Crispy chunks of chicken cooked quickly and easily in the air fryer, then tossed in a tasty sweet and savoury honey-soy-sesame sauce.

Tall close-up image of air fryer sesame chicken served on a bed of egg fried rice in a black bowl. The sesame chicken is topped with sesame seeds and spring onions. There is a pair of black chopsticks sticking out of the bowl. The bowl is on a dark background.
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Sesame chicken is one of the most popular recipes on our website. We love it at home too and I make it often.

I wanted to find a way to make this in the air fryer. Nothing quite competes with frying the chicken in oil, but using the air fryer is a fantastic way to make sesame chicken a little bit lighter, and also quicker to cook. Plus it saves the oil splashes on the worktop from frying the chicken too!

The sauce can be made easily in the microwave, or in a saucepan.

📋 Ingredients

Ingredients for air fryer sesame chicken on a wooden board. The ingredients are labelled in white text.

I like to use chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts because they’re a little bit juicier, and won’t dry out like chicken breast sometimes can.

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Try to ensure you keep the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket, so it will be nice and crispy all over. You may need to work in two batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.

Overhead image of crispy air fryer chicken pieces in an air fryer basket. The basket is on a wooden background.

Some of the feedback from the original sesame chicken recipe was that you guys want more sauce! So this recipe has extra sauce – plenty enough to coat the chicken and sink into the rice.

Tall overhead image of air fryer sesame chicken served on a bed of egg fried rice in a black bowl. The sesame chicken is topped with sesame seeds and spring onions. There is a pair of black chopsticks sticking out of the bowl. The bowl is on a dark background. There is a further bowl of sesame chicken at the top of the frame and a small plate with spring onions on the the left of the frame.

🍽️ What to serve it with


Look how lovely and shiny that sauce is 😍

Tall image of air fryer sesame chicken served on a bed of egg fried rice in a black bowl. The sesame chicken is topped with sesame seeds and spring onions. There is a pair of black chopsticks sticking out of the bowl. The bowl is on a dark background. There is a further bowl of sesame chicken at the top of the frame.

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5 from 4 votes

Air Fryer Sesame Chicken Recipe

Air Fryer Sesame Chicken – crispy chicken pieces cooked in the air fryer and served in a simple sticky-soy-sesame sauce. A quick and easy dinner that cooks in less than 20 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

Crispy Chicken:

  • 6 large skinless chicken thigh fillets (this is about 750g/1.65lbs untrimmed or 600g/1.3lbs once trimmed)
  • 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp oil

Sesame Sauce

To Serve:

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Instructions 

  • Take the chicken thigh fillets, trim off the excess fat, and cut into bite-sized chunks. Put to one side.
    6 large skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cornflour, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and paprika.
    3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Place the chicken in the bowl with the cornflour, and mix, ensuring every piece of chicken is completely covered.
  • Drizzle the oil over the chicken in the bowl and mix it all up. You should end up with the chicken pieces looking well-coated and quite sticky.
    3 tbsp oil
  • Place the chicken in the airfryer basket and cook at 190C/375F for about 15-18 minutes – until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink in the middle. Check on the chicken and give it a shake at least 3 times during cooking, to ensure the chicken doesn't stick together. You may have to work in two batches if you have a small airfryer.
  • While the chicken is cooking make your sauce. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl and stir together. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes, stirring every minute, until the sauce is hot and slightly thickened (see notes for saucepan alternative).
    1.5 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar, 3 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, 4 tbsp tomato ketchup, 3 tbsp light brown sugar, 3 tbsp light soy sauce, 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer and toss in the sauce (either in the saucepan or in a bowl).
  • Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and spring onions and serve. I like to serve with egg fried rice.
    boiled or egg fried rice, chopped spring onions (scallions), sesame seeds

Video

Notes

Want to make the sauce in a saucepan instead?
Place all of the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and mix together to combine. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken slightly (this should take about 3-4 minutes). Then turn off the heat.
Make the sauce ahead
Place all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Cover and refrigerate (for up to a day), then heat up when ready.
Add vegetables
You could add some chopped vegetables to the air fryer with the chicken for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Just ensure the chicken is fully cooked before serving. It should be piping hot and no longer pink in the middle (internal temp of 79C/175F)
Some examples include:
  • Chopped peppers
  • Chopped mange tout or sugar snap peas
  • Chopped babycorn
  • Sliced mushrooms
The sauce amount
Everybody raves about this sauce, and they usually want extra helpings when I make it, so I’ve increased the amount of sauce in this recipe compared to my original sesame chicken recipe (increased by 50%). This should give enough sauce to coat the chicken, with extra for drizzling over your rice/noodles too. 
If you only want enough sauce to just coat the chicken, reduce the amount of sauce ingredients by one third. It should take around 1 minute less to heat though too.
Nutritional Information is per serving, without serving suggestions.

Nutrition

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 2324mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 231IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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Comments

  1. Karen says:

    5 stars
    I have just purchased a air fryer and experimenting with recipes
    This was fantastic and the whole family enjoyed it will make it again

  2. Clare says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. Using the sauce on leftover pork with egg fried rice tonight. Like the new look website….and haircut too 😁

  3. Jacquie says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely fabulous. Works really well in the air fryer. I am now going to cook other recipes in the same way as it seems to be a bit quicker and healthier! Thanks Nicky x

  4. Sinead says:

    5 stars
    The sauce is just so yummy. I dot think I will bother with the air fryer crispy bit, but just cook the chicken on the sauce. It was a big hit!

  5. Paul Marsden says:

    Can the chicken and sauce be frozen separately and then combined once defrosted?