Hainan Chicken

Here is my delightful Hainan Chicken recipe, a simplified Southeast Asian classic that brings you all the wonderful flavors without the traditional fuss! Quick steaming results in tender, juicy chicken infused with savory ginger goodness, and with minimal prep and just seven simple, natural ingredients, you’ll have a healthy, protein-packed meal in no time!

Asian style steamed boneless Hainan chicken top with green onions served on a plate with ginger salt dipping sauce, top down shot.

Why I Love This Recipe

My Hainan Chicken recipe will bring you all the traditional flavors without the hassle of dealing with bones, providing a convenient twist on this classic dish! Just like my Steamed Fish Fillets and Chashu Pork Belly recipes, Hainan Chicken invites you to savor the authentic essence of Asian cuisine with utmost ease!

I created this recipe to feature boneless, skinless chicken thighs, perfectly steamed to tender perfection, and accompanied by a delightful dipping sauce brimming with the savory essence of chicken. It’s ideal for anyone seeking to create a hassle-free and delicious way to enjoy Hainan chicken! It’s a delightful choice for a simple and satisfying lunch or dinner that will leave you craving for more. Give it a try and experience the ease and deliciousness of Hainan Chicken right in your own kitchen!



  • Chicken – boneless and skinless chicken thigh.
  • Salt – sea salt preferred.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 
  • Ginger– freshly grated ginger.
  • Green Onion – finely chopped green onion scallions
  • Neutral Oil no taste or flavor with high cooking temperature. Some choices are sunflower oil, peanut oil, sallower oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. 
  • Coarse Sea SaltCoarse Sea Salt only. Using regular table salt will be too salty.

🍗 Chicken Ingredient Note

It’s best to use skinless boneless chicken thighs as they provide a juicy and tender result. While chicken breast can be used as an alternative, it may not yield the same level of juiciness in the recipe.

Asian style steamed boneless Hainan chicken top with green onions served on a plate with ginger salt dipping sauce.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

  • Steaming Rack or Steamer


Step 1 Prepare dipping sauce by combining vegetable oil, chopped green onions, grated ginger, and coarse sea salt.

Hainan chicken sauce in a bowl.

🧂 Salt Pro Tip

Make note of the use of Coarse Sea Salt, as recommended. Using regular salt may result in an overly salty sauce. Begin with a small pinch of coarse sea salt and make gradual adjustments to achieve the desired level of saltiness.

Step 2 Sprinkle salt on both sides of the chicken and place the chicken on a steamer rack.

Seasoned chicken.

Step 3 In a stovetop pot, add green onions, sliced ginger, cooking wine, and water. Bring to a boil and lower down the steaming rack, steam for 12-15 minutes.

Chicken being steamed.

🌡 Internal Temperature Check

Ensure the chicken is steamed until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Step 4 Slice the chicken and serve with the dipping sauce.

Hainan chicken served on a plate.

📄 Hainanese Rice Recipe Notes

To create Hainanese chicken rice, start by following the steps for cooking the chicken as outlined in the recipe, but instead of using water, use chicken broth. After steaming the chicken, strain the remaining liquid and use it to cook the rice in a rice cooker. For an extra layer of deliciousness, you can enhance the rice by adding minced garlic to the rice cooker.

Paring Recommendations

Hainanese chicken rice is traditionally enjoyed with Hainan chicken, creating a flavorful pairing of tender chicken and fragrant rice. If you’re looking to complement the dish further, consider serving it alongside a delicate Egg Drop Soup, known for its comforting warmth and light flavors. Additionally, a side of Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry adds a refreshing crunch and vibrant greens to the meal, balancing the savory richness of the Hainan chicken.

Boneless Hainan chicken topped with green onions being dipped into a ginger sea salt dipping sauce with a pair of chopsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the purpose of Japanese Sake in this recipe, and can I substitute it?

Firstly, it helps to mitigate any potential gaminess from the chicken, ensuring a milder and more enjoyable taste. Secondly, it adds a layer of rich umami flavor to the dish, enhancing its overall taste profile. If you don't have Japanese Sake on hand, you can substitute it with dry sherry or Chinese cooking wine.

How do I ensure the chicken is cooked perfectly?

Steam the chicken for about 12-15 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Can I make the dipping sauce in advance?

Absolutely, you can prepare the dipping sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. This can save you time when serving the dish.


Boneless Hainan chicken topped with green onions being dipped into a ginger sea salt dipping sauce with a pair of chopsticks.

Storage Tips

To store steamed chicken leftovers, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate. They will stay fresh for 3-5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, a quick reheat in the microwave will work. Store unused dipping sauce separately, and it will last for 14-21 days in the fridge.

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Watch How To Make It

Asian style steamed boneless Hainan chicken top with green onions served on a plate with ginger salt dipping sauce, top down shot.

Hainan Chicken

Experience a simplified Hainan Chicken recipe that's both quick and delicious. Give this steamed chicken recipe a try for a delightful meal.
4.58 from 35 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: hainan chicken recipe, steam chicken thigh, steamed chicken recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 265kcal



  • 1 lb Chicken Thighs can substitute with chicken breast
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 Inch Ginger
  • 2 Stalk Green Onion
  • 1-2 Cups Water can substitute with chicken broth

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Ginger
  • 1/2 Stalk Green Onion
  • 3 tbsp Cooking Oil neutral, no flavor or taste
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt MUST be coarse otherwise will be too salty, use 1/4 tsp if you're sensitive to salt


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Hainan chicken.
  • Grate 1 tbsp of ginger with a grinder and set aside.
    Grated ginger.
  • Slice 1/2 inch of ginger into thin slices.
    Sliced ginger.
  • Finely chop 1/2 stalk of green onions and set aside.
    Chopped green onions.
  • Chop 1 stalk of green into 1 inch lengths.
    Chopped green onions.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients for the sauce - neutral oil (we use vegetable oil), finely chopped green onions, grated ginger, and Coarse Sea Salt. Note - this sauce tends to be on the salter side, so if you're sensitive sodium, we recommend starting with 1/4 tsp and working your way up.
    Hainan chicken sauce in a bowl.
  • Lightly sprinkle salt on both sides of the chicken thighs and set aside.
    Seasoned chicken.
  • In a stove top pot, add Japanese sake or Chinese cooking wine, sliced ginger and 1 inch green onion stalk. Add enough water to cover 1/2 inch from the bottom of the pot and bring to boil.
    Stovetop filled with water, ginger and green onions.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, place chicken thighs on a steaming rack (or directly in the water if you don't have one), completely cover and steam for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F.
    Chicken being steamed.
  • Place cooked chicken onto cutting board and slice into bite-size slices. Transfer to a serving place, drizzle some reserved broth on top and serve with dipping sauce from step 6).
    Hainan chicken served on a plate.


Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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