Sweet Spicy Sesame Chicken

Sweet Spicy Sesame Chicken with extra sesame seeds and green onion

I really like Americanized Chinese food. It’s probably to the point where I’d much rather have some Panda Express Beijing Beef than beef hot-pot in Beijing. And after living in Beijing for nearly 5 years…I had plenty of hot-pot. This recipe for sweet spicy sesame chicken is my go to when I have a craving for some American Chinese food.

This recipe is easiest if you have a wok and a gas burner, but if not you can totally do it in a pan as well. In fact, it really doesn’t take long at all. The only annoying part is that it is a bit of a mess since you have to batter and fry meat.

How To Make Sweet Spicy Sesame Chicken

Because this is sweet spicy sesame chicken it is important to balance the sweetness and the spiciness. In my recipe I use Thai sweet chili sauce. I also add some honey and chili paste as well, but if you don’t like things spicy then you can leave out the chili paste. Also important is that you use Dark Soy Sauce. This is essential when making Chinese food because it is thicker and stronger than its delicate Japanese counterpart. I use Lee Kum Kee, a popular condiment brand from Hong Kong.

Chicken dredging station

Many Chinese food recipes call for corn starch, but I decided to take a hint from my Korean Fried Chicken Recipe and my Spicy Korean Fried Chicken recipe and use potato starch. If you can’t find potato starch, corn is a 1:1 substitute. Other parts of the dredging station are beaten egg and seasoned flour.

chicken pieces coated in potato starch

After coating the bite size chicken pieces in potato starch, dipping in egg, and rolling in flour it’s time to fry. If you use a wok you will know how much oil to use depending on the size. If you are using a pan I suggest enough oil to just cover the entire bottom. As you add chicken the oil will rise, and then you just flip the pieces after a minute for the other side.

As you can see, my pan bows out a bit in the middle so I had to keep my chicken pieces to the edges where the oil pooled.

Once the chicken is done, scoop it out with a slotted ladle and put it on paper towel lined plates. The sweet spicy sesame chicken sauce should be made first, and then after you take the chicken out pour the sauce directly into the hot pan. If you are using a wok you may need to discard some of the oil; you want just about 3 tbsp left.

When the sauce has reduced about 30% you can add the chicken back in and give everything a good toss. Top with a generous helping of sesame seeds. This sweet spicy sesame chicken dish goes best with freshly steamed white rice.

This sweet spicy sesame chicken is definitely Asian inspired. American Chinese food base, Korean starch technique, and served up in a Japanese donburi bowl.

Sweet Spicy Sesame Chicken

A delicious American Chinese food recipe for sweet spicy sesame chicken. Quick to make and great with rice.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine American-Chinese, Chinese, Fusion
Servings 4 people


  • pan or wok


Sweet Spicy Sesame Chicken

  • 4 Chicken Breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 75 grams Potato Starch you'll need less than 75 grams most likely, but having more helps to coat everything better
  • 150 grams Flour AP is fine
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Paprika I used Hungarian sweet smoked paprika
  • 3 Eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp MSG optional. I know some people believe that MSG is bad for you, but it's not and it helps the dish.
  • 100 ml Sunflower Oil more or less depending on the size of your pan. I just use enough to coat the bottom, see pictures for example. You can also use other oil like avocado or rapeseed.
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds or less if you don't want it to be too sesame-y

Sweet Spicy Sesame Sauce

  • 60 ml Dark Soy Sauce Lee Kum Kee is a good brand for this
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Chili Paste optional, leave out if you don't like spicy
  • 3 tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 5 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 tsp Red Chili Flakes


  • In a mixing bowl add all the sauce ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.
  • Set up three bowls/dishes. One for the beaten egg, one for the flour, and one for the potato starch. I suggest using a mixing bowl for the potato starch so you can just toss to coat all the chicken pieces. For the seasoned flour add the flour, salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and msg.
  • Set a pan or a wok on high heat and add the oil. Toss the chicken in the corn starch, then dip in beaten egg, then in the seasoned flour. Place the chicken into the hot oil for about 1 minute per side. Make sure the chicken pieces aren't touching. When done, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  • When all the chicken is done (and you have about 3 tbsp of oil left in the pan, if you have too much you can pour some out) pour the sauce directly into the hot pan. It may bubble and sputter a bit, but just stir it around for a bit. When the sauce is about 30% reduced then reintroduce the chicken and give everything a good toss. Add the sesame seeds and toss again.
  • Plate this sweet spicy sesame chicken with white rice and green onion. Enjoy!


This dish will hold for a week in a sealed container in the fridge. But I doubt it will last that long!
Keyword Easy Chinese Food, Sweet Spicy Sesame Chicken

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