Sesame chicken is one of the most popular takeout dishes in Chinese cuisine, but you don’t have to wait to order from your local restaurant to enjoy this simple and satisfying meal right at home.
With just a few basic ingredients, you can make your own version of sesame chicken right at home without even having to pay for delivery. These recipes are also easy enough to whip up on a weekday when you’re too tired to cook anything else.
20 Sesame Chicken Recipes to Recreate at Home
1. Crispy Sesame Chicken with Sticky Asian Sauce
This sesame chicken recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary is a honey-heavy recipe that features lots of honey and brown sugar to sweeten the chicken, along with some cooking oil to make the pieces nice and crisp. Serve this chicken with steamed broccoli or snow peas to make it slightly less unhealthy to eat. Even though it has most of the classic flavors of traditional sesame chicken, it shaves out much of the sugar, fat, and salt present in takeout.
2. The Best Honey Sesame Chicken
This sesame chicken recipe from Craving Some Creativity takes under thirty minutes to cook and prepare, which makes it a great option for a quick weeknight stir-fry. The sweet and mild sauce can be prepared from ingredients that are easy to find at a basic grocery store, so no trip to the Asian market is necessary to recreate this scrumptious dish. Many recipes claim to be easy enough to throw together in under half an hour, but this is one recipe that keeps the promise.
3. Sesame Chicken Meatballs
If someone asks you to think of the essential Chinese takeout dish, sesame chicken will probably come to mind pretty quickly. Using ground chicken meatballs in this recipe at Aprons and Sneakers allows the chicken meat to soak up more tangy flavors from the sesame sauce. This recipe will be a flavorful addition to your sesame chicken lineup. Sesame chicken meatballs can also be made ahead of time for quick dinner prep later in the week.
4. Crunchy Sesame Chicken Slaw
Adding sesame chicken to cabbage slaw like in this recipe from The Honour System instead of using noodles or rice is one way to help keep the calories in your sesame chicken meal down while also adding some much-needed nutrients to your dish in the form of fresh vegetables. Slaw also offers a cooling way to eat sesame chicken on hot summer days where you don’t want to eat a bunch of heavy starches. This dish makes a perfect addition to any summer potluck spread, too.
5. Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken Wraps
Another recipe to help you lighten up sesame chicken, this recipe replaces white rice and noodles with lettuce as a way to get the delicious chicken from the plate to your mouth. This wrap recipe from Center Cut Cook also uses a slow cooker to make the chicken mixture so you can have delicious sesame chicken waiting for you as soon as you walk through the door. Be sure to choose a lettuce that is sturdy enough to serve as a vehicle for the sesame chicken, such as iceberg lettuce.
6. Paleo Orange Sesame Chicken
Paleo is a modern-day diet that uses lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts to replace the high-fat and processed food options in fast food Chinese takeout. This orange sesame chicken sauce from The Healthy Foodie features unusual additions like date paste, tomato paste, and coconut aminos, but the end result is a delicious rich red mixture that you’ll be making for your chicken dishes again and again. While this orange sesame chicken might differ slightly in flavor from the takeout sesame chicken you’re used to, it’ll be more than satisfying on its own.
7. Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad
While turning sesame chicken into pasta salad doesn’t exactly lighten the dish up a ton, this sesame chicken pasta salad from The Seasoned Mom does incorporate healthier options than many takeout sesame chicken recipes with plenty of fresh vegetables like broccoli, snap peas, and zucchini. Sesame chicken pasta salad can be made ahead for potlucks or other group gatherings since it tastes better the longer it has to marinate.
8. Orange Sesame Chicken Skewers
For a grilled take on sesame chicken, these orange sesame chicken skewers from Maebells are sure to steal the show at your next outdoor barbeque. This fast and kid-friendly grilling recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients that you probably already have around your house, such as orange juice and soy sauce. Be sure to soak wooden skewers for a few hours before grilling to prevent the sticks from burning.
9. Baked Honey Sesame Chicken
Baking honey sesame chicken instead of frying it is one way to help make the classic takeout dish a little easier on your waistband. This recipe from Damn Delicious uses naturally juicy chicken thighs instead of breasts to give the dish a velvety and rich flavor. It also uses full chicken thighs rather than cut chicken. This can save you a lot of time in kitchen prep. If you’re looking for a sesame chicken recipe that is also a one-pot stop, this recipe is the one for you.
10. Sweet and Spicy Sesame Chicken Drumsticks
This sesame chicken drumstick recipe from The Healthy Foodie is another way to get classic Chinese takeout sesame chicken flavor by using a slightly different cut of chicken. Dark chicken meat isn’t as popular as white meat for making sesame chicken dishes, but it offers the dish a richer flavor at a lower cost than using more expensive cuts of chicken. Since chicken drumsticks can be marinated and frozen ahead of time, these sesame chicken drumsticks are great for meal-prepping. That way you can create some easy dishes to heat up in the middle of the workweek.
11. Pomegranate Sesame Chicken with Ginger Rice Pilaf
This recipe from Half Baked Harvest is a little bit fancier version of sesame chicken than most of the other recipes on this list. Pomegranates act as a splurge-worthy ingredient and give this sesame chicken recipe the appearance of being laced with dark red jewels. The ginger also gives the rice for the sesame chicken some aromatic flair. If pomegranates are out of season, dried cranberries or red currants can be used for a similar appearance.
12. Sesame Chicken Fingers with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce
Kids may turn their nose up at sticky sesame chicken from a Chinese restaurant, but these sesame chicken fingers from Obsessive Cooking are a much more palatable version for young children. Even though these chicken fingers are milder than the traditional version of sesame chicken, you can make the spicy orange dipping sauce to go with them as spicy as you want. For children and picky eaters, it’s easy enough to reduce the amount of pepper in the dish to make it easier on sensitive palates.
13. Korean Sticky Sesame Wings
Most sesame chicken recipes originate from China, but this Korean sticky sesame wing recipe from Cherry on My Sundae puts a Korean spin on the classic Chinese dish. Baked chicken wings are a great choice for a Sunday barbeque or when you want to sit around watching the big game. Dry-marinating the wings with spices gives them a big boost of flavor. You can also add some spicy Korean pepper paste known as gochujang to give this sesame chicken recipe an extra boost of Korean flavor.
14. Sesame Chicken Potstickers
These sesame chicken potstickers at Damn Delicious contain all of the traditional flavors of sesame chicken in one easy-to-eat package. Though these potstickers do take a little bit more time to put together than your average sesame chicken recipe, the end result is well worth the effort you put into them. The prep time on these potstickers can be worked around by making the potstickers ahead of time and freezing them. That way when you’re ready to eat, all you have to do is throw them in and cook them at the last minute.
15. Cucumber Sesame Chicken Salad
One way to make sesame chicken lighter and slightly more healthy is to add it to a salad instead of cooking it alongside traditional starches such as rice and noodles. Sesame oil is a classic pairing with cucumbers as well as chicken, which makes this cucumber sesame chicken salad at Pickled Plum a healthy spin on this sweet and spicy takeout dish. This sesame chicken salad is also a great way to use up all of the extra cucumbers you might end up with from your summer vegetable garden, too.
16. Sesame Chicken with Soba Noodles and Snap Peas
This sesame chicken recipe from Blue Apron is one of the more traditional sesame chicken recipes on this list, so if you’re looking to make a classic rendition of the dish, then look no further. Snap peas give this sesame chicken recipe some much-needed crunch, while buckwheat soba noodles offer a silky-smooth texture to contrast.
17. Sesame Oil Chicken Rice
This Taiwanese sesame oil chicken rice from Oh My Food is made using an instant pot, and this dish is popular to make during the winter since it is so warm and comforting. This dish can also be made with a stovetop and a rice cooker, but the instant pot helps cook everything quickly and efficiently for a fast weeknight dinner. The one ingredient in this recipe that may be a little difficult to source is brown beech mushrooms, an Asian species that is easiest to find in Asian food markets.
18. Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken
The honey sesame chicken takeout from Panda Express is one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes in North America and with good reason. This sweet and savory meal combines some of the very best Chinese flavors together in one irresistible dish. This recipe is also versatile since it can be cooked with either chicken thighs or chicken breasts. The spices can be adjusted to make it as spicy or mild as you want. Learn how to make this Panda Express copycat from Sweet and Savory Meals.
19. Sesame Ground Chicken Rice Bowls
Like the earlier meatball recipe in this list, this sesame chicken recipe uses ground chicken to help soak up more of the delicious sesame oil and spices for a more flavorful dish. Rice bowls are also a good way to incorporate more healthy ingredients into your sesame chicken such as various vegetables. Use this recipe at The Rustic Foodie to build a basic mixture for rice bowls you can eat for lunch or dinner all week. Making the ground chicken mixture ahead of time makes meal prep a snap when all you have left to do is steam some vegetables and rice.
20. Sweet and Spicy Sesame Wings
Here’s another chicken wing recipe that uses the classic sesame chicken flavor profile to add some takeout magic to your next cookout. These wings from Real Food with Sarah make a perfect appetizer for parties or other gatherings, but you can also serve it with some vegetables and rice for a quick weekday meal too.
Sesame chicken is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the world. Even though this recipe is associated with China, there are popular variations of it that exist all over Asia and in every Chinese-American restaurant in the world. Luckily, there are plenty of variations on the recipe that can help keep this meal a fresh and exciting part of your weekly cooking rotation. Another advantage of sesame chicken recipes is that the ingredients used are usually available in common grocery stores, so you don’t need to make a trip to a specialty market. Whether you prefer more spicy variations on sesame chicken or just want a basic foundation recipe to build your own riff on the dish, there’s sure to be some kind of sesame chicken on this list for you.