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person holding a piece of honey sesame chicken with chopsticks

Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 7 cups 1x


Our Panda Express honey sesame chicken copycat recipe is better than takeout!  The chicken is crispy, and is covered with a sweet, sticky sauce that is irresistible.  This stir fry is perfect for meal prep, and is gluten free friendly.



For the Marinade

For the Honey Sesame Sauce

  • 1/4 cup honey (84g)
  • 5 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (75 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (37g)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon Shoaxing wine or cooking sherry (15 ml)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (5 ml)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (15g)
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 ml)

For the Batter

  • 1/4 cup flour (30g)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (80g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed (120 ml)

For Deep Frying

  • 1 1/2 cups high smoke point oil, such as classic olive, peanut, or vegetable (350 ml)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thin and cut into bite-sized pieces (453g)

For the Stir Fry

  • 2 tablespoons oil, leftover from deep frying (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, cut into strips (150g)
  • 1/2 cup green string beans, cut into 2-inch lengths (132g)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, for garnish


  1. Marinade: Whisk the first 5 ingredients together, then pour it over the chicken.  With one hand, mix the marinade with the chicken for a minute, then sprinkle on the cornstarch and continue mixing for another minute.  Cover and chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Honey Sesame Sauce: Whisk all the ingredients except the cornstarch and water together.  Save these two ingredients to make a slurry to thicken the sauce later.
  3. Batter: Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then make a well in the center and crack an egg into it.  Pour in the oil and half of the water.  Mix with a spoon and slowly add more water until the batter is the consistency of pancake batter.  Once the chicken is done marinating, use a slotted spoon to drain it and submerge it in the batter, then mix it around with your hand.
  4. Deep Fry: Pour in 1 1/2 cups of high smoke oil in a wok and let the oil heat up to 350 F, or until it bubbles around wooden chopsticks inserted into the hot oil.  Carefully drop in one piece of battered chicken at a time until you have about 1/4 cup or 10 to 12 pieces of chicken in the oil.  Cook for 5 minutes, using chopsticks to turn the chicken as it cooks so it doesn't brown too much.  Remove the chicken and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil.  Repeat until all the chicken is fried.  Pour the oil into a small bowl, then wipe the wok clean with a paper towel.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of oil for the stir fry.
  5. Stir Fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of reserved oil over medium high heat, then stir fry the garlic until fragrant.  Add the yellow bell pepper and the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, then place the veggies in a bowl.
  6. Honey Sesame Sauce: Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry, and set it aside. Over medium high heat, pour in the sauce and allow it to heat up for a minute while stirring constantly, then pour in the cornstarch slurry and continue to stir while the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
  7. Finish: Add the deep fried chicken back into the wok.  Stir gently to coat with the sauce, then add the vegetable garlic mixture and cook for another minute or until heated through.  Remove the wok from the heat and sprinkle on the sesame seeds.  If you'd like it a bit spicy, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes too.  Serve while hot with steamed rice, chow mein, super greens, fried rice, or noodles.


  • Blanch the green beans?  Boil for 2 minutes, then plunge in ice water to cool.
  • Puffy breading?  Add a bit of baking soda to your batter.
  • Test the oil.  Insert wooden chopsticks into the hot oil.  If you see tiny bubbles around them, the oil is hot enough to start frying the chicken.
  • Like crispy chicken?  Fry it for 2 minutes, then let it cool for 20 minutes in the fridge.  Fry it a second time for 3 to 5 minutes, then drain.
  • Extra heat? Use 2 or 3 teaspoons of sambal oelek for a spicier sauce.  You can also sprinkle on red pepper flakes as garnish.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken recipe, honey sesame chicken nutrition