Honey Sesame Chicken

Published March 8, 2013. Updated May 14, 2019

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Honey Sesame Chicken is a Chinese takeout classic that’s packed with flavor! This homemade version is even better than what you’ll get at the restaurant and it’s a dinner everyone can agree on. Bite-sized pieces of chicken are fried and tossed with the most irresistible sweet and sticky sauce.

Honey Sesame Chicken atop bed of white rice with chopsticks

Honey Sesame Chicken

I’ve never really been completely in love with Chinese food. 19 times out of 20 I’d pick Italian, Mexican or all American pizza over Chinese food, but my taste buds are really starting to crave it more lately.

To be honest, I don’t know how much a dish like this honey sesame chicken could really be considered a Chinese dish, it’s probably more of an American Chinese type entree. Either way, it is completely delicious. It definitely satisfies that craving for Chinese takeout.

If you’ve never used sesame oil before, keep in mind it’s powerful stuff so even though this recipe requires just a few teaspoons a little goes a long way. It’s almost like an extract, its so potently flavorful.

It has a very savory and deep tone to it with hints of smokiness. Once you taste it, you may go, ahh that is what the underlying flavor of that tasty entree I had at that Chinese restaurant was that I just couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Honey Sesame Chicken Ingredients

For the honey sesame chicken sauce, you’ll need:

  • Chicken broth
  • Honey
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • White vinegar
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Cold water

And for the chicken, you’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Baking powder
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Sesame seed and green onions, for garnish

close up of Honey Sesame Chicken garnished with sesame seeds and green onions

How to Make Honey Sesame Chicken

  • First, make the honey sesame sauce. Combine all ingredients but the cornstarch and water in a small saucepan, then bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, mix together cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. Once the mixture in the saucepan is boiling, stir in the cornstarch slurry.
  • Reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer until thickened.
  • Pour oil into large cast iron pot and heat until 350 degrees F. Whisk eggs in small bowl. Combine cornstarch and baking powder in another bowl.
  • Dip chicken in eggs, then in cornstarch mixture. Fry until golden.
  • Toss fried chicken with sauce to coat, then plate and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

How Can I Make This Dish a Little Healthier?

If you wanted to make this honey sesame chicken recipe a bit healthier, you could replace the whole eggs with 2 egg whites, reduce the cornstarch mixture to 1/4 cup as well as 1/4 tsp baking powder.

Then combine the cornstarch/baking powder mixture with the egg whites and toss the chicken into mixture, sauté the chicken in a wok or large non-stick skillet with a few tablespoons of oil rather than deep frying in several cups of oil.

Also, if going the lighter route, you can cut the sauce recipe in half. Whichever way you make it I hope you enjoy!

Can I Make This in a Slow Cooker?

Most likely, yes, but you’d need to adjust the amount of cornstarch in this recipe. Without having tested this in the slow cooker myself, I can’t say for sure what adjustments in particular need to be made!

Tips for the Best Honey Sesame Chicken

  • Fry the chicken in batches so you don’t lower the temperature of the oil too much.
  • Once fried, place the chicken onto a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  • Fried chicken is best enjoyed day of, as it loses its crispness in the fridge.

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4.67 from 3 votes

Honey Sesame Chicken

A classic Chinese dish that's packed with flavor! This homemade version is even better than what you'll get at the restaurant and it's a dinner everyone can agree on. Bite size pieces of chicken a deep fried and tossed with the most irresistible sweet and sticky sauce.
Servings: 4
Prep20 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes



  • In a small saucepan combine chicken broth, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, onion, garlic, ginger and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, meanwhile in a small bowl whisk together 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water until well blended. 
  • Once mixture has reached a boil, whisk cornstarch and water mixture into honey mixture, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook stirring constantly until mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep warm.
  • Pour vegetable oil into a large cast iron dutch oven, filling pot about 1 1/2-inches deep and heat oil to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a shallow dish until well blended.
  • Pour remaining 1 cup cornstarch into a separate shallow dish, add in baking powder and whisk well to blend. Dip chicken pieces into egg followed by cornstarch and toss pieces to evenly coat in cornstarch. 
  • Carefully place 1/3 of the chicken pieces into preheated oil and cook for 5 - 7 minutes until golden, turning once during cooking. 
  • Using skimmer, remove fried chicken from oil and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil. Repeat process with remaining chicken working in two more batches. 
  • Pour drained fried chicken into a bowl and toss with sauce and sesame seeds. Serve warm over white or brown rice garnished with green onions if desired.


  • Fried chicken is best enjoyed day of, as it loses its crispness in the fridge. 
Nutrition Facts
Honey Sesame Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 643 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Cholesterol 191mg64%
Sodium 1146mg50%
Potassium 891mg25%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 36g40%
Protein 42g84%
Vitamin A 170IU3%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 100mg10%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.