Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

by Erin @ Food Doodles on February 7, 2021

This air fryer sesame chicken is surprisingly easy to make, doesn’t use any unusual ingredients, and is ready in 30 minutes! It’s also naturally gluten-free and can easily be made paleo.

It’s time for another air fryer recipe! I hope you’re not getting sick of them.

shot of air fryer sesame chicken

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can just fry the chicken in some oil in a pan until it’s cooked through. If you do that, I’d recommend cutting them into thinner pieces so that they cook more quickly and evenly. 

I only made this recipe for the first time two weeks ago, and I’ve made it 5x since then. I just can’t enough! And it’s so quick and easy with the air fryer.

We always serve it alongside jasmine rice but Instant, Single-Serving Brown Rice would also be great.


The sauce

I often don’t like soy-based sauces. They’re usually too sweet or I just don’t like them for whatever reason. An exception would be these Sesame Noodles.

But I absolutely loved this one. It’s a bit sweet, but not overly so, and the sesame adds some great flavor. 

ingredients for air fryer sesame chicken

Oil or no oil?

I know some people use air fryers because they want to use less oil but man… a little olive oil goes a long way!

I first made the chicken without spraying it with oil before putting it into the air fryer. It had a weird texture. It was dry and floury.

The next time I sprayed the chicken, and that made a huge difference. So much better! So definitely – please spray the chicken with a little oil!

air fryer sesame chicken in bowl with chopsticks

Naturally gluten-free and dairy-free

This recipe uses cornstarch, so it’s naturally gluten-free, as long as you use gluten-free soy sauce. Or you can use coconut aminos, which I talk about below!

And there’s no dairy at all to be replaced, making it a great dish for dairy-free folks. The same is true of my other favorite chicken recipes, these Paleo Chicken Meatballs and this Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe.

air fryer sesame chicken in bowl

Soy-free option

I used the coconut aminos from Dynamic Health. That brand is quite a bit thicker than the other brands I’ve tried, so I used 1/4 cup of that + 1/4 cup of water to make it as thin as 1/2 cup of soy sauce and other brands of coconut aminos.

If I had had some Coconut Secret brand coconut aminos on hand, which I think is the most common brand, I think 1/2 cup would’ve been the correct amount.

air fryer sesame chicken close-up

Paleo option

You’ll need to use coconut aminos and grain-free flour. I’ve used tapioca flour/starch with great success. That’s actually how I usually make it.

I just tried it with cornstarch, knowing that this is what most people would use, to make sure it’d work. And of course, it did!

It works great. It’s what you see in the photos, but the tapioca starch version looks the same.

I think cassava flour or arrowroot powder/starch would also work but I haven’t tried it.

I hope that no matter what ingredients you use, that you’ll love this recipe as much as we do!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #fooddoodlesrecipes so I can check them out. 🙂

pin for air fryer sesame chicken

Air Fryer Sesame Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: air fryer
Servings: 4 people
For the Chicken:
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) cornstarch or tapioca flour/starch for paleo
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (453 grams) pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 large (50 grams, out of shell) egg beaten
  • olive oil or cooking spray
For the Sesame Sauce:
  • ½ cup (120 ml) soy sauce or coconut aminos for paleo/soy-free (use GF soy sauce for a GF version)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
To serve:
  • rice or cauliflower rice, optional
  • green onions, optional
To make the chicken:
  1. Preheat the air fryer at 400 °F (205 °C) for 5 minutes.

  2. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl.

  3. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken pieces and use your hands to make sure it's evenly coated.

  4. Toss the chicken pieces with the egg.

  5. Dip the pieces into the cornstarch, making sure that the pieces are evenly coated all over.

  6. Put the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer.
  7. Spray with olive oil using an oil mister or cooking spray.

  8. Cook at 400 °F (205 °C) for 15-17 minutes or until crisp and the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (74 °C).

  9. While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.

To make the sauce:
  1. In a small saucepan, mix together all of the ingredients.
  2. Cook at medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Put the chicken in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the chicken. Coat the chicken in the sauce.
  4. Serve with rice. Top with green onions, if desired.
  5. This is best enjoyed immediately.

Leave a Comment

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisalia February 16, 2021 at 16:41

This sesame chicken is our new favorite air fryer recipe. It’s so delicious! And that sesame sauce … wowza! What a great flavor!


2 Erin @ Food Doodles September 26, 2021 at 12:44

I’m so glad that it was a hit! Thanks a bunch for your comment and so sorry for just now seeing it. 🙁


3 Colleen Jayne February 16, 2021 at 16:06

I made this last night and it is delicious! I used coconut aminos and it came out perfectly!


4 Erin @ Food Doodles September 26, 2021 at 12:43

Oh, dear. I have no idea how I missed your comment until now. I’m really sorry. But I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂 I really appreciate it!


5 Matt Taylor February 16, 2021 at 16:04

This looks so amazing! I have been looking for more air-fryer recipes. Can’t wait to give this a try.


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