A blast of authentic Asian flavors will make you question if you really ever need…
Sweet & Spicy Sesame Chicken
No need to order takeout with this sweet and spicy chicken recipe. You’ll be shocked your air fryer can get you lean, quality, restaurant-style favorites in less than an hour!
I am a sucker for Chinese takeout. Even in my cauliflower fried rice recipe I talk about how it’s easy to order lighter options when ordering takeout, but a lot less fun. Plus, if you’re ordering Chinese takeout, you’re most likely not in the mood for bland food.
I don’t know what it is about UberEats lately…it’s just there. It excites me! Food at my door in less than an hour, without mess and stress in my own kitchen…done deal! There’s also something about Chinese takeout or delivery that just hits differently. Then again, more often than not, I just bought groceries and still crave takeout.
The first time I had sesame chicken I fell in love because it’s basically popcorn chicken soaked in sweet and salty sauce. It’s one thing I always wished that I could remake in a lighter way and not lose the essence of the dish.
Finally – this is the closest I’ve gotten. It all happens in my air fryer! I was absolutely amazed when I did the first batch of “battered” chicken pieces in the air fryer. I had no plans on it working out – honestly – and when it did, I ate the whole batch. I also had some key learnings the first two batches…into the third…and then the fourth.
If you’re looking for a simple coating and crunch for this chicken, follow the alternative options below. Basically what that’s suggesting is that you don’t totally dredge the chicken in batter of flour, starch and baking powder, but instead just a dusting of corn starch. It works pretty well to get a crispy chicken.
If you are looking for a thicker, crunchy, battered chicken then you need to review and make the Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken recipe.
What are the best sauce options?
This will be completely up to you. I made a quick, Asian-inspired sauce that had a lot less sugar than a typical sugar-based sauce. I also tried to use ingredients that I already had on hand. The other option would be to either make your own concoction depending on what you have around…or buy your favorite store bought, bottled sauce.
What I can say is this recipe gives you a similar excitement as opening that little white and red box from the restaurant. You’re not missing any of the flavor or the batter. Now I know I can eat some of my favorite takeout dishes whenever I want – and feel great about it.
Sweet & Spicy Sesame Chicken
- See Recipe for Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken see link above
Sweet & Spicy Sesame Sauce
- ½ cup sugar free or reduced sugar BBQ sauce
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- sesame seeds optional topping
- green onions optional topping
- Check Out Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken Recipe
Chicken (Alternative Option)
- Prepare chicken by cubing chicken into 1 inch pieces. Once cubed, add dash of salt and pepper.
- In a 8” x 8” (or 9” x 9”) baking dish add egg, 2 Tbsp of sriracha, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk together and add chicken. Coat the chicken in egg mixture, cover and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Use an additional 8” x 8” (or 9” x 9”) baking dish, add cornstarch, garlic power, salt and pepper.
- Preheat airfryer (if needed) to 400°. Coat the bottom of the basket with oil spray or non stick cooking spray.
- Remove chicken from egg bath allow egg to drip off before adding to the startch. Add to starch and lightly coat and dab excess starch from chicken piece. Lay in the the botton of the air fryer in one even layer. Do this in batches if needed for single layer cooking. Spray chicken with non stick cooking spray.
- Cook each batch on 400° for 6 minutes one each side. If they are not as crispy as preferred, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove and repeat with more chicken.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes before adding the sauce
- In a seperate bowl mix barbecue sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, garlic, hoisin, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Add to chicken and gently toss until chicken is evenly coated.
- Top with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
- Cut the pieces evenly into 1” chunks. The more consistent they are in size the better.
- Salt and pepper the chicken before soaking it in the egg. Let it sit for awhile (at least 30 minutes).
- Make sure that it is chilled before adding it to the air fryer.
- Cook on high heat but for less time. You want the outside to crisp up right as the chicken starts to cook.