Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken (Video)

Perfect Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken RecipePerfect Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken, with a sticky-sweet sauce and a little kick!

Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe
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Everyone in our family is crazy over Asian cuisine, especially the kids.

In fact, as much as Lt. Dan loves stir fry or a steamy bowl of ramen, he often rolls his eyes when we ask the kids where they want to go out to eat. The answer is always a resounding, “Anything Asian!”

Although we think they should get to have a say in family plans, we sometimes steer them toward barbecue or other ethnic cuisines, just to mix things up.

At home it’s the same. If I ask either of my kids what they want me to cook for dinner it’s almost always Chinese Hot Pots, Korean Pajun Veggie Pancakes, Beef Bulgogi, Cantonese Lo Mein, Thai Panang Chicken Curry, and so on.

Perfect Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

Now that I’ve (finally) bought an Instant Pot, I decided to try cooking some beloved Asian dishes in it, and I think I’ve got a winner!

Today’s Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken, is so fast and easy to make. Plus, it’s a healthy sesame chicken recipe, compared to takeout sesame chicken.

Our Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken is not deep fried, so you lose the fat and calories from breading and fry oil, yet it still offers bold spicy-sweet flavors, and a deep nutty sesame note.

Best Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

What’s the Difference Between Sesame Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, and Orange Chicken?

People often get these three dishes confused, due to their similarities. All three are traditionally deep-fried chicken recipes, bathed in a sticky-sweet glaze.

Think of sesame chicken as the “mother” recipe. It’s salty, sweet, and light on heat, with rich undertones and sesame seeds sprinkled over the bites of chicken.

The glaze is usually brown to reddish-brown from the addition of soy sauce, brown sugar (or honey for Honey Sesame Chicken Recipes,) and sometimes tomato.

General Tso’s is very similar. However, it usually does not contain sesame seeds, but does offer a good  bit of spice from the addition of chiles. Of the three, General Tso’s chicken is the most likely to be served with additional vegetables mixed in, like bell peppers and onions.

Orange chicken is usually the sweetest of the bunch. It is not normally spicy or covered in sesame seeds. However, it does have a unique orange essence from the inclusion of orange peel and/or orange juice.

Simple Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

Although there is a stand-out element in all three dishes, they are very much alike, so recipes do overlap at times.

In today’s Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe, I’ve included all the best attributes of classic sesame chicken, yet have cut the fat and added a touch of spicy heat.

Does this make it General Tso’s Chicken? Nah.

Making Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

How to Make Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken

Start by sautéing onions, garlic, and ginger in sesame oil.

Coat chunks of chicken breast in cornstarch and then brown them in the oil.

How to Make Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

Add the ingredients for the sauce and stir to coat the chicken.

How To: Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

Then lock the lid into place and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 3 minutes.

Directions: Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

Once it’s done, safely release the steam and remove the lid.

Sprinkle your perfect pressure cooker sesame chicken with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve it with rice, or steamed vegetables for a low(er) carb meal!

Easy Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

PS – You can also make rice in your Instant Pot.

If you want to make the chicken and the rice in the pressure cooker, I would make the rice first, then clean out the pot and move onto the sesame chicken.

The Best Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe

Check out our video tutorial below!

Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken Recipe - An easy pressure cooker version of classic Honey Sesame Chicken with a kick, similar to General Tso's Chicken.
Servings: 4 Servings
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 430 Calories from Fat 169
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18.8g 29%
Saturated Fat 4.2g 21%
Cholesterol 135mg 45%
Sodium 657mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 18.3g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2%
Sugars 12.8g
Protein 45g 90%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  1. Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes, and toss the cubes with cornstarch to coat. Prepare all the herbs and vegetables.
  2. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté . Pour in the sesame oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the chicken pieces. Stir and brown for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken pieces are golden on most sides.

  3. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, sherry, chili garlic sauce, and 2 tablespoons water to the Instant Pot. Stir well to coat the chicken.
  4. Cover and seal the pot. Set on Pressure Cook High for 3 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker, and perform a Quick Release . Once the steam valve button drops, and it is safe to open, remove the lid. Stir the sesame chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve warm with rice, quinoa, or with steamed vegetables.

Recipe Video

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13 comments on “Instant Pot Chinese Sesame Chicken (Video)

  1. Dara Keyesposted September 9, 2018 at 1:58 pm Reply

    If converting to a slow cooker, how much time should this cook?

    • Sommer Collierposted September 18, 2018 at 12:31 pm Reply

      Hi Dara,

      I would say 2-3 hours in the slow cooker. Let me know how it turns out. :)

  2. Eveposted August 17, 2018 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Between the sherry and the scallions there is something that just says “3 tbsp”. Is that just a typo or is there another ingredient?

    • Sommer Collierposted August 22, 2018 at 9:29 pm Reply

      Hi Eve,

      Thanks for pointing this out! We are in the middle of switching our recipe format to a new system and there have been some glitches.:( The recipe should be fixed now. :)

  3. Maryposted June 27, 2018 at 6:32 pm Reply

    Your Chinese Sesame Chicken sound wonderful , but I do not have and instant pot . Can I use a Dutch oven pan in place of an Instant Pot ?

    • Sommer Collierposted July 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm Reply

      Hi Mary! Yes, you could definitely convert this to a slow cooker recipe. :)

  4. Rayleneposted June 21, 2018 at 9:36 pm Reply

    This was a huge hit tonight. I doubled it and there was not one crumb left!

    • Sommer Collierposted June 26, 2018 at 12:32 am Reply

      Hi Raylene,

      Yay!! I’m so glad to hear it. :)

  5. Gaye Garrettposted May 17, 2018 at 7:10 pm Reply

    I am using an 8 qt and keep getting a burn notice until I add extra water. It takes about three times to get the pressure cooker to work without getting the burn notice. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong? Otherwise the taste is fantastic. We love it!!

    • Sommer Collierposted May 25, 2018 at 2:27 pm Reply

      Hi Gaye,

      Hmmm… Mine is a standard 6 quart, and after testing this recipe multiple times, I’ve not had that same issue. It must have to do with the size. If it were me, I would figure out how much extra liquid you need, then make that adjustment with all the pressure cooker recipes you try. Good Luck!

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  7. Kimberly Roederposted April 15, 2018 at 5:36 pm Reply

    I got my Instant Pot for Christmas and finally tried it out. I love Sesame Chicken and this was so quick and easy. It was delicious too! I might go a little lighter on the Spicy Garlic Chili next time but it wasn’t so spicy that it made me cry like some spicy foods.

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