Easy Chinese Steamed Chicken Recipe (Tender and Juicy)

This Chinese Steamed Chicken recipe is a go-to for my family’s weeknight dinners. From start to finish, it takes 30 minutes and it’s a delicious, healthy, and easy meal option. The chicken is marinated with a delicious oyster sauce-based sauce and steamed with Chinese sausage (lap cheong) and shiitake mushrooms, making it a dish you’ll want to enjoy with a big bowl of rice. 

chinese steamed chicken with chinese sausage and shiitake mushrooms on a metal plate with wooden chopsticks.
Table of Contents

Steaming is perhaps the simplest way to cook chicken, and it’s a technique that’s widely used in Chinese cuisine. Steamed dishes are known for their simplicity, quick preparation, and consistently tender texture. With this recipe, you’ll marinate the chicken for a short time to infuse it with flavor, then transfer it to a steamer for a fuss-free cooking process.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also like to try my Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce, which also shows how delicious Chinese steamed dishes can be.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe 

  • Tender, Juicy, Velvety Chicken: Steaming is a classic Chinese cooking technique that yields incredibly tender and juicy chicken every time. The combination of the marinade and cornstarch creates a velvety coating that gives the chicken pieces an incredibly texture.
  • Family Favorite: This dish is my family’s go-to for weeknight dinners because of how simple and quick it is.
  • Flavor-Packed: Every bite of this steamed chicken is bursting with flavor, thanks to the marinated chicken and the savory sauce.
  • Comfort Food: This dish, served with a side of rice, is the ultimate Cantonese comfort food. It’s guaranteed to warm you up inside and out. It’s a classic Chinese dish, that is nostalgic as well as comforting.

Chinese Steamed Chicken Ingredients

chinese steamed chicken ingredients (chicken, chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, sesame oil, green onions, soy sauce, oyster sauce, green onions, cooking wine.)
  • Chicken Thighs Boneless: The main protein in this dish, boneless chicken thighs are flavorful and stay moist and tender after steaming. They’re the star of this steamed chicken recipe.
  • Chinese Sausage (Lap Cheong): Adds a sweet and savory flavor to the dish, along with a unique, slightly chewy texture.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms (reconstituted from dry): These mushrooms add a deep, rich, earthy flavor and a meaty texture to the dish.
  • Green Onions: Used in two ways, the white parts are steamed with the chicken to infuse flavor, while the green parts are used as a vibrant garnish.
  • Dried Lily (optional, reconstituted from dried): An optional ingredient that adds a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor to the dish.
  • Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Sesame Oil, and Cooking Wine: These are used in the marinade to flavor the chicken which takes it to the next level.

How to Make Cantonese Steamed Chicken

Steaming the Ingredients

Joyce’s Tips For Making the Best Chinese Steamed Chicken

  • Marinate for Flavor: For a more flavorful chicken dish, it’s important to marinate your boneless chicken thighs. The longer you marinate, the more the flavors will infuse into the chicken.
  • Have Enough Water for Steaming: Steaming is a great way to cook boneless skinless chicken thighs as it keeps the meat moist and tender. Make sure to prep your steamer with with at least 2-3 inches of hot water and set it to high heat before adding the chicken.
  • Place in a Single Layer: When you’re ready to steam, place the marinated chicken, Chinese sausage, and sliced shiitake mushrooms in a single layer on a large plate with a lip or a pie plate. This allows the heat to evenly cook all the ingredients.
  • Don’t Overcook: Overcooking can make the chicken dry and tough. Steam the chicken recipe for 10 minutes, and it will be perfectly cooked, juicy, and full of flavor.
  • Add Cornstarch and Oil Right Before Steaming (Not in Marinade): To maximize the marinade absorption, I only mix the cornstarch and oil right before I plate it and put it in the steamer.
  • (Optional) Squeeze Shiitake Mushroom Water: Once the shiitake mushrooms are soft after the soak, I like to squeeze out some of the liquid, so that it absorbs the delicious chicken juices while it is steaming.
  • Rinse Shiitake After Soak: I find it easier to clean out the grit from the shiitake mushrooms after it is soft from soaking because you can easily rub through the gills of the mushroom.
  • Steamers: If you don’t have a wooden or metal steamer, you can use a metal trivet in a large pot or place bamboo chopsticks crisscrossed on the bottom of a wok. Just make sure you don’t fill the water past the trivet and chopsticks, because you don’t want the plate touching the water. Be extra careful with placing the dish on the chopstick steamers as well because they are not very stable.
    trivet and chopstick steamers.
  • How to Remove Hot Dishes Out of the Steamer: I like to use silicon gloves because I have the most control with it. Alternatively, you can also use special claws that is made specifically for removing hot plates out of the steamer but make sure you have something below supporting the plate like oven mittens or a towel while you are moving it out so you don’t accidently drop it.an image of tools i use to add and remove dishes from the steamer, which is silicon gloves or claws.

Serving Suggestions

  • This Chinese steamed chicken dish pairs beautifully with a side of steamed jasmine rice. The fluffy, fragrant rice is the perfect accompaniment to the tender, flavorful chicken. Alternatively, you can also serve it with a simple egg fried rice or garlic fried rice as well.
  • For a complete Chinese meal, serve this steamed chicken with a side of stir-fried vegetables like Chinese ginger soy stir fried cabbage. The crisp, fresh vegetables provide a nice contrast to the soft and savory chicken.
  • If you’re in the mood for a soup and chicken recipe combo, try serving this steamed chicken with a bowl of egg drop soup. The tasty soup adds another layer of coziness to the chicken, providing a balanced and satisfying meal.
  • If you’re looking to have a complete Cantonese nostalgic meal, I like to pair it with tomato eggs stir fry, some ketchup shrimp or scrambled egg shrimp stir fry! I find this dish is easily interchangeable with Chinese steam spare ribs with black bean sauce to hit that cozy comfort food spot.
  • For those who love a bit of heat or flavor, drizzle some garlic chili oil over it once it is done. This gives the dish a nice mild spicy twist which complements the savory flavors of the chicken, Chinese sausage, and shiitake mushrooms.
chinese steamed chicken with chinese sausage and shiitake mushrooms on a metal plate and a bowl of rice.

Recipe Variation Ideas

  • Dried Lily Buds: If you can find dried lily buds, you can reconstitute them by soaking them in hot water, and add it to this steamed chicken dish for some extra textures!
  • Vegetarian: If you’re looking for a meat-free option, you can replace the boneless chicken thighs with firm tofu. The tofu absorbs the flavors of the marinade and steams to a delicate, silky texture that pairs well with the other ingredients.
  • Garlic Lovers: If you’re a fan of garlic, this variation is for you. Add an extra clove of minced garlic to the marinade for an added boost of flavor. You can also serve the steamed chicken with a side of garlic fried rice for a complete garlic-themed meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of chicken is best for this recipe?

Boneless chicken thighs are the best for this Chinese steamed chicken recipe. They are more flavorful and juicier compared to boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

What can I use as a substitute for Chinese sausage?

If you can’t find Chinese sausage (lap cheong), you can substitute it with other types of sausage or even bacon for a different flavor.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

You can marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but for best results, marinate it for a few hours or overnight. This allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the marinade.

Can I add other vegetables to this dish?

Yes, you can add other vegetables like sliced carrots or bell peppers. Just make sure to cut them into small pieces so they cook at the same rate as the chicken. You can also add dried lily buds (reconstituted), and as well.

Storing and Reheating

  • Refrigerating: After enjoying this delicious steamed chicken recipe, any leftovers can be stored in the fridge. Place the chicken in an airtight container and it will keep for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Unfortunately, this dish doesn’t freeze well due to the delicate nature of the steamed chicken. Freezing can change the texture of the chicken, making it less enjoyable when thawed.
  • Reheating: To reheat, simply steam the chicken again for a few minutes until it’s heated through. You can also gently reheat in a pan over low heat, but be careful not to overcook and dry out the chicken.

More Chinese Recipes You May Like

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Recipe Card

cantonese steamed chicken thumbnail.

Chinese Steamed Chicken with Chinese Sausage

This Chinese Steamed Chicken recipe is marinated with a delicious oyster sauce and steamed with Chinese sausage (lap cheong) and shiitake mushrooms, making it a dish you’ll want to enjoy with a big bowl of rice. 

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Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Chinese

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Made with ♡ by Joyce Lee

Joyce’s Recipe Notes

    • Marinate for Flavor: For a more flavorful chicken dish, it’s important to marinate your boneless chicken thighs. The longer you marinate, the more the flavors will infuse into the chicken.

    • Have Enough Water for Steaming: Steaming is a great way to cook boneless skinless chicken thighs as it keeps the meat moist and tender. Make sure to prep your steamer with with at least 2-3 inches of hot water and set it to high heat before adding the chicken.

    • Place in a Single Layer: When you’re ready to steam, place the marinated chicken, Chinese sausage, and sliced shiitake mushrooms in a single layer on a large plate with a lip or a pie plate. This allows the heat to evenly cook all the ingredients.

    • Don’t Overcook: Overcooking can make the chicken dry and tough. Steam the chicken recipe for 10 minutes, and it will be perfectly cooked, juicy, and full of flavor.

    • Add Cornstarch and Oil Right Before Steaming (Not in Marinade): To maximize the marinade absorption, I only mix the cornstarch and oil right before I plate it and put it in the steamer.

    • (Optional) Squeeze Shiitake Mushroom Water: Once the shiitake mushrooms are soft after the soak, I like to squeeze out some of the liquid, so that it absorbs the delicious chicken juices while it is steaming.

    • Rinse Shiitake After Soak: I find it easier to clean out the grit from the shiitake mushrooms after it is soft from soaking because you can easily rub through the gills of the mushroom.
    • How to Remove Hot Dishes from the Steamer: I like to use silicon gloves because I have the most control with it. Alternatively, you can also use special claws that is made specifically for removing hot plates out of the steamer but make sure you have something below supporting the plate like oven mittens or a towel while you are moving it out so you don’t accidently drop it.an image of tools i use to add and remove dishes from the steamer, which is silicon gloves or claws.


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Ingredients 

Velveting (added right before steaming, not during marinating)

Instructions 

Marinate the Chicken

  • Mix the cut chicken pieces with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1½ tablespoons Chinese rice wine (miju) (or Shaoxing wine), and ¾ teaspoon sesame oil and let it sit. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will be. Do not add the cornstarch and oil yet.

Steam the Chicken

  • Get your steamer ready with hot water and set it to high heat. Make sure there is at least 2-3 inches of water in the steamer. If you don’t have a metal or bamboo steamer, you can also use a large pot with a trivet, or a wok with 2 wooden chopsticks crisscrossed at the bottom. Make sure the water doesn’t go past the trivet or wooden chopsticks, you don’t want the plate to touch the water. Be extra careful when placing the plate on the chopstick version, because it’s not very stable.
  • Add in 1½ teaspoon cornstarch and mix the chicken well until it is well coated, then mix in 1 tablespoon oil to coat everything.

  • Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, and the whites of the green onions, and mix everything well.

  • Place the chicken, Chinese sausage, and sliced shiitake mushrooms in a single layer on a large plate or on a plate with a lip. You can also use a pie plate as well.

  • Add the plate to the steamer, cover it with a lid, and steam for 10 minutes.

  • Once the chicken is cooked through, serve your Chinese steamed chicken with white rice and enjoy!

*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*

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