Easy Sesame Chicken

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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

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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

4.9 from 47 votes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Crispy Sesame Chicken is easy to make with super crispy batter and delicious sesame sauce you’ll skip the takeout!

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

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. To make the sauce mix all the ingredients together and to prepare the batter, add the ingredients together until just combined.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Add in the sauce and the chicken and coat quickly and serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 servings, Amount per serving: 361 calories, Calories: 361g, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 623mg, Potassium: 227mg, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 85g, Vitamin C: 0.4g, Calcium: 32g, Iron: 1.5g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: Crispiest Chinese Sesame Chicken, Sesame Chicken
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Crispy Chinese Sesame Chicken

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Comments

  1. I made this, and it was delicious. I don’t really like sweet food, so I reduced the amount of brown sugar. Perfect. I loved the smell and taste of the sesame oil. A question, doesn’t the sauce need to be cooked a little because of the cornstarch? I cooked mine a couple of minutes, and it was just right.
    Also, I’ve seen other similar recipes using whole eggs, instead of just whites. Do you know what difference that makes in the crispness of the chicken ? My chicken wasn’t super crispy out of the fryer. Not crispy at all, once sauced. Still, it was delicious. And, I just had leftovers from last night and it was just as good as when it was cooked. I used a fry daddy, which is the bomb, for perfect temperature. I also used breast instead of thighs. Topped with sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Thank you for this great recipe!

  2. Sabrina, just to say I made this dish for the second time and it is simply amazing a delicious!!! All credit for writing an amazing recipe.

  3. this looks amazing and the comments were great.
    i would rather bake the chicken would that be ok. and follow your receipe Sesame Chicken Sauce do i take the chicken out of the oven and pour the sauce over it and place it back in the oven again.

    1. Loved this recipe!! It was so much better than any of the others I’ve tried. No leftovers!

      Only issue- when frying the chicken- the grease splattered a lot more than normal. I was frying at 350. Any suggestions as to why this happened?

      We will definitely have this again!!

      1. You can always use a splatter guard when making it too so it doesn’t make a mess or get on you. So glad you love it!

  4. Your description hit the nail on the head! I was craving mall food after being in this social distancing world, and my whole family (even the picky 9 yr. old who asked what the sesame seeds were) devoured it. I took the suggestion several people made of heating the sauce and reducing a bit before adding the chicken (I knew bringing it to a boil would let that cornstarch activate). I fried the chicken in batches, and kept a cooling-rack on top of an oven set at 325 to keep the chicken after frying, so everything remained hot and crispy!

  5. Everything was delicious and came out exactly like the picture!! My only concern (and somebody pointed out already) was that the chicken didn’t stay crispy until I added the sauce… maybe I didn’t cook the chicken enough? I am curious… other than that, perfect recipe!!!

  6. I made this tonight for my daughter who has been craving Chinese food for the longest time and this is what she always orders. She was very pleased, to say the least. It turned out delicious! I did simmer the sauce a while before adding the chicken to thicken it up. I will definitely be making this again!

  7. No leftovers tonight!!! Whole family of 5 ate it and loved it!! Takes a little bit of extra time but totally worth it and it was actually fun since the ingredients were so simple!! Will definitely do this again!

    1. I’ve not tested it using an air fryer yet. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  8. I just made this last night…, it was AMAZING! SO good! The only thing I changed was to allow the sauce to simmer for a bit to thicken before I added the chicken, but I used all the right amounts of the right ingredients and followed all the other directions. I honestly had concerns if it would turn out like the pictures, but it did. I’ll definitely be making this often! Thank you – it was delicious!

  9. My whole family loved it! I cooked the chicken in the sauce a lot longer- like 8 minutes so the sauce really thickened up which was perfect ! I would try to dust off the chicken when you pull it out of the batter otherwise you can get a lot of batter- still good just takes longer to cook – My family can’t wait for me to make again !

  10. All in all, it was a decent dish. I probably won’t make it again without some major tweaking though. I think my biggest disappointment is the batter. The chicken comes out of the oil nice and crispy, but by the time the second batch comes out, the first batch is no longer crispy. It’s possible I made a mistake, but I don’t believe I did. The sauce was tasty, but it doesn’t taste like any sesame chicken I’ve ever had. I used brown sugar this time because it’s what I had on hand, but I will definitely use honey next time. Thank you for the recipe, I look forward to trying more of your dishes.

  11. No instructions given on how to prepare chicken? There are a list of ingredients for the chicken – but no explanation. Instructions only say to prepare the batter. What about the crushed red pepper and the sesame oil?

    1. Yes, the instructions could have been better situated, but it’s all there. Read it through and through before starting.

  12. This came out great!!! Fantastic tase and not difficult. The next time I would put less sugar in the sauce, as my kids found it a little too sweet. Other than that, it needs no changes – thanks so much!!

  13. This recipe is so good and easy to follow. I substituted apple cider vinegar for seltzer water..Delicious! Thanks for sharing!?????

    1. Hi Lynn, How did the apple cider vinegar work out for the substitution?

      Did it change the flavor?

      I don’t have seltzer, sparkling water or club soda in my house.. TYIA!

  14. I followed the recipe exactly. The chicken did not turn out anything like the pictures. The sauce was soup the whole way through. Would not make again.

    1. The batter was too dry and didn’t stick to the chicken. Is there a step missing to dip the chicken in something before putting in the batter?

  15. I love this recipe. It really is better than takeout. Ok well not better than that one place that’s an hour away but it does give it a run for its money.

    When mixing for the sauce I also add honey help thicken it up. Someone in the comments said add ketchup and I did and who know what it does but it does favor the sauce. I eyeball when I pour these but I’m going to guess about a tbs of each of these.

    The batter recipe leaves it a bit too hard for me but I just added more mineral water until it looked like pancake mix consistency.

    Then in batches I dump chicken into the batter. Then I use a pasta strainer so that it doesn’t have a really thick batter coat.

    The part that sucks is placing each chicken individually. They will stick if you just dump.

    The sauce I just boil it until it’s sticky enough so idk 10ish minutes. But not to much or else it gets hard.

  16. Eek! This did not turn out well for me! I followed recipe to a T and it did not taste anything like sesame chicken! I’m not a newbie cook either, so I’d appreciate better instructions so my food can taste like it should

  17. I tried this tonight and completely flopped! My chicken would stick together, I tried a lower temp then the breading wouldn’t stay on. My husband is now out for pizza.

      1. I did it in small batches, that’s why I’m so baffled as to why it failed. I cook four nights a week for family so I’m not new to cooking. I was so hoping this worked, pics look amazing.

  18. Very good from the first bite to the last. Family of 5 and all loved it. Will make again and again. Thanks!

  19. Great recipe! I’ve tried it twice, the second time was the best. The second time around, I added in the sauce and let it thicken a bit and then added the chicken. It worked well.

  20. Ms Sabrina,
    This recipe is divine!!! Easy, concise and delicious! I have made several of your recipes and they are all 5 star!! I should have commented before to let you know how much my family and I have enjoyed them. When I am searching on Pinterest for new recipes and I see you site pop up I know it is going to be delicious!! Thank you for your expertise!!!!!!!!

  21. Can I use breaded chicken already in my freezer and toss it in the sauce after cooked and continue to bake for a bit?

    1. I would use apple cider vinegar if you have it. If you only have white vinegar, add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to it before adding. Good luck!

  22. Great meal! Only recommendations I’d give are to go a little lighter on the rice vinegar – stroooooooong flavor- and to, as other comments have said, really thicken the sauce. Not necessarily your traditional sesame chicken, but still really yummy!

  23. So I made this for the family today, I added honey to it so my kids might like it a bit more. Wasn’t too hard for a guy who has never even separated eggs from their whites so I’d recommend it for anyone to try. I’ll certainly do it again

    1. My whole family enjoyed this recipe. It’s the closest thing to restaurant sesame chicken I’ve ever made. I will be making it again soon. The only thing I did wrong was to let the chicken sit in the sauce too long. It made the chicken less crispy and I do love the crispiness of the chicken. So next time, I will be sure to serve this as soon as I mix the chicken into the thickened sauce.

  24. Thanks so much for this recipe!! Only change I would suggest is letting that sauce thicken up a bit. I am no chef by any means. When I cook anything other than basics like spaghetti (using Ragu lol) I use a recipe and have to follow it to a tee. A recipe could take a step off a cliff, and in the next second, I’d be airborne too. So if a recipe is “off”, I never have any clue how to make it better. I just have to find another recipe. With this, I made 1 batch following your exact instructions. Sauce was extremely thin & I tasted too much of the soy sauce. The sauce’s ingredients didn’t seem as if they’d come together right & the sauce just immediately soaked right into the chicken. And while it was good, it did not taste like sesame chicken. While studying the recipe to see if I’d missed something, I noticed a suggestion in comments to let the sauce simmer. I decided to take another go at it. Using the same thin sauce, I turned the heat back on & let it simmer for a long while, while I got more chicken dipped and fried. Like I said, Idk much about cooking but I know flour’s a thickening agent so I even sprinkled a little of that in there. Necessary? Who knows. But I’m impatient haha. It thickened up nicely & finally turned familiar in color. I tossed in my chicken, plated it, sprinkled sesame seeds and BAM! It looked JUST like the kind I get at my favorite Chinese restaurant. And the taste knocked me off my feet, it was so similar. Biiiiiig difference from the first batch! I wish I could post my before and after pics. It was all YOU on the recipe. Never would have been able to compile all of that on my own, so thank you. But to make that sauce come together like it should, people, Let. It. Simmer.

  25. Just made this dinner tonight for my husband and I tonight. We must have said “this is SO good” 100 times while eating it. One of the best meals I have ever made.

  26. Just lovely! I cut the sesame oil in half and added ginger after tasting the sauce base (which does need to be simmered until uniform and thick, as others have noted). I overcooked my chicken a bit due to adding it in too large batches— it took too long to brown. But this is a real keeper! Pretty easy too. I threw it in after frying some spring rolls and had some very happy kids.

  27. I’m not sure what I missing, but the sauce was very thin. The recipe just says to mix ingredients. Should they be simmered? Boiled? Reduced? For how long?

    Also 2 tsp of sesame oil were included in the sauce and in the chicken list of ingredients. Was that right? That was very overwhelming.

  28. Another win! This is my go-to website for dinner ideas, everyone always loves them! I added broccoli and red pepper just to get some extra veggies and the sauce over them was fantastic!

  29. Sounds like it will be great! My question is about the Tempura batter. Do we mix all the ingredients together and then dip the chicken pieces in? Or do we do the traditional step by step dipping process? if so, can you describe the steps? And why seltzer water? Can that be substituted?

    Thank you!!

    1. For the tempura batter, mix all the ingredients together and then the chicken will be dipped into that and then fried. The seltzer water adds a crispness to the batter. You can substitute with club soda in a pinch. Hope this helps!

  30. So tasty and easy! I made my first batch. My only question would be: how do I endure crudpiness when deep frying? I was hesitant to put 3inches of oil (I use olive oil which is pricey). Also, does overstuffing if the tempura batter affect the texture when frying? Definitely going to make again!