extra juicy and tender!

Can you coat chicken in cornstarch? ›

You easily can use cornstarch instead of flour as a coating for fried chicken, fried fish, or other fried dishes. Cornstarch will create a crisper coating that will hold up to sauces better and will absorb less of the frying oil (leading to a lower-fat meal).

Do chicken bites hurt? ›

While chickens may seem harmless and even cuddly at times, their sharp beaks can indeed inflict pain, albeit usually mild and fleeting. Let's learn about chicken pecking and explore the factors that influence the painfulness of chicken bites.

What ingredient makes chicken soft? ›

Marinate the chicken breasts in a flavorful mixture of herbs, spices, and acidic ingredients like yogurt or citrus juice. This not only adds taste but also helps break down the proteins, contributing to a more tender texture.

What is the secret to moist chicken? ›

Brine the chicken: Soaking the chicken in a brine solution (water and salt) for a few hours before baking can help to keep it moist and tender. Add a liquid: Adding a bit of liquid, such as chicken broth, white wine, or even water to the baking dish can help to keep the chicken moist and tender.

What does Shake Shack stand for? ›

Our mission since our first Shack has always been to Stand For Something Good, and that unwavering commitment is as strong as ever today. It is reflected in the dedication of every member of the Shake Shack team, our deep connections with guests, and our meaningful relationships with suppliers, and our stockholders.

Why did Shake Shack get rid of peanut butter shake? ›

We're removing peanut butter from our menus to keep our fans with allergies safe. Feel free to email + we'd be happy to chat further!

Does Shake Shack use real meat? ›

Yes, At Shake Shack we serve 100% all-natural Angus beef patties. No hormones and no antibiotics ever. Shake Shack's all burgers are well done and made to order.

How long to leave cornstarch on chicken? ›

Make sure that each piece gets coated. Cover it and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Again, while your meat is marinating and the cornstarch is turning into a nice, gelatinous coating, prep the other ingredients for your meal.

What does baking soda do to chicken? ›

If you're on a time crunch and hoping to tenderize your chicken cutlets or other thinly sliced meats in a hurry, go with wet brining. Whereas an oversaturated saltwater brine might make your cut less filet-like, a baking soda wet brine expedites the tenderizing process and limits the potential for oversaturation.

Should I coat chicken in flour or cornstarch? ›

Ingredient Tips

My not-so-secret tip to the best fried chicken is a combination of FLOUR, CORNSTARCH, and BAKING POWDER. When mixed with the flour, the cornstarch makes the flour coating crispier and gives it that golden brown color! (It has to do with prevention of gluten development.)

Can chickens remember their names? ›

Although chickens have been known to communicate through sounds, there is no scientific evidence that chickens know their names. However it is possible that you and your chickens have experienced that – especially around the time where you feed them chickens seem to respond to their name being called.

Can a chicken bite make you sick? ›

Germs can spread from poultry bites, pecks, and scratches, even when the wound does not seem deep or serious. Avoid bites and scratches from your backyard poultry or waterfowl. If poultry scratch or bite you: Wash wounds with soap and warm water immediately.

How do you make chicken soft and tender? ›

The best tenderizer though, is a salted yogurt marinade. The salt has the same effect as in a regular brine, but the lactic acid in the yogurt further tenderizes the meat. A 15-minute marinade with one cup of yogurt and one teaspoon of salt makes for the most tender chicken breasts imaginable.

How do Chinese restaurants get their chicken so tender? ›

Chinese stir-fried chicken is extra tender due to the velveting technique. Chicken is sliced into thin, even-sized pieces and then marinated briefly in a mix of baking soda, cornstarch, wine, and seasoning. This seals in moisture and tenderizes the chicken.

How is Chick Fil A chicken so soft? ›

It's the pickle brine! Well before being fried to perfection, the chicken breasts are brined with pickle juice for super-juicy, tender meat.

Why is chicken from Chinese restaurants so soft? ›

You may have wondered how Chinese restaurants come to have such soft, silky textured meat in their dishes? Rather than stir-frying the meat and searing it all over until browned, they use a special technique called velveting.


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