Food & Recipes

Dean McDermott Shares His Icky Sticky Chicken Recipe

by Dean McDermott

Dean McDermott Shares His Icky Sticky Chicken Recipe

The Gourmet Dad and recent winner of "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-off" shares a dish that the pickiest of eaters (and grown-ups!) will love.

Kids and grown-ups alike love this dish. Serve it with some vegetable stir fried rice or noodles, as a passed hors d’oeuvre for parties with a sweet and sour sauce, or in a lettuce wrap with tangy purple cabbage slaw. It is very versatile so you’re only limited to your imagination.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    I use one chicken breast per child. If there the big jumbo breast, use one breast for two children. I like the normal size chicken breasts, the other ones don’t appeal to me. Aside from looking like they came from a mutant chicken, they’re tricky to cook. Whether you’re grilling, baking them or sautéing them, by the time the center of the chicken has cooked properly, the outer chicken is over cooked and dry.
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup self rising flour or all purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of white pepper
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 4 Tbsps. vegetable oil
  • ½ cup honey or agave nectar


  • Rinse and pat dry your chicken.
  • Cut chicken into long strips about a ¼ of an inch wide, then cut strips in half. You want them to be bite-size cubes.

  • In a large bowl, mix cornstarch and flour together and season with salt, sugar and white pepper. I use white pepper because I want to bring out the flavor of the chicken, but the kids won’t like seeing little black pepper bits. If you don’t have white pepper, just omit it from the recipe. White pepper is a great pantry staple as you can use it for mashed potatoes and sauces in which you do not want to use the black pepper bits.
    Note: If you are making this for grown-ups, you can add garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, curry – whatever tickles your fancy! These spices will help give the chicken some nice heat.

  • In a large fry pan, heat up the vegetable oil.
  • Dredge your chicken pieces in the flour cornstarch mix. Be sure to knock off excess flour. It will clump and burn in your hot oil and turn it into a brown, burnt mess.

  • The method we’re using is known as a shallow fry. It’s similar to wok frying, in which you use very little hot oil and quick-fry your food.
  • Place chicken in hot oil. Cook until golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side. To make doubly sure the chicken is properly cooked, take a cube and cut it open. I remove the chicken when it has a teeny tiny bit of pink in the center. Don’t forget that the chicken will continue to cook once it’s removed from the heat source due to “carry over cooking,” so you want to make sure you take that into account when cooking your chicken. 

  • When the chicken is done, remove with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider. Immediately put chicken in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Hit the chicken pieces with a bit of salt, then slowly drizzle the honey or agave over the chicken pieces and lightly toss so all the pieces get coated with yummy sweetness. BOOM! You’re done. 

  • Serve with rice, rice noodles, fries or potato chips and thinly sliced carrots, and watch it disappear. I’ve broken the pickiest of eaters with this dish.
  • Another flavor suggestion is to toss the cooked chicken cubes with honey and add chili flakes, Sriracha hot sauce, lime juice, lime zest and a touch of rice wine vinegar. This produces a sweet, salty, bitter, tangy combo that hits you all at once and drives your taste buds wild.

  • I use mini cutting boards to serve the kids my Icky Sticky Chicken. You can garnish with orange slices or your fruit of choice. Liam, Stella and Hattie all love lemon and lime. From the time they could eat solid foods, they’ve always eaten lemon or a lime wedges straight, just like an orange. I’m sure Finn will follow suit and grow into quite the little citrus aficionado. 

Tip: I like to use cornstarch and self-rising flour because I find the chicken comes out with a nice and light crispy crunch. The cornstarch gives it that crispiness, while the self-rising flour adds volume/fluff due to its leavening agents.

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