If you're looking for a quick and easy dinner recipe that's ready in 30 minutes or less you are going to love this Sesame Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli!
Better for you and less expensive than Chinese take out, this recipe will soon become your new go-to for a healthy alternative. It's a perfect one-skillet meal with an easy sauce that's packed with sesame flavour and sweetened with a touch of honey.
🥘Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you will need to make this recipe. For quantities see the recipe card below.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - or chicken thighs.
- Cornstarch - is used as a gluten free thickener for the sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil - look for "toasted" on the bottle. Sesame oil that isn't toasted lacks flavour.
- Avocado oil - or vegetable, canola, or any light cooking oil.
- Soy sauce - use regular or light soy sauce but avoid dark as the flavour may be too intense. Coconut aminos or tamari can also be used.
- Chicken broth - Use low or no sodium. Vegetable broth or water can also be used. If using water you may need to adjust the amount of soy sauce to add more flavour.
- Honey - If you prefer a sweeter sauce add more honey. White or brown sugar can also be used.
- Rice vinegar - adds a bit of tang to the sauce. White or red wine, white distilled, or apple cider vinegar can also be used.
- Broccoli - Don't throw away those stems! Just peel and slice and add them to the florets. You can use frozen broccoli. Omit the ¼ cup of chicken broth, don't cover and just stir and cook the broccoli until all the water has evaporated.
- Carrots - add a bit of sweetness and crunch. Bell peppers would make a great substitute.
- Garlic - use fresh garlic for the best flavour. If using chopped garlic from a jar, add 2 teaspoons.
- Toasted sesame seeds - easily toast sesame seeds in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Don't walk away! Watch them like a hawk and continually stir. They will go from zero to burnt quickly.
- Crushed chili flakes - adds a touch of heat. Omit or add more to adjust to your tastes.
How do you cook chicken for stir fry?
I recently learned about a Chinese technique called "velveting" from America's Test Kitchen and decided to give it a try. I have to say, if you are using chicken breasts in a stir fry, this is definitely the way to go! It's an easy extra step of tossing the chicken pieces in a mixture of cornstarch and oil before cooking. It creates a "barrier" and traps in moisture while the chicken is cooking. The result is tender, juicy little nuggets of chicken.
See recipe card below for full detailed instructions.
Step 1 - Coat the chicken with a mixture of cornstarch and oil flavoured with soy sauce while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2 - In a hot pan stir fry the chicken pieces until golden brown and no longer pink inside. Remove to a plate to reserve for later. Add broccoli, carrots and chicken broth. Cover and let steam for about 2 minutes. Remove cover and stir until remaining liquid is evaporated. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Step 3 - Add the chicken and the sauce to the broccoli mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve!
- Change the meat - substitute with thinly sliced or cubed pork or beef.
- Make it with fish - shrimp or cubes of salmon would be excellent in this stir fry.
- Vegetarian or Vegan - use cubes of tofu in place of the chicken and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Sesame stir-fry will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. This stir-fry can be frozen but the sauce will thin out after thawing.
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- Heritage - The Rock - This is a super versatile, non-stick, oven-proof, deep frying pan that comes with a lid. What more could you ask for?
- 12" Cast Iron Pan - This is one of my all-time favourite pans. I use cast iron for many things, including stir frys!
- Classic Stir Fry Wok - Of course the classic wok is always a good choice.
- Don't overcrowd the pan. Use a large 12" skillet or wok or cook in batches if necessary. If the pan is too crowded everything will steam and become soggy. If you are doubling the recipe or have a smaller pan, make it in 2 batches.
- Cut evenly. When making stir fries it's important that the pieces are all relatively the same size. This ensures even cooking.
- Cook protein first. Especially when using chicken, fish or seafood, cooking it first then setting it aside while you cook the other ingredients is an important step in helping to not overcook it.
- Don't have a lid? Most frying pans and woks don't come with a lid. No problem! Use a baking tray to cover your pan when you don't have a lid that fits.
What to serve with stir fry
White rice is always a good choice. I love jasmine rice with most stir fries. Any type of rice will work including basmati, brown, black, or red. If you are looking for a low carb option, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles are great options.
For a crunchy and tangy condiment try these Quick Pickled Carrots and Radish.
More Asian Inspired Recipes
Sesame Chicken Stir Fry
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (14 oz / 400 g), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch, divided
- 4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon avocado oil, divided
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce, divided
- 1 cup chicken broth, divided
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ lb broccoli florets, 3 cups, cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced ¼” thick
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon crushed chili flakes, optional
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Sliced green onions
- Sriracha sauce or other hot sauce
- In a large bowl whisk together ½ teaspoon cornstarch, 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1 teaspoon avocado oil, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Add chicken pieces and stir to coat well.
- In a separate bowl whisk together ¾ cup chicken broth, 3 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, and 1 tbsp. + 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set aside
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink inside. Remove from heat and with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
- Place the pan back onto medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, carrots, and ¼ cup chicken broth. Cover and let the vegetables steam for about 2 minutes or until broccoli starts to soften. Remove cover and stir/toss the vegetables until the remaining liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and chili flakes, if using. Stir for 1 minute.
- Stir the sauce ingredients again and add to the pan with the chicken and any accumulated juices. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until thickened. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
SERVE WITH - Stir-frys are typically served with white rice (jasmine is my fave) but if you are looking for low-carb options try it with zucchini noodles sauteed in butter for 2-3 minutes, cauliflower rice, black or red rice, or just on it’s own! NUTRITION FACTS - are based on one serving (¼ of this recipe), excluding rice or whatever you are serving it with. Please note, these calculations are an estimate only and have not been approved by a registered dietitian. I use an online nutritional calculator from My Fitness Pal to calculate these numbers.