Crispy Sesame Chicken

Crispy Sesame Chicken Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Dish

Crispy Sesame Chicken stands out as a beloved dish, celebrated for its perfect balance of flavors and textures. Originating from Chinese cuisine, this dish has gained immense popularity worldwide, thanks to its irresistible combination of a crispy exterior, tender chicken, and a sweet, savory sauce enriched with sesame seeds. It serves as a delightful option for both weeknight dinners and special occasions, appealing to a wide range of palates.

Ingredients and Preparation

The preparation of Crispy Sesame Chicken involves marinating bite-sized chicken pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings. This marination process is crucial as it infuses the chicken with flavors and tenderizes it. The marinated chicken is then coated in a mixture of flour and cornstarch, which is the secret to achieving its signature crispy texture once fried.

Cooking Process

Frying is the next critical step, where the coated chicken pieces are deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. The high temperature of the oil seals the coating and creates a crispy exterior while keeping the inside of the chicken juicy and tender.

The Sesame Sauce

Parallel to frying the chicken, a distinctive sesame sauce is prepared. This sauce is a harmonious blend of ingredients like honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and, of course, sesame oil and sesame seeds. The sauce is cooked until it thickens, ensuring it coats the chicken pieces well, adding a glossy finish and an explosion of flavors.

Combining Chicken and Sauce

Once the chicken is fried and the sauce is ready, the crispy chicken is tossed in the sauce until each piece is evenly coated. This step is not just about combining flavors but also about marrying textures, as the sauce adds a slightly sticky consistency that complements the crispy chicken.

Serving Suggestions

Crispy Sesame Chicken is typically served hot, garnished with extra sesame seeds and finely chopped spring onions. It pairs beautifully with steamed rice or noodles, making for a complete and satisfying meal. The contrast between the crispy chicken and the rich, flavorful sauce makes each bite a delightful experience.

Nutritional Information

While Crispy Sesame Chicken is undeniably delicious, it’s important to consider its nutritional content. The dish is relatively high in calories and fat due to the frying process and the sweet sauce. However, it also provides protein from the chicken and a range of vitamins and minerals from the sauce’s ingredients. Enjoying it in moderation as part of a balanced diet allows one to indulge in its flavors without compromising nutritional goals.

Crispy Chicken

Customization and Variations

Chefs and home cooks alike often experiment with Crispy Sesame Chicken, adding their personal touch to cater to different dietary needs and taste preferences. Some popular variations include the use of gluten-free flour for coating to make the dish gluten-free or substituting the chicken with tofu or cauliflower for a vegetarian version. Additionally, adjusting the level of sweetness or the intensity of the ginger and garlic in the sauce allows for customization according to individual taste preferences.

Cooking Tips for Perfection

Achieving the perfect Crispy Sesame Chicken involves several key tips. Ensuring the oil is at the correct temperature for frying (typically around 350°F or 175°C) is crucial for achieving a crispy, not greasy, coating. It’s also important to fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can lower the oil’s temperature and result in soggy chicken. Letting the fried chicken drain on a wire rack instead of paper towels helps maintain its crispiness by allowing air to circulate around it.

Pairings and Side Dishes

While Crispy Sesame Chicken is a standout dish on its own, pairing it with the right side dishes can elevate the dining experience. Light and refreshing sides such as cucumber salad or steamed broccoli can balance the richness of the dish. For a more filling meal, serving it with jasmine rice or lo mein noodles can complement the flavors and textures of the chicken. Incorporating a variety of side dishes also adds nutritional value and color to the meal, making it more appealing.

Cultural Significance and Popularity

Crispy Sesame Chicken has not only become a staple in Chinese cuisine but has also made its mark on the global culinary scene. Its popularity in Chinese-American restaurants showcases the dish’s ability to transcend cultural boundaries and appeal to a wide audience. The dish’s blend of sweet and savory flavors, combined with its satisfying texture, has contributed to its status as a favorite among diners around the world. Its versatility and the ease with which it can be adapted to suit different tastes and dietary requirements further enhance its appeal.

Engaging in Culinary Exploration

The journey of preparing and enjoying Crispy Sesame Chicken encourages culinary exploration and creativity. It serves as an excellent opportunity for cooks to experiment with flavors, techniques, and presentations. Whether it’s trying different marinades, experimenting with sauce ingredients, or exploring new side dishes, Crispy Sesame Chicken offers a canvas for culinary creativity. This exploration not only leads to delicious outcomes but also enriches the cooking experience, making it a rewarding endeavor for cooks of all levels.


Adapting to Dietary Preferences and Allergies

One of the strengths of Crispy Sesame Chicken is its adaptability to meet various dietary needs and preferences. For individuals with allergies or dietary restrictions, simple substitutions can make this dish more accessible. For example, replacing soy sauce with a gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos can make the dish gluten-free without compromising flavor. Similarly, for those avoiding nuts, ensuring that sesame oil and seeds are processed in a nut-free facility is crucial. These adaptations allow everyone to enjoy the dish without health concerns.

The Importance of High-Quality Ingredients

The quality of ingredients plays a significant role in the overall taste and texture of Crispy Sesame Chicken. Using fresh chicken, high-quality sesame oil, and organic vegetables can elevate the dish from good to great. Fresh garlic and ginger, as opposed to powdered forms, contribute to the sauce’s depth of flavor. Additionally, opting for organic sesame seeds can enhance the dish’s nuttiness. Investing in quality ingredients ensures a more flavorful and satisfying meal.

Interactive Dining Experience

Crisy Sesame Chicken often becomes the centerpiece of the dining table, offering an interactive experience for diners. Serving the dish alongside various sides and allowing guests to build their own plates fosters a communal and engaging mealtime. This approach not only caters to individual taste preferences but also encourages conversation and sharing among diners, turning a simple meal into a memorable event.

Sustainability Considerations

With growing awareness about sustainability and ethical eating, adapting Crispy Sesame Chicken recipes to align with these values is becoming more common. Using chicken from free-range, organic farming practices and sourcing locally-grown vegetables and herbs can reduce the dish’s environmental footprint. Furthermore, incorporating plant-based alternatives, like tofu or tempeh, can offer a sustainable option for those looking to reduce meat consumption without sacrificing the dish’s essence.

Sesame Chicken

Celebrating Diversity through Flavor

Crispy Sesame Chicken serves as a testament to the power of culinary diversity, blending flavors and techniques from different cultures. As it travels from its Chinese origins to global tables, it adopts local ingredients and preferences, becoming a symbol of cultural exchange. This evolution not only enriches the dish itself but also provides diners with a taste of global cuisine, celebrating the unity and diversity of culinary traditions.

The Role of Presentation in Culinary Arts

Presentation plays a crucial role in enhancing the appeal of Crispy Sesame Chicken. The contrast of the golden, crispy chicken with the shiny, reddish-brown sauce, sprinkled with white sesame seeds and green onions, offers an inviting visual experience. Serving the dish on a clean, white plate can accentuate its colors, textures, and elevate the overall dining experience. Culinary experts often emphasize the importance of eating with the eyes first; thus, a well-presented dish of Crispy Sesame Chicken can stimulate appetite and anticipation.

Incorporating Modern Cooking Techniques

Modern cooking techniques can bring a new dimension to the traditional recipe of Crispy Sesame Chicken. Methods such as air frying offer a healthier alternative to deep frying, reducing the oil content without compromising the crispiness of the chicken. Sous-vide cooking, on the other hand, can ensure the chicken is perfectly tender before it gets its crispy coating, enhancing the texture and flavor. These innovative approaches not only make the dish healthier but also more accessible to those looking for a lighter version of the classic.

The Educational Value of Cooking Traditional Dishes

Cooking traditional dishes like Crispy Sesame Chicken offers educational value, providing insights into the history, culture, and techniques behind the recipe. For aspiring chefs and culinary enthusiasts, exploring these traditional recipes can be a gateway to learning about different cuisines and the stories they tell. It encourages culinary exploration, fosters appreciation for cultural heritage, and enhances cooking skills through the practice of authentic and time-honored techniques.

Culinary Experimentation and Personal Growth

Finally, the journey of preparing Crispy Sesame Chicken encourages personal growth in the kitchen. It invites cooks to experiment with ingredients, techniques, and presentations, turning each cooking session into a learning experience. Through trial and error, feedback, and refinement, individuals can develop their culinary intuition, creativity, and confidence. This process not only leads to the mastery of a dish but also nurtures a lifelong passion for cooking and culinary arts.

Frequently Asked Questions about Crispy Sesame Chicken

Can I make Crispy Sesame Chicken without deep frying? Yes, you can prepare Crispy Sesame Chicken without deep frying by using an air fryer or baking it in the oven. These methods significantly reduce the oil content while still achieving a crispy texture. Ensure to spray the chicken lightly with oil and turn it halfway through cooking for even crispiness.

Is there a gluten-free version of Crispy Sesame Chicken? Absolutely. To make a gluten-free version, substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend and use tamari or coconut aminos instead of regular soy sauce. Ensure that all other ingredients, like sesame oil and chicken broth, are labeled gluten-free.

How can I make my Crispy Sesame Chicken sauce thicker? To thicken your sauce, mix a small amount of cornstarch with water to create a slurry, then stir it into the sauce while cooking over low heat. The sauce will thicken as it simmers. Adjust the amount of cornstarch slurry based on your desired consistency.

Can I prepare Crispy Sesame Chicken in advance? Yes, you can prepare parts of the dish in advance. The chicken can be marinated and coated, and the sauce can be prepared ahead of time. However, for the best texture, fry the chicken and toss it in the sauce just before serving to maintain its crispiness.

What are the best side dishes to serve with Crispy Sesame Chicken? Steamed rice, lo mein noodles, stir-fried vegetables, or a light salad are excellent companions for Crispy Sesame Chicken. These sides complement the flavors and provide a balanced meal.


Crispy Sesame Chicken encapsulates the essence of culinary delight, merging the crispy texture of fried chicken with the rich, aromatic flavors of sesame and a sweet, savory sauce. Its versatility and adaptability to various dietary preferences underscore its universal appeal. Whether you’re aiming for a traditional rendition or a healthier alternative, this dish offers endless possibilities for customization and innovation. Beyond its taste, Crispy Sesame Chicken serves as a bridge between cultures, inviting exploration into the rich tapestry of global cuisine. Engaging with this dish, from preparation to presentation, offers a fulfilling journey into the art of cooking, encouraging personal growth and a deeper appreciation for culinary diversity.


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Sesame Chicken

Crispy Sesame Chicken

  • Author: Recipe Step
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Crispy Sesame Chicken is a savory and slightly sweet dish featuring tender chicken thighs coated in a light, crispy batter, fried to perfection, and tossed in a flavorful sesame-infused sauce. Garnished with toasted sesame seeds and scallions, it’s a classic dish beloved for its balance of textures and flavors.


  • Marinating the Chicken:
    • 450g boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, 1-inch pieces
    • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
    • Black pepper, to taste
    • 1.5 tsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 tbsp starch
  • Coating and Frying:
    • 1 cup potato starch
    • Water (for fluffing starch)
    • Cooking oil (for deep frying)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 3 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2.5 tbsp soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp water
    • 2.5 tbsp ketchup
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • 2 tsp potato starch (mixed with 2 tsp water for thickening)
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1.5 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
    • Diced scallion (for garnish)


  1. Mix garlic, black pepper, soy sauce, salt, baking soda, egg white, and starch to marinate chicken. Let sit for 40 minutes.
  2. Prepare potato starch coating with water and coat marinated chicken evenly.
  3. Fry chicken pieces at 190°C (375°F) until crispy. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Combine sauce ingredients, excluding sesame oil and seeds, and heat until thickened.
  5. Toss fried chicken in sauce, then add sesame oil and seeds.
  6. Garnish with scallions and serve.


  • For a lighter version, air fry or bake the chicken instead of deep frying.
  • Gluten-free substitutions can be made with tamari and gluten-free flour.
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Asian


  • Calories: 500
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Fat: 28g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Protein: 23g

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