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Vietnamese Crispy Skin Chicken on a plate with sliced cucumbers along with tomato rice and a dish of Vietnamese dipping sauce.
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5 from 1 vote

Vietnamese Crispy Skin Chicken (Gà Da Dòn)

This is a Vietnamese Crispy Skin Chicken recipe with a crackling you'll keep coming back for! Serve it with a signature sauce for the complete experience!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Air Drying Time1 hr
Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Vietnamese
Servings: 6
Calories: 413kcal
Author: Jeannette


  • slotted spoon/spider ladle
  • ladle


  • 6 chicken maryland
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 5 star anise
  • 1 Chinese cinnamon bark
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp oil (plus more for frying)
  • 2 L / 8.5 US cup water (for the stock)
  • 1/2 US cup light soy sauce (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp annatto seed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 L / 4.2 US cup water (for the stock ice water)
  • 1 US cup ice (for the stock ice water)
  • ice water (for cooling the cooked chicken)


  • Pour 4 tbsp oil in a small saucepan on high heat. When hot, turn it down to medium and add the ginger slices, star anise, garlic cloves and cinnamon. Let it cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a large pot and pour in the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, salt, chicken bouillon powder, honey and annatto seed oil.
  • Add the fried aromatics in and let it boil on high heat for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off.
  • Combine 1 US cup ice and 1L water. Add the ice water into the stock. This will cool it down and prevent the skin from cracking.
  • Add the maryland pieces in and bring it back up to a boil. Let it cook for 10 minutes on high heat, then turn the heat off and let the chicken sit in the stock with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath with enough liquid to submerge the marylands in. After the 10 minutes of sitting in the stock, transfer the cooked pieces into the ice bath for 15 minutes or until cool.
  • Remove the chicken from the liquid and pat them dry with paper towels. Let them air dry for 1 hour or until dry.
    Pro Tip: If they're drying on a plate, lift each piece up, pat the underside dry and wipe the plate clean every few minutes to remove excess moisture. Repeat this every 5-10 minutes.
  • Heat up oil and the lemon juice in a pot or wok until hot, then place the maryland skin side up into the oil. Let it fry for 30 seconds, then scoop it up using a slotted spoon. Make sure the skin side is still facing up.
    Note: Once the chicken goes into the oil, hot oil will start spitting so be careful.
  • Use a ladle to scoop up the hot oil and pour it over the skin. Repeat this step for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Do this for each piece.
  • Serve as is or with your favorite sides!


  • Use a tall narrow pot. Make sure that it's large enough to fit all the liquid and meat, but also tall and narrow enough to push the stock upwards. This shape ensures each maryland gets covered in the sauce.
  • Opt for a larger ladle. The more oil you can pour over the skin, the more evenly it will crisp and brown.
  • Let the chicken dry for longer. If you can, have it air dry overnight or for a few hours so the skin's free of as much moisture as possible. That way, it will crisp up a lot easier.
  • Avoid stirring. The more you move each piece in the pot, the more likely the skin will break.
  • We like to use chicken marylands for this recipe, but you can choose to use whichever piece you like so long as it has its skin in tact. Dad also specifically asks the butcher for cuts with thicker skin just for this dish.
  • You can buy annatto seed oil from Asian grocery stores, but you can also make your own, as we did with our Bánh Canh Cua (Crab Tapioca Noodle Soup).
  • Use a neutral tasting oil with a high smoking point like peanut, vegetable, canola, grapeseed or rice bran oil.


Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1233mg | Potassium: 279mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 93IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg