Sous Vide Sesame Chicken

Sous VideChineseChicken

If you love take-out Sesame Chicken, then you've got to try this sous vide version. The chicken stays tender and juicy, plus there's no need to deep-fry. A quick toss with a spicy sauce brings it all together.

Photography Credit: Nick Evans

Cooking this sesame chicken sous vide offers several advantages over your typical Chinese takeout meal, which is fried and then tossed in a sauce. With sous vide, frying the chicken isn’t necessary, so you can enjoy a much healthier version! A quick sauce brings it all together, and you don’t even miss the fried exterior.

Even better for those short on time? You can prep the chicken well in advance (you can even freeze it!) and then just toss the chicken in the water and cook sous vide a few hours before dinner.

Once the chicken is cooked, it’ll be tender, juicy, and seasoned evenly — the long cooking time helps infuse every piece of chicken with flavor. The sauce, flavored with honey, soy, and chili sauce, comes together quickly in a skillet. Just add the cooked chicken and toss the two together.

Dinner is done and everyone will wonder how you got the chicken so tender!

Healthy Sesame Chicken Recipe

A NOTE ABOUT CHICKEN COOKED SOUS VIDE

If you were to Google safe chicken temperatures, you’ll find that the FDA recommends cooking chicken to 165°F. Just know that food safety is both a function of both temperature and time.

You can safely cook chicken at lower temperatures as long as you cook long enough to kill bacteria, which is exactly what we’re doing with sous vide cooking.

After much testing, I think 158°F. is the ideal cooking temperature for sous vide chicken, which leaves you with super juicy chicken that still has the texture you’d expect from cooked chicken.

Sesame Chicken Recipe Sous VideNEW TO SOUS VIDE? START HERE

I think sous vide is something that all home cooks should learn to do because it takes a lot of the stress—and guesswork—out of cooking. You can prep your food in advance in the bags and then cook it when you have time.

If you’re new to sous vide, take a quick read through these intro posts:

TRY THESE OTHER SOUS VIDE RECIPES!

Sous Vide Sesame Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 16 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If you like, you can measure out 1/3 cup of the liquid from cooking the chicken and use it in place of the chicken stock when making the sauce for this recipe.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

For the sesame sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (optional)
  • Sesame seeds, garnish

To serve:

Special equipment:

Method

 1 Heat the water: Fill a pot with water and place your immersion circulator inside. Set the temperature to 158°F and let the water come up to temperature.

2 Prepare the chicken: Combine the cubed chicken breast along with ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy, and rice wine vinegar to a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag. Make sure the chicken is in a single layer.

3 Seal the bag: Seal the bag with as little air as possible by using water-displacement method to help press out all the air: Just slowly lower the bag with the chicken into the water, letting the pressure of the water press the air through the top of the bag. Once the top of the bag reaches the water line and all the air has been pressed out, seal the bag. (Read more here.)

You can do this in the pot of water as it heats. (Just be careful if the water is already steaming!) Set the chicken aside on a kitchen towel until the water has finished heating. Seal it when it is submerged so most of the air is out of the bag.

Healthy Sesame Chicken Recipe

4 Cook the chicken:  Once the water has come to temperature, submerge the sealed bag of chicken. Make sure the bag is completely submerged so the food cooks evenly.

Cook the chicken for 2 hours. When cooking time ends, remove the chicken from the water and turn off the circulator.

Sous Vide Sesame Chicken Recipe seal the bag Sous Vide Sesame Chicken Recipe cook the chicken

6 Make the sauce and combine with the chicken. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a medium skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; it and should start to thicken immediately.

Scoop out the chicken from the zip-top bag, discard the garlic and ginger, and add the chicken to the pan with the sauce. (The leftover cooking liquid can be saved and used in another recipe, if you like!)

Turn heat down to low, and toss to coat and combine. The sauce should get very thick and stick to the chicken.

7 Serve the chicken: Serve sesame chicken over rice garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Products We Love

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Nick Evans

Nick has been writing delicious recipes for the home cook for almost a decade. He lives in Denver, CO and embraces a delicate balance of diaper changing, trail running and beer drinking. His website is Macheesmo and his first book is Love Your Leftovers.

More from Nick

16 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSous Vide Sesame Chicken

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sharron

    I made this last night. I cooked the chicken at 146 degrees for 1.5 hrs and it was totally dry.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Michelle

    Made this recipe with 2 lbs chicken breast increased the marinade did not double it but 11/2
    of the recipe. I also used 6 garlic and 1 tbsp of crushed ginger as I did not have whole ginger in my fridge. As suggested by another review I cooked the meat for an hour and half and it was tender not dry. I also doubled the sauce recipe .

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Derk

    Cook time and temp are way off. I cut the time by 30 minutes and the by 4 degrees and the chicken was dried out and crumbly. I made the sauce exactly to the recipe and the sauce tasted nothing like restaurant sesame chicken. It flavor was over powered by the rice wine vinegar.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (2)
  4. Jennifer

    I am new to sous vide; I made the chicken on Sunday night, quick chilled it in an ice bath and then made the sauce today (Tuesday) and tossed the chicken in the hot sauce, covered it and put it on low to heat it through; I found the chicken really dry and the texture was kind of mealy, almost. Any thoughts on why that came out like that?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Fran Augusta

    Excellent! I only had boneless chicken thighs so I used those instead of the breasts. Followed Sous Vide directions exactly and the chicken came out moist and tender. The sauce was excellent, as well. My husband, the original Sous vide skeptic, thought it was great. Worth making again.

    xxxxxyyyyy

View More
Sesame Chicken Recipe Sous VideSous Vide Sesame Chicken