Grilled Char Siu Chicken


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Mouth watering, succulant Grilled Char Siu Chicken. Once you try this irresistable, sweet and savoury chicken, you will want more.

‘Char Siu’ means a Chinese dish of roast pork that requires an overnight marinate for good flavour. However, this is made with chicken, a healthier version and only needs a minimum of 30 minutes marinate time. Char Siu Chicken is an asian style of BBQ Chicken and is a perfect protein dish to pair with noodles or rice.


This recipe is done with Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thigh Fillets. However, the marinade can be used for white meat (Chicken tenderloins/breasts) and even a Vegan Char Siu which is made with Tofu or Seitan or Mushrooms. Just remember that the cooking time will be reduced to half for white meat and tofu.

It involves only a few simple steps. All you need is to combine the ingredients and marinate the chicken, then grill or roast to perfection. It’s seriously all about the marinade. Oven roasting the chicken yields perfectly fine flavour, but grilling it produces a wonderful old-school character.

I know my chicken does not look so charred and the reason being that I only opted for 1 teaspoon of honey due to health reasons. The chicken still tasted great, but just not it’s maximum sweet or charred. To test for doneness, pierce the flesh with the tip of a knife: The chicken is cooked when clear juices flow out.

Marinade or Marinate?

Char Siu chicken Ingredients

Chicken, Garlic, Chinese 5 Spice, Hoisin Sauce, Sesame Oil, Soya Sauce, Tomato Ketchup (OR fermented red beancurd OR Natural Food Colouring), Dark Soya Sauce, Honey.

Char Siu Marinade

I marinate the chicken thigh fillets for at least 30 minutes if pressed for time. If you have the time, then marinating it longer would yield best results.

Grilling over the stove top in a cast iron grill pan gives me more control in turning over the chicken pieces. You can roast it in the oven or even air fry it…whatever you prefer.

I normally serve this Char Siu Chicken with Wonton Noodles or Rice, paired with green vegetables. If you like noodles, then I am sure you will like my :

20-min Dry Wonton Noodles

and Quick Pickled Green Chillies

Tomorrow I will make Vegan Char Siu Chicken and post the link as soon as I am able to blog it!

PAIR WITH Noodles or Rice with Green Vegetables.

Notice the Char Siu with Rice looks more charred and fully cooked than the one with the noodles. I made 2 versions : on stovetop during first attempt which was not so charred, served with noodles. The reason for this is because I used much less honey and did not increase the grilling time. (Honey and sugar gives the old school charred look).

The second attempt was done in my Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer. This of course meant that the grilling was all done automatically for me and it still took only 10 minutes! No effort needed and turned out superb!

Char Siu Chicken

Grilled Char Siu Chicken

A healthier version of Char Siu made with chicken. Mouth watering, succulant Grilled Char Siu Chicken; once you try this easy and irresistable, sweet and savoury chicken, you will want more. This is an asian style of BBQ Chicken and is a perfect protein dish to pair with noodles or rice.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinate 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian, Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese
Servings 4


  • cast iron stove-top grill pan



  • 500 gm Skinless Boneless chicken thighs 4-5 pieces.
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

Char Siu Marinade Sauce

  • 2 tbsp Light Soya Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey – preferably amber color I only used 2 tsp. as I’m pre diabetic
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1 tsp Dark Soya Sauce
  • ½ tsp white pepper optional
  • 1 tsp natural food coloring OR 2 pieces Chinese fermented red beancurd for the colour, optional. (I opted out)

Garnishing – optional

  • coriander leaves
  • white sesame seeds


Marinate chicken

  • Place chicken and garlic in a bowl and rub in.
  • Combine all Marinade ingredients in another bowl and stir to mix well. Set aside 2-3 tbsp for glazing the chicken.
  • Add chicken to the bowl and coat well with the marinade sauce. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge. Before Grilling, make sure the chicken is back to room temperature.


  • Lightly oil a cast-iron stovetop grill pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10-20 minutes, turning several times.
  • To test for doneness, pierce the flesh with the tip of a knife: The chicken is cooked when clear juices flow out.
  • During the last 2 minutes of cooking, baste with the reserved marinade to give it a nice glaze and enhance the flavour. 


  • Slice the char siu chicken thighs and serve immediately. Optional garnish of coriander leaves and/or white sesame seeds.


  1. You can use white meat/chicken tenderloins but remember cooking time is reduced to half the time.
  2. The same marinade may be used for Vegan Char Siu using Seitan, mushrooms or Tofu. Cooking time is half the time.
  3. You can Roast in the oven, Grill on stovetop or outdoor grill, or use an electric Griller. Even air frying is possible with this recipe.
  4. Recipe of 20-min wonton noodles :
  5. Recipe of Quick Pickled Green Chillies :
20-min Dry Wonton Noodles
20-min Dry Wonton Noodles
Jasmine Rice with Char Siu chicken and Stir Fried Broccoli
Jasmine Rice with Stir Fried Broccoli
Keyword Asian, BBQ chicken, Char Siu Chicken, Chicken Thighs, Grilled chicken, Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was with a Rating or Comment!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 35 minutes

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