Sesame Chicken


February 21, 2023

1M+ Views Chinese Recipes Tastier Than Takeout

Sesame Chicken is an incredibly popular takeout dish but you’re going to be blown away when you learn how easy and simple it is to make at home! The crispy chicken coated in that sweet and aromatic sesame sauce is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

Watch the Sesame Chicken Recipe Video Below!

Sesame Chicken in a bowl

Ingredients for Sesame Chicken Chicken

This Sesame Chicken recipe is such a winner and perfect for a weeknight meal with a freshly steamed bowl of rice! Here is what you’ll need for the recipe:


  • 1 lb chicken breast cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 4 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Seasoned Dredge

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder


  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Other Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • neutral oil for frying; I used avocado oil

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
Sesame chicken in a wok


If you cannot or do not want to use wine, you can sub with sherry, mirin, or chicken stock!

My favorite combination is FLOUR, CORNSTARCH, and BAKING POWDER for frying chicken! When mixed with the flour, the cornstarch makes the flour coating crispier and gives it that golden brown color! (It has to do with prevention of gluten development.) The baking powder reacts with the oil and creates tiny air bubbles, which also helps form a crispy coating.

I get asked all the time if you can sub black pepper for white pepper – and my answer is, it depends BUT you need to watch the ratio. White pepper has a milder flavor profile than black pepper, so it’s a 1-1 substitute. I would start with less black pepper and add as you go. (But really, you should have white pepper in your pantry! It’s a staple in mine!)

A cornstarch slurry is a mixture of cornstarch and water that is used in cooking to thicken WITHOUT powdery lumps or additional flavors/colors! This is the secret to so many of your favorite Chinese dishes. My #1 tip is make sure your cornstarch slurry has not separated before adding it in – I always try to re-stir right before!

My favorite neutral oil is avocado oil, but you can also use canola or vegetable oil! I don’t use olive oil when cooking Chinese food for two reasons: 1. It has a low burning point and 2. The flavor profile does not go.

Sesame Chicken: Recipe Instructions

Cut the Chicken

The first step in making this recipe is cutting the chicken into 1″ pieces. Cut the chicken into uniform pieces so they cook evenly when we fry them. You can use either chicken breast or chicken thigh for this recipe!

Cutting chicken on a cutting board

Marinating the chicken with kosher salt, white pepper, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, grated garlic & ginger, and sesame oil is one of my keys to super flavorful chicken. But even more importantly, this marinade will act as a binder to stick to the dredge before frying!

Sesame chicken marinating in a bowl

Next, mix the sauce by combining chicken stock (I always use Kettle & Fire – get 20% off your order when you use code CJPINS!), light soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined and set aside.

Dredge the chicken

Mix together flour, cornstarch, kosher salt, white pepper, and baking powder in a large bowl. Give the chicken a final mix to redistribute the wet batter and let any drip off the chicken. Individually coat the chicken pieces in the dry seasoning mix so that there are no dry spots!

dry batter ingredients in a large bowl

Be sure to pack the dry mix in to the chicken with your hands (I like squeezing it in) to properly coat the chicken so the batter sticks.

Sesame Chicken pieces dredged

Fry (and double fry) the chicken

Heat a few quarts of neutral oil over high heat until the temperature reaches 350F. Carefully fry the chicken in batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. I highly recommend a thermometer to accurately measure your oil temperature, as you do not want the oil temperature to drop below 325F.

Remove the chicken then bring the oil temperature back up to 350F and fry a second time for an additional 1-2 minutes until the chicken is dark golden brown and crispy!

Sesame chicken frying in a wok

Add Sauce and Chicken

Heat the premixed sauce in a wok or large pan over high heat until the sauce has thickened slightly and looks glossy.

Sesame chicken in a wok

Immediately add in your crispy chicken and give the pieces a mix and toss in the sauce until each piece is nicely coated in the sauce. Serve immediately with some freshly steamed rice and enjoy!


Add any leftover marinade (or 1-2 tbsp of water) to your seasoning mix (flour/cornstarch/baking powder) and rub them together to create the craggily bits we all love!

Once the chicken is dredged in the seasoning mix, let them rest for 10-15 minutes. This helps the batter stick to the chicken when frying!

Do not let your frying oil drop below 325F when frying! I highly recommend you use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. If you see it dropping below 325F, fry your chicken in batches. Frying at a low temperature will result in too much moisture (AKA SOGGY!)

If you liked this Sesame Chicken recipe, check out some of the most popular Chinese Take-Out recipes on the blog! Please consider giving a rating and commenting down below what you thought of the recipe! It really helps out the blog!

Sesame Chicken in a bowl

Sesame Chicken

This Sesame Chicken is so much better than takeout! The chicken actually STAYS crispy in that sweet and tangy sesame sauce!
4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 751 kcal



  • 1 lb chicken breast or thigh cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 4 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Seasoned Dredge

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder


  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Other Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • neutral oil for frying; I used avocado oil

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Slice chicken breast into 1" pieces and place in a bowl with kosher salt, white pepper, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Marinate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight for best results.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, kosher salt, white pepper, and baking powder.
  • In a separate bowl, create your sauce by combining light soy sauce, ketchup, chicken stock, sugar, honey, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined and set aside.
  • Dredge your marinated chicken in the flour & cornstarch mixture (shake off excess). Pack in the dredge to ensure there are no dry spots. Let rest on a rack for 10-15 minutes while you heat your oil. In the meantime, chop garlic and ginger, and prepare vinegar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and your cornstarch slurry and set next to your pan.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 350F and fry the chicken in batches for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove, then fry a second time at 350F for 1-2 minute until golden and extra crispy. Season with salt to taste.
  • In a pan or wok over high heat, add 2 tbsp of neutral oil and fry your garlic and ginger for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Immediately add your sauce until it starts to bubble (about 45-60 seconds). Add your cornstarch slurry and your vinegar, and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened. Add your chicken and coat in the sauce and finish with sesame seeds and sesame oil. Enjoy!


Calories: 751kcalCarbohydrates: 104gProtein: 42gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 4235mgPotassium: 822mgFiber: 3gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 99IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 196mgIron: 5mg
Keyword chicken, chinese food, chinese takeout, sesame, sesame chicken
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Recipe Rating

  1. What kind of vinegar are you supposed to use? I just made this and used regular white vinegar. It came out good but I want to make sure I got the flavor right.
    Thank you

  2. 4 stars
    Great recipe! Crispy chicken with a flavorful sauce ( I added some chopped fresh red chilies for some added heat).

    Might cut back on the white pepper next time, as this seemed like to dominant flavor in the recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow. Delicious. Way better than takeout and the directions were super easy to follow. I especially appreciate the way you organized the ingredients into categories. I don’t normally deep fry on a weeknight but I think this was worth it! Wondering if anyone has tried this method with an air fryer?

    1. Check out the air fryer orange chicken or air fryer general tso’s chicken recipe! You can use the same method and swap the sauces!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this recipe today, was so good. My new go-to Sesame Chicken recipe. The sauce would go well pork as well.