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Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken is a little sweet and a little spicy. Tender chunks of chicken breast are bathed in rich sesame chicken sauce that pairs perfectly with rice or noodles. Although traditionally, the chicken is deep fried, Instant Pot Sesame Chicken requires no frying or sautéing.

Chinese sesame chicken in a bowl with rice and chopsticks resting on the side.
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If you need a family friendly Asian-style meal that’s easy to make at home, you will love Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken. Instant Pot Sesame chicken is loaded with tender chunks of chicken, and the sticky sesame chicken sauce is packed with flavor. This Chinese chicken recipe comes together in just minutes, so it’s perfect for busy families. 

If you love homemade Asian recipes, try my Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps, Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe or Vegetarian Lo Mein Noodles.

Why You’ll Love Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe

  • It cooks quickly. Getting dinner done fast is important for many families. This Chinese chicken recipe is relatively hands-off and ready in 30 minutes. 
  • It’s economical. Grabbing takeout is undoubtedly convenient, but you often overpay for basic ingredients. Make the foods you love at home for a fraction of the cost. 
  • It’s got incredible flavor. Tender chicken is topped with a yummy sesame chicken sauce made with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for that Umami flavor you crave. 

Sesame Chicken Ingredients

Ingredients needed for instant pot chinese sesame chicken.
  • Chicken: select boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cube them into bite-sized pieces. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs. 
  • Soy Sauce: use low-sodium soy sauce to control the saltiness. Substitute with tamari or liquid aminos if gluten is a concern. 
  • Ketchup: use regular ketchup or a low sugar option. 
  • Aromatics: freshly minced garlic and grated ginger add a traditional Asian flavor and aroma. 
  • Salt and Ground Pepper
  • Brown Sugar: Substitute with honey if desired. You can also reduce the amount of sugar for less sweetness. 
  • Sesame Oil: Sesame oil provides a rich, toasty flavor. You can also use olive oil or vegetable oil, but the final taste of the dish will be different. 
  • Water and Cornstarch: to thicken the sauce. 
  • Sesame Seeds: White sesame seeds add crunch. 
  • Chives: to garnish

How To Make Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

  • Prepare the chicken. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and place the chicken pieces into the Instant pot.
How to make sesame chicken sauce in a bowl.
  • Make the sesame chicken sauce. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, ginger, salt & pepper. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken pieces and mix it well. Cover the Instant pot with a lid and place the valve in the “sealing” position. 
How to cook sesame chicken in the Instant Pot.
  • Cook the chicken. Pressure cook the chicken on “HIGH” for 3 minutes, and once the cycle is complete, “QUICK RELEASE” the valve.
  • Thicken the sauce. Carefully open the lid and add brown sugar and sesame oil. Press the “SAUTE” setting and add the cornstarch slurry (2 tbsp water +1 tbsp cornstarch). Cook until the sauce thickens.
Instant Pot insert filled with chucks of chicken in sesame sauce.
  • Add the sesame seeds. Add in the sesame seeds and give a quick mix. Switch off the saute setting.
  • Garnish and serve. Garnish the sesame chicken with chives and serve the chicken over rice.
A spoon scoops chicken with sesame sauce out of pressure cooker.

Tips To Make Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

  • Chicken breast is our preferred cut because it’s tender and kid friendly. You can use chicken thighs if you prefer. 
  • Add some red pepper flakes or sriracha to make this dish spicy. 
  • Always check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165 degrees F. 
  • Be sure to do a quick release of pressure, so you don’t overcook the chicken. 
  • Cooking times do not include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. 
  • Make a cornstarch slurry by combining cold water and cornstarch. Just before serving, add it to the Instant Pot using the Saute setting to thicken the sauce. 
Closeup if chinese chicken with sesame sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sesame Chicken spicy?

As this recipe is written, sesame chicken has the flavor of garlic and ginger but is not hot. If you want to increase this dish’s heat level, you can add some red pepper flakes or sriracha to taste. 

What’s the difference between sesame chicken and General Tso chicken?

The basic recipe for sesame chicken and General Tso chicken is quite similar. Typically, General Tso’s chicken is a bit spicier and usually doesn’t have sesame seeds. 

How do you thicken sesame chicken sauce?

Combine cold water and cornstarch to make a slurry. Set the Instant Pot to saute and pour in the slurry. Stir until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. If you are concerned about overcooking the chicken, you can remove it and add it back once the sauce has thickened. 

How do I store and reheat Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken?

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat the chicken in the microwave or skillet until warm and serve over fresh rice. 

Can I freeze this Chinese chicken recipe?

Yes! Cool the chicken completely and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating in the microwave or skillet. 

What to serve with Chinese Sesame Chicken?

Serve this delicious Instant Pot Chicken with white rice, noodles, Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice or Spicy Salmon and Rice Egg Rolls.

Chopsticks pick up a piece of sesame chicken from a bowl.

More Chicken Recipes

I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this delicious Chinese chicken recipe. I hope you try it, enjoy it, rate it, and share it with your friends and family!

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5 from 1 vote

Chinese Sesame Chicken (Instant Pot)

Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken is a little sweet and a little spicy. Tender chunks of chicken breast are bathed in rich sesame chicken sauce that pairs perfectly with rice or noodles.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Chopped chives, to garnish

Instructions 

  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and place the chicken pieces into the Instant pot.
  • In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, ginger, salt & pepper. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken pieces and mix it well. Cover the Instant pot with a lid and place the valve in the “sealing” position.
  • Pressure cook the chicken on “HIGH” for 3 minutes, and once the cycle is complete, “QUICK RELEASE” the valve.
  • Carefully open the lid and add brown sugar and sesame oil. Press the “SAUTE” setting and add the cornstarch slurry (2 tbsp water +1 tbsp cornstarch) cook until the sauce thickens.
  • Add in the sesame seeds and give a quick mix. Switch off the saute setting.
  • Garnish the sesame chicken with chives and serve the chicken over rice.

Notes

  • Chicken breast is our preferred cut because it’s tender and kid friendly. You can use chicken thighs if you prefer. 
  • Add some red pepper flakes or sriracha to make this dish spicy. 
  • Always check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165 degrees F. 
  • Be sure to do a quick release of pressure, so you don’t overcook the chicken. 
  • Cooking times do not include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. 
  • Make a cornstarch slurry by combining cold water and cornstarch. Just before serving, add it to the Instant Pot using the Saute setting to thicken the sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1359mg | Potassium: 766mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
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