Gluten Free

Is Sesame Chicken Gluten Free?

Sesame chicken is a classic that I can’t do without. While I was pregnant, I craved sesame chicken and molten cake a lot, and you know how it is. You may just wake up and decide to make some, but with a twist, add strawberries, or pair it with Lebanese vermicelli noodles. I know I tried over 50 variations, but is this savory, nutty-flavored sesame chicken gluten-free? Here is all we know.

What Is Sesame Chicken?

Sesame chicken is a famous Chinese dish with characteristic tender, crispy chicken pieces glazed in a savory sauce with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Traditionally, this dish is made by immersing chicken in a marinade of soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch, letting it sit for some hours in the fridge, and then deep-frying it until it is golden brown on all sides.

The sauce is derived from a combination of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. The chicken is now smeared in the sauce and garnished with sesame seeds.

There are various versions, such as:

  1. Baked sesame chicken: This version of sesame chicken involves dredging the chicken in flour, panko, and egg before spraying the pieces of chicken with canola oil, then baking for about 25 minutes before tossing the chicken in sesame sauce, then baking for an extra ten minutes.
  2. Honey sesame chicken: In this variation of sesame chicken, honey is added to the sauce. Giving it a rich caramel color and a delightful taste.
  3. Vegetable Sesame Chicken: This variation includes stir-fried vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers, along with the chicken.
  4. Orange Sesame Chicken: Orange juice or orange zest is added to the sauce, giving it a tangy flavor.
  5. Spicy Sesame Chicken: This version adds chili peppers or chili sauce to the sauce, giving it a spicy kick.

What Does Sesame Chicken Taste Like?

Sesame chicken is quite similar to the taste of general tso chicken, but it is more of a sweet and savory chicken dish with a nutty hint (thanks to the sesame seed) as opposed to a more spicy general tso chicken. The cornstarch and flour batter used gives the chicken dish a layer of crunchiness.

Is Sesame Chicken Breaded?

Sesame chicken is breaded. The chicken gets marinated in a mixture of rice wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch before being coated in flour or cornstarch and then deep-fried. This breading helps create that complex texture of being crunchy on the outside yet juicy on the inside.

Is Sesame Chicken Gluten Free?

Traditional sesame chicken is not gluten-free. Most times, all-purpose flour is used for breading the chicken. Also, the chicken is usually marinated in soy sauce, which contains gluten. Most of the sesame chicken sold in restaurants is not gluten-free or safe for celiac and nonceliac gluten-sensitive people.

However, it is still possible to enjoy gluten-free sesame chicken. You have to ask the server to swap out gluten-containing flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour, cornstarch, or sorghum flour (I prefer this particular flour, as it tastes almost exactly like wheat flour).

I usually prefer to make my gluten-free sesame chicken at home, as I have encountered gluten symptoms a few times I dined out( even after making my sensitivity clear to the server). I guess they still used the equipment they used to fry breaded meats. I have attached my recipe to this post, and you’ll love it.

Is Sesame Sauce Gluten Free?

No, sesame sauce is not gluten-free. While the honey/brown sugar, rice wine, and traditional hoisin sauce used are gluten-free, the soy sauce, most commercial hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce used in sesame sauce contain gluten as a result of wheat used as a thickener.

If you’re making the sesame chicken at home, it is best to look at the labels of the sauce and ensure it is gluten-free. Also, let the server know that you can eat chicken or sauce that contains gluten when dining out.

What is sesame chicken made of?

Sesame chicken is made of chicken thighs or breasts, cornstarch or flour, eggs, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, honey, brown sugar, rice wine, ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds.

Is Sesame Chicken Healthy?

Sesame chicken is healthier than general tso chicken and orange chicken, as it contains fewer calories, fats, and sugar. Also, its recipe often includes vegetables such as carrots and broccoli, which add fiber and nutrients to the dish. However, all deep-fried dishes contain significant amounts of calories and fat and should be eaten moderately. Also, it contains high sodium.

How Many Calories Are in Sesame Chicken? (and fats)

A nine-piece serving of sesame chicken supplies 554 calories (this is without the sides). Also, it contains 27 grams of fat, of which 5 grams are saturated fats, supplying 35% and 23% of your recommended daily value.

How Many Carbs Does Sesame Chicken Have?

Sesame chicken is breaded, which makes it high in carbohydrates. Per serving, you will be supplied with 51 grams of carbs and 30 grams of sugar.

Tips for ordering gluten-free sesame chicken in restaurants

When planning on dining out, I usually research restaurants ahead of time before I step out. Here are some tips that could aid you in eating a gluten-free sesame chicken when next you dine out:

  • Call Ahead: This should become a common practice for you. Before you visit any restaurant, ensure to call ahead and inquire about their gluten-free options; this will aid you in making your decisions.
  • Inform the server: As soon as you’re approached by the server, inform him or her about your gluten allergy so they can take necessary precautions to ensure the meal is safe.
  • Ask For ingredients and modifications: Ask about the flour that was used in breading, the sauce used in marinating the chicken, and the sauce spread; if there are gluten-containing sauces amongst them, you could request a modification to accommodate your dietary needs.

Gluten-free sesame chicken recipe

This recipe is fast and can be made in less than 30 minutes. It is one of the healthiest sesame chicken recipes you’ll ever try; it has higher protein, fewer calories, carbs, fats, sugar, and sodium. And guess what? We won’t be deep-frying, yet we will still create that crispy texture we all love. Let us dive in!

What you need for the chicken is:

  • Half a kg of skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts diced into cubes of 1 inch.
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • One and a half gluten-free soy sauces (tamari or coconut aminos)

What you need for the sesame sauce is:

  • Half a cup of water.
  • 3 tablespoons of gluten-free coconut aminos, soy sauce, or tamari sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (you can also use maple syrup if you like).
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Half a teaspoon of minced fresh ginger,
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of water.
  • Optionally, you could also get pinched red pepper flakes.
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds.


  1. Mix the diced chicken, 1 and a half tablespoons of tamari, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a small bowl. With the aid of a fork, toss the chicken until it is evenly coated.
  2. Over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of avocado oil in a medium-sized skillet.
  3. Since we are not deep-frying, the third process has to be done in batches. Add the chicken pieces to your pan and cook each side (until it has no pink side) for 3 minutes each.
  4. Once done with the first batch, repeat the process for the other chicken.

While you wait for each side of the chicken to cook, let us get the sauce ready.

  1. Mix your tamari, rice wine, honey, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes (if you’re using them). Whisk until properly combined.
  2. In a little bowl, whisk a tablespoon of water and cornstarch until you get a slurry mix.
  3. Once your chicken is cooked, set the heat to low.
  4. Mix in the slurry mixture from step two into step one; this should create a milky mix.
  5. Turn the sauce into your pan and heat for 5 minutes until it becomes thickened and bubbling.
  6. Coat your chicken in the pan, sprinkle your seeds, and serve!

What to serve with sesame chicken?

  • Rice: Rice is a staple food in a lot of Asian cuisines and can be served fried or steamed. It is a common side to pair with sesame chicken.
  • Lebanese Vermicelli Noddles: Lebanese vermicelli noodles are one of my favorite sides for orange chicken, general tso chicken, teriyaki chicken, chicken tikka masala, and sesame chicken. It practically goes with any chicken dish, and I bet you’ll have a pleasant experience.
  • Noodles: gluten-free rice Noodles are another great side dish for sesame chicken. They can be served in a variety of ways, such as lo mein or chow mein, and can provide a satisfying and filling addition to the meal.
  • Salads: What beats a healthy salad side dressed with kewpie mayo? Salads create a refreshing balance of flavor, nutrients, and fiber. If you’re looking for a healthy side, then you are good to go with the salads.
  • Mixed veggies: Stir-fried or steamed vegetables are a healthy and delicious side dish you could pair with sesame chicken any time. They add bright colors, textures, and nutrients as well.

Final Thoughts

Sesame chicken is one of the healthiest chicken dishes you’ll ever try. The inclusion of sesame oil and seeds creates a unique chicken experience that you’ll always remember, with a sweet, savory, and nutty flavor. However, it is not gluten-free as it is breaded and contains soy sauce that contains wheat.

If you wish to enjoy this at your local restaurants, ensure to research and call ahead of time to ensure they get enough time to marinate your chicken and prepare it just right. I prefer going to restaurants that are known to offer gluten-free menus.


Is Sesame Chicken The Same As Orange Chicken?

A common characteristic of orange chicken and sesame chicken is the use of boneless chicken meat. However, they are distinct in a lot of ways. Most notably, sesame chicken makes use of a soy sauce and sesame oil base, which creates a nutty savory flavor; orange chicken makes use of orange zest and soy sauce to create a tangy flavor.

Is sesame chicken the same as general TSO chicken?

General tso chicken features a tangy and spicy dish made with boneless chicken thighs and breasts, while sesame chicken is sweeter and more savory.

Cortiso Davids

My culinary adventure began at an early age when I would stand on a chair to help my mom stir pancake batter. Over the years, I've honed my skills and knowledge, drawing inspiration from family recipes, celebrated chefs, and the vibrant food cultures that make our world so diverse and fascinating.

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