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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, 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, from the New York Times, 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, 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 sauce for one’s steak.

But I was simple. Ketchup floated my boat.

Ketchup chicken/noodles/white bowl

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 babysitter 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!

Ketchup chicken

But back to this ketchup chicken recipe.

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

No need for ingredients like soy sauce or brown sugar. No tomato sauce either.

How to make ketchup chicken:

Start with a large boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs and cut them into big 1 1/2 bite nuggets. Put some all-purpose flour in a plastic bag or a shallow bowl and throw your chicken cubes in. Toss it about until you have lightly dusted chicken nuggets.

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil, (canola or olive oil) on medium-high heat until oil smokes. Fry chicken nuggets in a large skillet on medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel.

Take skillet off heat and let cool a few minutes. Then add minced garlic, (if you don’t want to use fresh garlic, stir some garlic powder in with the ketchup) and slivered onion if you want. Let that soften a bit and then stir in your 1 cup ketchup and sriracha while scraping up all the little browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Once the ketchup bubbles, add back your nuggets and stir well.

While cooking the ketchup color deepens and sightly caramelizes. Make sure it’s coated well and this chicken is ready to eat.

One could adjust this with other flavors and make this into a Chinese meal, Italian or perhaps stir in some chile powder and cumin to make some Mexican recipes.

Ketchup chicken/yakisoba noodles

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.

Ketchup chicken may not be the most appetizing name but it certainly describes this dish to a T.

It is the simplicity of this dish that makes it so fun to make but it’s the simple flavors that make this 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. So feel free to throw the peas on, if it makes you feel healthier!

These reasons are why I thought it time to repost this recipe.

It’s hard to imagine how 6 basic ingredients can create such a perfect balance.

But they do which is why this chicken deserves to be chicken of the month!

Let me know what you think!

(This is an updated post from 2016.)

Ketchup chicken/ white bowl/blue napkin

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Ketcup Chicken

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Ketchup chicken/yakisoba noodles

Ketchup Chicken (My Favorite 15 Minute Meal)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Category: Main Course
  • 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 Bittman prefers dark)

1/2 c flour or as needed

4 T canola oil

Salt and Pepper

2 T slivered garlic

1/4 tsp 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 I removed the chicken from the pan, I tossed in some slivered onion with the minced garlic and cooked that briefly. AFTER the ketchup chicken was finished, I put it in a bowl while I briefly warmed up a package of cooked yakisoba noodles and stirred then around until warm. This picked up the flavors of the ketchup and garlic and was yummy with the chicken.)


Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

What an interesting recipe that is ridiculously quick and easy. The ingredient list is so simple but it sounds very flavorful. Love your site, oh and btw these photos look gorgeous. Thanks for sharing Abbe.

Lea Ann

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Thanks for reposting this, as I had forgotten all about it. I like your idea of serving it over those noodles.


Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

It reminds me of sweet and sour chicken! Looks so satisfying and yummy.

Healthy World Cuisine

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

My friend from the Philippines used to make something very similar with pasta and ketchup. The little heat with the sweet is addictive. New theme? Nice... Take care


Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

oh yes. i just watched a japanese youtuber make japanese rice with 4 Tbs of tomato ketchup. I was amazed that they would use it. in fact i'm amazed that japanese like eggy, dairy type foods also.