Easy Sesame Chicken

4.20 from 21 votes

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The end of the school year is nearing, and life is about to get crazy in many households. For this season, you need meals that won’t take much time to make. Try this super simple Sesame Chicken recipe, a quick and easy weeknight skillet meal that your family will love.

Sesame chicken in a bowl of rice, covered with sweet and tangy sauce and topped with sesame seeds and green onions.
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Sesame chicken comes together fast and tastes like it came from your favorite Asian take-out restaurant. This skillet meal uses chopped chicken and a simple sauce served over rice, making it the perfect recipe for those busy school nights or when you are being a taxi service for your kids.

Sesame chicken is a very popular dish served in most Asian restaurants. It traditionally uses small pieces of tender chicken and has a sweet, tangy taste accompanied by toasted sesame seeds. This homemade version of a classic dish is so tasty and incredibly easy to throw together, especially if making the rice in the Instant Pot

This recipe uses only a few ingredients and can be done in 25 minutes. Clean-up is a piece of cake as well because this all comes together in a skillet. This is one of my family’s favorite meals, though tangy orange chicken is a close runner-up!

Sesame chicken served over a plate of rice.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Delicious substitute for take-out but healthier and cheaper
  • It’s sure to be a family favorite
  • Quick and easy, perfect for busy nights
  • Uses basic ingredients likely found in your kitchen

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken – boneless, skinless cuts are quick and easy to chop for this recipe
  • Cornstarch – makes the perfect coating when cooked in hot oil
  • Honey & Ketchup – the sweetness in the sauce
  • White vinegar – for the tangy flavor
  • Soy Sauce & Sesame Oil – adds the perfect authentic savoriness

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

a bowl of rice with sticky sesame chicken with chives and green onion on top.

How to Make Sesame Chicken

top view of a glass pyrex measuring up of sesame chicken sauce.

Step 1. Mix the sauce ingredients.

small raw chicken cubes dusted in flour in a large bowl.

Step 2. Coat chicken well.

raw cubed chicken dusted in flour begening to cook in a vast iron pan.

Step 3. Fry chicken in hot oil until cooked and browned.

a bowl of rice with sticky sesame chicken with chives and green onion on top.

Step 3. Add sauce and cook for 1 minute, then enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

What cut of chicken should I use for sesame chicken?

You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Chicken thighs give the dish a little more flavor, in my opinion, but either will turn out terrific. 

Is sesame chicken spicy?

This sesame chicken recipe has a sweeter, more tangy taste rather than spicy. Spice it up by adding 1-2 tablespoons of Siracha hot sauce during the last minute of cooking or add a bit of red chile paste for spiciness similar to General Tso’s chicken.

Can I make the sauce ahead of time?

Yes, making the sauce ahead of time would make this meal go even quicker, although it’s already pretty quick! The sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance of the day you plan on serving it.

Delicious looking bowl of sesame chicken over steamed rice.

Expert Tips

  • Save time and mess: Some sesame chicken recipes call for dredging the chicken in egg before the cornstarch coating. Eliminating the egg coating will not sacrifice flavor or crispiness!
  • Marinate the chicken: For an added depth of flavor, marinate the chicken in a simple mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a pinch of salt for 15-30 minutes before coating. This will tenderize the chicken, enhance flavor, and help keep it moist.
  • Pan-fry in batches: This is crucial! If your frying pan or wok is crowding the chicken, cook in smaller batches to maintain the oil temperature and ensure even cooking.
  • Thicken the sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, allow it to cook a little longer with the chicken until it reaches your desired consistency. Remember that it will also thicken further as it cools.
top view of a bowl of rice with sticky sesame chicken with chives and green onion on top.

Customize the Sesame Chicken Sauce

Adjust the sweetness and tanginess of the sauce according to your preference by altering the amounts of honey and vinegar.

  • Substituting rice vinegar for the white vinegar will produce more sweetness and less tanginess.
  • Substituting low-sodium soy sauce will reduce the dish’s saltiness.
  • For some heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce.

What to Serve With Sesame Chicken

Rice or Noodles: The most popular way to serve sesame chicken is over rice. It would also be good served over zucchini noodles. 

Vegetables: I like to add a steamed vegetable as a side to boost the nutritional value and color. Our favorites are bell peppers, broccoli, and snow peas. Either stir-fry them separately and serve them alongside the chicken or add them to the saucepan in the last few minutes of cooking the sauce to ensure they remain crisp and vibrant.

Toppings: Sesame seeds and green onions are the best toppings for this dish. Enhance the nutty flavor of sesame seeds by toasting them lightly in a dry skillet over medium-low heat before garnishing the dish. Keep a close eye on them and stir frequently, as they can burn quickly!

How to Reheat Leftovers

For the best taste and texture, serve Sesame Chicken immediately after cooking. The crispy coating will soften over time, especially when mixed with the sauce.

But if you have leftovers, reheat them in an oven or air fryer to restore some of the crispiness. Microwaving is less ideal, as it may result in a soggier texture.

More Quick Weeknight Recipes to Consider

a plate of sesame chicken with rice
4.20 from 21 votes

Easy Sesame Chicken

This quick and easy sesame chicken recipe is chicken pieces cooked in cornstarch and a simple sauce made out of ketchup, honey, and a few other simple ingredients over the chicken. My whole family loves this meal.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp oil, such as avacado or canola
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3-4 cup cooked white rice, for serving
  • 2 tbsp sliced green onions
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  • Cut the chicken into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle the salt over the chicken and then add the cornstarch to the bowl.
  • Use a spoon to stir the chicken into the cornstarch and stir until the chicken is completely coated.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Add the oil to the skillet and let it heat a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and adjust it so that it's in an even layer.
  • Let the chicken cook well on one side before turning the pieces over or by lightly stirring it. It's ok to let it brown up though before stirring, so don't mess with it too much.
  • While the chicken is cooking add the honey, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and garlic powder to a small bowl, stir with a fork to combine well.
  • When the chicken is fully cooked and browned on all sides, pour the sauce into the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to cook and bubble for 1 full minute, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Serve the chicken over the white rice and garnish with the sesame seeds and the green onion. Serve right away.



  • You can serve it over brown rice if you prefer.
  • Use a soy sauce substitute to make this gluten-free, adjusting the saltiness as needed.
  • For thicker sauce, cook for a few minutes longer.  The sauce will also thicken more as it cools down.
  • Be sure to cook the chicken pieces in batches if needed so the pieces aren’t too crowded in the pan.  This helps them cook more evenly and gives them that beautiful golden crust!


Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 525kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 1328mg, Potassium: 667mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 117IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Roz McD says:

    5 stars
    This was an easy recipe to follow. The chicken was crispy and the sauce was very tasty!
    We all enjoyed it

  2. Jeri Schneider says:

    5 stars
    Very easy to make and just delicious!! I love it! Better than a restaurant.

    I tried to send you a picture! It’s yummy! Thank you so much!!

  3. Heather says:

    5 stars
    This sounds delicious! Can it be baked instead of cooking in oil?

    1. Melissa says:

      You can try it!

  4. Madison says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Made a couple times and it has turned out well every time!

  5. Dondi says:

    5 stars
    Great tasty recipe! But what I see missing are VEGETABLES! Yes, scallions are vegtables, great for flavor. We need to find ways to fit more vegetables into our day and when our dinner excludes them, we’re missing the big boat on the chance to get them in. I find this missing piece with many of my cook books. I’d green it up by putting bok choy, broccoli or asparagus in this dish.

    1. Melissa says:

      Yep, I always serve it with veggies too, I just figured that folks could cook up what they liked or had on hand to go with it!