Easy Sesame Chicken

Crispy Sesame Chicken is easy to make with super crispy batter and delicious sesame sauce you’ll skip the takeout and done in just 30 minutes!

One of our favorite take out options when we aren’t looking for a recipe that is sweeter like Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat) or Sweet and Sour Chicken and something not quite as spicy as General Tso’s Chicken.

 Chinese Sesame Chicken
Sesame Chicken Recipe

There’s a number of recipes you’ll come across. Some are healthier versions without breading while some are stir fries. This is the classic mall food Chinese takeout version. Because there’s so many different versions lets go over some of the other options. This version is the best one though, especially if you’re reliving your mall food court childhood.

EASY SESAME CHICKEN RECIPES:

Baked Sesame Chicken: You can dredge the chicken in flour, egg and finally in panko. Spray the pieces of chicken with some canola oil spray and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Toss with sesame sauce then continue baking for an additional ten minutes.

Honey Sesame Chicken: Replace the brown sugar in the recipe with honey for a more pronounced honey sesame chicken recipe. I also love making Chinese Honey Chicken too without any of the sesame flavors.

Sesame Chicken Stir Fry: Don’t bread the chicken – just cook it in the skillet with  a bit of sesame oil and canola oil. Add fresh garlic and vegetables (bell pepper, onion and zucchini)  to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then pout the sauce in and cook until reduced (you may need to add a bit of cornstarch and water).

What to serve with Sesame Chicken?

We love to serve Chinese Steamed Rice, Lo Mein, steamed broccoli and easy recipes like Crab Rangoon and Egg Rolls for appetizers dipped in Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Crispy Sesame Chicken

HOW DO YOU MAKE SESAME CHICKEN SAUCE?

There are a couple of ways to make sesame sauce. This recipe includes soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar and cornstarch where more in depth recipes include dark soy sauce and shaoxing rice wine.

How do you make sesame chicken? A quick and easy tempura fried chicken in bite size pieces is tossed with an easy sauce made with rice wine and soy sauce sweet and spicy mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds or even green onions.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  • Is Sesame Chicken Fried? Yes, in it’s traditional form it is dredged in batter and deep fried.
  • Is Sesame Chicken Sweet? Yes, with the addition of brown sugar it is slightly less sweet than orange chicken.
  • Can you reheat Sesame Chicken? Once you serve the chicken the sauce starts soaking up in to the crispy chicken. Because of this reheating won’t result in crispy chicken, but it will still be tasty.
  • White Meat Sesame Chicken: Use skinless chicken breasts in this Sesame Chicken in place of chicken thighs. There’s no other recipe adjustment, you will fry for one less minute.

Tools used in the making of this Sesame Chicken:
Wok: The best way to cook quickly and over high heat for Asian dishes, this wok is the perfect stir fry pan.
Rice Vinegar: Readily available in almost all grocers these days, this is a great vinegar to keep on hand. It does have a hint of sweetness to it, so don’t replace with any other vinegar except perhaps a red wine vinegar if you absolutely need to.
Sesame Oil: The flavor of sesame oil in this dish is unmistakeable and not really able to be substituted. Some Asian grocery stores will try and sell less expensive options that aren’t actually sesame oil, so just be sure the one you’re buying is authentic sesame oil.

Easy Sesame Chicken

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Crispy Sesame Chicken

Crispy Sesame Chicken is easy to make with super crispy batter and delicious sesame sauce you’ll skip the takeout!
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

Sesame Chicken Sauce Ingredients:

Tempura Batter:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cold seltzer water

Chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken thighs boneless and skinless cut into 1? chunks
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Instructions

  • To make the sauce mix all the ingredients together and to prepare the batter, add the ingredients together until just combined.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the batter and coat while heating 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees and add the chicken to the oil in batches frying until golden brown.
  • In a large wok or skillet add the sesame oil to the frying pan and add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add in the sauce and the chicken and coat quickly and serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds.

Nutrition

Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 623mg | Potassium: 227mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Keyword: Crispiest Chinese Sesame Chicken, Sesame Chicken
Crispy Chinese Sesame Chicken

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I have never cooked any oriental dishes. This recipe was simple to follow and came out delicious!!! My family loved it and I will definitely make it again.

  2. Sabrina did you intend to write 2lbs of chicken for the recipe? Because this indicates 6 servings, but in your Panda Express Orange Chicken you wrote 2lbs of chicken, also yielded 6 servings. The Orange Chicken recipe called for 10 tablespoons of sugar which would make it slightly sweeter than the Sesame Chicken recipe.

    The Sesame Chicken recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar, which is 8 tablespoons of sugar; but because the sesame chicken recipe called for 1 pound of chicken i need to double it to 2lbs, therefore i’d need to double the sauce as well, but that would make the Sesame Chicken recipe 16 tablespoons of sugar, which make it sweeter than the Orange Chicken recipe. This is an incongruency between the recipes, which leads me to suspect that you meant for the Sesame Chicken recipe to call for 2lbs of chicken.

  3. As with other commenters, I found the directions lacking. So, I cooked the sauce first, prepared the chicken pieces, and something that I always do now… I put my sauce in a bowl and, either dip my chicken in the sauce, or I drizzle a small amount on a few pieces at a time. I don’t like how fast these kinds of meals suck up sauce and become mushy.

  4. Best Chinese scope I ever cooked. Partner and son were very impressed. Served with egg fried rice and grilled courgette, yuuuum

  5. Delicious and very worth it great recipe I never have any leftovers when I cook for my dad mom and sisters and grandma I’ve even quadrupled it hoping I can bring some to school but never works

  6. My daughter found this recipe and we LOVE it! I just have a question though. When I drop my battered chicken in to the oil, it sinks to the bottom and sticks. Is my oil not hot enough or maybe too hot???

  7. This was excellent! Like others, I found that the sauce needed thickening a little before putting it on chicken.

    1. Wow this was amazing I added more brown sugar and left the scauce on for a few minutes to thicken up before adding the chicken soo bomb

  8. Absolutely FANTASTIC! I hate the meals that I cook. This one is MONEY!! The only thing I didn’t like was the chicken didn’t get as brown as I would have liked. Once in that sauce, it didn’t matter. This was a 15 on a scale of 1-10.

  9. This was so gross. The look of it was so off putting. I followed your instructions exactly as you wrote them. It looks nothing like yours. The pictures you show look as if the sauce you have over the chicken is sticky and caramelized. It looks delicious, which is what drew me in. Mine.. not so much ?????

    1. Hello Lindsey, Im so sorry this recipe didn’t go as planned, hopefully I have another recipe that would work out better for you.

    2. I haven’t made this yet but I plan to make it tomorrow night. I agree there are some questionable steps in the instructions, I’ve read and re-read them. Just not really clear, especially step one.

      No disrespect, to the cook/author…you’ve probably made this over and over so you know what you’re doing but I think you should take a closer look at the instructions, I think they need to be edited. Possibly misspelling of things are throwing folks off.

      Luckily my friend made this for me a few weeks ago so I’ll just reach out to her for clarification. I’ll let you know how mine comes out.

    3. I cooked this 2 times the 1st time I hated it too! I changed the recipe instead of the batter listed I tossed the chicken pieces in cornstarch only and that made it look just like the pictures. Hope this helps!

  10. Delicious! I subbed honey for the brown sugar. I did simmer the sauce to thicken it prior to coating the chicken. My only issue was the coating seemed to quickly lose it’s crisp – that’s probably a me issue that I’ll need to fix. Buuuuut the chicken came out so tender and moist. I’ll def be making it again regardless though.

  11. I was nervous at first when I poured the sauce on. It took a fee minutes to thicken up. But once it did, it was just like the pics! Perfectly yummy too!!

  12. Really wanted to like this but the sauce is super bland and adding last to serve immediately was a mistake. It had a granular cornstarch-y texture, the sauce should have been reduced a bit to thicken and cook the cornstarch. It was runny and very powdery, like eating raw cornstarch. Other recipes show that you reduce the sauce and get it super sticky before adding. I also had to add minced raw garlic and more soy sauce since it was super bland. Not like the Chinese restaurants I’m used to. The chicken soaked up the sauce instead of costing it like a candied syrup which I love. Unfortunately wasn’t too happy with it 🙁

    1. Hi Matticol, I’m not sure why it turned out grainy for you, in recipe testing it was a smooth sauce that coated the chicken well.

  13. This was amazing! I deep fried my chicken in a little Fry Daddy outside to avoid my kitchen smelling like fried food (I need a new range hood!) Plus, I added some green onions and broccoli. My husband said that it was better than a Chinese restaurant. I’ll make this again for sure!

  14. Instead of sesame chicken I made sesame shrimp. I couldn’t get a hold of rice vinegar so I substituted it for ACV which next time I’ll probably use a little less than what the recipe calls for. It came out sooooo good. I served with farro instead of rice. I would definitely make again.

      1. It smells really good and The chicken tastes good as well. Unfortunately my sauce didn’t thicken at all, it was liquid and cause it to be soggy

    1. My boyfriend friend and I love how our chicken turns out when we use this recipe. I’m actually going to make it tonight (cooking the chicken as I type this) but we don’t have brown sugar. I read that someone else used honey. I’m thinking I might use white sugar. If I had molasses I’d use that with the white sugar. Main point, this tastes amazing when you have all the right ingredients.

  15. I really wanted to try your recipe for the sesame chicken today. I had all the ingredients per your recipe. When i was ready to proceed with it i could not fine the instructions or steps to follow on how to use all the ingredients and when to use them. If you would be so kind and let me know where to find the instructions and steps so i can attempt this again.

    Thank you

    1. Hmmm, there’s a recipe card at the bottom of the page with all the ingredients and instructions. Just scroll or you can click on the button at the top of the page that states ‘jump to recipe’. Hope this helps!

  16. Disappointed that the batter on the chicken became very thick and chewy after adding the sauce. It didn’t brown well either. Sauce is very good.

  17. A NOTE FOR THOSE WORKING IN A WOK:
    If you’re like me and not the most familiar with tempura batter, use wayyyy less oil and work in small batches. Learn from my mistakes.

  18. Was sooooo good, I pulled back some vinegar and added honey and use chicken breast and it turned out delicious! Everyone loved it!

  19. I made the crispiest Chinese sesame chicken and it was delicious. I love Chinese food and all her Chinese receipts are amazing. Thanks for the great receipts!

  20. Made this tonight, I didn’t have rice vinegar I substituted with lime juice and I tripled the chili flakes, it was awesome!! Will definitely make again. Thanks for the recipe’

  21. Is there a step missing? Says to add sauce back in? Back in from where? Doesn’t say how to cook the sauce?

  22. I love this recipe, but it is just too much rice vinegar. That is all we could taste. I will cut it in half next time. The chicken was perfect. This is a fairly easy recipe.

  23. Not sure what happened. I made it verbatim from the recipe and the sauce was very watery. It didn’t stick to the chicken at all. The chicken itself was good. There was just no flavor. The end result was chicken soaking in Watery liquid.

  24. I have tried to make Chinese dishes at home and the results have always been less than satisfying, but the very first time I made this, it tasted as good as any Sesame Chicken I have ever gotten for takeout. This is now my go-to recipe for Sesame Chicken, so good. The only thing I found was that frying the tempura battered chicken took way longer than I expected. I also used chicken breast instead of thighs and the chicken was still moist and delicious.

  25. I recommend this recipe but the last step is not self-explanatory for a beginner. You are supposed to “simmer” the sauce until it gets thick or it has a caramelized texture (around 2-3 min), and then you can add the chicken and coat it quickly.
    Good luck to everyone and enjoy!

    1. This info would have been great to know an hour ago. I had chicken soaking in some watery liquid. I’ll never get that half hour of my life back.

  26. We loved this recipe! The 2nd time around I added a few tbsp of honey and like it even better. This will be a staple in our house from now on. ?

  27. I’m Sita, the one who wrote all ready. I just wanted to say; I have celiac desiseas, so I made it gluten free, and it works so well!!
    🙂

  28. Hi! My and my parents LOOOOOOVE this recipe! Tomorrow’s my birthday and I’ve requested it for dinner! It’s PERFECT, comforting, sweet, spicy, tangy, salty, sesame-e, crispy, saucy, and wonderful!!! One question: It’s pretty crispy, but how do you make it crispier, and in the shape you want it, if you know what I mean?
    All in all, I would recommend this recipe to anyone (already have), so thank you so so much!

  29. I’m so glad I found this recipe. I didn’t have sesame seeds but it didn’t matter, it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely make this again! Next I want to try your General Tso’s chicken. Thanks!

  30. My daughter and I made this last night for dinner…followed the recipe exactly, except we doubled the recipe and used 1lb chicken thighs and 1 lb breasts. The chicken was very crispy and the sauce was sweet with just enough zing form the red pepper flakes. We tossed in some cooked broccoli when we got to the wok step. We were high-fiving each other as we took our first bites. Waaaay better than take-out!
    When making the sauce..it seems at first like it may be too runny, but when we added it to the wok when we did the stir fry step it thickened up really quickly.
    This recipe is a keeper and we will be making it again for sure.

  31. The tempura batter was vertY light
    This was the best attempt I’ve made at sesame chicken My family loved it. I hope it works the second time as well as the first.

    Tnanx

      1. I made your recipe for sesame chicken and it was good but I used to go to a Chinese restaurant and get the best sesame chicken I have ever had. I’ve not found a restaurant or recipe that is close to it. The restaurant has closed and I don’t know how they made it. The sauce was pink and it was sweet but not too sweet. I didn’t taste the rice vinegar or much soy sauce in it. Do you have any idea what they could have done to make it so different from all the other places? I’m not trying to insult you. Your receipe was good, like I said, I’m just trying to find a recipe like the one they used. If you have any suggestions, I would welcome and appreciate them. Thanks

        1. Hi sorry just saw this comment. Do you have a name for the restaurant? I could look at old yelp photos if they have any and see what it looked like. Without more detail it would be hard to help. Happy Thanksgiving!

        2. Hi, I don’t know the exact ingredients that your fav restaurant might have used however since it’s a Chinese restaurant, they probably experimented with other asian ingredients that are usually used for sauces. The pink color was probably food coloring, I can’t think of an ingredient that could give it that pink color naturally. If the pink color was detected then it means that they didn’t use dark ingredients like oyster sauce or soy sauce in heavy amounts otherwise the sauce would have a browner color. If you didn’t taste the rice vinegar then maybe they didn’t use it. They might have used sugar, cornsyrup or honey for the sweetness.

          Can you give more details? Was the sauce clear looking? What was the complete flavour profile? They could have used Msg to give it more flavour. They might have experienced with umami flavours like mushroom, oyster sauce, dashi broth, tahini maybe or even Chinese wine. If it had sourness but no vinegar taste and smell then they might have used Chinese wine for the sour profile instead. Hard to tell without more details, you’ll probably have to experiment different sauces before you figure it out.

  32. Wow So good!!! Both my husband and I said it tasted 10x better than take out. The batter is crispy, light, and delicious. Will definitely be making this again !!

  33. OMG!
    I have never, ever posted on a recipe…. but, this was the best sesame chicken EVER! And I made it gluten free! Tapioca flour and corn starch. I also dipped them in some GF Panko before I cooked them. Hubby and I were both speechless!!!

  34. This was outstanding. Better than takeout. Did the recipe exactly how it’s written except subbed shrimp for the chicken and cooked the sauce to thicken it up before I added the shrimp. Excellent! Will definitely be making again!

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