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Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

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Oh man, this Instant Pot Sesame Chicken is so delicious it will blow your mind.  Even better is that it’s made with simple pantry staples but tastes gourmet.  I like to pull this recipe out on a busy night because you can have it on the table in just 30 minutes.   

instant pot sesame chicken pinterest image to use on social media

Typically sesame chicken is fried and full of fat and grease when you order from your favorite Chinese restaurant.  I wanted to capture that same yummy flavor without all the wasted calories on fried foods.

I am trying to slim down my figure but I don’t want to miss out on all the yummy and deliciousness that is known as takeout.  This recipe helps me achieve that! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

What is Sesame Chicken?

Sesame chicken is one of the most highly ordered takeout dishes from Chinese restaurants. It’s traditionally fried in a batter and then finished in sauces, which I love so much!

This healthier version, is a fabulous dump and go recipe, that you’ll love just as much!

sesame chicken in a white bowl with jasmine rice next to an instant pot

Why use Cornstarch?

I used cornstarch because it’s a natural thickening agent that is typically found in asian style cooking. When used to thicken sauces, cornstarch should be mixed with water to create what is called a slurry, and then added to the sauce and heated for minutes to activate the thickening reaction. 

Chicken Breasts vs Chicken Thighs

I used boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe because the chicken is so tender, and adds lots of flavor to the dish.  I normally cut off any extra fat that remains on the thigh meat, before I cut into chunks.

instant pot sesame chicken in a white bowl with white rice and green onions sliced on top

Of course, if you’re wanting a more lean dish you can absolutely use chicken breast meat. The chicken will pick up a lot of the savory flavors in the pressure cooker. I would still cut the breast meat into chunks. Although, you can cook whole and then shred into the sauce once done.

If you’re on a MyWW plan, then this will help decrease your SmartPoints! Boneless skinless thigh meat still has a higher amount of SmartPoints then the breast meat does.

Variations or substitutions for this recipe

  • Soy sauce – Tamari or coconut aminos can be used in place of the soy sauce. 
  • Sriracha – great for adding a kick of heat to your recipe.
  • Olive Oil – use olive oil in place of sesame oil, however it will slightly alter the authentic taste 
  • Chicken Breast – You can use for a more leaner protein. I would still cut the breast meat into chunks, like the thigh meat. This way you can still use the same cooking time. If you’re leaving whole, then cook for approximately 8-9 minutes on High Manual Pressure/Pressure Cook (buttons depend on model).

Can I freeze Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

Yes! You can absolutely freeze sesame chicken.  To freeze be sure to cool your chicken completely and then place inside a freezer bag or freezer safe container.  To thaw place in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the microwave, Instant Pot or stove top.

How to Reheat Sesame Chicken in your Instant Pot

  • Add sesame chicken to your liner.
  • Select Manual low pressure
  • Set your timer to zero
  • Once the timer goes off quick release your pressure and serve. 
Close up view of my instant pot sesame chicken with green napkin on a gray background

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken Recipe

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

Here’s How To Make 

Add the chicken, soy sauce, honey, water, sesame oil, ketchup, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes into the Instant Pot insert.

Mix everything well, close the lid and set the pressure release valve to seal.

Adjust to pressure cook or manual on high for 4 minutes.

Cook till done then perform a quick pressure release and open the Instant Pot.

Select the Sauté setting on low heat.

Make the cornstarch slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a mixing bowl until smooth and add this into the sesame chicken and combine.

Cook mixing regularly until the sauce thickens, anything up to 5 minutes or to your preference.

Switch off the heat and serve your Instant Pot Garlic Sesame Chicken over rice and with any desired garnishes.

Cooking Tips

  • For a sweeter sauce use ½ cup of honey 
  • Want a little heat? Add in red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce
Instant Pot Sesame Chicken
Yield: 4 Servings

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

Instructions

    1. Add the chicken, soy sauce, honey, water, sesame oil, ketchup, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes into the Instant Pot insert.
    2. Mix everything well, close the lid and set the pressure release valve to seal.
    3. Adjust to pressure cook or manual on high for 4 minutes.
    4. Cook till done then perform a quick pressure release and open the Instant Pot.
    5. Select the Sauté setting on low heat.
    6. Make the cornstarch slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a mixing bowl until smooth and add this into the sesame chicken and combine.
    7. Cook mixing regularly until the sauce thickens, anything up to 5 minutes or to your preference.
    8. Switch off the heat and serve your Instant Pot Garlic Sesame Chicken over rice and with any desired garnishes.

Notes

Cornstarch Slurry:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Additional Cooking Time:

  • It will take approximately 8-10 minutes for your Instant Pot to come to pressure. Then there is an additional 5 minutes of cooking time for cooking the chicken in the sauce while it thickens with the added cornstarch slurry.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

MyWW SmartPoints

If you were to make this recipe as is, you will get 14 SmartPoints on all 3 plans for a one cup serving size portion. However, we can make these points a little bit lower with using boneless skinless chicken breast meat. That changes the SmartPoints completely!

Something else to do in reducing your SmartPoints, is not use so much sauce on your plate. I know it makes it delicious, but most of the points are in the sauce. You can easily shave 2 SmartPoints off by using less sauce. This way, you can indulge in a little rice, or better…riced cauliflower.

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