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What is Garlic Chicken?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Garlic chicken is a chicken dish in which garlic is the primary seasoning. Many cultures have a version of garlic chicken in their culinary traditions, reflecting the widespread popularity of both chicken and garlic. Restaurants sometimes offer this dish on their menus, and it can also be made at home in a myriad of variations. Depending on the version being made, garlic chicken can be very easy to make, and some cooks regard it as a handy quickie meal, sometimes even going so far as to freeze garlic chicken which is ready for cooking to make an instant meal.

In China, garlic chicken is a stir fried dish which includes pieces of chicken and lots of garlic. Ginger, chili paste, and other seasonings may be added to the dish to make it more spicy and interesting. Chinese cooks may also choose to grill chicken after marinating it in a garlic paste, and chicken can also be coated in a garlic tempura, fried, and dipped in a variety of sauces including spicy garlic dipping sauces.

In other regions, garlic chicken can be made in a variety of ways. At its most simple, garlic chicken might just be a roast chicken which has been stuffed with cloves of garlic or rubbed in a garlic oil infusion. Garlic oil can also be used in a pan to fry chicken, and deep fried chicken coated in garlic-infused breading is also popular in some regions. Garlic chicken can also take the form of a baked, grilled, or roasted chicken which has been rubbed with a garlic dry rub mixture.

Some people like to prepare garlic chicken in a pan and toss it with pasta or add it to a salad. Garlic chicken can also be shredded and used as a base for chicken salad, or eaten cold as finger food at parties. Chicken marinated in garlic mixtures may be grilled at barbecues, with both dry and wet garlic marinades being used for this purpose.

In addition to garlic, garlic chicken may also include spices like rosemary, thyme, or sage. The imagination of the cook is usually the only limiting factor when it comes to preparing garlic chicken, and many cooks develop their own versions of this dish. Creamy garlic chicken, for example, could be made by pan-frying chicken breasts in garlic oil and coating them with a rich cream sauce, or cheesy stuffed garlic chicken could made with chicken breasts stuffed with garlic and blue cheese or another pungent cheese variety and then baked.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By truman12 — On May 29, 2012

I like to make slow cooker garlic chicken on cold winter nights. I get everything set up before I go off to work and then when I come home it is ready to eat.

The slow cooker makes the chicken so tender and it really highlights the deep garlic flavor. I will add whole garlic cloves because they cook so long that they will be soft and delicious by the time I am ready to eat.

By jonrss — On May 28, 2012

There is a really easy garlic chicken recipe that I like to make for a fast after work supper. You basically just cook chicken in butter with a few cloves of minced garlic and some red pepper flakes. Then I eat it over rice or with some noodles.

It is not gourmet but it sure is tasty and you can make the entire meal in less than 20 minutes.

By gravois — On May 28, 2012

There is a Chinese take out place that is right around the corner from where I live that serves the best garlic chicken I have ever had anywhere. Seriously, I have even been to fancier, bigger restaurants and their garlic chicken doesn't hold a candle to the cheap stuff close to me.

There is something about the sauce they use. It is really intensely garlicky but not overwhelming. If uses the garlic to bring out the richness of the chicken. I could eat it every night if I didn't care about my weight.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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