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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The Best Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken
Every bite of this Panda Express honey sesame 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. So you can create your own Panda Express entree at home!
And, best of all, it takes just 45 minutes to cook.
Plus, most of the ingredients you most likely already have on 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 honey sesame chicken are some fried squash, coconut rice, or this 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 (stir-fry some minced garlic and toast the quinoa before adding the water for extra flavor), cauliflower rice, or roasted vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and asparagus.
Anyway, with all that said, let's dive directly into the ingredients!
To make the honey sesame chicken breast Panda Express serves, you'll need 3 sets of ingredients - some to coat the chicken, some to make the honey sesame sauce, and some for the final toppings to finish off the dish.
But, don't worry, these are all easy-to-find ingredients. Like I mentioned earlier you probably already have them in your pantry!
Anyway, here's what you'll need to coat the white meat chicken:
- 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
And to finish off the meal:
- 1 pound of string beans, trimmed
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon white or toasted sesame seeds
Now, if you don't know, Panda Express' honey sesame chicken is a bit spicy because of the sweet chili sauce. And this recipe recommends using ¼ cup of it to match the spiciness of the one at the restaurant.
However, if you have a low tolerance for spiciness, you can cut this in half.
Sweet chili sauce is not the most common product to have at home (especially if you are not used to making Asian recipes), but there are some alternatives that can be used as substitutes. You can use hot honey sauce - like Mike's Hot Honey - if you have it at home. Or, you can even use a little of just about any hot sauce you have in your fridge and mix it with a couple of spoons of honey, agave, or brown rice syrup.
With that said, if you're taking any of these two options, then use half of what the recipe suggests or it will be too spicy. Also, erring on the side of caution will allow you to adjust the spiciness of your honey sesame chicken to your taste after it's done cooking.
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
Ok, so to make the honey sesame chicken Panda Express serves all you'll need to do is chop/slice all of the vegetables, prepare and fry the chicken, and make the sauce.
Yup, just 3 simple main steps are all you need to follow to make this easy chicken recipe.
And, as you already know, the entire recipe takes just 45 minutes from start to finish to make.
By the way, a quick tip before you begin: if you want tender, velvety chicken - like the one served in Chinese restaurants - consider using baking soda to tenderize your chicken.
Just coat every pound of chicken in 1 teaspoon of baking soda and let it marinate for 20 minutes. Then, rinse the chicken under running water, pat it dry with a paper towel, and continue with Step 1. Now, of course, doing this tenderization process will add an extra 20 min to your recipe, but you can use this time to cut the veggies and preheat the oil.
Anyway, let's not waste any more time and get right into the recipe!
Step 1: Prepare the Egg Coat
The first step to making this honey sesame chicken breast Panda Express style is whisking together the egg, salt, pepper, and one tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized bowl.
Then, once that's all whisked together, you can set it aside for later.
Step 2: Prepare the Flour Coating
Now, in a second bowl, add ½ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup flour and mix until well combined. In this step, you do not need to add any additional seasoning.
This will be the second coating for the chicken.
Step 3: Heat the Oil
Now, heat the oil in a large wok, dutch oven, or pan to 375°F. Also, make sure you use enough oul that it comes up about 2 inches high in the wok - this should be enough to cover the chicken completely in oil.
Also, make sure the oil is well-heated before frying. Otherwise, the chicken will stick too much to the pan.
Step 4: Coating the Chicken
If you chose to follow the step to tenderize the chicken - with the baking soda - make sure you have previously dried it with a paper towel before you jump into this step.
Anyway, at this point, you're ready to dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture first and then dredge them in the flour mixture afterward. Also, make sure every piece is well-coated on all sides with the flour mixture when you coat them in it.
The portions should be more than enough to cover the entire pound of 1-inch chicken chunks, but if for whatever reason you run out of the flour mixture, just make extra using half of the recipe's quantities.
Step 5: Frying the Chicken
Once the oil is fully preheated, start frying the coated chicken chunks in batches.
And you'll want to fry them for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Also, make sure you occasionally turn them around while they cook so all sides cook evenly.
Anyway, once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, you can remove the cooked chicken with a slotted spatula - and be sure to drain the oil well.
Then, 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: Preparing the Honey Sauce
The sauce is simply combining the sweet chili sauce (or any of the substitutes), honey, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, soy sauce, water, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
Of course, to avoid cornstarch lumps, separately combine the cornstarch with the water. Then, once it has dissolved into the water, you can add it to the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.
Now, after all of the components of the sauced have been mixed together, you can bring the sauce to a boil and cook until it thickens.
Step 7: Stir Fry the Veggies
Next, in a clean skillet and 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: Serving and Garnishing
Now that everything is all cooked and ready to serve, you'll want to take out a large bowl.
Then, 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.
Finalize serve the chicken dish in four separate bowls and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
How to store Honey Sesame Chicken
This Panda Express honey sesame chicken recipe makes 4 generous servings.
So, if you're serving it at a family dinner, it will be the perfect amount.
But, if you have some big eaters, consider doubling the recipe, especially because it's so delicious leftover. And as far as how long leftovers last, this honey sesame chicken can be stored in for fridge in an airtight container for about 3-4 days. Or, you can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months.
By the way, make sure you do not leave leftovers on the counter for more than 2 hours and that it has cooled off before putting them in the fridge/freezer.
How To Reheat Honey sesame chicken
As I mentioned earlier, this honey sesame chicken is delicious leftover. There's just something about the honey sesame sauce that is even more delicious the next day!
To reheat this Panda Express honey sesame chicken, I like to put it in the air fryer at 400°F for about 5 minutes flipping it halfway through so it reheats evenly.
But, if you don't have an air fryer, you can also microwave the honey sesame chicken, heat it on the stovetop, or even in the oven. Any of those reheating methods will work as well.
FAQs ABOUT THIS PANDA EXPRESS HONEY SESAME CHICKEN RECIPE
Did Panda Express get rid of the honey sesame chicken?
This is one of the most common questions about this chicken recipe.
Actually, Panda Express offers this temporarily. They have it on their menu for a limited time and then remove it. To know the right answer, you would have to call and ask for their menu. If it's not there, it means it has been removed, for now.
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 used in the honey sauce.
However, 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.
Wrapping it all up
Well, that is how to make Panda Express honey sesame chicken with the most delicious honey sesame sauce.
This sesame chicken will seriously have everyone thinking that you went to Panda Express for it! And, best of all, you just need to follow just a few simple steps to make it!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this Panda express honey sesame chicken as much as my family does. If you make it, leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
By the way, if you want to give another delicious Panda Express recipe a try, check out this beijing beef next.
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS
For more flavorful options like this Panda Express honey sesame chicken recipe, check out the following main dishes!
- 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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