Learn how to make sesame chicken that is battered and fried to perfection and enveloped in a delicious sweet sauce. Ready in just 10 minutes, it tastes better than Take out!
Why this recipe works
- Easy and quick. You don’t have to marinate the chicken for this recipe. Just cut up the chicken, batter it, fry it up, and serve it tossed in a sweet honey sauce. Doing all this takes less than 10 minutes.
- Not spicy. While sesame chicken is known to be sweet and slightly spicy, the sauce of this sesame chicken recipe is sweet so that everyone can enjoy it. You can always add heat if you want.
- Perfectly crispy. This recipe uses the perfect batter to make the chicken bits extra crispy that hold into the sauce perfectly.
If you’ve tried any of our other Asian recipes before, you’ll notice that we use similar ingredients that can be found at any general grocery store. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken breast. Boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Soy sauce. To give the chicken umami flavor.
- Cornstarch. Adding cornstarch to the marinade helps prevent the outer layers of the meat from toughening.
- Salt and pepper. To season the chicken.
For the batter:
- Cornstarch. To dredge in the chicken pieces before coating them in the batter.
- Flour. All-purpose flour.
- Baking powder. To create a light-textured batter.
- Cold water. Using cold water for the batter is essential if you want it to be light and crispy.
- Egg. To give the batter stability and thicken it.
- Oil. Any neutral-flavored oil suitable for high-heat cooking will work.
For the sauce:
- Honey. Provides the sweet base of the sauce.
- Corn syrup. Light corn syrup added to the sauce gives the chicken a candy-like finish. It also helps prevent the sauce from crystallizing.
- Soy sauce. To balance out the sauce’s sweetness, add saltiness and give the sauce a rich, umami flavor.
- Sesame oil. To give the dish its signature sesame flavor.
- Green onions and sesame seeds. To serve.
How to make sesame chicken
Making sesame chicken at home is not difficult at all. Here’s how you make it in a few easy steps.
Step 1 – Season and batter the chicken
Add the cubed chicken breast to a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the bowl and dust it with cornstarch.
Mix flour, baking powder, cold water, and egg in a mixing bowl.
Step 2 – Fry the chicken
Add 1 to 2 inches of oil to a deep frying pan and place it over medium heat. Once the oil gets hot, dredge the chicken in the batter and fry it in small batches until golden brown. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
Step 3 – Prepare the sesame sauce
Add the honey, corn syrup, and soy sauce to a saucepan. Once the sauce starts to bubble, add the sesame oil and whisk well. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens.
Step 4 – Combine the chicken with the sauce and serve
Add the fried chicken to the sauce and toss well until all chicken is covered in the honey sesame sauce.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and finely sliced green onion, and serve.
Can I bake the chicken?
Yes, you can bake sesame chicken if you want to make this dish less oily. However, when baking the chicken bits, you will need to cover them in breadcrumbs before baking them in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Arrange the chicken pieces on the baking tray and spray them with cooking oil. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes. Then flip and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and all crispy.
Toss baked sesame chicken with the honey sauce and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Marinate the chicken. If you have time, marinate the chicken for a few hours to ensure it is properly seasoned.
- Don’t overmix when adding cornstarch to chicken. All you need to do is to dredge the chicken in cornstarch. Overmixing the chicken will cause the cornstarch to become moist, preventing the chicken from becoming crispy when fried.
- Use chicken thighs. Using chicken thighs will result in a richer and juicier chicken.
- Cut the chicken into even pieces. Doing this is important to ensure that all chicken pieces are evenly cooked.
To store: Refrigerate sesame chicken within 2 hours after cooking it. Stored in an airtight container, sesame chicken will keep well for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To reheat: You can reheat sesame chicken in a skillet or in the microwave. But if you want to restore the crispiness of the chicken bits, reheat them in the oven or in the air fryer.
More Asian chicken recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Sesame chicken features battered and fried chicken in a thick, glossy sauce. The sauce’s flavor may vary depending on the ingredients used to make it. In general, though, sesame chicken sauce is sweet, with a hint of nutty flavor from the sesame oil.
Sesame chicken is not necessarily better than General Tso’s chicken. It’s all a matter of preference. Note that sesame chicken is not as spicy as General Tso’s chicken. Thus, if you find General Tso’s chicken too spicy for your taste, sesame chicken is a better pick for you.
Unfortunately, when made as is, this recipe is not suitable for celiacs. However, this recipe will be gluten-free if you use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free soy sauce.
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- 1 lb chicken breast chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the batter
- In a mixing bowl, add the chicken, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Let everything sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch onto a flat surface and dust both sides of the chicken with cornstarch.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cold water, and egg until a batter remains.
- Add 1-2 inches of oil to a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Moving quickly, dredge the chicken in the batter. In batches, cook portions of the battered chicken until golden brown.
- Add the honey, corn syrup, and soy sauce to a small saucepan or skillet. Once it bubbles, add the sesame oil and whisk together. Let everything simmer until it has thickened.
- Add the chicken to the pan and toss together until all the chicken is covered.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and finely sliced green onions.
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