This Honey Sesame Chicken has a beautiful balance of sweet, salty, and umami flavors. Crispy, golden chunks of chicken are coated in a glossy, sticky sauce. Served over a bed of fluffy rice or quinoa and steamed broccoli, this dish will quickly become a staple in your home!Jump to Recipe
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Balanced flavors: The sweetness of the honey balanced with the umami from the soy sauce creates an irresistible flavor profile that makes you feel like you’re at a restaurant!
- Common ingredients: The ingredients for this recipe are mostly pantry staples, making it a convenient dish to prepare on busy weeknights.
- Versatile: You can serve honey sesame chicken on its own or pair it with side dishes like rice, noodles, broccoli, cabbage, or carrots.
- Easy to make: Cooking this recipe couldn’t be more straightforward! Ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s perfect for both beginners and seasoned home cooks alike.
Sticky Honey Sesame Chicken
Whenever I have guests coming over, I always reach for chicken dishes like ginger chicken, grilled bruschetta chicken, baked chicken kabobs, and this honey sesame chicken recipe. With the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, it never fails to impress a crowd!
Each bite of the chicken is bursting with crispy deliciousness, which contrasts the velvety texture of the sticky honey sauce. The chicken is pan-fried, lending it a mouthwatering texture while sealing in all the juicy goodness.
You can enjoy your honey sesame chicken on its own for a light lunch or dinner. Or, serve it over a bed of steamed rice or quinoa with sesame seeds and veggies to create a complete, balanced meal.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chicken: I prefer cubed chicken breast for the best texture and fastest cooking times, but boneless skinless chicken thighs can also be used for a richer flavor.
- Eggs: Act as a binder for the flour mixture, helping it stick to the chicken. For an egg-free substitute, you can try buttermilk, regular milk, or melted butter.
- Flour & cornstarch: This combination gives the chicken its quintessential crispy coating. For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free flour blend. You can also use arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch.
- Avocado oil: Given its high smoke point and neutral flavor, avocado oil is ideal for frying. Any other high-heat oil like canola or sunflower oil can be used as well.
- Soy sauce: Adds umami and depth of flavor. Tamari or coconut aminos can be used as a gluten-free or soy-free alternative.
- Honey: The star ingredient that gives the dish its signature sweetness! If you don’t have honey on hand, agave or maple syrup can be used for a different flavor profile.
- Sesame oil: Provides a rich, nutty flavor. Make sure to use 100% pure sesame oil for the best results in your honey sesame chicken recipe.
How to Make Honey Sesame Chicken
- Prep the chicken: Cut your chicken breasts into even 1-inch pieces for uniform cooking. Season the cubes with kosher salt to add more flavor.
- Make the dredging stations: Whisk the eggs in one bowl, then combine the flour, cornstarch, and garlic powder in another.
- Heat the oil: Get your avocado oil hot and ready for frying. You want enough in the pan to submerge the pieces of chicken.
- Fry the chicken: Dip and coat each piece in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, and into the oil they go. You’re aiming for a golden-brown exterior, so keep an eye on them.
- Make the sauce: While the chicken is frying, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a pot. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer until it thickens up.
- Assemble the chicken: Toss the sauce and chicken together until it is evenly coated, then serve your honey sesame chicken over your favorite grains with sesame seeds and green onions on top.
Honey sesame chicken pairs well with so many sides! Here are a few of my favorite options:
- Steamed rice or quinoa
- Grilled zucchini and squash
- Stir-fried vegetables
- Easy 5-minute Asian cucumber salad
- Raw carrot salad
- Easy Asian cabbage salad
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend and using tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Just keep in mind the flavor and texture will vary slightly.
Absolutely! While I recommend chicken breasts for their tenderness and quick cooking times, you can also use chicken thighs or other cuts. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Of course! You can coat the chicken as outlined in this recipe, then bake it on a lined tray at 425F until golden and fully cooked. Make sure to turn it halfway for even cooking.
Storage & Reheating
For any leftover honey sesame chicken, follow these simple storage tips:
- Fridge: Store the cooled honey sesame chicken in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: This dish also freezes well! You can keep it in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: You can reheat the chicken in the microwave until hot, but for best results, reheat it in the oven or on the stovetop to maintain the chicken’s crispiness.
- Prep ahead: You can prep the chicken and keep it in the fridge a day ahead. The sauce can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Tofu: Use tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian spin on your recipe.
- Shrimp: Swap chicken for shrimp to try a seafood-inspired take.
- Stir fry: Combine the chicken with stir-fried veggies for a colorful crunch.
- Salad: Serve your honey sesame chicken over greens with a sesame dressing.
- Lettuce wraps: Instead of rice, serve your chicken in lettuce wraps for a low-carb option.
- Uniform pieces: Remember to cut the chicken into uniform-sized pieces for even cooking.
- Dry the chicken: Pat the chicken dry before coating it in the flour to stick better.
- Batch frying: Fry the chicken in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Oil temperature: Keep your oil temperature consistent for the perfect golden-brown crust. It’s best to use an oil thermometer and fry between 350-375F.
- Continuously stir: Stir the sauce continuously while it simmers to prevent it from burning on the bottom.
- Sauce consistency: Ensure the sauce is thick enough to coat the chicken pieces nicely.
- Gentle tossing: Toss the chicken and sauce gently to keep the coating intact.
Looking for More Asian-Inspired Recipes?
If you enjoyed this honey sesame chicken recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorites like these:
- Keto Baked Asian Meatballs
- Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps
- Beef Yakisoba Noodles
- Asian Salmon with Mustard Dressing
If you try this Honey Sesame Chicken recipe, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken
Make the Chicken
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces, pat dry and season with 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, toss to combine.
- Whisk eggs in a bowl with a fork until blended, set aside.
- Combine flour, cornstarch, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a plate and stir together to incorporate, set aside.
- Heat about 2 inches of avocado oil or another light oil in a frying pan.
- Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture and then dip it into flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour.
- Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes flipping around half way, or until golden brown and crispy.
- Add chicken on a paper towel-lined plate, then add to a bowl.
Make the Honey Sauce
- While the chicken cooks. Heat a small pot to medium heat. Add soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic. Whisk to combine.
- Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Stir while cooking.
- Remove from heat, drizzle sauce on the chicken, and gently toss together to combine.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve over rice or quinoa and steamed broccoli.