Today’s Instant Pot sesame chicken recipe can guarantee the convenience of home cooking, as you can get a wholesome meal that tastes much better than take-outs.
These juicy, savory chicken chunks glossed in a spicy-sweet sesame sauce can add a wonderful kick of flavor to your weeknight dinners. And surprise not, it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish!
Is Instant Pot Sesame Chicken Healthy?
Yes, it is.
Sesame chicken is a very popular Asian street food. It usually has bite-sized chicken pieces battered, deep-fried, and then tossed in a sesame sauce.
With no breading or frying batter required in today’s Instant Pot sesame chicken recipe, you can cut down on both the cooking time and the excess oil from deep-frying. You’ll also be able to work with the chicken and the seasonings in just one pot. It’s a healthy and convenient choice, both cooking and cleaning-wise.
Sesame Chicken vs Orange Chicken
Sesame chicken and orange chicken are quick and straightforward dishes made with readily available ingredients. They both use the same cooking method of tossing pan-seared chicken chunks in a sweet-sour glaze.
Despite the similar flavors and plating style, these two dishes are not the same and not interchangeable.
In fact, it’s the main ingredients of the two types of sauce that tell them apart. To compare, orange chicken is slightly sweeter due to the presence of fresh orange juice in the gravy.
The major ingredients in today’s recipe can be found at your nearby stores, including skinless boneless chicken thighs and the spice blend.
Chicken thighs are cubed and then quickly seared to golden brown before being tossed in the glossy sauce. We use fresh ginger to add a hint of tang and herby flavor to this dish, but ginger powder can also work as a great replacement. The amount of garlic is also adjustable based on your taste preference.
Although this recipe requires no breading, if you like a semi-crispy exterior, shake and coat the chicken cubes with cornstarch in a resealable plastic bag before adding them to the skillet.
Sesame Chicken Sauce
In this recipe, we combined honey, paprika, sesame oil, sriracha, soy sauce, mustard, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper in the glossy savory sauce. This sesame sauce will cook together with the chicken to infuse flavors and keep the meat juicy tender.
The sesame oil and cornstarch helps thicken the sauce for it to glaze the chicken nicely. If it’s too runny, consider thickening it up by stirring in an extra amount of cornstarch-broth mixture while the pressure cooker is still on.
Note that the sauce will get thicker with time, so be patient and add just a small amount of thickener at a time. If you have no cornstarch on hand, arrowroot powder is a good replacement.
Our sesame chicken sauce is mildly sweet and spicy due to the addition of paprika, sriracha, and red pepper flakes. Feel free to add more or omit any of them to suit your spicy food tolerance.
How to Store and Reheat Sesame Chicken
Store leftover sesame chicken in an airtight container as it can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
To freeze, let the sesame chicken cool down completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers to freeze it for up to 3-4 months. Label with the date if preferred.
To thaw, transfer the frozen portions to the fridge to defrost overnight. On the day of serving, you can pop them in the microwave, bring them on the stovetop to reheat in a skillet, or do another round of cooking in the Instant Pot.
Side Dishes for Instant Pot Sesame Chicken
Cabbage Potato Soup
Our cabbage potato soup is both light in calories and appealing in taste, with the main source of carbs coming from fresh produce: potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. It’s heart-warming and healthy to consume, especially when paired with the sweet-spicy sesame chicken.
Orange Pineapple Juice
Finally, let’s round off the meal with this five-ingredient orange pineapple juice to reset your appetite and soothe the stomach. On other occasions, this juice also works great as a side drink, a meal starter, or a cold fizzy beverage for parties.
Tasty Chicken Dishes That Also Come Out of the Instant Pot
The popular and beloved tikka masala will retain even more flavor cooked inside the Instant Pot. Each chunk of meat is drenched in so much flavor, turning out super soft as well. There's also peas, peppers, and onions swimming in the sauce, which ultimately serves with cooked rice.
And look at these chichen tacos: they aren't your typical fare. Instead of dry shreds, they're juicy and drenched in sauce. A white sauce is then drizzled over the meat and sweet vegetables to tie everything together.
Today's Instant Pot sesame chicken recipe can guarantee the convenience of home cooking, as you can get a wholesome meal that tastes much better than take-outs. These juicy, savory chicken chunks glossed in a spicy-sweet sesame sauce can add a wonderful kick of flavor to your weeknight dinners.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.