How to make Sesame Chicken

Do you love ordering sesame chicken at your favorite take-out place, and want to recreate that same amazing flavor at home? This delicious Crispy Sesame Chicken recipe has the same sweet and tangy sauce, and perfectly crisp chicken that you’ll love even more than take-out!

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What is Sesame Chicken?

Sesame chicken is an Asian-inspired dish commonly found in Chinese restaurants in the United States and Canada. It is made of fried chicken pieces coated in a thick sauce made of honey, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

angled shot of sesame chicken in a pan

Honey Sesame Chicken ingredients

  • Chicken breasts – white breast meat is the most common when making sesame chicken, but you could also use chicken thighs.
  • Eggs – an important ingredient when breading this chicken. The egg wash will help the breading stick to the chicken keeping it especially crispy.
  • Flour – an essential ingredient of breading the chicken.
  • Corn Starch – mixed with the flour, the corn starch helps create a crisp exterior for the chicken.
  • Salt and Pepper – mixed in with the egg wash, this helps lightly season the chicken.
  • Oil – vegetable oil is most commonly used to fry the chicken; however, you could also use canola, peanut or avocado oil.
  • Garlic – minced garlic is great for adding flavor to the sauce. Feel free to use jarred, minced garlic or mince your own cloves.
  • Honey – great for sweetening the sauce and giving it the perfect sticky texture for coating the chicken.
  • Soy Sauce – I recommend going with a low-sodium soy sauce or liquid soy aminos.
  • Ketchup – If you don’t have ketchup available, canned tomato sauce could be used in a pinch.
  • Chili Sauce – Sambal Oelek chili sauce is ideal in Asian cooking.
  • Brown Sugar – light or dark brown sugar can be used.
  • Rice Vinegar – commonly used in Asian cooking, rice vinegar is an essential ingredient for the sauce, adding acidity and tanginess to balance the sweet.
  • Sesame oil – essential for this sesame chicken recipe. Sesame oil has a unique flavor that other oils cannot replace. 
  • Corn Starch – thickening agent for the sauce.
  • Sesame seeds – found in the spice section of the grocery store, white or a mix of black and white are typically available. You can also purchase these pre-toasted.
  • Green onions – a great garnish bringing a pop of color to the dish.
fried chicken on a cooling rack

How to make Sesame Chicken

Chicken

  1. Prepare the chicken to be fried. In separate bowls, combine the eggs salt and pepper, flour and cornstarch, and the chicken which has been cut into 1” pieces.
  2. Coat chicken. Dredge the chicken pieces in the egg wash, then lightly coat with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess coating. It works best to coat all the chicken in small batches, placing the coated chicken on a pan.
  3. Cook chicken. Heat the oil Gently place chicken pieces into the oil and cook until golden brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a pan lined with a rack or paper towels to drain off any excess oil. work in smaller batches of chicken (about 10-12 pieces at a time) to help keep the oil at a consistent temperature and to ensure the sesame chicken pieces don’t stick together.

Sauce

  1. Sauté garlic. In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in oil.
  2. Add ingredients to skillet. Whisk in the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar, chili sauce, sesame oil and corn starch.
  3. Simmer. Heat over medium low heat and bring to a low simmer. Once the sauce is simmering, the cooked chicken can be added to the sauce. Toss the chicken in the sauce to coat completely.
collage of how to make sesame chicken

How to serve Honey Sesame Chicken

Honey sesame chicken can be served in several ways. Serve the chicken over a bed of plain steamed jasmine rice, coconut rice, riced cauliflower, lo mein noodles or fluffy quinoa. Sometimes I even put it over a bed of steamed broccoli or leafy greens to make it a salad.For a balanced meal, pair the honey sesame chicken with a side of steamed vegetables like broccoli or green beans.

I like to garnish the dish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions for a pop of color and added texture. Toast your sesame seeds for even more delicious flavor.

Storing Homemade Sesame Seed Chicken

If you’d like to prep in advance, you can make the sesame chicken sauce can be made up to two days in advance.

And if you have any leftovers, store your chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Sesame Seed Chicken FAQs

What is the difference between honey sesame chicken and orange chicken?

Honey sesame chicken and orange chicken are distinctive Chinese-American dishes, each characterized by its own unique flavor and ingredient combination.Honey sesame chicken boasts a sweet and savory taste, with succulent chicken coated in a luscious honey-based glaze that delivers a rich sweetness. Sesame seeds are often added for a nutty essence and a slightly toasted texture. In contrast, orange chicken showcases tangy and citrusy notes, featuring chicken coated in a sticky, orange-flavored sauce that provides a zesty and bright flavor. The sauce is typically made with orange juice, soy sauce, and a touch of ginger and garlic, resulting in a distinctively vibrant and refreshing dish.While both dishes are commonly served with rice or noodles, their contrasting taste profiles offer an array of flavors for different preferences.

What does honey sesame chicken taste like?

Honey sesame chicken features a delectable balance of sweet and savory flavors. The chicken is coated in a honey-infused glaze that lends a rich sweetness, complemented by the nutty and slightly toasted taste of sesame seeds.


collage of sesame chicken for pinterest

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overhead shot of sesame chicken in a pan with text overlay for pinterest
sesame chicken over a bed of rice

Homemade Sesame Chicken

4.70 from 10 votes
This Crispy Sesame Chicken recipe has the same sweet and tangy sauce as takeout, and perfectly crisp chicken that you’ll love even more!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

For Crispy Chicken:

For Honey Sauce:

For Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons green onions , sliced

Instructions

  • To a dry skillet, add the sesame seeds. Heat over medium heat, and stir until slightly fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl. Set the seeds aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour and corn starch. Stir together with fork and set aside.
  • Working in small batches, dredge the chicken pieces first in the egg wash, then into the flour mixture, shaking of any excess coating. Place the coated chicken pieces on a pan. Repeat the process until all chicken is coated.
  • To a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees. Place 10-12 pieces of coated chicken into the hot oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown. Using a metal slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the oil and place on a sheet pan with a rack to drain off any excess oil and to keep the chicken crisp. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
  • While chicken is cooking, add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and aromatic. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the ketchup, honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce and corn starch. Heat over low until sauce comes to a low simmer.
  • To the simmering sauce, add in the cooked chicken, and stir together to coat well. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Serve over rice, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 440 kcal, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Protein: 30 g, Fat: 13 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0.02 g, Cholesterol: 127 mg, Sodium: 1058 mg, Potassium: 576 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 26 g, Vitamin A: 236 IU, Vitamin C: 3 mg, Calcium: 56 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 440
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: sesame chicken
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I love recipes that save me time and money! This Crispy Sesame Chicken is delicious, and my family loved it.