This copycat Panda Express honey sesame chicken recipe is a fancy, yet easy, recipe to make. With a crispy outside layer on the chicken, and a flavorful honey sesame sauce, your mouth won't believe it's homemade! And it's just as good - if not better - than the honey sesame chicken breast at Panda Express!
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My Take On Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken
I love the Panda Express honey sesame chicken, so I had to come up with a copycat recipe, and it's amazing!
Every bite of this chicken is a mixture of sweetness, spiciness, tanginess, and crunchiness. The honey sesame sauce is thick enough to stick to each piece of chicken so they are all covered with flavor. And the sweet and flavorful sauce blends very well with almost any side.
Plus, most of the ingredients you most likely already have at home. But, if you don't, there are options to replace some of the ingredients and get a result that's just as close to the chicken you'll find on the Panda Express menu.
By the way, some of my favorite things to pair with this recipe are some fried squash, coconut rice, or egg fried rice. This will make a very complete and flavorful main course that will impress anyone who eats it. And I think it also makes for the ultimate Chinese food experience.
Oh, and if you're looking for other side ideas, there are a few great alternatives that are pretty simple and quick to cook. Some options are white rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or roasted vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and asparagus.
Anyway, here's what you'll need to coat the white meat chicken:
- Chicken breast- the main part of this recipe.
- Egg- use a large egg.
- Salt and pepper
- Cornstarch and flour- to coat the chicken and make it crispy.
- Vegetable oil- for frying
For the sauce:
- Sweet chili sauce- to give the sauce a little heat.
- Honey- for a touch of sweetness to balance out the spice.
- Water- for consistency.
- White vinegar and lemon juice- a little acidity makes the flavors so much better.
- Low sodium soy sauce- if you add the salt. If not, you can use regular soy sauce.
- Cornstarch- to thicken the sauce.
And to finish off the meal:
- String beans- trimmed.
- Yellow bell pepper- sliced thinly. Feel free to use any color you want or a mix.
- Sesame oil- for frying the veggies.
- Toasted sesame seeds- the best garnish.
By the way, if you have any leftover chicken give this copycat Cheesecake Factory Thai Coconut Lime Chicken recipe a shot next!
How To Make Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken
Step 1: Prepare the egg coat. First, whisk together the egg, salt, pepper, and one tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized bowl. Then you can set it aside for later.
Step 2: Prepare the flour. Now, in a second bowl, add ½ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup flour and mix until well combined.
Step 3: Heat the oil. Add the oil to a large wok, dutch oven, or pan and heat it to 375°F. Also, make sure you use enough oil that it comes up about 2 inches high in the wok. This should be enough to cover the chicken completely in oil. Make sure the oil is well-heated before frying. Otherwise, the chicken won't get as crispy.
Step 4: Bread the chicken. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture first and then dredge them in the flour mixture afterward. Make sure every piece is well-coated on all sides with the flour mix. I like to gently press the chicken into the flour to help it stick.
Step 5: Fry the chicken. Once the oil is fully preheated, add a few pieces of breaded chicken to the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Flip the chicken halfway through cooking so it cooks evenly on both sides. Remove the cooked chicken with a slotted spatula, and be sure to drain the oil well. Place the fried chicken on a plate lined with paper towels. This will help remove some of the extra remaining oil on the chicken.
Step 6: Make the sauce. Combine the sweet chili sauce, honey, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, soy sauce, water, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Separately combine the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl, and once it dissolves, you can add it to the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Whisk everything together, bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until it thickens.
Step 7: Stir fry the veggies. Next, in a clean skillet, add 2 tsp. of sesame oil and let it preheat. Once it's heated, add the trimmed string beans and yellow bell peppers - along with any other veggies that you wish to add - and stir fry them until slightly softened and cooked to your desired tenderness.
Step 8: Serve. Now that everything is all cooked and ready to serve, add the veggies, chicken, and sauce to the bowl. Mix it all together with tongs making sure every chicken piece gets fully covered with the sauce. Serve warm in four separate bowls and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
How I Recommend Storing and Reheating Leftovers
We never have any leftovers in my house since it's so darn good! But if you end up with any, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To keep it for longer, store it in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
My favorite way to reheat the chicken is to put it in a skillet over medium heat and warm it up for about 5 minutes. You'll want to make sure to stir the chicken around the pan frequently so it evenly reheats. You can also microwave the leftovers in 30-second increments for a quicker method, but I'm personally not a fan of microwaving chicken.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add other veggies to this recipe?
Yes! Any veggies that you'd put in a regular stir fry will go great with the chicken. Some ideas are broccoli, baby corn, bok choy, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. You can also add some rice to make it a heartier meal.
Did Panda Express get rid of the honey sesame chicken?
Panda Express offers it temporarily. They have it on their menu for a limited time and then remove it. So good thing you can make this copycat version instead!
Is Panda Express honey sesame chicken spicy?
The original recipe is mildly spicy because of the sweet chili sauce. If you decide to make it at home, you can adjust the spiciness to your taste. And if you don't want any spiciness, you can add in something like liquid aminos or more soy sauce instead.
More Recipes Like This One To Try Next
- Panda Express honey walnut shrimp
- Empress Chicken
- Sweet & Sour Shrimp
- Shrimp Lo Mein
- General Tso Shrimp
- Bang Bang Shrimp
Honey Sesame Chicken Panda Express Copycat Recipe
This Panda Express honey sesame chicken copycat recipe is a fancy yet easy recipe to make. With a crispy outside layer on the chicken, coated in a flavorful honey sesame sauce, your mouth won't believe it's homemade! And it's just as good, if not better, than the honey sesame chicken breast at Panda Express!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 large servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Panda Express
1 pound of chicken breast, boneless skinless, cut into 1" chunks
1 large egg
½ tsp salt
1 pinch of black pepper
½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
vegetable oil for frying
For the sauce:
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
¼ cup honey
⅓ cup water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
⅛ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pound of string beans, trimmed
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon white or toasted sesame seeds
- To coat the chicken breast add the egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil into a medium bowl and whisk together well.
- In a second bowl, add ½ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup flour and mix.
- In a large dutch oven or a wok, heat oil to 375 degrees (about 2 inches of oil).
- Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
- Fry the chicken in batches for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp then remove with a slotted spatula, draining the oil well.
- To make the sauce combine the sweet chili sauce, honey, water, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, soy sauce and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil and cook until it thickens (don't make the sauce in your chicken pan).
- Clean the skillet and add 1 tbsp. of oil, stir fry the beans, and bell pepper. Cook until softened.
- In a bowl, combine the veggies, chicken and sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 438
- Fat: 10
- Carbohydrates: 57
- Protein: 30
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