Easy Shanghai Chicken slices on cutting board with cilantro

Very Easy 6-Ingredient Shanghai Chicken

This very easy 6 ingredient Shanghai Chicken can be served hot or at room temperature and is a homey chicken dish all year round.  
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken, soy sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 331kcal
Author Asian Test Kitchen


  • 2.5 lb chicken use chicken parts if preferred
  • 1 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 c Chinese rice wine or dry sherry or sake
  • 3 Tb cane sugar
  • 3 c water
  • 2 ea cinnamon sticks
  • 3 ea star anise


  • Put all items into a pot except chicken.  Stir to combine the liquid with sugar.  Add the chicken breast side down. The chicken will only be half submerged in liquid. 
  • Bring to a simmer and cook at a very low boil for 30 minutes, covered. 
  • Flip bird breast side up.  Simmer for another 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked but not overcooked.  It should reach an internal temperature of 160 when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. 
  • Remove from liquid and serve.  The cooking liquid can be cooled, refrigerated, and used again if desired. 


If using bone-in chicken parts instead of a whole chicken, reduce cooking time by half. 


Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 267mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3.8% | Vitamin C: 2.6% | Calcium: 3% | Iron: 8.3%