Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

Making ultra-flavorful restaurant-style crispy sesame chicken without a ton of sugar or deep frying. You can’t miss this dish! {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

You typically see two types of sesame chicken recipes. The first type replicates the takeout-style crispy sesame chicken but requires you to deep fry the chicken. The second type uses a simple stir fry approach, but doesn’t give you that crunchy surface. This recipe provides a better solution, so you can create the perfect crunchy, crispy chicken without deep frying.

Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

Why this recipe

Now here is the trick to creating crispy chicken with a crunchy coating that is like the takeout you’d get from Chinese restaurants, without making a mess.

  • The killer coating for extra crispy chicken.

Simply use the formula: oil + salt + egg + cornstarch

Not only does it season the chicken and make it flavorful, but it also yields an extra crispy exterior, even after you coat it with sauce.

  • You can use any cut of chicken you like.

Although I always prefer chicken thighs, you can use chicken breast and create awesome results, as well.

  • How to make crispy chicken with less oil.

The answer is by pan-frying, which requires just 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil to coat your skillet. Simply cook the chicken one side at a time until golden brown, and transfer it to a plate for a minute to cool. Taste a piece of chicken. You’ll be surprised at the juicy and flavorful interior and super crunchy coating.

  • Extra flavorful sauce with less sugar.

This recipe uses cooking wine, Chinkiang vinegar, and plenty of fresh herbs to create an extra fragrant sauce that is rich and delicious. Many recipes out there use half a cup (or a whole cup!) of sugar. This one uses just a quarter cup, but I guarantee the results will be amazing.

Ready to make some killer sesame chicken at home? Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy the dish as much as I do!

Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

More Chinese takeout recipes

Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

Make ultra-flavorful restaurant-style crispy sesame chicken without a ton of sugar or deep frying.
{Gluten Free Adaptable}
4.6 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: chinese american
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 448kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 1 lbs (450 g) chicken thighs , cut to bite-size chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch


  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry for gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (or rice vinegar for gluten-free)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds , toasted


  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 green onions , sliced


  • Combine chicken pieces, vegetable oil, and salt in a big bowl. Mix well and let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add the beaten egg into the bowl with the chicken. Stir to mix well. Add cornstarch. Stir to coat chicken, until it forms an uneven coating with a little dry cornstarch left unattached.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken all at once and spread out into a single layer in the skillet. Separate chicken pieces with a pair of tongs or chopsticks.
  • Cook without touching the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a big plate and remove the pan from the stove. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Wipe the extra oil from the pan using a few layers of paper towel held in a pair of tongs, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the garlic and green onion. Stir fry a few seconds to release the aroma.
  • Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch. Add to the pan and cook until thickened.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan and stir to mix well.
  • Transfer to a plate and serve hot over steamed rice.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 18.5g | Fat: 28.2g | Saturated Fat: 6.3g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 613mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 12.5g
Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)


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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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27 thoughts on “Crispy Sesame Chicken (without Deep Frying)

  1. Hawk

    Hello! This recipe looks really, good, but I think it might be missing a step? You have “Stir the sauce again” in step 6, but you don’t actually mention combining the sauce ingredients in the first place anywhere? I assume you just whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside until then, but I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Thanks!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Hawk, thanks so much for pointing out my mistake! Yes I forgot to write down the step of combing the sauce ingredients together. Will update the recipe now. Happy cooking 🙂

      1. Maggie Post author

        Dank is one of the only two German words I know so you’re totally fine 😉
        Happy cooking and hope your dish turns out great!

  2. Jennifer Tripp

    5 stars
    At least once a week I try one of your recipes. This was a huge success and left us wishing there were leftovers! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!

  3. DMK

    Hi, great site! This looks delicious. Maybe you can help me – I’m cooking for somebody who isn’t eating eggs or dairy currently; is there a good substitute for the eggs? Thanks!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Try using 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine to marinade the chicken and skip the egg. When you’re ready to cook, add enough cornstarch to coat the chicken. I believe it will turn out pretty well. Happy cooking and hope the dish turns out great 🙂

  4. Chit

    4 stars
    Making this is superb! So delicious like I ordered it from a real Chinese restaurant…but I think much better. Will land in my favorites! Thank you.

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Jess, no, I usually use vegetable oil or peanut oil to make this dish and use toasted sesame seeds to add the nuttiness. If you want a more intensive sesame flavor, you can add a small drizzle (like 1/2 teaspoon) of toasted sesame oil (the dark type) at the end of cooking. Adding sesame oil at the beginning of cooking is not the best option because the high heat during cooking will cause it to lose the nutty taste.
      Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy the dish 🙂

  5. Robert Nieboer

    Hi Maggie
    Sounds delicious! I’m a type 2 diabetic – is there a way that I can avoid the sugar?

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Robert, you can try to use 1/2 tablespoon stevia or 6 packets splenda to replace the sugar. The sweetness is very important in this recipe, otherwise your dish will turn out too sour.
      Let me know if you have more questions. Hope you’ll able to cook this one at home 🙂

  6. Anita

    Hi Maggie! I am a huge fan of your blog! If I want to make this chicken the day before, how do I reheat it to get the crunchy flavour again? Would I bake it?

  7. Karen

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    This recipe is a keeper, the technique is perfect for home cooks

    Delicious and surprisingly easy considering the wonderful flavor!

    And a thousand times better than takeout

  8. Debbie Mar

    Where have you been all my life? I am a former Beijinger (Lao wei) and I ‘ve missed these dishes!!! Thank you so much. I understand your methods clearly.

  9. Yusel Kho

    5 stars
    Hi Maggie. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe! We cooked it this morning and we love this so much!

  10. Marie-Andree

    4 stars
    Ok, I did not make this with chicken but used the sauce for a sesame salmon instead. It was very yummy! I added a TBSP of Hoisin and a TBSP of miso paste in the sauce. I started with a cup of chicken broth because we like more sauce, and reduced the sugar (will reduce even further in the future), double the cooking wine and the cornstarch. Pan seared the marinated salmon (Ponzu sauce and a little sesame oil), put aside, cook all my vegetables in order of cooking time (onion, garlic, celery, carrots, zucchini, yellow bell pepper, fresh corn, bock choi and green onion), before pouring in the sauce for a few minutes of simmering. Served over Jasmine rice. So good and healthy!

  11. Kristina

    Thank you for this recipe! The family loved it, unanimously ranking it #1 in the ‘please make this again’ list. We like things spicy so I did add some Sambal Oelek to the sauce. I also chopped some cilantro for garnish before serving. Next time I would also reduce the sugar a bit as well, but still great as is. I look forward to trying more of our recipes!

  12. Lisa

    Hi thank you for your recipes. Salt and pepper chicken was amazing.
    For the above recipe could insubstitte sugar or anything else, instead if the dry sherry
    Thank you

  13. MM

    5 stars
    I’m new to your recipes but this was the second one we tried. They were both great but this one was spectacular!! I love sesame chicken done *right* so this will definitely be a regular in our meal rotation! Thank you SO much for this deliciousness!