Crunchy alert! These Taiwanese Fried Chicken Cutlets (炸雞排) are seriously one of the best things from Taiwan! With a super crumbly and crispy coating, these chicken cutlets are deeply savory and come-in GIANT sizes. Stovetop, air fryer, paleo, whole30, and with keto choices. Surprisingly easy to make…you can make these tonight!

A plate of crunchy Taiwanese fried chicken cut up with salads
Super crumbly and crunchy chicken cutlets come in GIANT size! 😀

Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets are probably one of my favorite street foods from the night markets. In my college years, I often travel to Shilin night market several times per week to buy dinner and I can’t leave without getting fried chicken. 😀

The chicken cutlets are perfectly seasoned, deeply savory, and super addictive! Today, I’ll show you how to make this famous Taiwanese street food at home easily without deep frying.

What are Taiwanese Chicken Cutlets?

Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets are a super crunchy and savory snack. The cutlets are famous for their gigantic sizes (sometimes as big as a whole face) with crunchy coating.

The chicken cutlets are pound to super thin then seasoned with a special salt and pepper spice mix. To give the cutlets a lighter, crispier, and crumbly coating, Taiwanese style fried chicken uses coarse sweet potato starch that has larger granules than regular starch. This makes the chicken taste even crunchier.

Taiwanese style chicken cutlets are also popular in Taiwanese bento boxes, too!

Thick sweet potato starch in a bag and on a plate
A coarsely ground sweet potato starch for crumbly crunchy coating

What Makes Taiwanese Style Chicken Cutlets So Good?

Let me just say that this is one of my favorite childhood (and adulthood) savory snacks. Here are some reasons why they are so good:

It’s super thin – the chicken breasts are lightly pound to 1/4 -inch thin so that they cook faster and stay juicier.

The breasts are tender – because they are thin chicken cutlets, they are seasoned perfectly on all sides.

The outer exterior is super crunchy – Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets use a coarsely grind sweet potato starch (product link in recipe card) that gives the cutlets a crumbly and extra crunchy coating.

The special spice mix – if salt and pepper seasoning sounds boring to you…let me tell you it’s because you haven’t tried the Taiwanese version. 🙂 It’s a must-have spice mix that gives Taiwanese fried chicken a very distinct (yet super good) flavor. Good thing is that you can easily make them at home by following my recipe below. 🙂

Ingredients to make Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets

Ingredients to make authentic Taiwanese Fried Chicken Cutlets

  • Chicken breasts
  • Fine sea salt
  • White pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger powder
  • Five spice powder (cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, white pepper)
  • A little bit of baking soda (this makes the chicken breasts tender)
  • White sesame oil (or light sesame oil, avocado oil)
  • Coarse sweet potato starch (or Thick granule sweet potato starch)

Alternative ingredients:

The white sesame oil (also known as light or untoasted sesame oil) is my personal touch. It gives the chicken a light sesame fragrant without being overpowering. Avocado oil will work just as well.

The coarse sweet potato starch is a signature ingredient to make traditional Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets. The starch has larger granules and not as finely grind. This makes the coating extra crunchy and crumbly. I order them on Amazon (link in my recipe card). You can use it for many things, including fried pork chops.

If you want to keep it low carb, use panko pork rinds as a work around (product link in recipe card). You can also use the regular tapioca or arrowroot starch. The flavor will taste authentic but the exterior coating won’t be as crumbly. They are still super yum though. 🙂

How to make Taiwanese style chicken cutlets?

  1. Halve the chicken breasts and lightly pound them to ¼-inch thick
  2. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. Best 1-hour.
  3. Paleo/Whole30: Dip in egg-wash and dust with the starch
  4. Keto: Dip in egg-wash and dust with panko pork rinds
  5. Stovetop: Pan fry about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the flip side
  6. Air fry: Air fryer at 400F for 10 minutes total. Flip after 5 minutes.
2 pan fried Taiwanese chicken cutlets on a wire rack
Taiwanese Chicken Cutlets with a super crunchy coating!

Pairing suggestions

My friends will tell you that a glass of super cold beer is the best way to enjoy these yummy fried chicken cutlets! 😀 Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets are a savory snack. They are also a common item in bento boxes. Some of my favorite vegetable pairings are:

Tips to make the best Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets

  1. Keep the chicken breasts thin – pound them to ¼-inch even thickness
  2. Marinate for 30 minutes – 1 hour
  3. Use coarse granule sweet potato starch – this gives the exterior coating extra crumbly and crunchy
  4. Want a little spicy? Add cayenne pepper powder, Korean gochugaru power, or Japanese chili powder (Shichimi Togarashi) to the dry spice mix
  5. Air fryer and stove top instructions
  6. Keto workaround included in the recipe notes
A serving plate with chicken cutlets, eggs, and green beans
Serve the crunchy chicken cutlets with blistered green beans and a crispy fried egg!
A plate of crunchy Taiwanese fried chicken cut up with salads
5 from 9 votes

Taiwanese Fried Chicken Cutlets (Keto, Paleo, Air Fryer, Stovetop)

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: ChihYu
Taiwanese Fried Chicken Cutlets with super crunchy coating and yummy! Whether you pan fry or air fry, this recipe shows you how to make the best chicken cutlets easily!
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Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Halve the chicken breasts and lightly pound them to ¼-inch even thickness.
    Step 1. pound the chicken breasts to thin cuts
  • In a bowl, combine the dry spice seasonings from salt to ginger powder. Set aside ½ tsp + ¼ tsp of the spice mix in a separate small bowl for serving.
    Step 2. prepare dry spice seasonings
  • Season the chicken with the remaining spice seasoning mix, coconut aminos, baking soda, and white sesame oil. Coat them well on all sides and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Best 1-hour.
    Step 3. marinate the chicken with dry spice seasonings
  • Whisk the eggs with 2 tbsp water. Dip the chicken cutlets in the egg wash then dip in the sweet potato starch. Use your hands to gently press the starch into the chicken to help it stick well.

For stovetop:

  • Preheat the avocado oil, start with 3 tbsp and add more if needed, over medium to medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Test the temperature with a wooden chopstick, if it shows bubbles around the chopstick when inserting it into the oil, the temperature is hot enough.
  • Over medium heat, pan fry the first side for 3 minutes and the second side for 2 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through. The coating color won’t be as golden as the regular fried chicken because the special kind of starch used. Repeat the process and pan fry them in separate batches.
    Step 4. Coat the chicken with starch and pan fry or air fry to crispy

For air fryer:

  • Preheat the fryer at 400F for 5 minutes. Spray the basket with a coat of avocado oil. Depending on the size of your basket, place the cutlets in the fryer with some space in-between. Spray some oil over the cutlet. Air fryer at 400F for 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the cutlets and spray a little more oil and air fry for 5 additional minutes.
    Step 4. Coat the chicken with starch and pan fry or air fry to crispy

To serve:

  • Transfer the cutlets to a large serving plate. Sprinkle with the reserved spice mix. Serve it street food style – a whole chicken cutlet, placed in a bag, that you can hold and bite, or cut them to pieces and eat with chopsticks. Serve hot.

Notes

  • To make it low carb, use panko pork rinds to replace the starch. If you want to use the regular tapioca or arrowroot starch, the flavor will taste the same but the exterior coating won’t be as crumbly.
  • Want a little spicy? Add a little cayenne pepper powder, Korean gochugaru power, Japanese chili powder (Shichimi Togarashi) to the dry spice mix.
  • The white sesame oil (also known as light or untoasted sesame oil) is my personal touch. It gives the chicken a light sesame fragrant without being overpowering. Avocado oil will work just as well.
  • The coarse granule sweet potato starch is a signature ingredient to make traditional Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets. The starch has larger granules and not as fine ground. This makes the coating extra crunchy and crumbly. You can use it for many things, including fried pork chops.
  • If use panko pork rinds, the net carb will be around 2g per serving. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 353kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 1003mg, Potassium: 457mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 104IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Taiwanese
Keyword: Air fryer chicken cutlets, Chicken Cutlets, Chicken Cutlets Recipe, Taiwanese fried chicken, Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets
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Cut up Taiwanese fried chicken served over a plate
ChihYu Smith, founder and creator of I Heart Umami.

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