Chinese Takeout Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

This post is all about crunchy sesame chicken. This dish is better than anything you’ll experience dining out. It’s quickly become a legendary recipe in our family and one I make on special occasions to surprise the fam!

Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

Super crispy crunch chicken coated with thousands of nutty sesame seeds, dipped in the ultimate tangy homemade sweet and sour sauce! Do you have that ultimate dish that you enjoyed as a child or maybe it’s from a restaurant that has now closed down or is too far away from you, but you can still taste it and yearn for it often? Well, meet my long distance lover, this sesame chicken! I am beyond thrilled to be writing this recipe today. 

Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

What is Chinese Takeout Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

This sesame chicken is from a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Tualatin, OR, where I grew up, and they are known (at least by my family) for having killer sesame chicken. For most of my life, I knew this to be sesame chicken and I had no idea that this style was very unique and hard to find.  Because this is my favorite dish of all times, and it’s completely off the grid, I feel a big responsibility to spread this for the masses to enjoy 🙂

After moving to Atlanta I have dreamt of this chicken and tried finding recipes similar online but it’s literally un-googleable. Everything I find is the typical version of mushy breading doused in a brown sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds on top – no! I’ve never found this crispy sesame coated chicken anywhere else I have traveled or lived.

Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

Since 2013 I have been trying to make this recipe and every time I failed miserably. The breading was constantly the wrong texture and taste, I didn’t know how the sesame seeds were incorporated. Ugh, I failed so many times at making this recipe that I just gave up and never bothered again until a few weeks ago. I guess building up my food knowledge over the past few years made a big difference. The process and ingredients suddenly became clear and after a good retry, it was amazing.

Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

I am so happy to share this with you and would love to hear your comments below. And if you have any insight to the origins of this style of sesame chicken, I would LOVE to learn!

Crispy Crunchy Sesame Chicken

Crispy Sesame Chicken

Better than takeout, this ultra-crunchy and crispy sesame chicken is served with a warm and tangy sweet and sour dipping sauce. Enjoy this over rice!
In Georgia it's very hard to find this style of sesame chicken, on most menus it refers to a saucy chicken dish. Back in my hometown in Oregon, it's very common for sesame chicken to be served sauce-free, served alongside sweet and sour sauce and spicy Chinese mustard. Since it's so hard for me to find, I recreated it at home.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Mallory Austin


  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 2" long pieces
  • peanut or vegetable oil for frying
  • Serve with jasmine rice

Sesame Chicken Batter

  • 1/2 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3 oz sesame seeds

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar / white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch



  • Heat your oil to 375 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to monitor and adjust the heat as needed, throughout the process as it will fluctuate.
  • Prepare a baking sheet or cooling rack lined with layers of paper towels beside the frying pan for placing the cooked chicken when finished.

Batter & Fry Chicken

  • Make the batter by mixing together all batter ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  • Dip chunks of chicken in the batter, ensuring full coverage, then place into the oil. Work quickly so chicken cooks evenly. Don't overcrowd the pan. You will need to cook them in a few batches.
  • Fry for 5-6 minutes, making sure to get even browning on all sides of the chicken. I use a spider/skimmer to flip and move the chicken around, preventing them from sticking together as they cook.

Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • To make the sweet and sour sauce, put a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, vinegar and water to the pan. Stir and allow to cook until the sugar is dissolved.
  • In a small dish, whisk together the ketchup and cornstarch until combined. Add this to the sugar mixture. Whisk well to combine, bring to a boil. Keep whisking as needed to create a smooth, thickened sauce. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. I like to serve the sauce while it's still warm.
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  • Reply
    Angelique Berry
    January 5, 2020 at 7:48 pm I am so excited to have found you and this recipe! I too have been searching the northwest for this. I had it in oregon. My aunt brought us to a chinese restaurant I think it was close to west Linn like 20 years ago and I have never forgotten the taste. I just asked my aunt about and she said they closed. Super sad. I'm excited to try your recipe! Thank you again.
    • Reply
      January 26, 2020 at 2:13 pm OMG this makes me so happy! I made this recipe thinking I was the only one on the planet that was searching for this style of Sesame Chicken. Everyone here in Atlanta thinks I am crazy when I ask for it at restaurants. I feel so misunderstood haha. I hope you do make this recipe, you will be the happiest person! I make it almost once a month, it's my husbands #1 favorite recipe and he was one of the people who heard me talk about it for years and didn't understand. Now he won't touch the saucy type of sesame chicken, he only wants it crunchy and from my kitchen. Please keep me updated if you try it :)

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