One-Pot Sesame Chicken Recipe

Who doesn't love a healthy one-pot meal? Try our One-Pot Sesame Chicken Recipe for an easy weeknight meal you'll want to add to your weekly rotation of delicious, clean eating recipes.

Growing up, getting take-out from the local Chinese restaurant was a real treat. My mother always cooked because there wasn’t a lot of room in the budget for expensive restaurant meals. Going out to eat was reserved for special occasions or especially busy weekends. You know, the ones where my siblings and I all had swim meets, soccer matches, and piano recitals on the same day.

Chinese take-out was always especially welcomed because of my favorite dish, sesame chicken. I loved those deep-fried chunks of chicken, but it was really about the sauce. Every bite was coated in that sweet, sour, and savory glaze packed with toasted sesame flavor. It was a magical experience—my mother didn’t cook anything like it. Making this meal at home seemed impossible.

Fast forward a few years and here I am, an accomplished cook, but I’ve still never made sesame chicken. No matter how many foods I make from scratch, my childhood favorite has stayed out there in the realm of impossibility. That is, until I discovered this easy, healthy one-pot sesame chicken recipe.

Ditching the MSG

Chinese restaurants are infamous for using MSG to amp up the flavor of their dishes. Monosodium glutamate is a chemical compound that is used to enhance the flavor of food. It brings an “umami” component to your dish, adding flavors which naturally occur in Parmesan cheese or mushrooms.

My mother always added “…and no MSG” when she ordered Chinese food. She was a firm believer that this chemical was responsible for giving her headaches, feelings of sluggishness, and achy limbs. Was it the culprit? We still don’t quite know.

Ask a hundred people what they think about MSG and you’ll get a hundred different responses. The science is still out on the chemical, and there are no conclusive studies that prove that MSG creates these side effects. But, whether it’s placebo or true, people still complain of headaches after eating MSG-rich foods.

I can’t say one way or another if it’s good or bad. While I personally don’t feel side effects, I trust my mother’s reactions that she knows her body better than anyone. I always try to avoid it anyway, which makes a great excuse to make foods from scratch—like homemade hoisin sauce. I like to know 100 percent of the ingredients that go into making it. This also helps me control my sugar intake, too.

All You Need Is One Pot

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on to the best part of this healthy sesame chicken recipe. You can make it in one pot! I love healthy one-pot meals because they make it easier to cook on weeknights. I find that if I only have one pot to clean up, I’m that much more likely to cook.

We start by browning the chicken in the sesame oil. This creates these roasty little bits at the bottom of the pan. In classic French cooking, this is called fond, which roughly translates to “base.” These browned bits are like super concentrated flavor capsules. When you add liquid, the bits dissolve to create the base of a flavorful sauce.

So the one-pot meal isn’t just about easy cleanup – it creates a better, more intensely flavorful sauce! By the time you whisk in your soy sauce, honey, ginger, and garlic, you’ll already have a great base for your sauce. The cornstarch will help the sauce thicken up so it will cling better to the sides of the chicken. You definitely want that, because the best part of this dish is how the sweet and savory sauce coats the chicken.

We think this easy, one-pot sesame chicken recipe is better than the Chinese take-out variety, but you be the judge! Let us know in the comments what you think of this healthy chicken recipe.

For more flavorful chicken recipes, like our Facebook page, follow us on Pinterest, and subscribe to our newsletter.

This post may include affiliate links.

SAVE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES
Create a FREE account for quick & easy access

Chef Nichole

Nichole has a culinary degree from Great Lakes Culinary Institute and has worked in the culinary industry for 10 years. She also has the knowledge to write recipes using the most nutritious, fresh, and balanced ingredients. Nichole enjoys creating healthy and tasty recipes anyone can prepare, no matter their cooking skill level.

More by Chef Nichole

25 Comments

  1. Made this for dinner tonight. It was quick and so good. The glaze was perfect. I added broccoli and sugar snaps peas with the carrots. Thanks for a new favorite!

  2. So quick, I added extra vegetables and it was good for 6 people. This one is on my camping recipes also. After a long drive, setting up and very hungry, quick and easy to cook, and clean up.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I will definitely be making this dish soon except will leave out the crushed red peppers and add sweet peppers and probably sugar snap peas too!!

    1. Sounds delicious, Elaine! Make sure to come back and let us know how the recipe turned out with your sweet peppers!

    1. Lee, you most definitely can toast the sesame seeds! It will create a much richer sesame flavor. Give it a try and share you results!

  4. I’m hoping to try this, but I will use canola oil to brown the chicken. I have read from many sources that Sesame oil is not a “browning or cooking” oil, just a flavoring oil to be added to the finished dish. However, I have used a couple drops in conjunction with canola oil, to add flavor. It’s just that Sesame oil has such a low smoking point, I wouldn’t want to ruin the chicken. But the rest of the dish (minus the honey – I don’t eat honey) sounds wonderful.

  5. This was really delicious. So easy to cook as well. Next time, I will cook the chicken first, in batches, then remove the chicken and cook the carrots, They just didn’t cook at the same rate, so some of my carrots were too undercooked to enjoy. I think this could also use some more vegetables, so adding asparagus, snap or snow peas or baby bok choy would add more bulk and some green as well. The sauce was delicious and the right amount for the dish.Thank you for sharing this tasty, easy-to-prepare meal.

  6. This is the perfect type of lunch I’ve been looking for. The only things I did differently was to cook the chicken first then the carrots (I also added cabbage and some onions). Added quinoa to meal prep bowls and I’m good for most of the week.

  7. I doubled the amount of chicken and still only came out with about 5 cups when it was all cooked. Does a pound of chicken breast and a carrot really come out to 4 cups?

    1. Hi Ali, the amount also depends on the size of the chicken breast and if you’re using fresh or frozen.

  8. It was good but to much ginger in my opinion. Next time I will try it with half the ginger. I served it with chick peas in brown rice.

  9. I made this for meals for my son for the week.
    He gave it a taste test and Loved it! Great recipe! Easy to follow!

  10. I made these fri make mails for my son so he would eat healthier. He loved them and asked for them again. Highly recommend

  11. Ingredients call for: “1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin 1 inch ribbons.” What are “thin 1 inch ribbons?” Are they One inch long or 1 inch thick? Is this a typo? If I’m making carrot ribbons, I use a vegetable peeler but they’re not one inch long. Appreciate the clarification.

    1. Lacey, Please see the photos to get the best idea. I slice my carrots into 1-inch pieces, then again lengthwise. Hope this helps. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *