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+ servings
Cracked clay wrapped chicken.

Beggar's Chicken

Baggar's chicken is a Chinese dish of a whole chicken seasoned and wrapped in clay and baked. The hard baked shell is cracked open with a hammer to reveal a perfected cooked chicken.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Brining 3 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs 30 mins
Course Dinner, holiday, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6
Calories 676 kcal


  • oven



  • 3 ½ lb. whole chicken
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 C. Kosher salt 


  • 1 tsp. 5-spice powder
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. unrefined sugar
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. mushroom sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. xiao shing wine


  • 1/2 C. sliced water chestnuts
  • 1/2 C. sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1  bunch of green onions, cut into 2” lengths
  • 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 11 small dried Shiitake mushrooms Reconstitute in hot water for 15-20 minutes, drain from soaking water & trim stalks
  • 1/4 C. ham sliced into ½”x 2” lengths

Wrapping the chicken

  • 3 dried lotus leaves
  • 2 sheets of newspaper
  • 10 lbs. air-dry clay

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 C. chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp. regular soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp. unrefined sugar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. water


  • Brine
  • To 1 gallon of water in a large pot add 1 c. of Kosher salt. 
  • Add your chicken and brine for 3 hours.
    Placing a raw chicken into a pot of water.
  • Take the chicken out of the brine and use paper towels to pat the chicken dry.


  • In a large bowl, add 5-spice powder, sesame oil, sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water, mushroom sauce, dark soy sauce, xiao shing wine. Use a whisk to combine.
  • Add chicken and turn to coat. Make sure to get the marinade into the chicken cavity as well.


  • In a large bowl add all of the stuffing ingredients and mix well.
  • Take the marinated chicken and stuff the cavity tightly with the stuffing.
    A raw chicken stuffed with green onions and bamboo shoots.
  • Truss the bird with butcher’s twine to keep the stuffing mixture from falling out.

Preparing the Lotus Leaves

  • Separate 3 lotus leaves and place them into a stoppered sink. 
  • Cover them with hot tap water and allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • Dry the leaves of excess water with a towel.

Wrapping the Chicken in Clay

  • On the counter top, arrange the lotus leaves into a triangle pattern.  Make sure the leaves overlap.
    Seasoned chicken in middle of a lotus leaf.
  • Place the chicken in the center of the triangle and fold the edges over forming a tight package.
  • Use butcher’s twine to secure the leaves around the chicken.
    Chicken wrapped in lotus leaves with twine.
  • Wrap the entire package in 2 sheets of newspaper.
  • Next cover the newspaper with a ¼” thick layer of clay, taking care to seal any cracks.
  • Use the tips of your fingers to create decorative furrows in the clay.
    Clay wrapped chicken before being baked.
  • Place the clay wrapped chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 450˚F oven for 1 hour. 
  • Reduce the temperature to 350˚F and bake for an additional 2-3 hours.

Removing the Chicken from the Clay

  • Use a mallet to break the hardened clay. 
  • Remove the clay to reveal the newspaper, peeling back to get to the lotus leaves. 
  • Use a pair of kitchen shears to cup open the lotus leaves.
  • Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

  • In a saucepan combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil. 
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce and boil until thickened. 
  • Serve with chicken.



Calories: 676kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 53gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 205mgSodium: 1141mgPotassium: 643mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 376IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 3mg
Keyword baked in clay, chicken, Chinese food, whole chicken
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