Sesame Chicken

sesamechicken Sesame Chicken

Do you remember take-out? My favorite thing to order was Sesame Chicken! Some of my favorite dates with my husband included Chinese takeout and a good movie! Since going gluten-free I haven’t eaten Chinese takeout (clearly their soy sauce is NOT gluten free) even during two gluten-free pregnancies. After a few tries, I have finally gotten a recipe for Sesame Chicken that the family loves. Big Dan probably the most! He literally cried for a second and a third helping. That boy will surpass his big brother any day if he keeps this up.

And speaking of takeout, there is exciting news in the Raleigh area for those on special diets. Rosie’s Plate, a gluten-free catering company, just opened up in downtown Raleigh. Rose Waring decided to pursue this catering business after caring for her two young children with multiple food allergies. She realized that having to cook every meal was a daunting task! [I agree!] Her business model is an interesting one. She rotates her menus every two weeks and you have to give her company a day’s notice of your order. I am very excited about this new opportunity for the allergy community of Raleigh. Her prices are very reasonable.

When I visited Rosie’s Plate on Wednesday, I met a woman who was picking up a menu for her teenager. Apparently, she used to order all her child’s baked goods from Babycakes in New York City. She said that the thing her child missed the most was fried chicken. When I told her it would be relatively easy to make fried chicken, she laughed and said that cooking just wasn’t her thing. Hmmm…maybe her teenager wants to swap babysitting for gluten-free cooking lessons?!

Here is the link to the article in the Raleigh News & Observer (yours truly is quoted) about Rosie’s Plate.

I am submitting this sesame chicken recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Kalyn’s Kitchen. This blog event invites bloggers to write about a vegetable, herb, or flower. My sesame chicken recipe includes green onions, which are my absolute favorite. I LOVE that you can actually use your leftover bulbs to grow even more green onions.

whb two year icon Sesame Chicken


1 1/2 lbs of chicken tenders (cut into thirds/bite size pieces)

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of San-J’s Wheat-Free Tamari Sauce

2 1/2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar plus 1 teaspoon (you can substitute another if you don’t have it)

1 cup gluten-free chicken broth

1/2 cup sugar (don’t faint; I am trying to mimic the take-out sesame chicken, so reduce if you feel you must)

1/4 cup cornstarch plus 2 teaspoons

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 cup oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

3-6 dried hot pepper pods

1/4 cup sesame seeds

green onions, chopped

cooked jasmine rice


In a medium bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup of the tamari sauce, vinegar, and chicken broth. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine chicken pieces, remaining 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes. Once the chicken has marinated, add egg whites and cornstarch and stir until well-blended.

In your wok, heat oil over med-high heat. Cook chicken (in about 3 batches) until golden on both sides- this will take 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken from wok with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cover with foil to keep the chicken warm. If you have more than a couple tablespoons of oil left in the wok, discard the remaining oil( leave just a few tablespoons in the wok). Reduce the heat to med. Cook the garlic and pepper pods for about a minute. Then add soy sauce mixture. Increase heat to med-high and cook sauce for about 15 minutes. Stir two teaspoonfuls of cornstarch into a little water and whisk it into the sauce. Once the sauce is thickened and bubbly, add the chicken and sesame seeds. Top with green onions and serve over jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6

Notes: Don’t faint when you read the amount of sugar! I tried to make this recipe with less, but it just didn’t feel as much like the take-out version. If you do decide to reduce the sugar or use agave syrup, you may need to use more cornstarch to thicken the sauce. I suggest just thinking of it as dessert!

You could also try adding a tablespoon of dry white wine to the sauce.

Note: Tamari Sauce is well worth the money and completely delicious. If you use soy sauce consider backing off the amount as it has a stronger flavor.

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44 Responses to “Sesame Chicken”

  1. There’s a restaurant near where I work that makes a great version of this, although I haven’t had it for quite a while. Yours looks yummy, and probably much healthier, even with the sugar!

  2. Just made this tonight- SO yummy! I too have missed Chinese food since going gluten free with my newborn- 2 1/2 years ago. I couldn’t stop “mmmm”-ing all throughout dinner tonight. Thank you! We used agave instead of the sugar- and it was perfect.
    I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for a while. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Sesame chicken is the DH’s FAVORITE food in the world. I’m making a “Sesame tofu” version for him tonight. Wish me luck!


  4. Mamatojack- I am glad! How much agave did you use? :)

  5. That looks so good Natalie! It’s great to have a recipe like this to satisfy that Chinese takeout craving. I don’t get it often, but once every few months. My standby is General Tso’s, but I think I might have to branch out.

  6. I am also interested to know how much agave mamatojack used… right now i only use it in my hot tea in the mornings, but want to start substituting it in recipes but am not sure how much to use. also, is light agave okay to use for this?
    I’m definitely making this this week! YUM! Thanks Nat!

  7. I’ll definitely copy this recipe and serve this to my girlfriend. She just love chicken wings.

  8. I found your blog through a link in the N&O article. My children have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is mild form of Autism. They are on gluten free and casin free diets. I thought I’d pass along a recipe software that helped me keep recipes and ingredients organized. It’s called Living Cookbook and it was a life saver for me. It was so hard to rethink ingredients when I made the switch. This software lets me see at a glance which recipes I can make, based on what I have in my cupboards. And I can print out a grocery list that shows me what I’m low on and at I’m out of. is the website where you can read about it. I am not affiliated, just a happy customer.

    It takes longer to cook things from scratch, but I’m trying to have fun with it. Fortunately I can be a stay at home mom. I bought a Kitchenaid mixer and I can make my own pasta with it!

    Thanks for sharing your recipes! I’ll copy several of them.

  9. We used a bit less than 1/2 cup agave in place of sugar- didn’t need to add any extra corn starch. The sweetness level was perfect. Generally, when I sub agave for sugar I use pretty much equal amounts. And yes, any kind of agave is fine- the light is just the color, kind of like grade/colors of maple syrup. Baked goods I make that I sweeten with agave do tend to taste not as sweet, so keep that in mind if you’re really looking to fix your treat craving with a chocolate cookie or something! :)

  10. That looks sooo good, though I did almost faint at the sugar :)

  11. This looks delicious Natalie! Yum, yum. Thanks for the Rosie’s link, I sent it to Jon as a “hint” for when he needs to get something for me (since he can’t cook very well :) ). I’d try this with agave like you mentioned just because I like agave, hehe. I wonder if Stevia (powder) would sub for sugar? Huh, I will experiment. Hey a lil sugar is okay too- all in moderation. I just don’t like sweet foods at the moment, I’m stuck on salty and spicy (surprise). The gf/df Chinese takeout here looks fantastic though… how much do you charge?


  12. Sea- Thanks! I can’t wait to see the vegetarian version.

    Karen- You will have to try it!

    Christine- Welcome and thanks for commenting. I appreciate the link! I have never been to that site before. :)

    Alisa- LOL. ME too! Use agave. However, I really wanted that syrupy takeout goodness. Trust me on this one- it is so good!

    Cindy- Let me know if you try it with stevia- hilariously enough, I am very allergic to Stevia. Agave Syrup rocks though, so use that!

  13. The chicken looks gorgeous. Like you, I avoid take-aways, and am currently re-creating a few of my favourite chinese dishes …. slowly!

  14. Yum. Yum. Yum.

    Sesame Chicken was also one of my favorite things to order as well!

    Can’t wait to try that recipe, thanks!

  15. This looks and sounds delicious!

  16. I like the sound and look of this. I shall mark this on my to do list.

  17. OH HOLY YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I have missed sesame chicken so much for the past few years.

  18. This dish makes my mouth water. So much for those of us who have to be soy-free, too! I do miss Chinese food. Anyway, great job on the subs—yum!

  19. This is on my menu for next week. I’m feeling the need for a little indulgence, and for me that means Chinese and a good romance novel. I can’t wait!

  20. [...] Natalie’s Sesame Chicken Stir-Fried [...]

  21. [...] Free Menu: Asian Week Day One: Sesame Chicken (Tofu) by Gluten Free Mommy Day Two: Vegetable Chicken Peanut Soup (Chickpeas)  from World Soups [...]

  22. [...] and collecting recipes as I go. I was excited to read a post on Gluten-free Mommy’s blog for sesame chicken. It’s been years and years since I’ve been to a Chinese restaurant (a friend of mine is [...]

  23. [...] Natalie’s Sesame Chicken (Chinese) Snap Peas (I didn’t get to make this last [...]

  24. [...] form, until the other evening when I saw the Gluten Free Mommy Natalie’s post about sesame chicken. I read the recipe and had to smile at her comment about the high level of sugar… [...]

  25. [...] it more at home. I usually make my version of General Tso’s Chicken, and have recently tried Natalie’s Sesame Chicken (it’s really good).  This is another simple recipe that can be make with either chicken or [...]

  26. Hello and thank you for this website. I stumbled across it as I sat in my recliner crying because I’m 14 weeks pregnant and starving all the time because I just don’t have a ton of expericence with gluten free. Plus I found out that I could miscarry if eat things with gluten, so I’m terrified to eat. It’s only been a year since I was diagnosed with celiacs and I didn’t have this problem with my 1st two children, so this is a whole new world for me. Thanks so much for taking the time to research, share this info, and for this recipe. I bought the few things I didn’t have and will be making it tomorrow for dinner. My husband is very excited to try it! I will let you know how it turns out.

  27. I have celiac and sesame chicken was my FAVORITE before I went gluten free. It’s funny that I don’t miss desserts because there are so many yummy gluten free treats, but I do miss SESAME CHICKEN, so I am excited to try this recipe.

  28. Had this last night and it was so good. Thanks for sharing!

  29. You are just amazing! I have tried a few of your recipes and wow!! I am just soo thankful there are creative and willing people around like you to help us celiacs out.

    I am going to try this one tonight…if I can find my sesame seeds :)


  30. It was as good as you said! My family loved it and I even had the leftovers for breakfast. Thanks again!

  31. Thankyou sooooo much for this blew my mind! sooooooooooo delishh!!

  32. We just ate this and my husband said it was one of the best meals that I had ever cooked :) Great job! It was a little spicy though so I would suggest going a little lighter on the peppers, if you don’t want it spicy. My daughter (who doesn’t like spicy food) found it a little tough to get through. I may skip the peppers next time just for her… we’ll see.

  33. Hey there! I am also in the Raleigh area, and would love love love to know where you purchase wheat-free tamari sauce? I’ve been looking to no avail. Thanks!

  34. This is the first recipe I’ve tried on your blog. 3 out of 5 of us in the family need to eat gluten free so I’m always on the hunt for great recipes that will please ALL members of the family. This was amazing! I loved loved LOVED it. Thank you for posting!

  35. Hello! This is my first post on your website although I have been seriously looking through your recipes for the past month. I love sesame chicken but am afraid to eat out being newly diagnosed with gluten intolerance. I made this tonight at home and it is SOOO good! I didn’t have any chicken broth so I used water and it was still good. Also, I added thai peppers to it because I like things spicy and omg it was SO good. Jasmine rice is not something I’m completely familiar cooking at home but it was so fragrant and so good! Seriously people if you do really like sesame chicken you should like this recipe. I know I love it! :) Thank you SO much!

  36. I really should have edited the message above before sending it. I apologize for the overly enthusiastic behavior :) . Basically…..just try it guys, you’ll be glad you did.

  37. Hi! I made this last night and it was WONDERFUL! It completely satisfied my pregnancy craving for Sesame Chicken. My non-GF husband thought it was delicious as well. I subbed in 1/8 cup of brown sugar for some of the white sugar and used crushed red pepper flakes because I couldn’t find the pepper pods. I was amazed at how easy this was to make! I will DEFINITELY make it again. Thank you for the recipe!

  38. Hello! I believe I posted to this recipe before but don’t see my comment. I just wanted to say that this is the abosolute BEST recipe for Sesame Chicken I have had, even beating chinese restaurants. I especially like it because you know where everything came from. Some chinese restaurants I’ve been to have had “questionable” meat 8-o not to mention all the gluten contaminants. My family begs for me to make this recipe and believe me…I’ve made plenty of flops, they aren’t shy about letting me know when something isn’t good. Thanks for the wonderful recipe! It’s definitely on the top of my recipe file. :)

  39. LOVED it. Been gf for 6 months and am just starting to venture back in to cooking creative dishes. Will definitely make it again. Kids & Husband loved it too. A little time consuming (wanted to make sure followed the steps correctly) but well worth the time & energy. Added red onions to mix & steamed broccoli on the side. Think I could make it with lemon to replace my old lemon chicken recipe.

  40. THIS IS AMAZING!!! My first home cooked gluten free meal for the whole family. I did add some fresh french beans to the mix for a veggie. They all loved it and as to put it on the favorite dishes list. We all agreed it was WAY better than take out. Thanks! :)

  41. [...] the realm of deliciousosity, the boyfriend and I made g-f sesame chicken last night from this recipe. I didn’t take any pictures and I forgot a step (lightly beaten egg whites + corn starch on [...]

  42. Oh, devine! Thank you, this has become a favorite. Along with your Thai wraps…mmmmmm.

  43. Yummy for the entire family. We made a few tweeks to suit our family, the recipe has become one of our favorites. Teen boys love it.

  44. Looks wonderful! Can you admit the 3-6 dried hot pepper pods??
    I am not a fan of hot peppers. thanks!

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