Sesame chicken never tasted so good with this refined-sugar free recipe and you have 3 recipes options: gluten free (no breading), breaded and baked, or breaded and pan fried. No matter which method you choose, you get all the incredible flavors of sesame chicken without loads of sodium and white sugar so enjoy a large portion!
Sesame Chicken is easily one of my favorite meals. I'm a sucker for salty and savory especially when there's a delicious sauce involved. It can be enjoyed with rice or noodles and you can pair it with your favorite vegetable! All around healthy sounding meal, right? I've made this dish even healthier by decreasing the sodium and there's no refined sugar, meaning no white or brown sugar.
If you check out the instructions they may look a little lengthy but that's because I've included instructions for 3 different version:
- No breading and sautéed in a skillet (gluten free version)
- Breaded and pan fried
- Breaded and baked
Large Batch Sesame Chicken Sauce
I kept making this recipe with a much bigger sauce recipe, then I kept shrinking it down until it was the perfect amount to coat the chicken while leaving a little sauce remaining for rice.
Here is the large version which is triple the amount I have below in the instructions. You can make a large batch and use what you need for this recipe and freeze the rest to have it ready on-hand for when you need a quick dinner!
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 6 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 cup liquid aminos
- ¼ cup no salt tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 5 teaspoons sesame oil
- 3 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 2 tablespoons water (add 2-4 more teaspoon water once cooled to thin it out until it's the consistency you want)
- Asian Style Ground Beef Stir Fry
- Healthy Chicken Lo Mein
- Mongolian Beef Bowl
- Sautéed Cabbage with Chia Seeds
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 5 ¼ tablespoon liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 ⅓ tablespoon tomato paste, no salt added
- 1 ⅓ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoon water (you can add 2-4 more teaspoon water once the sauce has cooled and thickened if you want to thin it)
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
For the Chicken
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1" cubes (equals about 4 cups cubed)
- toasted or raw sesame seeds and fresh green onion for garnish
- olive oil for cooking
Option for No-Breaded Chicken (gluten free)
- salt and pepper to taste before cooking
Option for Breading for the Chicken
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup oatmeal/flour (I use blended rolled oats)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (don't be tempted to over salt this)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Non-Breaded Chicken (gluten free): make the sauce and continue to next instruction.Breaded + Baking Method: preheat oven to 400°F, make the sauce, then jump to Baking Method. Breaded + Pan Frying: make the sauce, then jump to Pan Fry Method.
Make the Sauce
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Heat on med-low heat 8-10 minutes with lid on until bubbling, stirring occasionally (I like to use a chopstick). Remove from heat with lid off to allow to set and thicken more. with lid on.
No-Breaded Method for Chicken (gluten free)
- Pat chicken dry and cut into 1" cubes. Season with sea salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet on medium heat with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add chicken and leave untouched, with lid on, for 4-6 minutes. Chicken should start to no longer stick to the pan. Remove lid and drain any excess liquid and flip/sauté chicken until lightly golden brown (about 10-15 minutes total cook time). Add a tad more olive oil if needed to avoid sticking. Transfer chicken to a large bowl.NOTE: You may need to cook chicken in 2 batches because you don't want to over crowd the pan.
- Scrape any excess juices off the skillet, then return chicken back to the skillet along with the sauce. Coat chicken in the sauce and heat on medium-low heat until the sauce is heated through. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with rice or noodles and your choice of vegetable!
Baking Method for Chicken
- Prepare the chicken by patting it dry and cutting it into approximately 1" cubes.Prepare 2 large bowls. In one bowl crack a single egg and whisk. In the second bowl combine all ingredients for the breading.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add cubed chicken into the egg bowl and mix thoroughly to coat.
- Using either your fingers or a fork transfer the chicken 1 piece at a time into the breading mixture bowl. Coat chicken with the breading. I like to use my hands so I can be gentle and make sure the chicken is coated well. Repeat with all chicken. TIP: Use one hand to remove chicken from egg, and the other to coat with flour to keep 1 hand for dry mix and 1 hand for wet.Spray parchment paper with olive oil (for texture, not for sticking)Transfer breaded chicken to your baking sheet, making sure chicken doesn't touch.Spray chicken with olive oil making sure to hold the spray bottle high above the chicken so you don't knock off any breading. Option to respray with olive oil or flick water on the chicken half way through the bake to keep moist and for golden color.Bake at 400° for 28-30 minutes or until lightly browned (you're not getting a deep golden brown here as you would with stand-alone baked chicken nuggets.
- Remove chicken nuggets from oven and transfer to a large skillet. Pour in sauce and heat on low-medium heat until sauce is heated through. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve with rice or noodles and a vegetable of you choice!
Pan Fry Method for the Chicken
- Prepare the chicken by patting it dry and cutting it into approximately 1" cubes.Prepare 2 large bowls. In one bowl crack a single egg and whisk. In the second bowl combine all ingredients for the breading.If pan frying, prepare a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil after frying.
- Heat pan on low-medium meat (level 3 on electric range) until it sizzles when you trickle a little water on it.
- Add cubed chicken into the egg bowl and mix thoroughly to coat.
- Using either your fingers or a fork transfer the chicken 1 piece at a time into the breading mixture bowl. Coat chicken with the breading. I like to use my hands so I can be gentle and make sure the chicken is coated well. Repeat with all chicken. TIP: Use one hand to remove chicken from egg, and the other to coat with flour to keep 1 hand for dry mix and 1 hand for wet.
- Once the pan is hot, transfer the chicken pieces 1 at a time onto the pan and cover. Pan fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown then flip using metal tongs.After another 4-5 minutes on second side, transfer nuggets to the plate covered in paper towel to absorb excess oil.(note) You might need to pan fry them in 2 batches so they're not crowded.
- Scrap excess breading off your skillet and return chicken nuggets to the skills along with the sauce. Heat on low-medium heat until sauce is heated through. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve with rice or noodles and a vegetable of you choice!