Go Back
+ servings
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


  • 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 or brown 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. 


  1. If you prefer to use already cut up chicken parts, reduce cooking time to 30-40 minutes, and flip chicken halfway through cooking.
  2. Remove the chicken skin prior to cooking if you don't like wet chicken skin.
  3. Add dark soy sauce if you'd like a more mahogany-colored chicken.
  4. Other lovely additions to this braise are ginger, green onion, chestnuts, dried shitake mushrooms, and/or dried red chiles.
  5. Serve hot or make ahead to serve cold on the buffet table. 


Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 267mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.5mg