This Easy Honey Sesame Chicken recipe is a quick and simple dinner option. It features tender chicken pieces coated in a sweet and savory sesame sauce, making it flavorful and easy to serve with rice, quinoa, or your favorite noodles!
If you've ever had Chinese takeout, you know how popular sesame chicken is! Sesame chicken consists of bite-sized pieces of chicken that are typically battered and deep-fried until crispy. The chicken is then coated in a sweet and savory sesame sauce and garnished with sesame seeds for added flavor and texture.
This recipe uses simple ingredients so that you can make this Chinese-American dish right at home from scratch! You'll coat small pieces of chicken breast with cornstarch and black pepper. Then, cook the chicken in olive oil until it's crispy and golden brown. Toss the cooked chicken in a homemade honey sesame sauce for a sweet and savory coating, garnish with sesame seeds and green onions, and enjoy!
No need to spend money on takeout! Not only does this dish taste just as good, but you can control the ingredients by making it sweeter spicer and not using anything with preservatives. Serve sesame chicken over rice, quinoa, or lo mein noodles for a well-rounded meal that is easy to make on a busy weeknight or when you're craving restaurant-style food at home!
If you like this recipe, you've got to try our Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls—it's a must if you've enjoyed this recipe! The flavorful teriyaki-glazed chicken, paired with fluffy rice and fresh veggies, is an absolute winner that's worth experiencing.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a quick and easy way to enjoy restaurant-quality sesame chicken with honey without spending much money or waiting for delivery.
- The crispy chicken bites paired with the sweet and savory sesame sauce create a perfect sweet and savory flavor.
- You can customize the dish to your taste, making sure it's made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
- Pair it with your favorite cooked grain, or add veggies to make it even more nutritious.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Chicken Breast - Serves as the main protein, providing a tender and juicy texture.
- Black Pepper - Adds a hint of spiciness to the chicken, enhancing the overall flavor.
- Cornstarch - Used to coat the chicken, creating a crispy and crunchy exterior when fried.
- Olive Oil - Used for frying, giving the chicken a golden brown and crispy finish.
For the sesame sauce:
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce - Provides a salty and savory base, adding depth of flavor.
- Water - Helps to dilute the sauce and achieve the desired consistency.
- Light Brown Sugar - Contributes sweetness to balance the flavors.
- Rice Vinegar - Adds a tangy element, enhancing complexity.
- Sesame Oil - Imparts a rich, nutty aroma and flavor popular in Chinese cooking.
- Fresh Ginger - Offers a subtle, aromatic, natural kick of spice.
- Minced Garlic - Provides a robust, savory, and pungent note.
- Honey - Contributes natural sweetness and a glossy texture.
- Cornstarch - Serves as a thickening agent.
- Sesame Seeds - Both a garnish and a flavor enhancer, adding crunch and nutty taste.
How To Make Honey Sesame Chicken
Make the honey sesame sauce: To a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, honey, and sesame seeds. Sift in the cornstarch and whisk until there are no lumps. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken: Trim any excess fat from the chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel on all sides. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to a 1-gallon freezer bag. Add cornstarch and black pepper and close the bag. Shake until completely coated.
Shallow fry the chicken in oil: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.
Mix chicken and sauce: Pour sauce into the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, occasionally stirring until the sauce thickens.
Garnish and serve: Garnish with additional sesame seeds and green onions. Serve over cooked grains or vegetables. Enjoy!
- To ensure your chicken cooks evenly and quickly, cut it into uniform bite-sized pieces.
- Dusting the chicken pieces with cornstarch creates a crispy coating, so be sure to coat them thoroughly.
- Use a large skillet with enough space to prevent overcrowding when frying the chicken to ensure a crispy exterior.
- Heat your olive oil to the right temperature before adding the chicken. It should sizzle when you drop a small piece of chicken into the oil.
- While making the sesame sauce, whisk the cornstarch mixture well to avoid lumps in the sauce later.
- Adjust the sweetness of the sauce by adding more or less honey according to your taste preferences.
- Keep an eye on the sauce as it thickens; it can go from thin to thick quickly.
Variations and Serving Suggestions
- If you prefer a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce for a spicy kick.
- Swap out the chicken for tofu or your favorite meat alternative, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
- Incorporate your choice of stir-fried vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, or snap peas for added color and nutrients.
- Enhance the texture by tossing in some roasted cashews or almonds for a nutty crunch.
- Replace the soy sauce with a gluten-free soy sauce alternative or tamari to make this recipe gluten-free.
- If you're watching your carb intake, serve the sesame sauce over cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
- Experiment with different proteins like shrimp, beef, or even salmon to create a unique twist on this classic dish.
- Serve the Honey Sesame Chicken over steamed white or brown rice for a traditional meal, or try it as a filling for lettuce wraps for a lighter, low-carb option.
- Use the sesame sauce as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, dumplings, or chicken tenders for an extra pop of flavor.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store leftovers, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it in a skillet or the microwave, adding a splash of water if needed to maintain the sauce's consistency.
Freezing: Place the chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag, and for the sauce, use a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop, combining the sauce and chicken for a fresh taste.
Yes, you can substitute chicken thighs for breasts if you prefer dark meat. Chicken thighs may require a few extra minutes to cook through.
If the sauce thickens too much, simply add a small amount of water or chicken broth to thin it out to your desired consistency. Stir well and continue cooking until it reaches the desired thickness.
Using low-sodium soy sauce is recommended to control the dish's overall saltiness. However, if you only have regular soy sauce, you can use it, but you may need to adjust the quantity to avoid making the dish overly salty.
More Chicken Dinner Recipes
- Creamy Ranch Chicken
- Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken
SHARE IT & RATE IT
- 3 stalks green onion (diced)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Add soy sauce, water, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, honey, cornstarch, and sesame seeds to a medium bowl. Whisk until there are no lumps. Set aside.
- Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to a 1-gallon freezer bag. Add cornstarch and black pepper and close the bag. Shake until completely coated.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.
- Pour sauce into the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, occasionally stirring until the sauce thickens.
- Garnish with more sesame seeds and green onions. Enjoy!
- Thoroughly blend the cornstarch mixture while preparing the sesame sauce to ensure a smooth consistency and prevent the formation of lumps in the sauce.
- If you have a preference for dark meat, chicken thighs can be used as a substitute for chicken breasts. However, it's important to note that chicken thighs may need a slightly longer cooking time to ensure they are thoroughly cooked.
- In case the sauce thickens to much, just add a small quantity of water or chicken broth to adjust it to your preferred consistency. Stir thoroughly and keep cooking until it reaches the desired thickness.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.