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In this Sesame Chicken recipe, tender bites of chicken are coated in a sticky sweet and savory sesame sauce. This easy recipe comes together in just 30 minutes!
This sesame chicken was an immediate favorite with my family, and I think it will be with yours, too! This recipe checks all the boxes for a go-to weeknight dinner recipe: it’s easy to make, has incredible flavor and it’s healthier than takeout.
The sesame sauce that coats each bite of chicken is the real star of this recipe. It’s the best combination of sweet and savory flavors. As you toss the sauce with the browned chicken in the hot pan, the sauce thickens up and creates an irresistible sticky coating on the chicken. We’ve been making this sesame chicken on repeat lately. Give it a try and you’ll see why!
Sesame Chicken Ingredients
Instead of frying in oil, this sesame chicken is cooked in a small amount of oil in a skillet until it’s browned and tender. Coating the chicken with cornstarch, egg and flour makes it slightly crispy; not as crispy as frying but healthier and every bit as delicious.
- Sesame Sauce: For the sauce you’ll need soy sauce (I use low sodium), ketchup, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic and cornstarch. I also like to add a tablespoon of sweet chili sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
- Chicken Breast: Cut it into 1-inch cubes.
- Eggs and Cornstarch: To coat the chicken so that it crisps up slightly in the hot pan.
- Salt and Pepper: To season the chicken.
- Flour: To coat the chicken pieces. The flour helps to create a flavorful brown crust on the chicken.
- Canola Oil: I use canola oil rather than olive oil in this recipe because canola oil tends to have a higher smoke point. You can use olive oil if you prefer.
How to Make Sesame Chicken
This sesame chicken comes together in just a few simple steps. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts in the recipe card below.
- First, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- In a wide shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Place the flour in a second wide, shallow dish.
- Coat the chicken pieces in the egg/cornstarch mixture and then in the flour and gently tap off any excess.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, such as a cast iron skillet. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, flipping to cook all sides evenly.
- Scoot the cooked chicken to one side of the pan. Pour the sauce into the other side of the pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
- Gently toss the chicken with the sauce.
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Sesame Chicken Recipe Tips
- Slice the chicken into pieces no bigger than 1-inch cubes so that they cook through quickly.
- Adjust the heat as you cook the chicken. If the chicken is browning too much before it is cooked through, turn down the heat a little.
- Be careful when flipping the chicken pieces over so that the coating doesn’t come off the chicken.
- After tossing the chicken and sauce together, you can continue cooking the dish for 2-3 more minutes over low heat. This will make for a less saucy dish, but will make the sauce into a delicious sticky coating on the chicken.
- Prefer a slow cooker recipe? Try this Crockpot Sesame Chicken.
Serve sesame chicken over rice, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Try our recipes for How to Cook Rice, Brown Rice or Instant Pot Rice. This Fried Rice is another delicious option.
For the Sauce:
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce, or pinch red pepper flakes, optional but recommended
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the Chicken:
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, or avocado oil
- cooked white or brown rice
- chopped green onions
- sesame seeds
- Prepare the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisking until well combined. Set aside.
- In a wide, shallow dish or pie plate, combine the eggs, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
- In a second wide, shallow dish, place the flour.
- Working in two batches, coat the chicken pieces first in the egg and cornstarch mixture and then in the flour, gently shaking off any excess. Place the coated chicken pieces on a clean plate.
- Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, use tongs to add the coated chicken pieces to the pan. Cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through, stirring/flipping to help the chicken cook evenly, about 10 minutes. Be gentle when flipping the chicken pieces to keep the coating on the chicken. If the chicken is browning too much before it is cooked through, turn down the heat a little.
- Move the chicken pieces to one side of the pan. Pour the sauce into the other side of the pan. Cook, stirring the sauce, until it thickens, 1-2 minutes. Then gently toss the chicken pieces with the sauce. If desired, you can cook for 2-3 more minutes over low heat. This will make for a less saucy dish, but will make the sauce into a delicious sticky coating on the chicken.
- Serve immediately, over rice and sprinkled with chopped green onion and sesame seeds.