Ketchup Chicken (My Favorite 15 Minute Meal)

Ketchup Chicken is rich and savory and full of ketchup and garlic. Made in less than 15 minutes this chicken will become a family favorite. Even if you don’t like ketchup, you will love this!

Ketchup chicken on noodles

Ketchup chicken, where have you been all my life? Honestly people, being a ketchup lover, I can’t believe I haven’t discovered this before now. Truly Mark Bittman has been holding out on me! I ate ketchup on everything as a child. It always held an important role on our table and was used recklessly on chicken and steak and even scrambled eggs. Back then there wasn’t such a thing as jarred salsa and who had ever heard of sriracha? The closest we got to condiments was Heinz 57 or Worcestershire for one’s steak. But I was simple. Ketchup floated my boat.

As a child my mother used to make ketchup sloppy joe. She never made it for my father. She only made it before they abandoned us wee ones at home. We didn’t care because we had ketchup sloppy joe. It wasn’t really sloppy joe. I think all she did was brown the beef and add ketchup. That was our bribe for not giving the sitter a hard time when they departed. My parents were the social type. They went out a lot. If I recall there was always golf in the summer, theatre tickets once a month and numerous cocktail parties. I think parents did a lot more socializing without kids back then.


But what the heck? We ate like kings when they were gone. Many times we were bribed with Swanson’s TV dinners-the ones with the Salisbury steak, corn and brownie. We also adored their chicken pot pies. And get out-who doesn’t love Jeno’s pizza rolls and Sara Lee brownies for dessert? There was no powdered macaroni and cheese or spaghetti o’s in our house, and I still don’t know the reason why. Nope. My mom preferred freezer meals!

But back to ketchup chicken. Such a glorious dish certainly should bear a better name, but alas, this says it like it is. Ketchup chicken, I love you.

How do I make ketchup chicken?

  1. I start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs and cut them into big 1 1/2 bite nuggets. Put some flour in a plastic bag and throw your chicken cubes in. Toss it about and you have lightly dusted chicken nuggets.
  2. Fry chicken nuggets in a skillet until brown on both sides.
  3. Remove from pan. Add garlic and slivered onion if you want. Let that soften a bit and then stir in your ketchup and sriracha. Let that bubble and add back your nuggets. While cooking the ketchup color deepens and sightly caramelizes. One could adjust this with other flavors and make this into a Chinese meal, Italian or even Mexican.
  4. Make sure it’s coated well and this chicken is ready to eat.

How should I serve ketchup chicken?

I served my ketchup chicken over yakisoba noodles. I guess I still have a yearning for Chinese! However, this chicken would also be great over potatoes, rice or spaghetti. Kids love it. Adults love it and it takes minutes to prepare. But the truth is it is the simplicity of this dish that makes it so lip licking good. And oh yeah. The peas are strictly for color. They do taste good, but the original recipe lacks veggies of any kind. But feel free to throw the peas on, if it makes you feel healthier!

Ketchup chicken on noodles in a bowl

Ketchup Chicken should be followed by dessert. Don’t you think?

CopyCat Sara Lee Brownies

Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Glaze

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Easy Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganace

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Ketchup Chicken with noodles

Ketchup Chicken (My Favorite 15 Minute Meal)

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 15-20 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: American


Ketchup Chicken is rich and savory and full of ketchup and garlic. Made in less than 15 minutes this chicken will become a family favorite. Even if you don’t like ketchup, you will love this!



1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken cut into 1″ chunks (I used white meat, but Mark prefers dark)
1/2 c flour or as needed
4 T canola oil
Salt and Pepper
2 T slivered garlic
1/4 t cayenne or sriracha mixed with:
1 c ketchup

Peas, onions. and cilantro optional


Toss chicken with flour so that it is lightly dusted. Put 2 T oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When chicken browns on one side, turn or toss and cook on other side. This shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan. Turn off heat and let pan cool for a few minutes.

Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cooking until ketchup bubbles and darkens slightly. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and drool.

(Once removed the chicken from the pan, I tossed in some slivered onion and cooked that briefly. I then added a package of yakisoba noodles and stirred then around until warm. This picked up the flavors of the ketchup and garlic and was yummy with the chicken.)

Keywords: ketchup chicken, ketchup chicken recipe, chicken, ketchup marinade, stir fry ketchup chicken

Please Share and Pin the Chicken!

chicken, ketchup, noodles

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  • Mimi
    September 21, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Very interesting! I do use ketchup sometimes in marinades, ever since I saw a recipe and followed it. But I’ve never really used it. I bet it’s good!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      September 21, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      Totally good Mimi! It becomes a thick, rich, flavorful sauce!

  • Healthy World Cuisine
    September 21, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Did you know that they make this in the Philippines too? It is something pretty similar and it is very tasty. Love pantry recipes.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      September 21, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      You know the Chinese have a recipe that also uses ketchup. I’ll have to do some more research. Would be interesting to see what else I can do!

  • Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen
    October 6, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Wow, I'm gonna have to try this ketchup chicken of yours, Abbe! My husband and my son are total ketchup addicts and this dish looks really good to me too 🙂

  • 2thelight
    January 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Hmmm..T is either tablespoon or teaspoon right?

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      January 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      Large T is tablespoon and small t is teaspoon. Hope that helps!

  • Balvinder Ubi
    November 4, 2016 at 4:29 am

    I love ketchup and this is a must try recipe for me.

  • Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    October 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Well, I have to give this a try. Love these easy meals for the weekdays.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:28 am

      I do believe you wil love it Lea Ann!

  • Karen (Back Road Journal)
    October 31, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I have a friend who eats ketchup on everything, I mean everything. I've got to pass this recipe on to his wife. 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:28 am

      You really do. This is good stuff!

  • Beth
    October 30, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    What an easy weeknight meal!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

      Thanks Beth. It is way too easy to taste this good!

  • Bobbi Marshall
    October 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    The title caught my attention. Seriously, why not ketchup chicken! Kids end up putting it on everything anyways. I have a friend and her little ones put ketchup on cucumbers to get them to eat their veggies. Ketchup must have magical kid powers for sure.

  • Liz Berg
    October 30, 2016 at 11:27 am

    My family douses every meat I make with ketchup, so I know they'd think this chicken was divine! My mom used to make us boxed mac and cheese or fish sticks when they went out to eat—I think you got the better deal 😉

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

      I would have loved fish sticks. We only got those at school!

  • Dawn Yucuis
    October 30, 2016 at 3:00 am

    I am a big fan of ketchup, I know I would love this chicken. Sounds delicious.

  • Tricia Buice
    October 29, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    My husband would LOVE this recipe! He eats ketchup on everything. When we first married I finally had to ask if he didn't like my cooking. Now he eats at least one bite before drowning it in ketchup 🙁

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Too funny Tricia! I di out grw my need for ketchup but I still love the stuff. This is so good!

  • SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    October 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I really need to try this with the homemade ketchup I made at the end of summer! The garlic and splash of hot sauce are plenty of flavor for me! I make my sloppy joes with ketchup too but I do add chopped onion and celery 🙂 Yes, our parents were definitely part of the new freezer food era! I remember those Swanson dinners well 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:26 am

      You should try this. I haven't been this smitten with a recipe in a long time!

  • Angie Schneider
    October 29, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    That looks super duper delicious! Definitely a crowd pleaser.

  • La Table De Nana
    October 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    It must be good..a resto here I love their crispy asian chicken salad that is General Taoish..he gave me the recipe hrough a freind..and there is ketchup in it:)
    I love how parents today are so involoved w/ their parents did not go out a lot..thank goodnes..because when my mom palyed bridge..she would have to put rollers in her hair and a bathrobe over her clothes and sit at the kitcehen table until I fell asleep..poor dear dear room was off the kichen;)

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:25 am

      My mom played bridge, too! They always dressed up!

  • Cheri Savory Spoon
    October 29, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Hi Abbe, how funny, I think in our moms day frozen diners were all the rage. Love that you added hot sauce here. Looks delicious!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:24 am

      With or wothout hot sauce this chicken is killer!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    October 29, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Yup, back when we were growing up parents did tend to put their needs first, didn't they? All in all a good thing, I think — both kids and parents got a healthy dose of independence that way. And kids got ketchup Sloppy Joes! I was never so lucky, alas. But I can make Ketchup Chicken now, right? Fun dish — thanks.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:24 am

      Do not pass go until you make this chicken!

  • Karen Harris
    October 29, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Oh my gosh, this does look interesting . . . and delicious! Love how simple it is. I'm always looking for something quick and easy.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:23 am

      Just made this for the 3rd time. I am in love!