Healthy Air Fryer Sesame Chicken Recipe: Crispy & Flavorful

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Healthy Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

Dinner, Lunch, Recipes


Air-fried Sesame Chicken brings a delightful crunch and a burst of flavors, making it a perfect dish for those seeking a healthier alternative without compromising taste. This dish combines the tenderness of chicken coated in a rich, savory-sweet sesame sauce, all achieved with less oil thanks to the air-frying technique.

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Overview of Ingredients

The Air Fryer Sesame Chicken recipe employs a carefully chosen ingredient combination to optimize taste while being light and nutritious. Each item and its recipe function are listed below:  

Chicken Thighs (1 lb, boneless, skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces): The main protein of the dish, chicken thighs, are chosen for their juiciness and flavor, which hold up well during air frying.

Cornstarch (1/2 cup): Used to coat the chicken, cornstarch is preferred over flour because it creates a lighter, crisper texture when air-fried.

Soy Sauce (1/4 cup): Soy sauce adds depth and saltiness to the dish and is a staple in creating the savory base of the sesame sauce.

Rice Vinegar (2 tablespoons): Introduces a mild acidity that balances the sauce’s sweetness, adding a subtle tang.

Brown Sugar (2 tablespoons): Provides sweetness, which contrasts beautifully with the soy sauce and vinegar, contributing to the sauce’s sticky texture.

Sesame Oil (1 tablespoon): Enhances the sesame flavor central to this dish, adding richness and a distinct aroma.

Vegetable Oil (1 tablespoon): Used in the sauce to help combine the flavors and add smoothness.

Garlic (2 cloves, minced) is a key aromatic that infuses the chicken and sauce with a pungent, earthy flavor, which is essential in many Asian dishes.

Chili Paste (1 teaspoon, optional) adds a spicy kick to the sauce, which can be adjusted according to your heat preference.

Water (2 tablespoons): Thins the sauce slightly, allowing it to coat the chicken more evenly without becoming overly thick.

Sesame Seeds (1 tablespoon, toasted): Adds a nutty crunch and visual appeal to the finished dish.

Olive Oil Spray is used to lightly coat the chicken before air frying, helping to achieve that golden, crispy exterior.

Overview of Ingredients
Overview of Ingredients

Why Choose Air Fryer Sesame Chicken?

Air frying offers a healthier cooking method by significantly reducing the oil content compared to traditional frying. This method does not sacrifice the crispy texture beloved in sesame chicken. Moreover, it retains the chicken’s juiciness, ensuring a satisfying bite every time. Explore our comprehensive recipe collection for inspiration for those looking to dive deeper into healthy cooking methods.

Making Air Fryer Sesame Chicken at home is a tasty and healthy dish. This meal shows that taste and nutrition coexist, making it a great addition to your repertoire.

To improve your chicken seasoning skills, check out our post on the finest seasoning for chicken breast, which is readily adaptable to this recipe.

Expert Tips for Best Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

Preheat Your Air Fryer: Just like an oven, preheating your air fryer can lead to more even cooking and a perfect crispy texture.

Don’t Overcrowd: Cooking in smaller batches might seem time-consuming, but it ensures that each piece of chicken is evenly cooked and crisp.

Sauce at the Last Minute: To keep the crunch of your air-fried chicken, toss it in the sesame sauce just before serving. To prevent the coating from becoming soggy.

tips to Make Air-fried chicken  crispy

Several factors can affect the crispiness of air-fried chicken:

Moisture Content: Too much moisture on the surface of the chicken can prevent it from becoming crispy. Make sure to pat the chicken dry before coating.

Overcrowding: If the air fryer is overcrowded, the chicken can steam rather than fry. Ensure enough space for air to circulate each piece of chicken.

Coating: The right type of coating can make a big difference. Cornstarch or potato starch often yields a crispier texture than flour. Also, ensure the chicken is well-coated and that any excess is shaken off.

Temperature and Time: Cooking at too low a temperature or not cooking long enough can prevent the chicken from becoming crispy. Ensure the air fryer is preheated and the chicken is cooked at the recommended temperature for enough time.

Not Enough Oil: While air frying uses less oil, a light oil spray helps to crisp up the coating. Ensure the chicken is lightly sprayed with an oil suitable for high-heat.

Prepare the Sesame Sauce

How long to air fry sesame seeds?

Air frying sesame seeds is a quick process:

Preparation: Spread the sesame seeds in a single layer in the air fryer basket. There’s no need to add oil unless you want them slightly toasted.

Temperature and Time: Set the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Air fry the sesame seeds for about 3-5 minutes. Shake the basket halfway through to ensure even toasting.

Monitoring: Keep a close eye on the seeds, which can go from perfectly toasted to burnt very quickly. They’re done once they turn golden and emit a nutty aroma.

tips for cooking raw chicken in the air fryer

Yes, you can cook raw chicken in an air fryer. It’s one of the appliance’s conveniences. Here’s how to ensure it’s done properly:

Preparation: If using chicken breasts or thighs, you might want to pound them to an even thickness to promote even cooking. Season or marinate as desired.

Temperature and Cooking Time: Preheat the air fryer to around 360°F (182°C). Cook chicken breasts or thighs for about 20-25 minutes, depending on their size and thickness. For chicken pieces, the cooking time might vary.

Safety: To be safe for consumption, ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check.

Resting: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking. It will help retain the juices, making the chicken moist and tender.

Serving and Presentation Tips

Presentation is key to making your Air Fryer Sesame Chicken not just a meal but an experience:

Try Different Grains: While white and brown rice is classic, you could also serve this chicken over quinoa or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.

Add Color and Crunch: Include vibrant vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas, or carrots in your side dishes. These not only add a pop of color but also enhance the meal’s nutritional value.

Health Benefits of Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

Opting for an air fryer over traditional frying methods has several health advantages:

Reduced Oil Content: Air frying requires significantly less oil, reducing overall calorie intake without compromising the food’s taste or texture.

Preserved Nutrients: Cooking at high temperatures can diminish food’s nutritional value. Air-frying cooks quickly and efficiently, helping to preserve the integrity of the chicken’s proteins and the sesame seeds’ antioxidants.

Air fryers offer a healthier way to achieve crispy, delicious meals with minimal oil, making them a must-have kitchen appliance. They’re quick, efficient, easy to clean, and perfectly suited for various cooking methods. For a deeper dive into how air fryers can transform your cooking, check out Good Housekeeping’s comprehensive guide.


How to select the best airfryer?

Air fryers are becoming more popular as a healthy alternative to deep-frying. They’re faster and more energy-efficient than ovens. Dinner is ready quickly, and roasting a chicken shouldn’t blow up your electrical cost. Most of us worry about rising costs and lengthy work days, yet the basic air fryer may save time, money, and health.

I found a great article providing detailed information on choosing the best air fryer. It covers various factors, such as capacity, cooking presets, features, price range, and more. The article also includes a review of the top air fryers in the market and their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for an air fryer.

Is Air Fryer Sesame Chicken easy to make?

Yes, making Sesame Chicken in an air fryer is easy. Once familiar with the basic technique for achieving crispy chicken pieces using your air fryer, you’ll find the process straightforward, quick, and mess-free.

What makes the sesame sauce for the chicken?

The sesame sauce is a savory-sweet, sticky concoction made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, water, cornstarch, sesame oil, vegetable oil, minced garlic cloves, optionally chile paste, and toasted sesame seeds.

Can I deep fry the chicken instead of air frying?

Yes, if you prefer or don’t have an air fryer, you can deep fry the chicken. Use a pot of neutral, high smoke point cooking oil and cook the chicken until golden brown, then proceed with the recipe as written.


Healthy Air Fryer Sesame Chicken Recipe: Crispy & Flavorful

Experience the taste of crispy sesame chicken with our air fryer recipe. Our easy-to-follow instructions will help you create a flavorful and healthier meal in just a few minutes. Take advantage of this delicious opportunity!

  • Author: Gabriela cardenas
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Air Frying
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • Olive oil spra


Prepare the Chicken:

  • Cut the Chicken: Start by cutting the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they are of even size for uniform cooking.
  • Dry the Chicken: Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This step is crucial for achieving a crispy texture.
  • Marinate (Optional): If time allows, marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, a bit of sesame oil, and minced garlic for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to enhance the flavor.

2. Coat the Chicken:

  • Mix Coating: In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl, tossing them until they are evenly coated with the cornstarch. Shake off any excess.
  • Spray Oil: Lightly spray the coated chicken pieces with olive oil spray. This helps to get them crispy without needing to deep-fry.

3. Air Fry the Chicken:

  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (190°C). This ensures the cooking environment is hot enough to start crisping right away.
  • Cook in Batches: Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they do not overlap to ensure even cooking. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Cooking Time: Air fry the chicken for about 10-12 minutes, then flip or shake the basket and continue cooking for another 10-13 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and crispy. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C).

4. Prepare the Sesame Sauce:

  • Combine Ingredients: While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, water, and chili paste (if using).
  • Simmer: Bring the mixture to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Thicken the Sauce: Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a little cold water to create a slurry. Pour this into the simmering sauce, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens—about 1-2 minutes. Then stir in the sesame oil.
  • Add Sesame Seeds: Once the sauce is thickened, remove it from heat and stir in the toasted sesame seeds.

5. Combine Chicken and Sauce:

  • Toss Chicken in Sauce: Once the chicken is cooked and crispy, transfer it to a bowl. Pour the hot sesame sauce over the chicken and gently toss to coat all the pieces evenly.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle with sliced green onions and additional sesame seeds if desired.

6. Serve:

  • Serving Suggestions: Serve the sesame chicken over a bed of rice with steamed broccoli or blanched green beans on the side.
  • Serve Hot: For the best experience, serve the chicken immediately while it’s warm and crispy for the perfect texture contrast with the savory-sweet sauce.


  • Marinating: For deeper flavor, marinate the chicken pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic for at least 30 minutes before air frying.
  • Air Fryer Setup: Ensure your air fryer is preheated to 380°F (190°C) for optimal cooking.
  • Batch Cooking: Avoid overcrowding by cooking in batches if necessary to ensure all pieces are evenly crispy.
  • Final Toss: Toss the cooked chicken in the sauce just before serving to keep the coating crispy.

Keywords: Air Fryer Sesame Chicken, Air Fried Sesame Chicken, Healthy Sesame Chicken Recipe, Crispy Sesame Chicken Air Fryer

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Air Fried Sesame Chicken / Crispy Sesame Chicken Recipe / Healthy Sesame Chicken

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