Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken Breast is a healthier twist on Orange Chicken with white meat, green beans and bell peppers. An authentic copycat from Panda Express!
We love food court Chinese Food Recipes like Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken and this crazy popular twist on a Sesame Chicken recipe from Panda Express is finally back for it’s time in the sun again!
PANDA EXPRESS HONEY SESAME CHICKEN BREAST
It’s not often that Panda Express comes out with an amazing new entree (remember that General Tso’s disaster?), so when the Sesame Chicken Breast entree came and went last year and I missed out on making a copycat version I felt like I may have missed out on a golden opportunity for you all. I got dozens of emails asking for a copycat version.
Don’t forget too, we have ALL the Panda Express Recipes available here on the Panda Express Recipes Index.
About a month ago I got a new flood of emails saying it was back! So off I went to the restaurant and I have been ordering full sized entrees daily as I test against the official recipe they released to be sure this is a good copycat for you all.
The good thing about Panda Express is they do often release recipes when they come out with new entrees. So doing a bit of digging I was able to find a great base recipe they released. This makes this recipe an authentic copycat for the sauce. I took the chicken breading recipe from my Orange Chicken copycat recipe which has almost 300 comments and a 4.91 rating on the site, so you know it’s awesome.
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How to Make Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken Breast
- To coat the chicken breast add the egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil into a medium bowl.
- In a second bowl, add corn starch and flour and mix.
- In a large dutch oven or a wok, heat oil to 375 degrees..
- Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
- Fry the chicken in batches until golden and crisp.
- To make the sauce combine the sweet chili sauce, honey, water, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, soy sauce and cornstarch.
- Bring to a boil and cook until it thickens (don’t make the sauce in your chicken pan).
- Stir fry the string beans and bell pepper strips for 30 seconds.
- Add in the cooked chicken, sesame oil and the honey sesame sauce and toss quickly to combine.
- Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds before serving.
Making Chinese Food Healthier
This Sesame Chicken recipe is slightly healthier because it uses white meat chicken breast instead of chicken thighs like Panda Express uses in their most popular entree, Orange Chicken. Since this dish is still deep fried, it isn’t very healthy, just as healthy as a classic Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.
When Sesame Chicken Breast leaves the Panda Express menu again you guys can continue to make it anytime you want! And if you want to take a shortcut and use your favorite frozen breaded chicken you can make the sauce and vegetable stir fry in no time!
- Quick pro tip, buy a frozen Orange Chicken bag for the chicken alone then make your own sauces for a quick semi-homemade version, I like the Trader Joe’s Sweet and Sour Chicken one as it is white meat chicken. You can also use the popular Orange Chicken from Trader Joe’s but the sauce is already so good in that product why waste it?
Want to make this even healthier? When looking for the flavor of your favorite fried entrees, there’s nothing to say you can’t simply stir fry the chicken without breading and deep frying it. This cuts down the vast majority of the fat and leaves just the sweetened sauce as the only unhealthy part. We also love using ground meat as a variation.
We love taking classic recipes and mixing things up! Try using ground chicken and making this healthier like in our Ground Chinese Food Recipes!
Tips for Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken Breast:
- Fresh vegetables are best in any stir fry. If you can’t find a yellow bell pepper, use another sweet variety like red or orange vs buying a frozen blend that includes yellow.
- Don’t make your sauce in the same pan you cook the chicken in. It’s important to cook the vegetables tender crisp, and the sweet sauce will prevent that.
- If you are determined to make the sauce in the same pan, you can remove your vegetables after cooking them, and keep them near the chicken. Then make the sauce in that pan, then when thickened and the vegetables and chicken and sesame oil back into the pan all at once.
- With crisp-tender vegetables and chicken making your sauce after cooking chicken will slow you down and Chinese stir fries are best done quickly so your final result won’t be quite as good as if you thickened the sauce on the side while your chicken was frying.
Shortcuts/Make Ahead tips for this Honey Sesame Chicken Breast Recipe:
- As with any stir fry, prep EVERYTHING ahead of time. Vegetables should be cut before needed, your pan is hot and the final process once the chicken is done goes very quick.
- Buy pre-sliced bell peppers and cleaned bags of green beans (you can simply just chop these in half)
- If you love this recipe consider making the sauce ahead of time and keeping it in your fridge for quicker meal times.
- If you have an aversion to frying chicken, you can make baked crispy chicken like my Baked Orange Chicken and use this sauce and stir-fry method once the chicken is done baking.
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How to Store Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken Breast:
- Serve: Don’t leave the chicken out for longer than about 2 hours without refrigerating it.
- Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. The chicken will not remain crispy, so if you are not enjoying this dish right away, consider just stir frying the chicken instead of breading and frying it.
- Freeze: Always allow the chicken to cool down to room temperature before sealing it up or you’ll just store bacteria in with it. You can freeze chicken for up to 3 months.