Soy free ginger chicken is an excellent way to have a restaurant inspired dish made in your own home. This North American/ Asian inspired fakeaway meal is so good your family won’t know it didn’t come from the local restaurant. It is soy, gluten, dairy, and top 8 allergens free.
- Why We Like This Recipe
- The Ingredient Low Down
- Instructions/ Directions and Tips
- Variations /Adaptations
- FAQs on Soy Free Ginger Chicken
- Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Top Tip - How to Air Fry Ginger Chicken
- What To Serve With Soy Free Ginger Chicken
- Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- 📖 Recipe
- Food Safety
- Latest Posts
Why We Like This Recipe
We love this recipe because we miss picking up a takeaway or take out on weekends with the kids. This recipe lets us do what we call a fakeaway or our own version of restaurant quality Asian/North American food.
The city we live in, Calgary, has ginger chicken on just about every asian takeaway menu. It is more commonly made with beef strips but we find the beef to be tougher whereas the chicken falls apart in your mouth tender. In fact, Calgary is considered by some to be where Ginger Beef was conceived. The Silver Inn in Calgary is usually told to be the birthplace of Calgary Ginger Beef. Our recipe is inspired by the flavours in local Ginger beef and chicken takeaway dishes and how we remember them tasting.
To us this is a recipe that is freeing as it allows us to regain a dish we used to have before allergies. It also saves us a lot of money making it as opposed to ordering in dinner.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- Neutral Oil for Frying
- Green Onions
- Yellow Pepper
- Coconut Aminos
- Brown Sugar
- Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
- Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
- Fresh Ginger
- Sesame Oil, or Neutral Oil
- Red Chilli Flakes
- Sliced Red Chillies
- Green Onion
See recipe card for quantities.
The Ingredient Low Down
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
The chicken should be cut in strips that are ½ inch wide by 2 inches long. This will give your the more authentic takeaway style ginger chicken look. Bite sized chunks can be done instead but may cook differently, either need more or less time.
If looking to make this on a budget switch the chicken to boneless skinless thighs. They may take a bit longer to cook and as the meat is a different colour than the breasts. To ensure safe cooking habits use a thermocouple or meat thermometer to check if they are cooked through.
Using gluten free and allergen friendly cornstarch is really important. There are quite a few different brands that are safe and a few that are not, double check any shared lines or manufacturing issues that may cause cross contact issues.
Neutral Oil for Frying
We prefer canola oil for deep frying but any high temperature oil that is safe for frying can be used, so long as it is allergen safe. Vegetable oil can often contain soybean oil which may not be safe for those with a soy allergy or on a top 8 elimination diet. Peanut oil is not safe either as it is a top allergen.
The oils should be just deep enough so the chicken floats. We prefer to use less oil and fry in batches so we need less oil and don’t crowd the pan. We keep the oil at 350-375F for deep frying. The more chicken added at once means the more the oil temperature will drop. By limiting the among of chicken we fry at once it helps keep the chicken from sticking together.
Green Onions, Carrots, Yellow Pepper
Fresh vegetables are best for this recipe. They should be cut in strips about 1 ½ an inch long and about ¼ of an inch wide. This will cook the veggies so they are not mushy or too crunchy.
A common soy and gluten free soy sauce replacement is coconut aminos. It is made from fermenting coconut sap so it is not safe for those with coconut allergies. Coconut aminos are replaced at a 1:1 ratio to soy sauce in recipes.
Make sure it is dairy and gluten free. If cooking for someone who is allergen free and you are not, use a new bag rather than one that may have come in contact with allergens.
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
There are two kinds of rice vinegar: seasoned and unseasoned. The difference between the two is that the seasoned has added sugar and is perfect for making sushi rice. Here we want the one with less sugar, unseasoned for making the sauce.
Fresh Ginger and Garlic
This recipe needs fresh garlic and ginger using powdered will not give the same results as if fresh was used.
Red Chilli Flakes
This is an optional ingredient for those who like a bit of heat in their ginger chicken sauce. We usually only put it in if we are cooking for the adults. Our kids find sauces too spicy if the chillies just walk by the kitchen. They are super sensitive to heat.
Sliced Red Chillies
Depending on how hot you like your asian food red chillies sliced into rings make a great colour contrast garnish.
Sliced into rings for the garnish and sprinkled on the top of the dish for colour.
Instructions/ Directions and Tips
Place 4 tablespoons of cornstarch in a large bowl or sealing food safe bag and use it to coat the chicken pieces. Leave the chicken in the cornstarch for 5 minutes.
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small pot with a whisk and set aside.
After the 5 minutes where the chicken was in the cornstarch, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl or bag and toss a second time. Ensure the pieces are all covered and evenly coated.
While the chicken drains, heat the small pot with the sauce over medium heat stirring with a whisk constantly until starting to bubble, about 2-4 mins.
Add the Carrots, Green Onion segments, and yellow peppers to the sauce pot and stir well. Bring back up to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium low and let it slowly simmer while cooking the chicken. Stir often to ensure it doesn’t burn.
Heat the neutral oil over medium heat in a deep pot until the oil is hot and shimmering slightly. Test by dusting a bit of the leftover cornstarch from the bag in the oil. If the cornstarch starts to bubble the oil is hot.
Carefully place the chicken in the oil and cook for 5-6 minutes until the outside is golden brown and the inside is no longer pinky and has an internal temperature of at least 165F.
Using a frying scoop, remove the chicken from the oil with caution and place the chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Turn off the oil and remove from the hot burner, if possible to safely do so.
Add the chicken to the sauce and mix with a cooking spoon to coat all the chicken with sauce. Alternatively, put the chicken in a large heat proof bowl, like a glass one, and pour the sauce over and mix well with a set of tongs until all the chicken is coated.
Serve immediately. Pairs well with rice or rice noodles or stir fried veggies.
The sauce portion of the recipe goes really well with Air Fryer Chicken Wings. It can be made on its own and used a dipping sauce for the wings.
Be really careful when frying the chicken; it can spit oil and pose a fire hazard if left unattended. Be really careful frying foods.
For air frying instructions for this gluten free Asian chicken recipe check out our Top Tip.
- Coconut Free - We have not found a great coconut free top 8 free soy replacement but have heard that in some dishes balsamic vinegar can be used to taste and not on a 1:1 replacement ratio. If you use the balsamic method please do so in a small batch first, in case the balsamic vinegar is overpowering. If you try this please let me know by leaving a comment.
- Rice Free - if rice is not a safe ingredient, use either white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead. It can be substituted at a one to one ratio.
- Vegan - canned jackfruit can be used in place of chicken. Drain the jackfruit and pull it apart with your fingers into ½ wide chunks like the chicken is. Use young jackfruit in brine and not syrup. It should be young or green jackfruit as it is savoury and not sweet. It will cook at a different rate than the chicken so keep a close eye on it. It may be best to oven roast it instead of frying it for 20-30 mins at 425F. For more in depth info on how to cook jackfruit for this recipe check out the blog post from Darn Good Veggies.
- Beef - instead of chicken strips of beef can be used to make the dish closer to the dish that inspired our version. If neither are safe for you pork could be used instead as well.
- Spicy - double the chilli pepper flakes to the sauce and 1-2 birds eye chillies if you like it really spicy.
- Party finger food friendly - Serve a few pieces of ginger chicken on butter lettuce leaves to make lettuce bowls that are easy and less messy to eat.
To make this recipe a knife and cutting board are needed to cut the veggies and chicken. Use a separate cutting board and knife for raw meat that is not used for other ingredients for food safety.
A medium pot and cooking utensils to cook the sauce.
A large bowl to mix the sauce and chicken. To conserve dishes choose a larger pot for the sauce and mix in the cooked chicken in the pot off the heat.
Frying Strainer is really useful to pull out the chicken from the hot oil. They look kind of like this one here.
Wok or Deep Frying Pan to fry the chicken in. We like the wok as it uses less oil to fry with the way the base is engineered.
To drain the oil from the fried chicken a paper towel lined plate or shallow wide bowl.
FAQs on Soy Free Ginger Chicken
We use coconut aminos in place of soy based products. Both Tamari and soy sauce are made from soybeans and soy is a top 8 allergen. Fermented coconut sap is used instead here and gives a taste really close to soy sauce. I actually prefer it as it doesn’t taste as salty to me. In Canada we do not classify coconuts as tree nuts but instead as seeds.
We use gluten free cornstarch to make our chicken crispy instead of any wheat and gluten containing ingredients. We also do not use soy sauce but coconut aminos instead. Most soy sauces contain wheat unless otherwise marked gluten free and for a top.
Absolutely you can! Instead of a wok you can use a deep frying pan. This means it has a regular frying pan base with sides that are a bit higher than the usual size. Another method is to use an enamelled dutch oven. One reason woks are fantastic is the way they retain heat. The dutch ovens will do the same. They also have high sides and a wide base perfect for stirring around larger amounts of veggies and meat.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
In a sealing container ginger chicken will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
We have not tried to freeze this dish. If looking to freeze the chicken and sauce should be frozen separately in sealing containers.
On the stove in a frying pan fry the gluten free ginger chicken in sauce up for reheating. Over medium heat add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 5-8 mins then remove the lid and let the water evaporate and stir the chicken often.
For frozen sauce, heat it in a pot. Add to it ¼-½ a cup of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-8 mins or until the extra water is boiled off.
If the soy free ginger chicken is frozen separately from the sauce the best way to reheat it from frozen is to air fry it in a preheated air fryer for 15-25 mins. It should be flipped halfawy and cooked at 380F. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t dry out in the air fryer. Reheat the cause on the stove.
Top Tip - How to Air Fry Ginger Chicken
If air frying is more your style the soy free ginger chicken can be “fried” in the air fryer by prepping the chicken up to and including both rounds of breading with cornstarch. This is where there will be changes starting.
Pre-heat the air fryer and spray the chicken with a neutral air frying oil. Cook the chicken at 380F for 15-20 mins or until cooked through to 165F for an internal temperature. Flip the chicken at the halfway point to get both sides cooked evenly.
When finished cooking, continue with the recipe by putting the chicken in the cooked and thickened sauce.
What To Serve With Soy Free Ginger Chicken
This gluten free ginger chicken dish can be served with plain rice as a side dish or as a part of a few fakeaway style dishes. If doing a fakeaway dinner serve with fried rice, lettuce wraps, noodles, soy free stir fry or stir fry veggies. If choosing to use it as an Asian American inspired dish, serve it family style, various dishes all on their own plate in the middle of the table.
Soy Free Ginger chicken can also be served as a party food by putting it in lettuce leaves to make it a finger food.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Gluten Free Fried Rice
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Medium pot
- Cooking Utensils
- Frying Strainer
- Wok or Deep Frying Pan
- 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut in to strips ½ inch by 2 inches
- 8 Tbsps Cornstarch divided in 2
- 1 C Neutral Oil canola works well
- ¼ C Green Onions Cut in 1 ½ inch pieces
- ½ C Carrots cut in angled slivers
- ½ C Yellow Pepper cut in strips
- ⅔ C Coconut Aminos
- ½ C Brown Sugar packed
- 6 Tbsps Orange Juice fresh squeezed
- 4 Tbsps Rice Vinegar unseasoned
- 6-8 cloves Garlic minced
- 5 Tbsps Fresh Ginger grated
- 2 Tbsps Sesame Oil or Neutral Oil
- ⅛ teaspoon Red Chilli Flakes optional, omit if a milder dish is desired
- Sesame Seeds
- Green Onion
- Place 4 tablespoons of cornstarch in a large bowl or sealing food safe bag and use it to coat the chicken pieces. Leave the chicken in the cornstarch for 5 minutes.
- Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small pot with a whisk and set aside.
- After the 5 minutes where the chicken was in the cornstarch, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl or bag and toss a second time. Ensure the pieces are all covered and evenly coated.
- While the chicken drains, heat the small pot with the sauce over medium heat stirring with a whisk constantly until starting to bubble, about 2- 4 mins.
- Add the Carrots, Green Onion segments, and yellow peppers to the sauce pot and stir well. Bring back up to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium low and let it slowly simmer while cooking the chicken. Stir often to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Heat the neutral oil over medium heat in a deep pot until the oil is hot and shimmering slightly. Test by dusting a bit of the leftover cornstarch from the bag in the oil. If the cornstarch starts to bubble the oil is hot.
- Carefully place the chicken in the oil and cook for 5-6 minutes until the outside is golden brown and the inside is no longer pink and has an internal temperature of at least 165F.
- Using a frying scoop, remove the chicken from the oil with caution and place the chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Turn off the oil and remove from the hot burner, if possible to safely do so.
- Add the chicken to the sauce and mix with a cooking spoon to coat all the chicken with sauce. Alternatively, put the chicken in a large heat proof bowl, like a glass one, and pour the sauce over and mix well with a set of tongs until all the chicken is coated.
- Serve immediately. Pairs well with rice or rice noodles or stir fried veggies.
- If air frying is more your style the chicken can be “fried” in the air fryer by prepping the chicken up to and including both rounds of breading with cornstarch. This is where there will be changes starting.- Pre-heat the air fryer and spray the chicken with a neutral air frying oil. Cook the chicken at 380F for 15-20 mins or until cooked through to 165F for an internal temperature. Flip the chicken at the halfway point to get both sides cooked evenly.
- When finished cooking, continue with the recipe by putting the chicken in the cooked and thickened sauce.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Contact the manufacturer of products, regarding cross contact and ingredients, to ensure they are safe for you
- Always check ingredients for allergens
- Do not use the same utensils on allergen free food, that previously touched allergens
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove