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Make this Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe for a simple yet delicious dinner. With frozen popcorn chicken, all you need to do is cook some rice, combine the sauce ingredients, and then toss it all together.  The crispy fried chicken smothered in a sweet, tangy sauce topped with sesame seeds is better than your favorite Chinese Take-Out!

An oblong white serving platter with rice and sesame chicken.

As for my family, when we have no time and are beyond hungry, we tend to reach for the phone to order takeout. But this recipe is so easy and fast that you will have it on the table before the delivery person rings the indoor bell! Not to mention, there are more ways you can make this dish even faster!

  • Use a 5-minute cooked rice packet or precooked rice.
  • Grab cooked rice and hot popcorn chicken from the deli at the grocery store. Then just whip up the sauce and toss.
  • Make the sauce the day before – when you have more time. Meal prep is always a good idea, anyhow.

Save and enjoy your favorite Chinese food at home! Try my Orange Chicken Recipe and these tasty Chicken Wonton Tostadas.

Ingredient Notes

Labeled ingredients needed to make easy sesame chicken.
  • Popcorn chicken: Choose your favorite brand of frozen popcorn chicken. Or you can make a homemade version!
  • Rice: Have rice cooked and ready for serving. It can be any rice you love: jasmine rice, white rice, brown rice, wild rice, or another favorite.
  • Olive oil: Saute the garlic in quality olive oil.
  • Garlic: Start the flavorful sauce with a couple of minced garlic cloves sauteed in olive oil.
  • Soy sauce: I like to use reduced-sodium soy sauce because the taste is still delicious without the excess salt.
  • Honey: Add honey for a touch of sweetness and a flavorful chicken dish.
  • Ketchup: Ketchup brings tangy notes and rich tomato flavor.
  • Brown sugar: Add a caramel-like sweetness with brown sugar– Light or dark brown sugar will do the trick.
  • Rice vinegar: Add a mild acidity with the Asian staple ingredient, rice vinegar.
  • Sweet chili sauce: Use more or less of this ingredient depending on how spicy you want the dish.
  • Cornstarch: Thicken the sweet and tangy sauce with cornstarch.
  • Sesame oil: Add sesame oil for the classic sesame flavor.
  • Garnish: Garnish the final dish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Homemade Popcorn Chicken: If you know a great recipe for homemade popcorn chicken, skip the frozen kind and make it fresh for the dish!
  • Homemade Popcorn Chicken: If you know a great recipe for homemade popcorn chicken, skip the frozen kind and make it fresh for the dish!
  • Sesame Chicken Tenders: If you only have chicken tenders in the freezer, you can still make this tasty recipe! Follow the instructions, then coat the chicken tenders with the homemade sesame sauce and serve over rice or with a side of nutritious steamed veggies.
  • If necessary, use white vinegar instead of rice vinegar.

How To Make Easy Homemade Sesame Chicken

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Cook chicken and rice

This recipe could not start off any easier! Simply start by cooking the popcorn chicken according to the package directions. This will take 15 to 20 minutes, so continue with the rest of the recipe in the meantime. Also, get the rice cooking by following the directions on the packaging. 

Sautéing garlic in a pan with olive oil.

Step 2 | Make the sauce mixture

While the chicken and rice are doing their thing, set a large skillet or saucepan with olive oil and minced garlic cloves over low to medium heat. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add the low-sodium soy sauce, honey, ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Stir the sauce for 2 -3 minutes until warmed and thoroughly combined.

Adding ingredients for sesame chicken sauce to a sauce pan and stirring to combine and cook.

Step 3 | Add chicken, garnish, and serve!

Now, plop the cooked chicken into the freshly made sauce and toss to coat. Serve the dish over rice, garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions, then enjoy!

Adding cooked chicken to sesame chicken sauce and tossing to coat.

Tips

  • Rice Options– Make this recipe even easier by using a 5-minute quick-cooked rice or leftover rice from your dinner last night. Or prep ahead and make the rice the night before and store it in the fridge until ready to use. 
  • Sauce Thickness– For the extra thick sauce, cook the sauce ingredients on a lower heat for longer or add more cornstarch, a small amount at a time. For thinner, savory sesame sauce, reduce the cornstarch and cook the ingredients just until they are warmed and combined.
Chinese sesame chicken topped with sliced green onion.

Fancy, right? I know – but- shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone how fast and easy it is!

Can I Make The Breaded Chicken From Scratch?

Sure! Homemade chicken nuggets are delicious! Here’s what you need:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil

Just whisk eggs in a bowl, then add cornstarch flour and salt to another bowl. Next, dredge the chicken pieces in the eggs and the flour mixture. 

Place a skillet over medium heat, adding oil– Sesame oil is best! Once it’s nice and hot, add the breaded chicken and cook it on each side for 4 to 7 minutes until golden brown. To be sure, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. It should reach 165 degrees F.

Recipe FAQs

What is sesame chicken?

Sesame chicken is a typical Chinese-American fast food dish, including small pieces of chicken, coated, deep fried, and covered in a sweet, savory, and tangy sauce with a hint of sesame seed flavor.

How is General Tso chicken different from sesame chicken?

They are similar dishes commonly served at Chinese restaurants in America, but they have subtle differences. General Tso’s chicken is usually more spicy and made with chicken breast and thigh meat, while sesame chicken sauce is sweeter, without the heat, and the dish is primarily made with chicken thighs. 

Can you make sesame chicken ahead of time?

Sure! Prep the recipe in the morning before heading off to work or errands, and enjoy a simple process when making dinner. Or make it the night before for even less hassle the day of! Cook the rice and popcorn chicken, then make the sweet and savory sauce. Store all the components separately in airtight containers in the fridge until ready to serve. Add the ingredients to a skillet to warm up for dinner and enjoy!

Storage

Refrigerate: In the rare chance you have leftover sesame chicken, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days

Freeze for Long-term Storage: You can freeze honey sesame chicken for up to three months. However, I don’t suggest freezing rice because the texture can become mushy.

What to Serve with Crispy Sesame Chicken with a Sticky Asian Sauce

Swap the plain rice for something a little bit different, like this easy Rice Pilaf Recipe or Instant Pot Southern Tomatoes and Rice. For extra vitamins and nutrients, serve the dish with a side of Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad– Yum!

Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes

Black chopsticks picking up chicken.

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Black chopsticks picking up Chinese sesame chicken.
Recipe
5 from 6 votes

(click stars to rate)

Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
Make this Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe for a simple yet delicious dinner. This homemade recipe is sweet, tangy and better than take-out!
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Ingredients 

  • 24 ounces frozen popcorn chicken, cooked (or see notes for homemade version)
  • 2 cups rice, cooked (for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, (can use more or less depending on how spicy you like you like it)
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion

Instructions

  • Cook the chicken according to the directions. Cooking will take approximately 15-20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking continue creating the recipe.
  • Cook the rice according to the directions. You can boil in a bag rice, use 5-minute quick-cooked rice, or leftover rice.
  • In a large saute pan add the olive oil and garlic cloves. Saute for 2-3 minutes over low to medium heat.
  • Add the soy sauce, honey, ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil and stir for 2 -3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Toss until the chicken is fully coated.
  • Serve over rice if desired. Top with sesame seeds and green onions. Enjoy immediately while warm.

Notes

To Make Homemade Chicken for this Recipe:
Homemade chicken nuggets are delicious! Here’s what you need:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
Just whisk eggs in a bowl, then add cornstarch flour and salt to another bowl. Next, dredge the chicken pieces in the eggs and the flour mixture. 
Place a skillet over medium heat, adding oil– Sesame oil is best! Once it’s nice and hot, add the breaded chicken and cook it on each side for 4 to 7 minutes until golden brown. To be sure, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. It should reach 165 degrees F.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 586kcal (29%) Carbohydrates: 96g (32%) Protein: 31g (62%) Fat: 9g (14%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0.01g Cholesterol: 73mg (24%) Sodium: 773mg (34%) Potassium: 605mg (17%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 43g (48%) Vitamin A: 73IU (1%) Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) Calcium: 62mg (6%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Goodbye take out! This recipe was amazing! Nothing beats homemade and My family and I really enjoyed this for dinner tonight!

  2. 5 stars
    The combination of tender chicken, savory sauce, and nutty sesame seeds creates a mouthwatering experience that I can’t get enough of!