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This baked Sesame Orange Chicken is crazy delicious. It's coated in sesame seeds and baked until crispy then drenched in a sweet Asian inspired orange sauce. It's an easy to make and healthy dinner recipe that everyone will LOVE!
I'm 100% sure you can tell by the picture, but just to make sure, I'll say it here, “This healthy sesame orange chicken recipe is amazing!” Yep, you heard that right. These babies are HEALTHY. Crazy, I know!
The chicken is coated in a tapioca starch and sesame seeds crust that is gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 compliant. ← if those last two aren't your jam, you can easily substitute cornstarch for the tapioca.
The chicken is then baked until a thin and crispy crust forms. The true magic happens when the chicken is dunked in a deliciously sticky sweet and tiny bit spicy orange sauce then broiled until it caramelizes. If you reach for a taste before you pop these on the table, you'll be licking the sauce off your fingers for sure.
These guys are a huge hit in our family. My little girl devours them like candy ← a little sweetness will do that. Even my handsome man, who's never very enthusiastic about chicken recipes, loves this one.
What I love most about this recipe is that it tastes like it shouldn't be healthy. When you're eating it, you'll think of your fav deep-fried Chinese takeout. But these delicious bites are HEALTHY. I know, it's crazy.
As much as I love healthy food, I big time crush on recipes that can fool me into eating well. (Sometimes I swear I'm 5-years-old stuck in a grownup's body.) This recipe makes me happy every time I make it.
This time, I used black sesame seeds. With Halloween just around the corner, I was going for that orange and black look. I can't help but love cheesy Halloween recipes.
Your healthy baked sesame orange chicken game plan:
♡ Put the chicken thighs in a bag and pour in some tapioca starch and sesame seeds. Shake shake shake until everything is has a nice coating.
♡ Pop the sesame coated chicken on a baking sheet, drizzle those puppies with oil, then bake until they're crispy. Mmm mmm.
♡ Boil a simple sauce made from orange juice, honey (sorry, not for you Whole30-ers), sesame oil, and some ginger and garlic until it thickens just a little.
♡ Dip your crispy chicken in the sesame orange sauce then give it a quick broil to caramelize.
♡ Dig in! ← insert all the happy face emojis here.
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup tapioca or cornstarch (use tapioca for Whole30 or paleo)
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Cilantro (to serve)
- ¼ cup honey (Omit for Whole30)
- Juice and zest from 1 orange (omit zest for Whole30 – it's too bitter without the honey)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (coco aminos for Whole30 or paleo)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 inch piece of ginger (grated with a Microplane or very finely minced)
- 1 clove garlic (grated with a Microplane or very finely minced)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Add the tapioca starch and the sesame seeds, seal the bag, and shake to coat the chicken.8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, ½ cup tapioca or cornstarch, ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- Drizzle half the oil on the baking sheet then lay the chicken on top. If there are sesame seeds remaining in the bag, take them out and press them into the tops of the chicken. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Place the chicken into your oven and bake for 35 minutes.2 tablespoons oil
- While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pan over medium-high heat. Boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.¼ cup honey, Juice and zest from 1 orange, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 clove garlic
- Remove the chicken from the oven and dip each piece in the sauce then set it back on the baking sheet. Turn your oven to broil (at 425 degrees) and put the chicken back in the oven for 5 minutes. Note: if you cannot adjust the temperature of broil in your oven, keep a close eye to make sure these don't burn.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a little cilantro, and dig in!
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.