Filipino Fried Chicken Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Filipino Fried Chicken

15 reviews / 4.9 average

One thing I was not expecting to eat so much of during our year in the Philippines = FRIED CHICKEN.

Seriously, Filipinos know and love their fried chicken and I took full advantage of that while living there. The chicken I ordered at Jollibee (kind of like a local McDonald's) was called Spicy Chicken and it was like KFC fried chicken covered with a spicy seasoning mix. Ohmygosh, dip that in a little gravy and you're hooked for life. Whoever thought of the spicy chicken thing obviously didn't care about the heat because when you eat spicy fried chicken in the Philippines, the sweating gets out of control immediately. But no biggie. Anything for spicy fried chicken.

At The Children's Shelter of Cebu, the orphanage Bjork and I worked at, they would make their own Filipino fried chicken. When I went to watch the aunties make this, I was looking forward to seeing how they would make the breading for the fried chicken, you know, the stuff that makes the skin golden brown and crispy delicious? And then the chicken was in the oil and there was no breading. What? No breading? Doesn't all fried chicken have breading?

But their version is chicken only, and it's so cute because they just put it in these giant plastic tubs with the day of the week on it (an essential tool for a chef cooking in a home for 30 kids) with the marinade. And then when it's been in there long enough - they just know - then it goes in the hot oil for a long bubble bath.

I could talk about fried chicken all day, buuuut I have to go to work. Here's the CSC Filipino fried chicken that I experienced in pictures. With a few handsome little guys thrown in for good measure at the end. <smile>

Food scraps in a dish.
Chicken in a frying pan.
Chicken frying in a pan.
Four boys laughing.
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Filipino Fried Chicken - Skillful Cook

Filipino Fried Chicken


This simple and delicious recipe for Filipino fried chicken comes from the orphanage that I worked at for one year in Cebu, Philippines.


  • 2 lb. chicken drumsticks
  • 1-2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning mix (Magic Sarap)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1-2 cups oil for frying


  1. Place the raw chicken in a large bowl. Add the garlic, onion, oyster sauce, black pepper, salt, seasoning mix, egg, and cornstarch. Stir until the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the chicken, one piece at a time, in the oil. The oil should cover the chicken pieces almost completely and it will bubble gently as the chicken cooks. Continue to fry the chicken until the skin is golden brown and crispy. The exact amount of time you’ll need depends on the temperature of the oil, but the aunties left their chicken in for about 15-20 minutes (a long time!) with the oil over lower heat. Remove from the oil and set on paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat in small batches until all the chicken is fried.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Keywords: filipino fried chicken, fried chicken, chicken drumsticks

I did another lil post on this recipe for the Children's Shelter of Cebu website, where you can also see bajillions of cute kid pictures and read other stories and information about CSC. Check it owt, guys.

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Sorry to ask this, love fried chicken, but trying to eat healthier, so could this be baked? If yes, what temp and for how long would you suggest?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I am trying to eat healthier, so I’m looking for recipes with no carbs. Gonna fry these up in peanut oil and lard and not even drain it. Yum

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just had a total “DUH” moment when I saw oyster sauce in this marinade for fried chicken. I’m totally trying that!
    And what is Magic Sarap seasoning? Can you buy that in stores here or is it just a Filipino thing?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        We have a Jollibee located in Carson, California. One of the strongest franchises in the USA and one of the best. Jollibee also owns Smashburger, of other reputable places.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Such adorable cuties at the end of your post!
    Love non-breaded, non floured fried chicken! In Sri Lanka, I used to have a very similar version-minus the oyster sauce. I would love to know what Magic Sarap seasoning is too?
    Your chicken is making me so hungry! Guess it’s gonna have to be chicken for lunch… 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Haven’t had Filipino-style fried chicken in a while – only when my grandma comes to visit. Max’s chicken ( is the best though there aren’t too many Max’s restaurants any more. I’m pretty sure Magic Sarap (basically translates to “Yum Magic”) seasoning contains MSG. Might be better to use sugar, onion powder, and garlic powder as a replacement? Any other suggestions?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes, it is MSG. :/ I wouldn’t ever recommend using that but that IS what they use. I’d just use a salty all-purpose seasoning.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Magic sarap actually is an option. I always omit MSG in all the foods I cook. It will also do magic if you poach the chicken in boiling water mixed with garlic and oyster’s sauce before frying.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Instead of Magic Sarap, just put more garlic, onions and salt (or you can add rosemary also). That’s the basic flavor of the Magic Sarap but with MSG (to enhance and bring out the flavor).

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    this is gonna be good! the recipe is simple but truly this is the simplest recipe every Cebuano could cook….:) I am a Cebuana… and proud to be…. 🙂
    thanks for sharing again <3 <3 <3!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    i love fried chicken! i look forward for my lunch time when my mom makes these. she marinates it with just fish sauce and pepper which brings some interesting crunch and depth when deep fried. :9

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    THOSE SMILERS ARE THE CUTEST. You’re making me want to go live in the Philippines. Would I survive there if I don’t eat meat?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes. Sort of. 🙂 They love their pork and chicken, but there are tons of good veggie dishes too … like monggos!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love Filipino fried chicken. Having grown up for some part of my life in the Philippines, I have an aversion to overly battered or overly breaded fried chicken. Also, I want to thank you for the wonderful, adorable and heartbreaking photos from the orphanage. It is amazing that the kids are so cheery and the folks who work there care so much about these kids.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I’ve always wondered how to cook this myself without Breading Mix. Now, I’m preparing myself Fried chicken for lunch using your recipe. Already pretty hungry looking at your photos. Yum! I’m gonna bookmark your blog for recipes I’d like to try in the future. Thank you and keep sharing!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think I had chicken in Haiti that was very similar to this, and you are right, it is SOOO good! I am definitely going to try this recipe!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Missed having fried chicken cooked similar to this. I’m from Cebu and so proud of what you guys do to make the lives of orphaned kids over there much better. Honestly and to my ignorance, I didn’t know there is even an orphanage there. What part of the city it is located?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      How sweet, thanks for the comment! We sure miss Cebu! It was in Banawa, close to Julie’s Bake Shop and One Pavillion Mall if you know where those are. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      There it is! I will say, though, I think it’s just MSG. So I wouldn’t really recommend using it unless you want the full experience and you don’t care so much about the MSG part 🙂 I would just use some other seasoning in its place if it were me.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m marinating the chicken now, getting ready to fry the wings tonight for the Superbowl. Go Panthers.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    where do you find the magic sarap seasoning packs or is there something you can substitute for that ingredient

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello I tried this recipe tonite minus the oyster sauce and onion. I added garlic powder, pappys seasoning, and a little chicken bouillon, it was AMAZING!!