Sesame Chicken

4.67 from 3 votes
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This easy sesame chicken is just as good as your local takeout spot’s renditions. Bite-sized pieces of tender chicken and nutty sesame seeds are coated in a silky smooth, savory-sweet sauce that you won’t be able to get enough of.

Sesame Chicken in a dark colored skillet.


Sometimes you just have a hankering for Chinese takeout and, sure, you could call your local takeout spot, but what if you could make your favorite sesame chicken just as well as (if not better than) they do? With this recipe, you can! Tender bites of crisped-up chicken are coated in a silky smooth sauce that is both savory and sweet, with a little added tang. The saucy chicken is finished off with a smattering of sesame seeds and some sliced scallions for color. It’s a finger-licking-good 30-minute meal.

Why I Love This Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe

  • Flavorful sauce. The savory, tangy, ever so slightly sweet sauce that coats every tender morsel of chicken is just one of those things that you have to experience. You’ll be licking every last drop out of your bowl (when no one is looking, of course).
  • Quick and easy. In under 30 minutes, you’ll have this delicious takeout-inspired classic on the table. The steps are easy to follow, making it the perfect recipe for any skill level (and time crunch).
  • Better than takeout. Who needs takeout when you can make this Chinese-inspired classic at home in less time than it would take for the delivery guy to get it to your door? And without all of the additives found all too often in take-out? Sign me up!

General Tso’s Chicken vs Sesame Chicken

General Tso’s and Sesame Chicken are two Chinese takeout favorites that have a lot in common. They are both comprised of bite-sized pieces of chicken dredged in egg and then cornstarch before being pan-fried to golden brown perfection and finished in a flavorful sauce. So what’s the difference? It’s all in the sauce. The sauce for General Tso’s chicken is savory, tangy, and slightly spicy, whereas the sauce for Sesame Chicken is savory and tangy but with a hint of sweetness instead of spice.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Soy sauce – Or use coconut aminos. I use low-sodium soy sauce so that I have better control over the saltiness of the dish.
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Rice vinegar
  • Honey – I love the sweetness the honey brings to the table.
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Ketchup – The ketchup provides a lovely sweetness and tang to the sauce.
  • Ground ginger – Fresh, grated ginger would also work. You can also buy grated ginger in a jar. It’s such a convenient ingredient to have on hand.
  • Cornstarch and water – You will whisk the cornstarch and water together to make a cornstarch slurry that will help the sauce thicken up.
  • Eggs & Water – For the egg wash.
  • Cornstarch – The cornstarch helps the chicken crisp/brown up in the hot oil. It also is responsible, in part, for the lovely sheen of the sesame chicken when it’s done.
  • Flour
  • Seasoning – Salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, paprika.
  • Chicken tenders – You could use chicken breasts or thighs instead, so long as they are boneless and skinless.
  • Vegetable oil – Or any neutral frying oil.
  • Sesame seeds – You can toast your sesame seeds first if you’d like. The flavor will be a bit nuttier.
  • Scallions – You’ll only need the green parts for garnish.

How to Make Sesame Chicken

Time to get cooking! Here’s a quick look at how to make this take-out copycat sesame chicken. Please scroll to the recipe card below for detailed instructions.

  • Make the sauce. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce aside from the cornstarch and water. Whisk together the cornstarch and the water and whisk that into the sauce.
  • Dredge the chicken. Whisk together the eggs and water in one bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, and seasonings. In batches, coat the chicken pieces in egg and then toss them in the cornstarch mixture.
  • Fry the chicken. Heat ¼-inch oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed skillet until it begins to shimmer. Fry the chicken in batches until it is browned on all sides and cooked through.
  • Add the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir until it has thickened. Stir in the sesame seeds.
  • Serve. Serve warm garnished with scallions.
Close-up image of chicken cubes tossed in sweet and sour sauce and garnished with sesame seeds.

Tips for Success

This quick, simple recipe is perfect for any skill level. It’s super easy to get it right, especially if you follow these simple tips and tricks.

  • Dredge in batches. When dipping the chicken pieces in the egg mixture and then in the seasoned flour, do so in small batches (ideally 1 handful at a time). Attempting to work with more than that at once will end you with a gummy mess.
  • Make sure the oil is hot enough. The oil used to fry the chicken should be up around 350-370°F. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to shimmer and when the chicken hisses when it hits the pan. If the oil is too cold, the chicken won’t crisp up properly.
  • Break up the chicken. When frying the chicken, be sure to break it up with a wooden spoon. It has a tendency to stick together.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. When frying the chicken, make sure each piece has plenty of room to breathe. Otherwise, it won’t brown up properly. Instead, it will steam, leaving you with tough, rubbery chicken pieces.

Serving Suggestions

My favorite thing to serve sesame chicken with is a simple side of steamed white rice (Chicken Fried Rice or Shrimp Fried Rice would be amazing too) and some Asian-themed veggies. I have been loving this Sesame Cucumber Salad as well as these easy Sesame Snap Peas. Want to make it more of an event? Give this savory-sweet main an irresistible intro with an appetizer such as Shrimp Toast or Air Fryer Crab Rangoon.

Sesame chicken served over white rice.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • To store. Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, seal it in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the leftover sesame chicken until heated through. Alternatively, microwave individual portions in 30-second intervals until warm.

More Chinese Takeout-Inspired Recipes

Feeling inspired to stop ordering in and to start making Chinese-inspired takeout in the comfort of your own home (for a fraction of the price and sans icky additives) instead? I’m all for it! Here are some other recipes that fit the bill.

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4.67 from 3 votes

Sesame Chicken

Forget takeout and make sesame chicken at home in under 30 minutes! Bite-sized pieces of tender chicken and sesame seeds are coated in a silky smooth, savory-sweet sauce that you won't be able to get enough of.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


For the Sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water

For the Chicken

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • cup cornstarch
  • cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • pounds chicken tenders,, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • vegetable oil,, for frying
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, sliced (green parts only)
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  • Make the sauce. Whisk together the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, garlic powder, rice vinegar, honey, sweet chili sauce, ketchup, and ginger. Whisk together the cornstarch and the water, and then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the rest of the sauce. Set aside.
  • Dredge the chicken. Whisk together the eggs and water in one bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. One handful at a time, coat the chicken pieces in the egg and then toss them in the cornstarch mixture to coat. Arrange the coated chicken pieces on a plate while you dredge the remaining chicken.
  • Fry the chicken. Heat about ¼ inch of oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the dredged chicken to the oil, being sure to break the chicken pieces apart from one another. Saute the chicken until it is cooked through and browned on all sides. Do not crowd the pan. Fry in batches if needed.
  • Add the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the sesame seeds.
  • Serve. Serve warm, garnished with scallions.


  • Dredge the chicken in small batches, one handful at a time, to avoid clumping.
  • Heat the oil to 350-370°F; it’s ready when it shimmers and sizzles upon adding the chicken.
  • Separate the chicken pieces while frying to prevent sticking.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure the chicken browns evenly.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Serving: 8ounces | Calories: 614kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 1754mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Dawn Hradowy says:

    Awesome, really tasty

    1. Katerina says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂