Instant Pot Sesame Chicken is gazillion times better than any Asian Take-out food. Tender cubed Chicken coated with a fabulous glossy thick honey soy sauce that’s mildly sweet with a slight kick and lightly toasted sesame seeds sprinkled & mixed. Enjoy this weeknight restaurant quality meal with rice or noodles.
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Healthy Sesame Chicken Recipe
Today’s honey Sesame Chicken recipe is an iconic Asian take-out food that’s much healthy because there’s no breading and deep frying the chicken involved.
The secret to the recipe is the lightly toasted sesame seeds & a generous amount of toasted sesame oil. They give the dish that iconic sesame flavor & also adds a great depth of flavor making this recipe a bomb. You’ll also have a fabulous finger licking sweet, thick, glossy sauce that beautifully coats those amazing chicken cubes
Steam some rice by the time your Instant Pot is cooking the chicken & you are all set for a restaurant quality meal in no time.
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements way below the post on the “Recipe Card“. The list below is just a reference.
- Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken thigh or breast meat cubed into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Garlic: Minced or finely chopped.
- Crushed black pepper or black pepper powder.
- For the Sauce: Light Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Ketchup, Sriracha (adds a slight kick, optional), honey, brown sugar.
- Garnish: Toasted Sesame seeds (toast them until lightly golden in a skillet on the stove top) and a generous amount of toasted sesame oil. Highly recommended. Do not skip these two very important stuffs.
- Thickener: Cornstarch slurry (cornstarch also know as cornflour outside the USA). You make a simple slurry adding equal amounts of water. This is a fabulous sauce thickener & imparts a lustrous sheen to the recipe.
- Any neutral oil for cooking. Use your favorite oil & brand.
Tips & Tricks
- Mimicking the wok flavor: Flash marinate the chicken with sesame oil & light soy sauce and do saute it along with the garlic until lightly golden around the edges. Now, this step is totally optional. Do it only if you are obsessed with restaurant quality wok flavor just like us. Believe me this little step will boost the flavors so much so that you’ll never dump & cook any Asian take-out food whatsoever!
- The Sauce: Sesame sauce is meant to be slightly sweet, yet a little savory with a slight kick. You can adjust the flavor profile & make it the way you prefer. Like, up the sweetener if you love really sweet stuff, up the sriracha or add chili flakes if you love spicy sauces etc. etc. You can also add a dash of minced ginger.
- The Sauce consistency: Lovely lustrous glossy thick sauce is the soul of any Asian take-out food. However, if you prefer thinner sauces, reduce the amount of cornstarch and simmer down the sauce a little less. We prefer thick sauce!
- Sesame Seeds: Lightly toasted white sesame seeds is the best bet. Toast the seeds in a skillet on the stove top stirring frequently. They will make the recipe a bomb.
- Not to miss toasted sesame oil garnish: This adds the oomph factor. Don’t miss it. Don’t add too much, you’ll end up with a greasy sesame chicken 😀
**Steps in words below pictures.
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements way below the post on the “Recipe Card“.
Step#1 Saute the Chicken Cubes
Rub the cubed chicken with light soy sauce and sesame oil. In the meantime, saute the minced garlic for just 30 seconds on SAUTE set at NORMAL.
Than, add the chicken and saute until lightly golden around the edges. This will help mimic the restaurant quality wok flavor in a pressure cooker to some extent.
Step #2 Pressure Cook the Chicken
Add water, de-glaze the pot very well scrapping the sides and the bottom of the steel pot of the Instant Pot. This is very important and prevents the BURN error.
Close the lid, seal the valve and pressure cook on HIGH for just 1 min followed by a Quick Release. 1 min cooking time is enough because we already sauteed the chicken and will be simmering and thickening the sauce in the next step. So all these times add up to reward you with perfectly cooked chicken. The chicken pieces are also quite small & cooks fast.
Step #3 Simmer & Thicken Sauce
Add all the sauce ingredients along with the cornstarch slurry. Mix well and Switch back to SAUTE on LOW. Simmer and thicken the sauce stirring in between. The sauce consistency is totally upto you, keep it thick or thin – the way you love!
Step #4 Garnish & Serve
Finally, turn off the Instant Pot. Add a generous amount of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds. Don’t ever skip these two ingredients, they make the recipe a bomb. Mix well and serve hot.
Fridge: Instant Pot Sesame Chicken lasts for 5 days in the fridge when stored in moist free airtight container.
Freezer: You can freeze todays healthy Sesame Chicken for 2 months in freezer safe bags or containers. The sauce will seize a bit, you can bring it back by re-heating with few dashes of water.
We love Asian take-out food so much so that I am in a mission to create all our most loved and cherished Asian take-out copycat recipes in my Instant Pot & treasure them here for you. Check out our Asian Take-Out recipes for new recipes every now and than.
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For Flash Marinating the Chicken (optional)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp Sesame oil
For the Sesame sauce
- 1/2 tbsp White sesame seeds (lightly toasted , **Read NOTES below #5)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil (lightly toasted variety)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water to form a slurry (also know as cornflour outside USA)
- 1/3 cup Water
Flash Marinate the Chicken
- Dice the boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs into 1/2 inch cubes and rub them well with sesame oil and light soy sauce. This adds so much flavor to the dish. You can opt out but I'll greatly recommend this extra step.
How to make Sesame Chicken in Instant Pot?
- Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE function and set it on NORMAL. Add oil. When the oil becomes moderately hot add the minced garlic and saute for just 30 seconds.
- Now, add the flash marinated chicken and saute until lightly golden around the edges. Also add crushed black pepper according to your preference. This step boosts the flavors & helps mimic that restaurant quality wok flavors in a pressure cooker to some extent.
- Now CANCEL the SAUTE function. Add water and de-glaze the pot very well so that there are absolutely no bits and crumbs stuck at the side and the bottom of the steel pot of the Instant Pot. This is so important to prevent the BURN error.
- Now, close the lid of the Instant Pot and SEAL the valve. PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 1 minute.
- Once, the pressure cooking cycle is over do a QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE (QPR) manually turning the valve from the SEALING to the VENTING position. When the metal pin drops open the lid carefully.
- Now, CANCEL the pressure cook option and switch on the SAUTE function and set it on LOW.
- Add all the sauce ingredients mentioned above in the "For the Sauce" section along with the cornstarch slurry. Give everything a good mix. Simmer the sauce until it thickens and reaches the consistency that you prefer. Stir frequently while thickening the sauce. We love a thick sauce that clings beautifully to the chicken cubes.
- Once, the sauce has reached to the right consistency turn off the Instant Pot and drizzle the toasted sesame seeds and the sesame oil give a gentle mix and serve hot with rice or noodles. So yum! Enjoy!
- Measuring Units used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
- The sauce consistency: We love a thick sauce that beautifully coats each chicken piece but if you prefer a thinner sauce do decrease the amount of cornstarch (1.5 tbsp) and also simmer and cook down the sauce for little less time.
- Spicy Sesame Sauce: Up the amount of Sriracha and also add dashes of red pepper flakes.
- Sweeter Sauce: Up the amount of either honey or sugar or both. Totally upto you.
- White Sesame Seeds: For excellent flavors do lightly toast them in a skillet stirring frequently until lightly golden on the stove top. You cannot just believe how much flavor they create – PHENOMENAL! Add more seeds if you love sesame or add less – it totally depends upon what you love.