Honey Sesame Chicken

This Sesame Chicken recipe is deliciously sticky, sweet and savory, healthier than deep fried, and on your table in just over 30 minutes!

Forget about take-out because this finger lickin’ Honey Sesame Chicken takes less time to make than running to your favorite restaurant – and it’s healthier and tastes even better! The crispy, juicy chicken is tossed in an outrageously delicious sticky, tangy, sweet, savory sauce that’s a little bit spicy and a whole lot of YUM punctuated by zesty ginger, punchy garlic and chili sauce.  Although Sesame Chicken is often deep fried to make it crispy, this recipe is cooked in minimal oil in a nonstick skillet but is still unbelievable crispy – winning!  You can stick with just the Sesame Chicken or add a medley of stir-fried veggies and homemade egg rolls to round out the meal.

We are huge fans of Chinese chicken copycat recipes around here – and so are our readers!  Don’t miss reader favorites including General Tso’s Chicken, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Chicken, Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry, Sweet Fire ChickenChicken Stir Fry and Kung Pao Chicken.

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top view of sesame chicken recipe in a skillet with stir fried broccoli

WHAT IS SESAME CHICKEN?

If you’re unfamiliar with Sesame Chicken, it is an American-Chinese chicken dish that you won’t find it in China.  The chicken is traditionally breaded in egg and cornstarch, deep fried until crispy then enveloped in a sticky, rich reddish-brown soy based sauce that is tangy, sweet and savory.  It is named for the toasted sesame oil added to the sauce which infuses the dish with a toasted nutty flavor and aroma with a crowning garnish of sesame seeds. 

why this recipe works

The tastiest sesame sauce:  The sublime sesame sauce is what truly makes this recipe. I made it a few times until it was so obsessive worthy I didn’t want to stop inhaling the chicken. The sauce boasts an addictive, complex balance of savory, sweet, and tangy with a kick of heat. It’s savory from the soy sauce and oyster sauce, aromatic and punchy from the garlic and ginger, sweet from the honey and sugar, and tangy from the ketchup and rice wine to balance out the cloying sweetness that many versions lack. Finally, it’s finished off with Asian Sweet Chili Sauce that pumps it with complex sweet, spicy ginger notes. 

No deep frying required:  You will be blown away at how crispy your chicken can become without deep frying!  The chicken is tossed in flour and cornstarch (the secret to crispy chicken), then cooked in a nonstick skillet which requires minimal oil.  The chicken emerges juicy, crunchy and healthier than deep fried without all the mess or calories.  

Easy to make:  I know some of us recoil when we hear the word “breaded chicken” because it sounds like a hassle.  But this recipe is SO EASY!  No marinade required, no dirtying your hands, and no multiple breading bowls. Simply combine the eggs and chicken in one bag then toss it with flour, cornstarch and seasonings in a second bag – voila!  The Honey Sesame Chicken is on your table in just over 30 minutes!

Versatile:  Make this crispy Sesame Chicken YOURS!  Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, add stir fried veggies, serve over white rice, brown rice, zoodles, or noodles, make it sweeter, spicier, tangier, etc. 

Pantry friendly:  This sticky chicken is made with kitchen staples if you do much Asian kitchen (or soon to be staples if you don’t).  Once you stock them once, you can make this recipe quicker than picking up takeout!

Budget friendly:  Feed the entire family for the fraction of dining out with the bonus of customizing the sweetness, tanginess, heat and veggies of this Sesame Chicken recipe just how you like it.

honey sesame chicken in a skillet with sesame sauce

Sesame Chicken recipe ingredients

The recipe ingredient list may look lengthy, but you are just whisking the breading ingredients together and the sauce ingredients together which takes minutes. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (full measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

THE CHICKEN

  • Chicken:  1 ½ pounds chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces.  This might sound like a lot of chicken, but it goes down SO easily! You are welcome to use chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Flour:  Creates the base of the flavorful coating that insulates the chicken from high heat, ensuring every bite is juicy tender and forms a crispy, flavorful crust for the sauce to soak into.  I use all-purpose flour but I’m sure gluten free flour, almond flour, etc. would also work.
  • Cornstarch:  Is combined with the flour to create the light breading. Cornstarch absorbs moisture and prevents gluten development, which makes the coating crispier.
  • Egg:  Two eggs are combined with the chicken to create a glue to bind the chicken and breading together.
  • Seasonings:  Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder, paprika, and pepper are added to the cornstarch and flour to create a dynamically flavorful crust – you’ll be tempted to devour the chicken plain!
  • Oil:  You need just a few tablespoons of oil to pan fry the chicken in.  You’ll need a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil.

THE SESAME SAUCE

What is sesame oil?

Sesame oil is the namesake and star of the sesame sauce!   Sesame oil is a cooking oil made from sesame seeds. There are a few varieties made with pressed plain seeds or toasted seeds.  For this recipe, we want toasted sesame oil, also known as dark, black, or Asian sesame oil.  Toasted sesame oil boasts a strong nutty aroma and flavor and a low smoking point.  It is reserved as a finishing oil for sauces, soups, salads, etc. because a little goes a long way.  Please don’t confuse toasted sesame oil with light/plain sesame oil which is a high-heat, low-flavor oil and used for stir frying and sautéing. 

  • Soy sauce: Grounds the sauce with its salty depth. Use low sodium so your recipe isn’t too salty.
  • Oyster sauce:  I experimented with and without oyster sauce and this sticky chicken is 10X better with! Oyster sauce is the base of almost ever stir fry sauce and adds that extra punch of flavor that cannot be replicated with other ingredients/sauces.  Oyster sauce is a thick, brown sauce with a balance between sweet and salty with an earthy undertone, due to the oyster extracts.  You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars.  Please use QUALITY oyster sauce such as Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman.  You truly can taste the difference and will be sorely disappointed with less quality brands.

What if I’m allergic to shellfish? Or vegetarian?  If you’re allergic to shellfish/vegetarian, use LEE KUM KEE Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce instead of oyster sauce.

  • Honey and sugar:  Honey Sesame Chicken is a popular favorite because it beautifully balance the umami of the soy and oyster sauce. You may substitute with granulated sugar or honey.  Use more or less depending on how sweet you like your Sesame Chicken and how sweet your ketchup is.
  • Asian sweet chili sauceIs a secret ingredient I like to use instead of just adding additional sugar AKA it’s sugar with flavor.  It is made with red chilies, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce for a one stop complex flavor stop.  It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.” Please do not confuse it with Asian Chili sauce/paste without the “sweet” – or your mouth will be on fire! 
  • Asian chili sauce:  Is needed to balance the sweetness of the honey and add a depth of flavor. So, if you feel like your sticky chicken is missing something, it is probably heat!  I recommend adding more to taste at the end of cooking if you would like it spicier.  I use Sambal Oelek with the green lid but you can also use your favorite chili sauce.
  • Ketchup: Adds a rich tanginess but I promise it won’t make your Sesame Chicken taste like ketchup!
  • Rice wine:  Adds a sweetness and depth of flavor.  I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for.  The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry. Do NOT substitute rice wine with rice vinegar, they are NOT the same.  Rice vinegar will add an acidic flavor without the sweetness.
  • Cornstarch: Helps thicken the sauce to a glossy, sticky consistency.
  • Aromatics: Ginger, and garlic add warm spicy, almost peppery notes. If you’re looking to save time and skip some chopping, you can substitute fresh aromatics with 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
showing how to serve honey sesame chicken recipe by adding to a bowl with rice

CAN I MAKE THIS RECIPE GLUTEN FREE?

To make gluten free Sesame Chicken, use tamari instead of soy sauce and gluten free oyster sauce. You’ll also want to double check that your ketchup is gluten free.

How to Make Sesame Chicken

Now to the main event! This Sesame Chicken recipe is made in four easy steps: 1) bread the chicken, 2) cook the chicken, 3) simmer the sauce, 4) toss the chicken with the sauce.  Let’s take a closer look (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Step 1:  Bread the chicken.  This is the absolute quickest breaded chicken you will ever make!  First, combine the chopped chicken and eggs in a freezer bag and turn to coat.  Second, add the flour, cornstarch, and seasonings to a separate large freezer bag.  Remove chicken from the eggs, dab off any excess and add the chicken to the flour bag. Give it a good shake and all your chicken will be coated in minutes – without any gummy hands!
a collage showing how to make sesame chicken by adding chicken and eggs to a bag, then tossing with flour, cornstarch
  • Step 2:  Lightly pan fry the chicken.  Even though this method uses minimal oil, you will be amazed at how crispy it gets!  Simply heat some oil in a nonstick skillet, and work in two batches until the chicken is lightly browned.  Remove the chicken from the skillet so it’s ready for the sauce.
showing how to make sesame chicken by cooking breaded chicken in a skillet
  • Step 3:  Simmer the sauce. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.  Add the sauce to the skillet and simmer until thick and sticky, this will just take a minute or so.
showing how to make sesame chicken by simmering sesame sauce in a skillet
  • Step 4:  Combine the chicken and the sauce. Add the chicken to the sesame sauce and turn until every nook and cranny is coated in the sticky, sweet-=tangy and spicy sauce. 
showing how to make sesame chicken by adding breaded chicken to sesame sauce
  • Step 5: Dig in! Garnish with plenty of sesame seeds and green onions and serve over a bed of rice to soak up all that spectacular sauce.
up close of a spoonful of honey sesame chicken garnished with toasted sesame seeds

Tips for making sesame chicken

This Honey Sesame Chicken is very simple to make, but there are some helpful tips and tricks for efficiency and flavor:

  • Don’t chop the chicken too small.  The chicken should be chopped 1” thick, erroring on the side of larger.  Larger pieces are harder to overcook and dry out while the exterior gets nice and crispy.
  • Remove excess egg.  It is important to remove excess egg so the flour breading bag doesn’t become a goopy mess. The quickest way I’ve found to do this is to plop the chicken on a wad of paper towels before adding the chicken to the flour mixture, this way you’re not dabbing individual pieces of chicken.  
  • Thoroughly bread the chicken.   If you notice any of the chicken pieces aren’t fully coated as you remove them from the breading, just dunk them in the breading at the bottom of the bag, there should be plenty.
  • Remove excess flour.  Give the chicken a good shake or place it in a strainer after dredging to help shake off any excess flour.  Some loose flour is inevitable but you want to avoid most of it because these flour specks aren’t rotated like the chicken, so they are likely to burn in the skillet.
  • Use a nonstick skillet. The sauce is sticky and requires a nonstick skillet or it will glue to the bottom of your pan.  Additionally, the chicken is cooked in minimal oil which requires a nonstick skillet unless more oil is used, or it will also stick to the pan. This nonstick skillet is my all time favorite pan. I don’t use it in photos because it’s not as pretty as white but I use it in real life cooking everyday.
  • Cook the chicken in batches. Give the chicken some space in the pan so the pieces have room to crisp up instead of steam.  
  • Don’t overcook the chicken.  Overcooked chicken is dry chicken!  You might be surprised at just how quickly the chicken cooks, so check the smallest piece for doneness after 4 minutes then cook on as needed.
  • Serve immediately. The chicken starts off crispy but will become softer the longer it sits and soaks up the glorious sauce. For the crispiest chicken, serve immediately or only add the chicken to the sauce when everyone is at the dinner table.

POSSIBLE RECIPE VARIATIONS:

If this Sesame Chicken recipe isn’t exactly how you want it, MAKE it how you want it!  It is easy to customize so many ways:

  • Customize the sesame sauce: The sauce is perfect for us, but you may find you like it sweeter, tangier, or spicier.  Taste the sauce after it has simmered and the flavors have concentrated, then adjust it how you like.  Sweeten it up with sugar or add sweet heat with Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, make it tangier with rice vinegar or spicier with additional chili sauce. Just keep a note of your adjustments then whip out the perfect sesame sauce for next time.  
  • Add stir fried vegetables:  There isn’t quite enough sauce to add the vegetables directly to the Honey Sesame Chicken, so you can serve them on the side, reduce the chicken, or increase the sauce. To increase the sauce, use the sliding scale next to the servings and increase the serving, this will proportionally increase the sauce ingredients (make sure to use the chicken measurements from before you increased the servings or it defeats the purpose). You can add whatever veggies you’d like based on what’s in your fridge, your favorites, what’s in season or what’s on sale.
  • Other add-ins:  Pineapple, mandarin oranges, mangos, cashews, peanuts, chestnuts, sesame seeds, etc. would all be tasty.
  • Gluten Free Sesame Chicken:  Use gluten free flour, gluten free soy sauce or tamari, gluten free oyster sauce nd double check that your Asian sweet chili sauce and ketchup are gluten free.
  • Spicy Sesame Chicken:  Add up to 1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  • Crispy Deep Fried Sesame Chicken: Add enough vegetable oil to a Dutch oven or frying pan so it reaches 1-inch up the sides.  Heat the oil to medium-high heat, between 350- and 375-degrees F.  Once very hot, add the chicken in batches and cook until golden and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Lightly Dredged Sesame Chicken:  You can skip the egg and cornstarch and simply toss the chicken in the flour and seasonings for a light coating. It won’t get as crispy but it will help seal in juices, create a crust of flavor and give the sauce something to cling to.  
  • Stir Fried Sesame Chicken:  I highly recommend “velveting” the chicken if stir frying to create extra juicy, tender “velvety” chicken.  Skip the breading and instead toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a large freezer bag or bowl. Let the chicken rest for 15-30 minutes (no more or it can become mushy) before stir frying in a nonstick skillet.
  • Baked Sesame Chicken:  Swap the cornstarch with an equal amount of flour in the breading for a total of ¾ cup flour. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray for easy cleanup.  Let the baking sheet preheat in the oven so it’s nice and hot before adding the chicken.  Carefully line the chicken in an even layer on the hot baking sheet and spray generously with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes then move the baking sheet about 8″ away from broiler and broil until crispy, watching closely so the chicken doesn’t burn (about 2-4 minutes). Flip chicken pieces over and broil another 2-3 minutes, or until crispy if desired.
top view of honey sesame chicken over rice in a bowl garnished with green onions and sesame seeds

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH sesame CHICKEN?

This sticky Sesame Chicken is dripping with flavor so it pairs well with neutral sides such as:

  • Rice: I like jasmine rice or brown rice but any rice will work.  Just pop the rice in your rice cooker for a hand’s off, easy side. You can also use microwave rice pouches if you’re making a single serving. 
  • Low carb:  Cauliflower rice, quinoa, broccoli rice or a blend of brown rice and any of the aforementioned options.   You can also use low carb noodles such as zoodles or spaghetti squash.
  • Noodles:  Ramen, soba noodles, rice noodles or even linguine are a fun way to mix things up.
  • Vegetables: Stir fry vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, carrots, bell peppers, snap peas, mushrooms, etc. to serve on the side. I suggest stir frying the vegetables in the empty skillet for just 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender after you cook the chicken so it can soak up the drippings. 
  • Appetizers:  For a complete Asian feast, pair your sticky chicken wit  Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons,  Crab Rangoons, Potstickers, and/or Egg Rolls
  • Salad: Some of our favorite Asian inspired salads include Ramen Salad, Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, and Asian Pineapple Salad.
  • Soups: Asian soups make a fantastic starter such as Wonton Soup, Egg Drop Soup or Miso Soup.

PREP AHEAD sesame CHICKEN

Even though this Sesame Chicken recipe is easy to make, you can still prepare it in stages if that works best for you:

  • The sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients together but do not simmer/thicken. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • The chicken: Chop the chicken and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  • Breading:  Whisk the flour breading ingredients together in a Ziploc freezer bag.  You can store the breading for weeks or proceed to dredge chicken then refrigerate.
  • Dredge chicken:  Prepare chicken through dredging, then transfer it to a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Cover the chicken tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking.  

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT

This Sesame Chicken is best served fresh because it is at peak crispiness, sauciness and juiciness.  For leftovers:

  • How to store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating in microwave:  Take care not to overcook the chicken or it can become rubbery in the microwave.  Microwave for one minute then at 20 second intervals until warmed through.  
  • How to reheat on the stove:  Leftovers are best reheated on the stove, even if they are small portions.  To reheat, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the chicken, stirring occasionally until warmed through. 

CAN I FREEZE SESAME CHICKEN?

If you are making this recipe specifically to freeze, then I recommend freezing the chicken and sauce separately. 

TO FREEZE CHICKEN WITHOUT SAUCE:

  1. Cook chicken according to directions then let cool to room temperature.
  2. Space chicken apart on a baking sheet then transfer to the freezer.  Flash freeze for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is solid. This prevents the chicken from clumping together.
  3. Add chicken to a freezer size bag, squeeze out excess air and label. Add the sesame sauce to a separate freezer safe, airtight container.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  5. When ready to use, thaw chicken and sauce in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in a nonstick skillet.

TO FREEZE CHICKEN IN SESAME SAUCE:

  1. Let the dish cool completely.
  2. Transfer to a large freezer size bag or divide the dish into smaller bags or airtight container(s).
  3. Press air out of the freezer bag, seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator.
  5. Heat on the stove in a nonstick skillet until warmed through, adding a drizzle of water if needed to thin the sauce.

Sesame Chicken Faqs

What is Chinese Sesame Chicken made out of?

Sesame Chicken can be made with boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs depending on personal preference.  The chicken is cubed and breaded in egg and cornstarch, and either deep fried or pan fried until crispy then enveloped in sweet and savory Sesame Sauce.  The soy-based sauce is sweetened with honey or sugar and infused with toasted sesame oil which lends the signature nutty taste and aroma.  The dish is garnished with plenty of toasted sesame seeds to round out the nuttiness.

What is Sesame Chicken Sauce made of?

Sesame Chicken Sauce is a savory, sweet, salty, soy-based sauce with a little tanginess and a little heat. What sets it apart from other sauces is the addition of toasted sesame oil.  Just one tablespoon of this potent oil adds a delicious nutty flavor.  Just make sure you are using toasted sesame oil as regular sesame oil is not nearly as flavorful. 

In addition to toasted sesame oil, the sauce is made with soy sauce, honey or sugar, ketchup, rice wine and pumped with garlic and ginger to balance out the cloying sweetness. 

You can adjust the sauce to your taste by adding additional honey to make it sweeter or rice wine or rice wine vinegar to make it tangier.  Additionally, you’ll love that the sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 5 days until you are ready to use it, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

How do you make Sesame Chicken Sauce?

There are several variations of Sesame Sauce.  All versions include soy sauce and toasted sesame oil and are sweetened with honey, sugar or brown sugar.  Honey lends a more floral sweetness and brown sugar adds a deeper, rich sweetness with hints of molasses (which I personally find distracts from the overall flavor).  Next, the Sesame Sauce is balanced with tanginess by either ketchup, rice vinegar or rice wine, or a combination.  Aromatic ginger and garlic are added for a dimension of peppery flavor and cornstarch is added as a thickener.

To make the Sesame Sauce, you’ll whisk all of the ingredients together, then simmer the sauce in a saucepan for 1-2 minutes until it thickens into a delightfully sticky consistency that clings to every nook and cranny of the breaded chicken.  

Is Sesame Chicken fried?

Sesame Chicken you find at restaurants is traditionally dredged in batter and deep fried but homemade Sesame Chicken recipes can be deep fried, pan fried or baked.

Can I use white meat for Sesame Chicken?

Absolutely! You are welcome to use skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken things in this Sesame Chicken recipe. If using chicken thighs, you’ll cook the chicken about 1 minute less, because the pieces won’t be as thick.

Is Sesame Chicken breaded?

Yes, Sesame Chicken is always breaded. The breading not only creates a palate pleasing texture with its crunch giving way to tender chicken, it also helps insulate the chicken from the heat, making it extra juicy. The light breading also is a vehicle for the Sesame Sauce to cling to so it can fully envelop the chicken, ensuring each bite is laden with flavor.

Is Sesame Chicken the same as Orange Chicken?

It is no surprise that two of my favorite Chinese recipes are two of the most popular Chinese American recipes – Orange Chicken and Sesame Chicken! While they are similar, they are also very different.  Both recipes were invented in America and begin with bite-size chicken that is breaded and deep fried then finished in a sticky sauce. 

The main difference between the two favorites comes from the flavor of the sauces.  Sesame Chicken is sweet and savory with a slight tanginess and nuttiness whereas Orange Chicken is citrus based which makes it orang-y, sweet and tangy and zesty from the orange peel. You need both in your life! 

Is Sesame Chicken the same as General Tso’s Chicken?

Both Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken were invented in America and begin with bite-size chicken that is breaded and deep fried then finished in a sticky sauce.  It is the flavor of the sauces that differentiates the two.  General Tso Chicken has a chili and ginger based which makes it sweet and spicy while Sesame Chicken is a soy-based sauce that is more savory-sweet with nuttiness from the toasted sesame oil.

How healthy is Sesame Chicken?

Classic Sesame Chicken is deep fried which is not the healthiest option.  This recipe is pan fried in minimal oil which means it doesn’t have as much fat which can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while helping to sustain your muscles.  Chicken is also full of calcium and phosphorous which helps strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of arthritis. To make Sesame Chicken healthier, use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs, serve with stir fried vegetables, or substitute some of the chicken with more vegetables and serve with brown rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or zucchini noodles instead of white rice.

up close of picking up sesame chicken with chopsticks

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top view of sesame chicken recipe in a skillet with stir fried broccoli

Sesame Chicken

Forget about take-out because this finger lickin’ Sesame Chicken takes less time to make than running to your favorite restaurant – and it’s healthier and tastes even better! The crispy, juicy chicken is tossed in an outrageously delicious sticky, tangy, sweet, savory sauce that’s a little bit spicy and a whole lot of YUM punctuated by zesty ginger, punchy garlic and chili sauce.  Although Sesame Chicken is often deep fried to make it crispy, this recipe is cooked in minimal oil in a nonstick skillet but is still unbelievable crispy – winning!  You can stick with just the Sesame Chicken or add a medley of stir-fried veggies and homemade egg rolls to round out the meal.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins

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Ingredients

CHICKEN AND BREADING

  • 1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp EAGH ginger powder, garlic powder, onion powder. paprika, salt, pepper
  • canola or vegetable oil for pan frying

SESAME SAUCE

GARNISH

Instructions

  • MAKE SAUCE: Whisk the Sesame Sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl until the cornstarch is completely dissolved; set aside.
  • BREAD CHICKEN: Combine chicken and eggs in a freezer bag and turn to coat. In a separate large freezer bag, combine flour, cornstarch, and seasonings. Remove chicken and dab off excess egg with paper towels and add to flour bag. (To quickly remove excess egg, I plop the chicken on a wad of paper towels using a slotted spoon.) Shake chicken until well coated, pressing coating into chicken from outside of the bag.
  • COOK: Heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a NONSTICK skillet (you may use less oil but it will be less crispy or more oil for more crispy). Working in two batches, shake off excess breading from chicken and add to the skillet in a single layer. Cook for about 4-6 minutes, or until cooked through, flipping halfway. Remove chicken to a paper towel lined plate. Add another drizzle of oil to the skillet if needed and repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken and wipe out skillet.
  • ADD SAUCE. Whisk the sauce again to recombine. Add to the skillet and bring to a simmer, stirring often until thickened, about 1 minute.
  • COMBINE: Add the chicken and toss to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve immediately.

Notes

ingredient notes

  • Oyster sauce:  I experimented with and without oyster sauce and this sticky chicken is 10X better with! You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars.  Please use QUALITY oyster sauce such as Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman.  You truly can taste the difference and will be sorely disappointed with less quality brands.
  • What if I’m allergic to shellfish?  If you’re allergic to shellfish, use LEE KUM KEE Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce instead.
  • Asian sweet chili sauceIs a secret ingredient I like to use instead of just adding additional sugar AKA it’s sugar with flavor.  It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.” 
  • Rice wine:  Adds a sweetness and depth of flavor.  I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for.  The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry. Do NOT substitute rice wine with rice vinegar, they are NOT the same.  Rice vinegar will add an acidic flavor without the sweetness.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT

  • How to store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • How to freeze:   Cook chicken according to directions then let cool to room temperature.  Space chicken apart on a baking sheet then transfer to the freezer.  Flash freeze for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is solid. This prevents the chicken from clumping together.  Add chicken to a freezer size bag, squeeze out excess air and label. Add the sesame sauce ingredients (don’t simmer) to a separate freezer safe, airtight container.   Freeze for up to 3 months.  When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheating in microwave:  Take care not to overcook the chicken or it can become rubbery in the microwave.  Microwave for one minute then at 20 second intervals until warmed through.  
  • How to reheat on the stove:  Leftovers are best reheated on the stove, even if they are small portions.  To reheat, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the chicken, stirring occasionally until warmed through. 

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10 Comments

  1. Donald Pojman says

    I just received this recipe in my email today. Thank you.
    Each Sunday, my daughter and I make a Dinner today, long distance. We are 3 hours apart. Typically it is one of your recipes for 3 reasons. 1. They are very good. 2. They are usually somewhat involved in ingredients and techniques, which is prefect because I am teaching how to cook. 3. Your blog has so much useful information on the science and techniques behind the menu. Which is what I really love. We always make the recipe as written, except that I always adjust it down for 4 servings, which is usually a pound of protein, and then record our opinions and if a save, our suggestions for changes, if any. I plan to use this recipe for next Sunday and I will let you know how it goes.
    PS – just took your “Chocolate Chip Cooke Dough Cheesecake Bars” out of the oven an hour ago for the first time. Still waiting for them to cool.
    Thank you again.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and make my day Donald! First of all, it is so special that you and your daughter make dinners long distance together every week – what a priceless tradition – she will cherish that forever! Secondly, I am so honored that you make so many of my recipes and find the information helpful. It warms my heart that I’m a part of your cherished Sundays in some small way. Keep up the awesome work and I hope you loved the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars!

  2. Debbie Milne says

    Hi Jen,
    My husband and I love all your Chinese recipes, but I just made this one and it’s now our favorite!
    The sauce tastes better than take-out and it’s great to have crispy chicken without deep fat frying.
    Thanks for helping me make our dinners so tasty!!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m thrilled to hear that Debbie, thank you so much! I super appreciate you being the first to review this recipe – I’m always hoping my readers love my recipes as much as me!

  3. Darice says

    Jen you come up with the BEST RECIPES and we love Asian inspired food!
    Haven’t made this yet but it will be in my mix this following week! Can’t wait to try your newest creation…Thank you.

    • Jen says

      Thank you Darice, you’re too kind! I’m so excited for you to try it and to hear what you think!

  4. Heather Torre says

    Another winner! This was so delicious – I served with white rice, roasted broccoli, and crushed peanuts. Better than takeout, any day! My kid’s always love your recipes, and now that they are teens, one of them said he’d always wondered why I called it Carl’s Bad Cravings when everything always tastes so good!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Heather, I’m so pleased it received rave reviews! I love hearing that your whole family loves my recipes! I wish my site was named after Carl’s Bad Cravings – way more creative – but it’s after Carlsbad, CA where I live 😉

  5. Nicole Krause says

    Just made this tonight, so yummy! I know I can always count on your recipes to be great! Thanks Jen!

    • Jen says

      That means so much to me Nicole, thank you! I love hearing this was a another winner!

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