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Succulent sesame ginger chicken is coated with sesame and ginger and then baked to perfection. You'll get savory-sweet, sticky, and umami-rich bites with hints of nuttiness and a zingy kick from the ginger. It's the ultimate dinner for busy weeknights – with just five minutes of prep time, you'll have a healthy and flavor-packed dinner in the oven!
Biting into this sesame ginger chicken is heaven: it has lots of crispiness on the outside yet is so tender and juicy in the middle. It also has that whole salty yet sweet thing going on that is so common in Asian-style recipes. It's perfect for when you're craving take-out but want a lighter, cleaner version. Plus, it takes about the same amount of time to make as ordering food!
It is also so simple to make. With about 5 minutes of prep, you can pop the sesame ginger chicken into your oven and let it cook itself. So easy!
This sesame ginger chicken uses a handful of wholesome ingredients yet packs a punch of flavor! Gather these items:
- Chicken: Use chicken drumsticks or thighs – we like it with the bone and skin on!
- Sesame oil: Echos and deepens the sesame flavor.
- Toasted sesame seeds: Toasting the seeds creates a rich, nutty flavor.
- Brown sugar: Sweetens things up and caramelizes for a glaze-y finish.
- Powdered ginger: Brings a little zest with a warm and slightly spicy note.
- Salt: Enhances and balances out all the other flavors.
- Garlic cloves: For savory depth.
- Minced parsley or cilantro: Adds a fresh and herbaceous note.
- Cayenne pepper (optional): If you want to add a bit of heat, add cayenne pepper to taste.
How to make sesame ginger chicken
Get ready to lick your fingers after enjoying this succulent sesame ginger chicken! It's also super easy – you could probably do it in less than the five minutes we've suggested! These are the instructions:
- Prep: While your oven preheats, prep a baking sheet or shallow baking dish. Toss your chicken in a bowl with the sesame oil. In another small bowl combine all the remaining ingredients, sprinkling over the chicken and tossing to spread the flavors around.
- Bake: Place the chicken on the baking pan, skin-side up, baking until it's golden brown, crispy, and cooked through. Serve with some garnishes sprinkled on top!
What to serve with sesame ginger chicken
This ginger sesame chicken works as a standalone meal on top of a bed of pineapple fried rice, ginger rice, or coconut rice and next to some sauteed bok choy, sesame garlic miso butter mushrooms, or Asian eggplant. An Asian coleslaw, soy ginger noodles, or sweet potato roll sushi bowl make complementary side dishes, too!
Can I use fresh ginger instead?
Sure, it may just take a little bit longer to peel and grate fresh ginger, but if you have the time then feel free to use fresh ginger. If you're using fresh ginger, add it to the bowl with the sesame oil.
Can I make sesame ginger chicken spicy?
You sure can! Use cayenne pepper to taste, serve with chili sauces on the side, or sprinkle on some chili flakes. If you really like some heat, add a little sambal oelek to the bowl with the sesame oil.
How do I store leftovers?
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you're storing it for longer, put it in the freezer for up to three months and thaw it in the fridge a day before reheating.
Can I add anything else?
A lot of recipes can call for other flavors we associate with Asian cooking, like rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce. We've kept it simple, and the brown sugar and sesame sauce caramelize beautifully – but feel free to add a splash of another flavor, if you'd like, as the recipe is versatile.
- 8 chicken drumsticks or thighs
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Minced parsley or cilanto (to serve)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chicken in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the sesame oil. In a small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the chicken and toss to coat.8 chicken drumsticks or thighs, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons powdered ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cloves garlic, Optional: 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Place chicken on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side up, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and crispy and the chicken is no longer pink inside.
- Serve with a little minced parsley or cilantro over top.Minced parsley or cilanto
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.