If you love Wagamama Firecracker Chicken you’re going to love this recipe! This is my copycat version of that tasty stir fry – tender chicken, crunchy veggies and  few HOT chillies in a lip-smackingly good sweet and spicy sauce. I love to serve this the Wagamama way with a mound of rice in the middle, topped of with a good sprinkling of shichimi.
Firecracker chicken stir fry surrounding a mound of rice on a blue plate

Wagamama’s Firecracker Chicken, Have you tried it? Chances are, if you’re outside of the UK or the Boston area then you probably be haven’t.  Which is a sad, sad thing, because this meal is soooo good.

I’d love to tell you that I managed to steal the secret formula for this recipe SpongeBob style.  But I didn’t.
This is my closest estimation of the recipe based on:

  • Tasting the original (many times of course!!)
  • Paying close attention to the menu description of the meal
  • Scouring through my Wagamama cookbook in order to work out what key ingredients they use in their other sweet/spicy dishes (I bought the book especially to get the Firecracker chicken recipe, so was pretty gutted they left it out)

How to make firecracker sauce

The sauce is pretty complex, with spicy, sweet, salty and tangy elements so I’m using:

  • Spicy: fresh chilli, chilli sauce, white pepper
  • Sweet: brown sugar and ketchup
  • Salty: light and dark soy sauce and fish sauce
  • Tangy: malt vinegar and tamarind paste
  • We also have garlic for a tasty and fragrant kick and chicken (I use chicken breast) – as we’re going to marinade the chicken in some of that delicious sauce.

Firecracker chicken ingredients on a wooden background

How to marinade the chicken:

  • Mix together oil, chopped chilli, chilli sauce, garlic, brown sugar, light & dark soy sauce, ketchup, malt vinegar, tamarind, fish sauce and white pepper.
  • Add 1/3 of the sauce to a bowl with the chicken and leave to marinade, covered in the fridge. Reserve the remaining sauce.

6 image collage showing how to marinade the chicken for firecracker chicken

For the stir fry we need:

  • Vegetable oil, crunchy peppers, mangetout (snow peas), onion, dried chillies and spring onions (scallions)
  • We’re going to serve with rice and garnish with shichimi, sesame seeds and lime.

Firecracker stir fry and rice ingredients on a wooden background

To make the stir fry

  • Fry the marinated chicken with onion, peppers, mangetout (snow peas) and dried chillies, then add in the reserved sauce.
  • Stir through the spring onions (scallions) and cook for a further couple of minutes.

6 image collage showing final stages for making firecracker chicken stir fry

How to make a mound of rice

  • Lightly oil a small bowl (this one is a 12cm/4.75″ diameter cereal bowl). Pack with rice and then push down firmly with a spoon or clean fingers.
  • Place a plate on top of the bowl and flip the bowl and plate over.
  • Lightly tap the bowl and lift the bowl to release the rice. It can take a couple of attempts, so it’s worth having a quick practice first.

4 image collage showing how to make a mound of rice

To Serve:

  • Spoon the firecracker chicken around the rice and then sprinkle with shichimi powder (<–affilate link) and sesame seeds.
  • Top the rice with a wedge of lime and serve!

Overhead image of Firecracker chicken and rice on a blue plate

Sweet, fiery and delicious! I actually like it better than the original!!

Most of the ingredients are pretty standard fridge/store cupboard stuff, with the exception of the dried chillies, black sesame seeds and the shichimi.  The shichimi is usually the only one that’s difficult to find at the supermarket, so I order from Amazon (<– affiliate link)

What is shichimi togarashi?

Shichimi togarashi or shichimi is a Japanese spice blend made up of 7 ingredients. These are usually: poppy seeds, hemp seeds, roasted mandarin/orange zest, sesame seeds, sansho pepper, red chilli and aonori (seaweed powder).
It’s got a salty and spicy flavour and a pinch of it makes a great topping for rice, noodles, soup and grilled meat or fish.

What type of dried chillies to use

Dried Japanese chilli peppers would be the best option, but I’ve never been able to source them. I use dried arbol, tianjin or kashmiri chillies. The chillies just add a bit of extra heat and a nice look to the stir fry, so I don’t worry too much about using Japanese chillies. I bought my dried chillies (<–affiliate link) from Amazon the last couple of times and they were great.

More delicious stir fry recipes:

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4.74 from 23 votes

Firecracker Chicken

My copycat version of Wagamama's sweet and spicy Firecracker Chicken Stir Fry. It's delicious and easier to make than you might think!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Japanese


Chicken and marinade:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red chilli chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce – I used sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • pinch white pepper
  • 3 medium sized chicken breasts (this is about 525g or 18.5oz), sliced into bite-size chunks

Stir Fry:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium white onion peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper seeds removed, chopped into chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper seeds removed, chopped into chunks
  • 85 g (1 cup) mangetout (snow peas)
  • 12 dried arbol chillies (Tianjin Chilies should do fine if you cant find arbol ones)
  • small bunch of spring onions (scallions) chopped
  • splash of water optional

To Serve:

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  • Place all of the marinade ingredients into a large bowl and mix together.
    1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 red chilli, 1 tbsp chilli sauce, 2 garlic cloves, 4 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp malt vinegar, 1 tbsp tamarind paste, 1 tbsp fish sauce, pinch white pepper
  • Add one third of the marinade to the chicken, then cover with cling film and marinade for at least an hour (or up to overnight).
    3 medium sized chicken breasts
  • Cook your rice as per the pack instructions (or use my no-fail boiled rice tutorial).
    boiled long grain rice
  • Whilst the rice is cooking, heat the oil on a high heat in a wok or large frying pan/skillet until hot. Scoop the chicken out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and cook in the wok until slightly browned, and almost cooked right through.
    1 tbsp oil
  • Add in the chopped onion and cook for a further 2 minutes to soften the onion slightly.
    1 medium white onion
  • Add in the reserved marinade and heat through whilst stirring until bubbling throughout.
  • Add in the peppers, mangetout (snow peas) and dried chillies. Cook for a minute, then stir through the spring onions (scallions). Add a splash of water to the sauce if it needs loosening up.
    1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 85 g (1 cup) mangetout (snow peas), 12 dried arbol chillies, small bunch of spring onions (scallions), splash of water
  • Check one of the larger pieces of chicken to ensure it’s cooked in the middle. Then turn off the heat.
  • Take your boiled rice and spoon it into a small lightly oiled bowl (mine is 12cm/4.75" diameter). Push it down firmly with the back of a spoon, then place a serving plate on top and turn the whole thing over. Tap the bowl gently to release the mound of rice. Repeat until you have four plates of rice.
  • Spoon the firecracker chicken around the rice and then sprinkle the top of the rice with the shichimi powder and the sesame seeds.
    1 1/2 tsp shichimi powder, 1 tsp black sesame seeds, 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • Top the rice with a wedge of lime and serve!
    wedges of lime


YouTube video


Can I make this ahead?
Not really. This stir fry tastes best when eaten right away. This ensures tender chicken and crunchy veggies. 
You can however, save leftovers if you like. Just cool quickly, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. It makes a lovely salad (with some salad leaves) served cold.
Can I scale the recipe up or down?
Yes, you can scale the recipe up or down using the same ratios. So to serve 2 people, halve all of the ingredients. To serve 8 people, double all of the ingredients. It will take longer to cook if doubling the recipe as you may need to cook the chicken in two batches.
Nutrition info is for one serving of this recipe and does not include the rice.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 2023mg | Potassium: 835mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 2385IU | Vitamin C: 110.6mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This post was first published in June 2015. Updated June 2020 with new photos and tips.


In order to make this Firecracker Chicken recipe you will need:

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Jay says:

    5 stars
    I’ve always had problems making stir-fry. I would add the cornstarch to the seasoning liquid. Then i would add that too early. By the time the meat was cooked it would be a thick heavy mess. You helped me make it right. The addition of the sesame seeds and shishimi powder on the rice is brilliant! This is such a great recipe. And very adaptable for any stir-fry.

  2. Lauren says:

    Does the nutritional info include the rice?

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Hi Lauren, no it doesn’t include the rice.

  3. RSH says:

    5 stars
    Excellent copy of the original, but 4tbsp of sugar? I used one and the result was just fine.

  4. AG says:

    5 stars
    Top recipe. I didn’t have brown sugar so ended up using honey. The blend for that sauce was delicious!

  5. Linda Hayes says:

    4 stars
    I love this recipe, but please could you include more delicious recipes using an air fryer. Especially those using marinated pork in a bbq or Asian style sweet/smoky/spicy sauce?

  6. Mikey says:

    5 stars
    I don’t know if I have been to a Wagamama before (one did exist in my hometown in Australia but closed down), so I can’t vouch for how close to the real thing this take was.

    I can vouch that it was a delicious treat and even opened the fields of Japanese cuisine even further for me. It is my top cuisine since there are so many facets to it – easy for me to think merely the curries and ramen, but the firecracker chicken is just as worthy to represent on the world stage.

    It was just the right amount of spicy. I can still feel it tingling on my nose as I write this down, but I was not going to the fridge to pour some milk either. What also worked was the balance of flavours, with sweet and spicy plus a slight sourness thrown in. I didn’t have malt vinegar, so I used sesame oil in place of it. Plus, oyster sauce for one of the soy sauces.

    Consider this a recipe I will be saving up and using as a backup for the busier times. Not to mention its real advantage is sneaking in a serving of vegetables that onion somehow dodges—a winner all-round.

    1. Prabhakar Lakku says:

      4 stars
      I have tasted firecracker dish in London two years earlier and I am very happy to see your post in YouTube. Thank you for your version and I would certainly try and serve. My grand kids in Houston.

  7. Julie says:

    Another brilliant recipe I added egg noodles to mine second time just to try something different it worked well