Easy Pan-Fried Chicken Bites

Need a delicious but cheap and easy protein for your upcoming week? Try these juicy and savory pan-fried chicken bites and learn how to make my favorite Asian-inspired seasoning, a healthier version of Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

Cuts of chicken to use

Chicken breast or tenderloins are the best cuts of chicken for these pan-fried chicken bites because they don’t have bones, often come skinless, and are easier to cut into cubes. If you can buy them from a wholesaler, Costco, you can get organic chicken breast or tenderloins for a cheap price (about $3 per pound near my area).

In smaller grocery stores, organic chicken breast can be about $5-$10 per pound. These cuts are leaner, so they are a great option if you have dietary restrictions. You can also use chicken thighs if you’re ok with more fat.  

Seasonings for this recipe

These pan-fried chicken bites have an Asian-inspired flare to their seasoning. It’s full of spice and flavor with seasonings like soy sauce, five-spice, ginger, and garlic powder. Dijon mustard gives it a savory, tangy element, and a pinch of agave balances it out with some sweetness. 

They’re like Taiwanese popcorn chicken but way healthier because there’s no deep-frying involved and fewer carbs without the coating. 

Tips for perfect chicken bites

Here are my go-to tips for cooking these chicken bites:

  • Cut all the chicken into even one-inch cubes, so they marinate and cook as evenly as possible. Different sizes will give you uneven marinade or change the timing during cooking. 
  • Marinate for at least four hours. Since chicken breast and tenderloin cuts are leaner, you want to ensure they get ample seasoning time to get juicy and tender pieces of meat. 
  • Use a cast-iron pan to get a good sear on the chicken pieces. 
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking so the chicken comes to room temperature and cooks more evenly. If you cook the chicken when it’s too cold, the outside will cook faster than the center, and you’ll end up with raw centers. 
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure your chicken reaches at least 165 °F in the center. It’s very hard to visually tell when the chicken is done unless you keep cutting the pieces open. 

Customizing your chicken bites

You can customize this recipe by changing the cut to chicken thighs or using other meats, like turkey. Chicken thighs will give you a fattier and even juicer texture. I recommend buying boneless and skinless chicken thighs to make prep easier.

For turkey, I recommend buying breast and removing the skin. Make sure to marinate for at least four hours since turkey tends to run very lean. 

Try different spices and seasonings for your chicken bites:

  • Lemon juice
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Teriyaki sauce 

You can try cooking these in the air fryer or oven if you want a hands-free way of cooking chicken or turkey bites. The air fryer will give you crisp chicken bites, especially if you bread them with panko–you won’t miss deep-fried chicken bites. But since this marinade is slightly on the liquid side, cooking it in a pan is cleaner.

What to serve with chicken bites

grilled vegetable skewers on bbq

I love that these chicken bites are good for meal prep during a busy week. These chicken bites are great for easy bowls with brown rice from the microwave (or brown rice in the Instant Pot), quinoa with black beans and corn, veggie kabobs, and sauteed green beans

How long should you pan-fry diced chicken?

Pan-frying chicken is super fast on the stove. All you need is a cast-iron pan for maximum crisp sear and oil. I prefer avocado oil because it has a high smoke point.

I sear my chicken bites on one side for about one to two minutes or until it easily releases from the pan with a nice brown sear. I turn them over and cook them for another two minutes, or until the center of the chicken bites measures 165 °F with an instant-read thermometer.  

How to not overcook chicken in a frying pan

The best way to not overcook your chicken in a frying pan is to use an instant-read thermometer and not cook it on super-high heat. This will give you the internal temperature of the chicken immediately.

The FDA guidelines state that chicken is cooked at 165 °F, so you can pull it from the pan if you want to abide by these rules for safety. However, I like to pull it off around 160 °F and let the carryover heat take it to 160 °F. Chicken can get more rubbery once it’s cooked beyond this temperature.  

Should you use oil or butter in a pan for chicken?

You can use oil or butter in a pan for chicken, and it’s definitely up to your preference. However, if you want a healthier option, stick to oils like avocado or olive oil. Note that butter also has a lower smoke point and milk solids, so it will burn more quickly in the pan, which may affect how long you can pan-fry the chicken.

chicken bites recipe icon

Pan-Fried Chicken Bites

5 from 1 vote
Make this savory pan-fried chicken bite recipe for your next meal prep.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinating: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken breast or tenderloin (skinless, boneless), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt Diamond Crystal brand
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp agave or honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp five-spice
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • neutral oil
  • sesame seeds optional topping
  • scallions optional topping

Equipment Used

  • cutting board and knife
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • bowl
  • Spoon
  • food storage container with lid
  • cast iron pan
  • tongs


  • Prep your chicken by removing any skin and cutting them into 1-inch cubed pieces.
    cubed chicken breast
  • Place the chicken into a food storage container, sprinkle with salt, and mix to make sure it’s coated thoroughly.
    salting chicken breast cubes
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, soy sauce, agave, five spice, ginger powder, and garlic powder. Mix until incorporated.
    mixing seasonings in a bowl
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken and coat thoroughly. Cover with the lid and place it in the fridge. Marinade for 4 hours, mixing the chicken at the halfway point for even absorption. Then remove chicken from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to let it come to room temperature on the counter.
    marinating chicken in glass container
  • In a saute pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon of oil.
    drizzling oil into cast iron pan
  • Cook the chicken in batches. Add the chicken to the pan in an even layer without crowding. Let it sear for about 1-2 minutes or until it lifts itself from the pan. Add more oil if necessary. Turn over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
    searing chicken bites in cast iron pan
  • Chicken is done when it reaches 165 °F internally with a thermometer.
    instant read thermometer in chicken bite
  • Transfer to a plate and add optional toppings. Serve.
    pan-fried chicken bites with sides
Nutrition Facts
Pan-Fried Chicken Bites
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner, Ingredients, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: easy dinner, healthy dinner, meal prep
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!

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