Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

This sesame air fryer chicken is a great restaurant substitute since it has all the flavor without the calories of a traditional sesame chicken. This healthier spin on a Chinese takeout staple, made with air-fried sesame chicken, is quick and simple to make at home.

sesame chicken in a bowl with green onion garnish
perfectly crisp and juicy sesame chicken from air frying

Served with crispy golden fried chicken and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, this sesame chicken dish has an enticing yummy sauce, just like my bang bang and sweet chili chicken.

This air fryer sesame chicken differs mainly in that it is cooked using an air fryer rather than a deep fryer. The delicious sauce is still drizzled over the crispy chicken pieces.

I typically eat Chinese at least once or twice a week. It’s one of my favorite go-to meals, especially the sweet / spicy dishes. This recipe is a tad spicy, but not overpowering, and it goes great with just about any side.

ingredients for sesame chicken in clear bowls on a white table
sesame chicken ingredients

What you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN:

  • chicken breast fillets
  • eggs
  • cornstarch
  • all-purpose flour
  • soy sauce
  • minced garlic
  • minced ginger
  • Oil for brushing
sauce mixture in a bowl

INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE:

  • sesame oil
  • minced garlic- fresh is best
  • brown sugar
  • soy sauce
  • ketchup
  • hoisin sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • Chilli paste
  • cornstarch (mixed in water)

You can’t go wrong with a dinner that tastes just as good as takeout, but is much lighter, healthier, and cheaper.

How to make sesame chicken in air fryer

Although the chicken looks like it came from a restaurant kitchen, you can easily prepare it at home. Let’s begin with some delicious, crispy chicken.

You can make crispy, juicy chicken by coating it with corn starch, spraying it with cooking spray, and then air frying it.

marinating chicken
marinate
chicken in an air fryer
air fry
golden air fryer chicken bits
remove when golden
  1. Combine the chicken bits, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, chopped ginger, garlic, and soy sauce in a mixing dish and set aside for as least 30 minutes.
  2. In a mixing dish, whisk together the eggs. Meanwhile, combine all-purpose flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl, seasoning with the remaining (1/4 teaspoon) salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and dip them into the egg. Place the egg-coated chicken on a dish and roll it in the cornstarch and all-purpose flour mixture.
  4. Preheat the air fryer to 350 for 5 minutes. Brush the chicken pieces with a little oil and place them in the basket. Apply a little layer of oil on the top. Cook on one side for 6-7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
    Remove.
table set with rice and sesame chicken in a bowl

Sauce for sesame chicken

Finally, we’ll need something to top it all off: a great sauce.

sautéing garlic in a frying pan
oil + garlic
sauce in a frying pan
sauce ingredients + boil
coating chicken in sesame sauce
coat
  1. Combine soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, chili paste, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch mixture in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a pan and add minced garlic; cook for a few seconds.
    Cook for a few minutes, or until the sauce thickens/ is boiling, before adding the sauce mixture.
  3. Finally, add the air-fried chicken and toss the pieces in the sauce until the sauce thickens and the chicken is thoroughly covered.

The sauce achieves just the right amount of thickening with more corn starch to create that beautiful sesame sheen.

spoon scooping up a yummy bite of glazed sesame chicken
don’t forget the sesame seeds

Sides for sesame chicken

When I order this chicken from my favorite Chinese restaurant, they always serve it with broccoli, which is just how I want it. And, it’s the perfect simple dinner with a side of sticky white rice or other healthy steamed veggies.

In addition, I’ve used this chicken as a chicken poke bowl, and it’s delicious. Make a bed of edamame and pile on the toppings, such as sliced carrot sticks, wonton strips, and scallions.

a bowl of rice served with sesame chicken and cilantro garnish
Best served with veggies and rice

FAQ

How to prevent sticking: Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper for optimum results.

How to garnish: Sprinkle sesame seeds and scallions on top, and now your dish is the perfect copycat recipe of your fave Chinese takeout.

For the most flavor: The more time you let the chicken sit in the marinade, the more flavorful it will turn out. Mix chicken pieces with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, minced ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. There’s no need to worry if you just have time to marinade for a couple hours.

bowl of sesame chicken with rice

For the best sauce: Boil the sauce right before serving, even if you’ve already combined everything together. You don’t want the sauce to over-thicken if chilled ahead of time. 

Note: Keep the chicken and sauce separate until you are ready to serve it. To serve, remove the hot chicken from the air fryer, pour the hot sauce over it, and mix to combine. This method ensures that the chicken coating will maintain its irresistible crunch.

sesame chicken in a bowl with sesame seed topping and garnish

Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

This air fryer sesame chicken is sprinkled with yummy glaze, sesame seeds and scallions on top. Now air fry your favorite Chinese takeout right at home!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Rest Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 643 kcal

Equipment

  • Air fryer

Ingredients
  

Chicken Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breast filets cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced, ow ginger powder
  • 1 tsp oil for brushing

Sauce Ingredients

Garnish

Instructions
 

Chicken instructions

  • In a bowl, mix chicken pieces with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, minced ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl.
  • Take a separate bowl and mix all-purpose flour and cornstarch, season with remaining (1/4th tsp) salt and pepper.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and dip the chicken pieces in the egg. Roll the egg coated chicken in the cornstarch and all-purpose flour mixture and place it on a plate.
  • Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 180-degree C / 350-degrees F. Brush the basket with little oil and put the coated chicken pieces in it. Brush some oil on the top. Cook for 6-7 minutes on one side, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Set aside.

Sauce instructions

  • In a bowl, stir together soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, chili paste, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch mixture.
  • In a pan, heat sesame oil and add minced garlic, sauté it for a few seconds.
  • Add the sauce mixture and cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Finally, add the air-fried chicken and toss the chicken pieces until the sauce thickens and the chicken is well coated in the sauce.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro and serve hot with steamed or fried rice.

Notes

Storage: You can store the sesame chicken in an airtight container for 5 days in the refrigerator or around 3 months in the freezer.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 643kcalCarbohydrates: 96gProtein: 34gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 2170mgPotassium: 600mgFiber: 4gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 231IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 6mg
Keyword Chinese air fryer recipe, healthy, homemade, sesame chicken, takeout
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