Ditch the deep-fryer and whip up a takeout-inspired recipe for Crispy Baked Sesame Chicken made with just a few simple ingredients.
It doesn’t get much better than homemade chicken nuggets tossed in a sweet, garlicky sesame soy sauce. But what if I told you that you could achieve that extra-crispy chicken nugget crunch sans any deep-frying?
It is indeed possible, all thanks to simply swapping the fryer for the oven!
Crispy Baked Sesame Chicken has become an instant family favorite around our house. The boys love the combo of the bite-size nuggets and the oh-so-addicting sesame sauce that’s both sweet and tangy in every bite, and I love that it’s on my dinner table (both literally and figuratively) in less than 40 minutes!
The real secret to the one-two punch of crunchy and juicy chicken is that this recipe is made with chicken thighs, rather than chicken breasts.
I’m a big believer in chicken thighs being super underrated in the poultry department. That being said, you can 100% make this recipe with chicken breast nuggets if you prefer white meat to dark meat.
As the chicken bakes, you’ll have just enough time to whip up the sesame chicken sauce, which is a flavor-packed combo of soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar. A little cornstarch slurry gives it that essential syrupy consistency in mere minutes.
All that’s left to do is toss together the DIY nuggets and sticky-sweet sauce for the ultimate Crispy Baked Sesame Chicken!
Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
For the chicken:
- Cooking spray
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch, mixed with 2 Tablespoons water
- Sesame seeds, for serving
Make the chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease it generously with cooking spray.
- Trim any fat from the chicken thighs and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- Add the flour and salt to a sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag, press out any air then seal the bag shut. Shake the bag until the chicken pieces are coated on all sides.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs.
- Add the breadcrumbs to a second shallow dish.
- Remove each piece of chicken from the bag and shake off any excess flour. Dip the chicken in the eggs, shake off any excess, then dip it in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat the chicken on all sides. Repeat the coating process with all of the chicken pieces, arranging them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray then bake them for 10 minutes. Flip each chicken piece once then continue baking until cooked through and crispy, an additional 5 to 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, make the sauce.
Make the sauce:
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, add the vegetable oil and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and brown sugar. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil then whisk in the cornstarch mixture and boil until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and add it to a large bowl. Drizzle the sauce on top and toss to combine. Garnish the chicken with sesame seeds and serve.
Did you try this recipe?
Share it with the world! Mention @justataste or tag #justatasterecipes!
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
Eating now as I type! We love it! Might double the sauce next time cause the fam loves it over the rice!! It will become a regular for sure! Thanks for sharing!!!
You are so welcome, Amy! I’m thrilled your family enjoyed the recipe!
I made this last night and it was fantastic!!! I used coconut flour, and took one of the suggestions above and used rice cake crumbs. I’ve never used rice cake crumbs as a substitute for Panko, but they were just right. I also added half the amount of sugar for the sauce, and it was perfect.
AWESOME! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Susan!
Can I use rice vinegar if I don’t have rice wine vinegar?
this looks delicious! does it rewarm well? I’m thinking about cooking it in advance
Yes it definitely rewarms well!
Can you make this with boneless chicken breasts instead of thighs? I want to try this but don’t want to mess with perfection!
I don’t post a lot of reviews, but I made this last night and it was fantastic! The recipe does make a lot of sauce, which is great because we saved the rest and I’ll just have to make this for dinner again soon! So, SO good. Highly recommended.
Thank you so much for taking the time to review this recipe, Jen! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!
Delicious! The chicken came out so crunchy!! Definitely adding this to my dinner line up. I only had Rice Cooking Wine so used that since I couldn’t find rice wine vinegar specifically at the store. Probably could cut the sauce recipe in half as it makes a lot. The sauce is really well balances not too salty and not too sweet.
I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Katie!
Loved this recipe and the sauce just takes it to the next level. I made this with stir fried veggie noodles using the sauce as the base and it was absolutely delicious. Thanks for the great recipe Kelly!
You are so welcome, Natalie! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
Legit the BEST homemade Chinese-style dish ever. Discovered this recipe during quarantine and it has become a staple. I use chicken breasts instead of thighs just as a personal preference. I double the batch and freeze half. It’s a super convenient freezer meal- just make the broccoli and rice!
AMAZING! I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Allison!
Why do they get sprayed with cooking spray before baking? I don’t have any cooking spray, so not sure if I should “sprinkle” with evoo or something or if I can most likely safely skip this step? I will foil/lightly oil with canola oil the tray so they don’t stick when it’s time to flip them. TIA!
Hi Kerry – The cooking spray moistens the breadcrumbs so that they crisp up but olive oil will work, too!
Making this tomorrow. So what do you think to go with it (Husband sadly won’t do broccoli). White rice with celery- match stick (julienned) carrots- and peapods (sugar snap peas)? He doesn’t eat onion or peppers so maybe this will do??
That sounds perfect, Alison! I hope you and your husband enjoy the recipe!
Any chance of getting nutritional info with your recipes. Sort of thinking, if you have to ask how many calories, probably shouldn’t eat it! :-)))
Hi Carol! You can find the estimated nutritional info by clicking on the purple button below the recipe that says ESTIMATED NUTRITION INFORMATION. :)
This is absolutely am amazing home meal. I hosted friends with this and my group included a chef, everyone including the chef was amazed that this was a home cooked meals. It is definitely being added to my go to meals.
Love reading this, Jeffery! I’m so happy everyone enjoyed the recipe!
Made this twice and it is delicious!! I’m off to 3 other recipes of yours to rate. Loving your site; it’s beautifully arranged and right to the point. You’re also lovely to watch on video!
Awe, thank you so much, Karen! I’m thrilled you’ve been enjoying Just a Taste!
This was SO GOOD. I can’t do gluten so I was searching for a recipe that I could use to make sesame chicken at home. I subbed GF flour/rice cake crumbs/soy sauce and this was absolutely amazing. Thank you!
Woohoo! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Karin!
What is the nutrition information on this recipe? Thanks!
Hi Demi! You can find the estimated nutritional info for one serving by clicking on the purple button below the recipe that says ESTIMATED NUTRITION INFORMATION. :)
I’m not sure why there are so few reviews here, but I figure I should add one. This is an awesome recipe that I have made several times now. I’m an expat who is missing a trip “home” this year due to the global pandemic. I hosted a few people for an American style Chinese takeout meal the other day. This was a big hit! Thanks for the recipe.
I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Kristen! And thank you so much for leaving a review! :)
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Angela!
I made this for the first time last week and it was a knockout! An absolute crowd pleaser, and is now firmly in our family’s “Can we have …” list!
I even did another batch over the weekend and put them in the freezer, but I’m thinking they will be gone by this weekend!
Woohoo! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, David!
I found two kinds of the sesame oil … which one do you suggest? Thank you.
Hi Joan! Any kind of sesame oil will work but I prefer a toasted sesame oil because it has a stronger flavor and adds a deliciously nutty dimension to the dish. :)
Since fresh chicken is hard to come by at the moment, I put this sauce on freezer-aisle chicken nuggets and HOLY COW…soooooo good!
Yesssss! So glad you enjoyed it, Carly!
HI, just wondering why my sauce is so dark. I see that yours is light. What did I do wrong?
Hi Joy – My sauce is fairly dark, too. Did you follow the recipe as written?
Did I read that right? A cup of brown sugar? Can’t wait to try it. Looks delicious!
Yes! I hope you enjoy the recipe, Roxie!
Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try.
Looking forward to hearing your results, Miranda!