Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken


I love Chinese take-out recipes but I don’t love the frying and calories that comes with most of it, so this time around I’ve lightened up the classic Honey-Sesame Chicken! And trust me you won’t even miss the frying! It’s still totally flavorful and it even has a light battered crust around the chicken, and of course it’s finished off with a generous amount of sesame seeds for that finishing crunch. This is one of those recipes that’s so good I’d have no complaints whatsoever about having it on a weekly basis! It may just become a weeknight regular for you. Plus it’s a crowd pleaser, this is one of those recipes that anyone would love, both young and old alike.

Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken | Cooking Classy

I served mine up with brown rice to keep it healthier (white is prettier so I used white for pictures), but use whatever you like. I loved it with a side of steamed broccoli (you’ll want about 1 lb crowns, stems removed) but it would be also be good with green beans or a sauteed bell peppers, matchstick carrot, snow pea blend. Total comfort food without all the guilt right here and you’re going to love it!

Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken | Cooking Classy Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken | Cooking ClassyLighter Honey-Sesame Chicken | Cooking Classy Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken | Cooking Classy Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken | Cooking Classy


Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken

5 from 3 votes

Yield: 4 servings



  • 2 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced , peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth , divided
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts , diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and white or black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil , peanut oil or extra-light olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 3 green onions , sliced
  • Cooked white or brown rice , for serving


  1. For the sauce:
  2. Heat sesame oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add garlic and ginger and saute 30 seconds. Stir in 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp of the chicken broth, the honey, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a liquid measuring cup whisk together remaining 2 Tbsp chicken broth with 1 Tbsp cornstarch until well combined. Pour into simmering sauce mixture and allow to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. For the chicken:
  4. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together cornstarch, egg whites, salt and pepper until well blended and slightly frothy. Add in chicken and toss to evenly coat. Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken (work to space evenly apart and tilt pan slightly as needed to evenly distribute oil) and cook, turning pieces occasionally, until cooked through and outsides are golden brown, about 7 minutes (reduce heat slightly to medium heat as needed). Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat process with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and chicken.
  5. Return chicken on plate to pan with other chicken, add sauce and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve warm over white or brown rice.
  6. Recipe source: Cooking Classy



  • Medha @ Whisk & Shout: I love the lightened up take on a takeout classic! Yum :) September 2, 2015 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Aslı: Mmm…Honey and Chicken…Looks delicious. :) September 3, 2015 at 12:14am Reply

  • Kelly: Oh my goodness, this looks and sounds amazing and your food photography is terrific!

    xx Kelly September 3, 2015 at 7:06am Reply

  • Andria: Made this for dinner tonight and my super picky 4 and 6 year olds gobbled it up! It was delicious and easy! Great recipe! September 3, 2015 at 7:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad your family liked it even the picky eaters :)! Thanks for your review Andria! September 3, 2015 at 10:48pm Reply

  • Lynn: The lighter honey sesame chicken is delicious. I made it today for our dinner. Thank You for the recipe September 3, 2015 at 8:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it Lynn! Thanks for your feedback! September 3, 2015 at 10:47pm Reply

  • LF: Your recipes look amazing! I was wondering though, do you post the nutritional information anywhere? September 4, 2015 at 6:22am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I don’t have that info. September 4, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

  • Suzanne: Made this tonight for dinner. The flavour is delicious but for some reason the cornstarch coating on the chicken didn’t work so that kind of ruined the texture a wee bit. Would definitely make again but miss out the coating for the chicken and just wok cook it then cover in the sauce. Think that would work just as well.
    Clean plates all round tonight anyway : ) September 9, 2015 at 1:03pm Reply

  • sneha: Made this for dinner tonight and my super picky 4 and 6 year olds gobbled it up! It was delicious and easy! Great recipe :) September 13, 2015 at 1:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad even your picky eaters enjoyed it :)! Thanks for your feedback Sneha! September 13, 2015 at 10:04am Reply

  • Elizabeth jankowski: I made this tonight and it was delicious. I had a lot of trouble with the chicken sticking to the pan. Did anyone else experience this? Any tips to prevent this?

    Thanks. January 17, 2016 at 1:09pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You can add a little more oil and that should help, also be sure to use a good non-stick pan. Glad you enjoyed it! January 18, 2016 at 8:23am Reply

  • Jess: Can I substitute ground ginger in the sauce somehow? I don’t generally keep ginger on hand and hate to buy it and it go to waste in the fridge. February 11, 2016 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Debbie: Made this for dinner tonight. Loved it and will be making it again soon!
    I used a little less oil to sauté the chicken and it worked very well.

    Thank you! February 19, 2016 at 7:07pm Reply

  • Annette: At 1:00 this afternoon I had nothing planned for dinner and no meat defrosted. I asked hubby for an idea for dinner. I knew I had time to defrost chicken breasts (we don’t defrost in the microwave) and he sent me this recipe. I made it tonight and it was delicious, simple and not time consuming. This is going in the regular rotation. June 1, 2016 at 5:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear it was enjoyed Annette! June 1, 2016 at 6:20pm Reply

  • Angel: How many calories? June 2, 2016 at 5:51pm Reply

  • Thomas De La Cerda: OMG…I came across this recipe as I was doing a Google search for a healthier version of Sesame Chicken. I actually had every single ingredient to make this dish so no need to go to the grocery store. This recipe was DELICIOUS! The chicken came out tender, the sauce was flavorful and was a huge hit for dinner. Quick and simple! Although I’m not sure how it will help my waist line as I had two servings…I couldn’t resist!! I’ve already bookmarked this website and signed up for the newsletter. I also saw a recipe for slow cooker beef and broccoli…can’t wait to try that one as well as look at the other recipes! Thanks Jaclyn for creating such an amazing blog! Thomas – Tucson, AZ November 30, 2016 at 9:49am Reply

  • Jugun priyanka: Is the chicken broth compulsory to add. If not what it’s substite August 1, 2017 at 6:58am Reply

  • Gwen: Thank you, thank you. Fantastic recipe and hubby enjoyed. Will definitely make again. Would like to try it on visit to see mom. November 18, 2017 at 4:09am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome! Thanks for leaving a review! November 20, 2017 at 3:47pm Reply

  • Vicki: Delish!!! Making a meal for my dairy gluten free friends and this was great!
    Thank you February 18, 2018 at 4:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for taking the time to leave a review Vicki! February 21, 2018 at 10:45am Reply

  • Connie Andersen: Made it tonight. One of my favorites – delicious. Told a friend about it and she is making it too. Husband also loved it. I would also like to try beef and broccili in a crock pot. March 30, 2018 at 7:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad to hear it’s been enjoyed! Thanks for sharing! March 31, 2018 at 10:57am Reply

  • jennifer: i made this last week and my husband even took some for lunch the next day. he bragged to everybody how it tasted totally authentic, just like take-out. I will be making it this evening as well. May 23, 2018 at 10:09am Reply

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