Honey Sesame Chicken

You’ll love this copycat recipe for a Panda Express favorite. Perfectly crispy chicken in a sweet & savory sauce makes up this Honey Sesame Chicken.

Do you love getting takeout? When we’re traveling, we often get Panda Express. Orange chicken is a favorite, but this honey sesame chicken never disappoints.

honey sesame chicken with green beans and peppers in a pan

About this Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe:

  • Flavor: Love sweet & tangy? Then this honey sesame chicken is for you! It gets its sweet flavor from both honey and brown sugar, and the tang comes from soy sauce, tomato, ginger and vinegar. It’s a delicious combo.
  • Texture: The chicken is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. You’ll toss it with the sauce right before serving so that it stays crispy.
  • Method: This chicken fries on the stove top. You can use an air fryer if you are familiar with that method, but I highly recommend frying the chicken for that rich flavor you know and love.

Panda Express Copycat Honey Sesame Chicken

This popular chicken is comes and goes on the Panda Express menu, so we’re happy to share this copycat recipe with you. I think you’ll love it.

The ingredient list looks long, but if you’ve made any type of fried Asian chicken (you’ll love our General Tso’s chicken) in the past, then this will come together quickly for you. It takes about 45 minutes start to finish.

overhead shot of honey sesame chicken and veggies in a pan

Honey Sesame Sauce

I recommend making the sesame sauce first, which cooks on its own. That way it can be thickening as you are frying the chicken.

Because the rice vinegar can add to the “salty” flavor of the sauce, it’s perfectly fine to use a low sodium soy sauce.

ingredients for honey sesame sauce in a pot
fried chicken in a bowl with honey sesame sauce over top

How to Fry Chicken

This recipe calls for chicken tenderloins. I like using them because they are small and easy to cut into bite size pieces. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.

Here are some tips for deep-frying chicken:

  • I used a tempura batter mix, but if you don’t have this on hand, use ½ cup all-purpose flour and ¼ cup cornstarch. That cornstarch keeps the chicken crispy!
  • Keep the oil temperature at 350ºF. Use a probe thermometer to test the oil temperature. The temp will drop when you put the chicken in, so be prepared to keep testing and adjusting the heat on the stovetop as needed.
  • Work in batches and don’t crowd the pan. You want that chicken to fry on all sides, so do 2 or three batches if needed.
  • Chicken is safe to eat when it tests 165ºF in the center.
  • To keep the chicken crispy, allow it to cool on a wire rack. Place paper towels on a baking sheet, then put the wire rack on the paper towels.
fried chicken nuggets cooling on a wire rack
about tastes of lizzy t

Make it a Meal.

This honey sesame chicken is perfect with white rice, brown rice or even quinoa. It has the veggies built into the dish, but you can add a side of roasted broccoli which is delicious with this sauce.

sautéed peppers and green beans in a pan

Storage Instructions

This chicken is best served immediately after cooking to the chicken retains it crispiness. If you have any leftover, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or store it in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

If you want to have crispy chicken when you’re warming it up, heat in the air fryer.

closeup of panda express copycat honey sesame chicken
closeup of panda express copycat honey sesame chicken

Honey Sesame Chicken

5 from 3 votes
You'll love this copycat recipe for a Panda Express favorite. Perfectly crispy chicken in a sweet & savory sauce makes up this Honey Sesame Chicken.
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the honey sesame sauce:

  • cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • ½ tablespoon ginger paste
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

For the cornstarch slurry:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the veggies:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup fresh green beans

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup tempura batter mix
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • vegetable oil for frying

For garnishing:

  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ cup green onions chopped

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the sauce. Combine all ingredients except the cornstarch slurry in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water for a cornstarch slurry. Add the slurry to the sauce and whisk. Place a lid over the saucepan and turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the burner. Sauce will thicken as remaining steps are completed.
  • Meanwhile, saute the veggies. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and sesame oil and swirl to coat the pan.
  • Thinly slice the bell pepper, then cut the pepper slices and green beans into 1” pieces. Add peppers and green beans to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes to soften.
  • Add 2 inches of vegetable oil in a wok or a deep skillet. Heat to 350°F.
  • Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  • Prepare a dredging station. Combine eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk well. In a separate bowl combine tempura, cornstarch, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Dredge the chicken in the eggs, allow excess to drip off the chicken then add to the tempura. Toss to coat.
  • Add chicken to the oil and fry for 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Stop to turn the chicken over halfway through. Work in batches and do not overcrowd the oil. The chicken is done when it tests 165ºF inside. Place fried chicken onto a wire rack lined baking sheet as you work. This is our trick for keeping the chicken crispy.
  • Add chicken and sautéed veggies to a bowl and pour in the sauce. Toss to coat.
  • Season with sesame seeds and garnish with chopped green onions and more red pepper flakes if you'd like.
  • Serve with rice.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 4, with 1 serving being ¼ of the chicken and veggies. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 1977mg | Potassium: 928mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 794IU | Vitamin C: 181mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 4mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine asian
Calories 559
Keyword chicken recipe, copycat recipe, stir fry with chicken

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About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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