Tender chicken is fried, draped in sesame seeds, and smothered in an Asian-inspired sauce to create a tangy taste and crispy coating. This crispy sesame chicken will be sure to delight your diners.
When I was young, I didn’t really go for Asian cuisine. I was a pizza/burger kinda kid. I think this is fairly common. Something about the saltiness, perhaps? The soy sauce? Or maybe my local restaurants that specialized in this cuisine just weren’t very good (not to point the finger or anything). In any case, it wasn’t until I was a teen that I started to appreciate all the various dishes that fall under the ‘Asian’ umbrella. In particular was crispy sesame chicken wings. Some places made them better than others but in general, I loved the crunch. I’m a sucker for distinct textures and this one always delivered (sometimes literally if we were within range of the restaurant!).
Now that I am responsible for the meals of my family, I have taken to making my own version of this one. I avoid using wings and opt instead for the healthier chicken breast cut into chunks but the taste is just as good as I remember (maybe even better!).
Why You Will Love This Recipe //
- This crispy sesame chicken is easy to make. The ingredients should be easy enough to track down. Heck, you probably have most of them already!
- You can use any part of the chicken to make this recipe. While some poultry recipes call for particular parts of the bird, this one is dynamic, making your shopping a breeze. It also means you can choose whichever part of the chicken you prefer.
- You will love the Asian touch of this recipe with its sweet and sharp flavor. Frying will create a crunchy outside while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Complementing the sauce is the fresh spring onion.
- It’s versatile. There are so many dishes you can pair this with (see below for suggestions).
The ingredients for the sauce are in the amounts that I like most but feel free to play around with them. Add/remove increase/decrease at will!
- 1 chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp honey
- small bunch of spring onions
- vegetable oil for frying
How to Make Crispy Sesame Chicken // The Steps
Step 1: In a large bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, and pinch of salt and mix well together. Place the eggs in another bowl.
Step 2: Dip the chicken bites in the eggs then dredge in the flour mixture.
Step 3: Fry the chicken bites in the oil on medium-high heat for 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Step 4: In a small saucepan combine all ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on low until the sauce is thickened.
Step 5: Add the chicken to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Transfer the chicken bites to bowls and garnish with sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.
The variations will this dish all come down to the sauce. It’s here that you will add different ingredients to affect the overall taste.
Orange Sesame Chicken – Add orange juice and orange zest for a citrusy twist.
Honey Sesame Chicken – Increase the amount of honey you use if you prefer the ‘sweet’ in sweet ‘n’ sour dishes.
Spicy Sesame Chicken – Bring the burn by adding some crushed red peppers, Sriracha, or your favorite hot sauce.
Thai Sesame Chicken – Go Thai by adding lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and fish sauce.
Vegetarian – Go veggie by replacing the chicken with cauliflower florets or tofu cubes. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Serving Suggestions //
Baked Rice – No need to overthink this one. Sometimes the simplest side dishes are the best ones.
Honey Sriracha Chicken Salad – Following on the spicy suggestion above, pair the crispy sesame chicken with this salad that already boasts a sweet and sour flavor. (Probably don’t need to double up on the chicken though.)
Asian Chicken Soup with Vegetable Dumplings – Make this soup minus the chicken and pair it with the crispy sesame chicken for a comforting treat.
Noodles – Chow mein, lo mein, or rice noodles will all act as a filling base to have with your chicken.
Please don’t skip the cornstarch. It is essential in this recipe to make the chicken crunchy and to thicken the sauce. Use rice flour or potato starch if you don’t have cornstarch.
Yes, feel free to use cashew or peanuts for this recipe. Make sure to toast them and chop them afterward to guarantee a crunchy texture. You can also use crispy fried shallots instead of nuts and sesame seeds.
Yes, you can make them in an air fryer, too. It works perfectly. Bake them at 400°F until crunchy, then toss them in the sauce, same as in the recipe.
How to Store Crispy Sesame Chicken //
Let the chicken cool completely. Ideally, the soon-to-be-stored chicken will be sauceless. If you have added the sauce to it already, know that the texture may change during storage (i.e., the chicken may get soggy). In any case, put the chicken in the fridge where it will last for up to 4 days. Freezing the chicken isn’t recommended.
To reheat the chicken, do so in the oven to maintain its crispiness. Put the chicken on a baking tray and cook at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.