Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry

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Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry is a zesty dish featuring succulent pan-fried chicken thigh pieces, vibrant onions, and fiery jalapeno slices, all tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce. This dish is garnished with sesame seeds and ideally served atop steaming white rice, making for a deliciously full-flavored meal. Additionally, I’ll guide you on how to prepare this recipe using an air fryer!

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Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry

Ingredients & Adjustments

  • Chicken: This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs for their juiciness, but chicken breasts can be substituted for a leaner option.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to coat the chicken, aiding in achieving a crispy exterior when fried.
  • Sauce: Comprised of soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and minced garlic, this sauce marries sweet and savory elements beautifully.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: The star of the dish, jalapeno peppers add a significant kick. Adjust the heat by modifying the preparation of the jalapenos.

Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry

Customizing Spiciness

The spiciness of the jalapeno chicken is adjustable based on your preference. Select mature jalapeno peppers with white stretch marks for more heat and include the seeds and ribs when slicing to maximize spiciness. For a milder flavor, simply remove the seeds and ribs.

Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry

Preparation in Advance

The sauce can be prepared ahead of time by mixing the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The chicken can also be prepped and refrigerated 1-2 days in advance.

Storage Tips

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. While safe to eat, the chicken’s texture might become slightly rubbery over time. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry


  • 2 pounds (0.9 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (85 g) soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup (83 ml) water
  • ⅓ 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


  1. Prepare the Chicken: In a large mixing bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch, salt, and pepper until well-coated. Set aside.
  2. Mix the Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Cook the Chicken: In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches and fry for 2-3 minutes per side until browned and fully cooked (internal temperature of 165°F [74°C]). Remove chicken and keep warm.
  4. Sauté Vegetables: In the same skillet, cook onions and jalapenos until softened, about 4-6 minutes.
  5. Combine and Simmer: Return chicken to the skillet, pour in the sauce mixture, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve: Garnish with sesame seeds and serve over prepared white rice.

Air Fryer Alternative

For air fryer preparation, preheat to 400°F (204°C). Cook coated chicken for 10 minutes, turning halfway through until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Prepare sauce and vegetables separately as directed.

Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry

Enjoy this Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Stir-Fry as a robust and flavorful alternative to traditional stir-fries, perfect for spicing up your dinner routine!

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