Skip the Chinese takeout and make this Crock Pot Sesame Chicken Recipe at home! The sweet and salty sauce is slow-cooked to perfection in the crock pot and pairs well with rice or noodles for an easy meal your family will love!
Everyone craves the umami taste of Chinese food now and again. But, there are some drawbacks to takeout. You can spend a lot of money, and the sesame chicken is often made with not-so-great ingredients and preservatives.
Luckily, there's a great way to enjoy healthy sesame chicken at home with the help of your slow cooker! Sesame chicken is a Chinese dish that features sesame seeds, soy sauce, honey, and other common ingredients to make a sweet and sticky sesame sauce.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It's a budget-friendly way to enjoy sesame chicken at home
- It's easy to make with simple ingredients that go right in the slow cooker.
- The sesame sauce is sweet, tangy, and full of flavor.
- This restaurant-style chicken is made with ingredients that are clean and that you have full control over. No preservatives or MSG!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken Breast - You'll need boneless and skinless chicken breast cut into small bite-sized pieces to soak up the sauce.
- Cornstarch - Adds a coating to the chicken that helps the sauce coat it.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce - Adds a salty umami flavor to the sauce that is classic in Chinese cooking.
- Crushed Red Pepper - Adds a burst of heat that complements the chicken well.
- Light Brown Sugar & Honey - Gives the sesame sauce its sweetness and helps thicken it.
- Rice Vinegar - Adds a tangy kick and helps balance out the sweetness of the sesame sauce.
- Sesame Oil - Gives a toasted sesame flavor throughout the dish.
- Garlic & Ginger - Adds bold, savory garlic flavor along with a kick of natural heat from the ginger.
- Red Bell Pepper - Gives the chicken a fresh garden taste along with texture.
- Sesame Seeds - Used to garnish the chicken and give it a sesame crunch.
- Green Onions - When placed on top for garnish, green onions add the perfect freshness and a hint of onion taste.
How To Make Sesame Chicken In The Crock Pot
Prepare the chicken: Cut any excess fat off the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then add them to a plastic freezer bag along with the cornstarch. Shake the chicken with the cornstarch until fully coated, then add the chicken to the slow cooker.
Assemble the sauce: In a large bowl, add the sauce ingredients, including the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients and set aside.
Add to slow cooker: Add the chopped bell pepper on top of the chicken, then pour the sauce over the top. Stir gently to fully coat every piece.
Cover and slow cook: Add the lid to the top of the slow cooker, then cook on HIGH for 2½ - 3½ hours or LOW for 4½ - 5½ hours.
Garnish and serve: Serve while hot over a bed of rice or noodles and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onion. Enjoy!
- When preparing the chicken, cut each piece roughly the same size. This will ensure the chicken cooks evenly and absorbs the sesame sauce.
- When assembling the sesame sauce, taste test it before adding it to the slow cooker. Add more brown sugar or honey to the mix if you like your sesame chicken a bit sweeter.
- When stirring the chicken with the sauce, be sure to stir gently as not to remove the cornstarch coating from the chicken.
- If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth to the sauce to thin it out. If the sauce is too thin, let the sesame chicken slowly cook for 10-15 minutes with the lid off. This will allow some moisture to evaporate and thicken the sesame sauce.
Variations & Substitutions
- Swap the protein: Instead of using chicken breast, you can use chicken thighs or even boneless pork chops in this sesame chicken recipe.
- Add vegetables: Feel free to add your favorite veggies, such as broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, or carrots.
- Make it sweeter: If you like your sesame chicken sweeter, add ½ cup of coconut sugar or more brown sugar to the sesame sauce.
- Add more spice: A drizzle of your favorite hot sauce or additional crushed red pepper will add a nice kick of heat.
- Serving suggestions: While rice and noodles are a great choice, you can also serve this dish with mashed potatoes, quinoa, or a side salad.
Storing: Once the sesame chicken is cooled, the best way to store it is in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Reheating: To reheat sesame chicken, place it in a skillet over medium heat and add a few tablespoons of sesame oil or water. Heat until warmed through.
Freezing: To freeze leftovers, add them to a freezer-safe container and store them for up to 3 months. When ready, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat according to the instructions above.
Thawed chicken is best as it allows the cornstarch to coat the chicken better, and it will cook evenly.
Yes, pre-made sesame sauce can be used in this recipe. However, keep in mind that the flavor of your sesame chicken may vary as each sesame sauce has different ingredients and levels of sweetness.
Sesame chicken pairs well with rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, quinoa, or a side salad. For a low-carb version, serve it over cauliflower rice.
More Crock Pot Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
- Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken
- Crock Pot Chicken and Broccoli
- Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef
- Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
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Crock Pot Sesame Chicken Recipe
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- ⅔ cup water
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 red bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- ¼ cup green onions (chopped)
- Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to a 1-gallon freezer bag. Add cornstarch and close the bag. Shake until completely coated. Then, add to the bottom of the Crock Pot.
- In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, red pepper, water, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and honey. Whisk everything together and set it aside.
- Add bell pepper on top of the chicken. Then pour sauce over the chicken and gently stir to coat.
- Cover and cook on high for 2½ - 3½ hours or low for 4½ - 5½ hours.
- Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
- You may substitute chicken thighs. You will need to add 30 - 60 minutes to the cooking time.
- To reheat sesame chicken, place it in a skillet over medium heat and add a few tablespoons of sesame oil or water. Heat until warmed through.
- Once the sesame chicken is cooled, the best way to store it is in an air-tight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
*Nutrition information is an estimate. It may vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact ingredient numbers, I recommend calculating them with your preferred nutrition calculator.