Super juicy chicken encased in a deliciously crispy batter. My crispy honey sesame chicken recipe is so tasty you’ll be making it again and again.
The delectable honey flavour is 100% authentic Asian. And the crispy batter is easier to make than you might think.
I’m not going to lie. Most Chinese recipes do take a little extra time to prepare.
But boy, is it worth it. Ordering Chinese food can cost quite a bit of money, especially if you’re feeding a large family.
So with a bit of extra prep and a little hard work, you can be cooking up Chinese food at home that tastes like real Chinese.
In my time, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be gainfully employed at my local Chinese restaurant.
I assisted a wonderful Chinese man by the name of Kim in preparing and eventually cooking most Chinese food.
Just try my fried rice recipe, and you’ll be amazed.
I can also show you a popular Chinese deep-fried ice cream dessert, except this recipe is made with chocolate cake.
Although crispy honey sesame chicken is my greatest hit with the family.
I’ve even made crispy honey chicken in my air fryer, so I could save a little time.
What ingredients do I need to make crispy honey sesame chicken?
Honey chicken does require a few extra ingredients, but you should undoubtedly have most of them in your pantry already.
- Chicken thighs (skinless)
- Garlic powder
- Salt & white pepper
To make the deliciously sweet honey sauce.
To make the crispy batter.
- Plain (all-purpose) flour
- Cornflour (corn starch)
- Baking powder
- COLD soda water (sparkling water)
- Vegetable oil (canola)
Vermicelli rice noodles (optional)
Spring onion (optional)
Preparing the chicken
I use skinless chicken thighs for this recipe because they hold more moisture than breasts. The breast tends to dry out when deep-fried.
To begin, cut any extra fat off each chicken thigh and slice into 2.5cm pieces.
Place the chicken into a bowl and add garlic powder, salt, white pepper and water.
Get your hands in there and mix the chicken thoroughly, then pop it in the fridge uncovered for 20 minutes.
How to make the honey sauce?
It’s very easy to make the honey sauce for crispy honey sesame chicken and requires only 4 ingredients.
In a small mixing bowl, add the ketchup, sugar, honey and water, give the sauce a good mixing with a whisk, then set aside.
And that’s all there is to prepare the sauce.
Getting the oil ready to deep fry the chicken
Before making the batter, you must preheat 4-5cm of vegetable oil into a large pot or wok.
The temperature of the oil needs to be at precisely 180°C (356°F).
If you don’t have any of these at home, you can grab the same ones from Amazon using the link above.
Although I prefer to use a candy thermometer. It’s less handling.
It can take a while for the oil to heat up, hence why I recommend you do it at this stage.
Preparing the crispy batter for deep frying
Now we get to the fun part, making the batter for our crispy honey sesame chicken.
Add plain (all-purpose) flour, cornflour (corn starch), baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Give a good mix.
Check the temperature of your oil.
When it has reached our target temperature of 180°C (356°F), it’s time to add the secret ingredient that will make our batter super crispy.
COLD soda water. Yep, that’s right.
7-8 tablespoons of COLD soda water will make your batter super crispy every time.
Add the soda water to the flour mixture and slowly mix together. Try not to overdo it. A lumpy batter is absolutely normal.
12 slow revolutions using a whisk should do it.
Before we go any further, we will be twice frying our chicken to ensure a super crispy batter.
Frying the chicken for the first time
Take your chicken out of the fridge and pop it into the batter. And mix the batter thoroughly, coating the chicken.
Check that the oil is ready by adding a drop to the oil. If it immediately rises to the surface, it’s good to go.
You will be frying your chicken in batches. The coldness of the chicken and batter will drop the temperature of your oil.
Carefully place 10-12 pieces of chicken into the oil, placing them away from you each time.
Using a slotted spoon, continue to move the chicken around the pot and fry for around 3 minutes until lightly golden or crispy.
Place the chicken onto a wire rack to drip off the excess oil. Repeat until all chicken has been fried, then allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Don’t turn the heat off.
Cooking the honey sauce
While the chicken is cooling, let’s get our honey sauce ready.
Over high heat, pour the honey sauce mixture into a medium-sized saucepan and stir until it simmers.
Turn the heat down to low, and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat and put a lid onto the saucepan. The sauce needs to stay warm.
If the honey sauce cools, it will thicken, making it difficult to thoroughly coat the chicken.
Frying the chicken for the second time
Turn up the heat so the oil can reach 200°C (390°F).
This time to can carefully add half of your chicken to the pot.
Stir the chicken around the oil for a further 1 to 1 ½ minutes or until the chicken is a dark yellow gold colour.
Don’t let it get to a dark brown, or the chicken will end up overcooked.
Place the cooked chicken back onto the wire rack, and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add the chicken to the saucepan with the honey sauce and gently toss the chicken until fully coated.
Serving suggestions for crispy honey sesame chicken
Generously sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the chicken served with homemade fried rice or vermicelli rice noodles.
If you decide to use vermicelli rice noodles, deep fry them for 1 minute in the same oil in which you cooked the chicken.
Place the honey chicken on a bed of vermicelli rice noodles, together with chopped spring onion and sesame seeds.
You’ll be in for a treat!
Asian style recipes we love!
Try some of our other authentic Chinese recipes, and make it Chinese food night in your home every week.
Authentic Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup: An excellent entree that you and your family can enjoy before getting stuck into the main course. This recipe is 100% authentic Chinese soup.
Mild chicken Singapore noodles: Made for those that love spicy food without the heat. This recipe is beautiful. If you love Singapore noodles, then you must try this recipe.
Air fryer Chinese honey chicken: If you didn’t catch it earlier, yes, I made crispy honey sesame chicken in my air fryer. It saves on time but does not sacrifice flavour.
It’s the same recipe with a simple change. I created a crumb for the chicken instead of batter.
Chocolate deep-fried ice cream: Are you looking for a dessert after cooking delicious honey chicken? Look no further than my chocolate deep-fried ice cream recipe.
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Authentic Asian Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe
- 850 g chicken thighs skin off
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 5 tbsp ketchup
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp cornflour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp soda water cold
- 2 litres vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds optional
- Slice off any excess fat and cut the chicken into roughly 2.5cm pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, add the sliced chicken, garlic powder, white pepper, salt and, water then mix. Place uncovered into the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preparing the Honey Sauce
- Add ketchup, sugar, honey and water to a small mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then set aside.
- Heat a medium-sized pot with 4-5cm of vegetable (canola) oil until the temperature reaches 180°C (356°F).
- While the oil is heating, add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk. Add 7-8 tbsp of soda water, then give it a light whisk. It's important not to whisk too much, just enough to combine; otherwise, the texture of the chicken may change. And don't worry about any lumps.
Chicken First Fry
- Place the chicken into the batter. Then carefully drop 10-12 pieces of chicken into the oil. Fry for approximately 3 minutes or until each piece is lightly golden and crispy.
- Try not to overcrowd the pot with the chicken; it will drop the temperature of the oil. Drain chicken onto a wire rack and repeat until all chicken has been deep-fried.
- Allow 15 minutes for the chicken to cool.
Cooking the Honey Sauce
- Heat the honey sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and leave for 3 minutes. Place a lid on the saucepan to keep the honey sauce warm.
Chicken Second Fry
- Heat the oil to 200°C (390°F), then place half of the chicken into the oil. Fry for 1 ½ minutes or until the batter has turned a darker yellow gold. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Drain the chicken on a wire rack.
Toss Chicken in the Honey Sauce
- Add the chicken to the saucepan with the honey sauce and toss until fully coated. Use a rubber spatula to assist. Avoid using a wooden spoon as this can loosen the batter from the chicken.
- Try to be quick when coating the chicken as the sauce will thicken, making it harder to coat.
Serving Suggestions (optional)
- Serve on a bed of deep-fried Vermicelli rice noodles for 1 minute. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the chicken together with freshly chopped spring onion, then serve.
Alternatively, you can leave a comment below and let us know how you went.