Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

I love a good stir-fry. My mom made it as part of our fairly typical weekly dinner rotation while we were growing up and I never got sick of it. Funny enough, a few years ago, when all the kids had left home, my mom made stir-fry for her and my dad to eat one night for dinner. Nothing unusual in that. Except that this night, my dad, while eating, turned to my mom and said, “You know, not that it matters, but I don’t like stir-fry.” I think my mom incredulously replied, “Really? Not at all?? Not ever?” To which my dad restated, “Nope, not at all. I’ve never really liked it.” And then he turned back and finished his meal like a good man who didn’t have to prepare his own dinner. I was laughing my guts out when my mom, also chuckling, told me about his comment (and needless to say, she hasn’t made it for the two of them since). Despite my dad’s apparent lifelong aversion, I think most of my brothers and sisters and I still enjoy a tasty stir-fry to this day.

This sesame version, chock full of tender, juicy chicken pieces and fresh, bright vegetables, is not only completely delectable, but it is a one-skillet meal (except for the rice, which is technically not really part of the stir-fry) made start-to-finish in just about 30 minutes.

What’s not to love? An easy, healthy meal, packed with flavor and protein and vegetables…and all of it put together in a snap. So maybe I wouldn’t serve this to my stir-fry-finicky dad (although, I bet you’d like it, Dad!) but the rest of us loved the stuff.

**Looking for Thanksgiving Dinner inspiration? Take a look at my menu-in-progress and plan away!**

Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

What To ServeFlatbread (like this Naan, or this Soft Wrap Bread)
A simple green salad (or for something more creamy and cheesy this Creamy Spinach Gratin)
Fresh, seasonal fruit

One Year Ago: Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
Two Years Ago: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago: Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

Yield: Seves 4-6

Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry


  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound (about 3) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks discarded
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Hot cooked rice for serving


  1. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup broth, 6 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons cornstarch and the sesame oil. In a large bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add the chicken mixture and brown the chicken until cooked through, flipping occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil. Set aside.
  3. To the empty skillet add the broccoli and remaining 1/4 cup broth. Cover the skillet and cook until the broccoli begins to soften and turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk the sauce in the liquid measuring cup to recombine and add to the skillet with the chicken and any accumulated juices. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is bubbly and thickened, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the mixture with sesame seeds. Serve over hot, cooked rice.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country October/November 2011

27 Responses to Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry

  1. Shannon says:

    This is delicious! I added baby corn and peanuts. I love the idea of steaming the broccoli before stir frying it, since my broccoli would always turn out too crunching before.

  2. Jana says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked something from scratch because I just had my 3rd kid. My husband said he felt like a stir fry so of course I came to your site first. He liked it a lot and when I said it was from your site he said “Mel comes through again”. You’re a well know name in our house. Love your site!

  3. Sarah says:

    Just made this and it soooo good. There is one tiny problem… I can’t stop eating it!

  4. marcie says:

    Been making this recipe of yours for a year or more (I’ve lost track) but just today read the story with it. Your dad sounds like my dad and although my mom’s stir fry is the reason I like stir fry, hers isn’t really the real thing. She just kind of wings it with everything she cooks and my husband and kids don’t really enjoy hers. However, the first time I made this my whole family loved it and I will never stray from this recipe. My biggest compliment is that my picky 11 y/o still claims this as one of his very few favorite meals. Oh thank you so much!

  5. lindsey hall says:

    First off, I LOVE your website and I have never tried a recipe on here I didn’t like, until this one…. I did use low sodium soy sauce and it still tasted somehow bland and really salty at the same time, like it was missing an ingredient. I will stick to the terryaki chicken stir fry from now on!

  6. […] made me some delicious egg rolls and I froze some for later use.  I think I will pair them with sesame chicken stir fry for a delicious […]

  7. I made this for dinner tonight, and it was a big hit! Thanks for another fabulous recipe, Mel!

  8. Joyce says:

    I made this for dinner the other night and my whole family LOVED it!! It was so easy. I was expecting a typical stir-fry…very vegetable-y. But this exceeded my expectations a hundred times over. My husband said he thinks we should have it once a week, from now on. And I love that it’s healthy!! Thank you!! On the menu for tonight: Coconut Shrimp Curry. Mmmmmm.

  9. Nathalie says:

    Made this for supper last night and really enjoyed it, it looked pretty fancy for just the simple few ingredients put together! Another wonderful recipe! 🙂

  10. Bri says:

    Rachel, I did the same thing. Good flavor, but WAY TOO SALTY, and that’s coming from a gal who loves salt.

  11. Rachel Bradley says:

    Woah! Made the huge error of over-looking the words “low sodium” next to soy sauce! Crazy salty with naturally-brewed soy sauce. Whoops!

  12. Samantha says:

    Does anyone know how to substitute chicken stock for chicken broth? Or can you use chicken stock in place of broth as it is? Thanks.

  13. Belisa says:

    Mel – lately u’ve been reading my mind. I cooked this today because I’ve been really wanting to use some bell peppers in my fridge and it looked amazing. My bf loves stir fry so first time doing from scratch. It was very good and he was of course impressed. I felt like it was light and not too heavy. So much flavor in a serving that you didn’t need much. We have leftovers for lunch and the a 5th meal. I’m a huge fan of trader joes brown rice that microwaves in 3 minutes so even made it quicker :). I believe next time I will make sure to have low sodium soy sauce cause i misread mine in the fridge so ende up a little salty for my taste buds but was still very good. Again my bf loved my version cause he’s a salt fan but this is between u and I. Have a good one and thx again.

  14. Kristina says:

    I love the story about you day! It gave me a good giggle while reading. 🙂

    The recipe sounds delicious! I’m definietly going to to try this one out. My mom also had stir fry in our monthly dinner menus and we girls always loved it. I haven’t had some in so long simply because the pre-made sauces tend to have garlic (to which I am allergic). But his recipe sounds like the perfect solution to the absence of stir fry in my life! Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Karlie says:

    That’s a funny story about your dad. Reminds me of when my own father told my mother after years of making french toast that he didn’t really like it.

    I LOVE your website! I have been using your recipes for well over a year now and reccommend it to others all the time. There’s only been a small handful of things my family hasn’t liked and I consider that a huge success. If I’m looking for something new, or want a great recipe we’ve had before, 9 out of 10 times I come looking here. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

  16. This dish looks beautiful!

  17. Amy Tong says:

    Oh yeah, I love stir fry. Your Sesame Chicken Stir Fry looks perfect. Beautiful photography as well. 🙂

  18. Stir-fry is a regular meal in our dinner rotation! I am always looking for new recipes to try!

  19. Kim says:

    Looks delicious, I really want to try it! I’ve used sesame oil only once before and it totally ruined my dish. Any tips on how to use it or can I substitute something like olive oil?

  20. Monica says:

    I love the flavor of sesame oil! This is similar to a stir-fry I make, and sometimes I serve it with rice noodles for variation.

  21. If this is half as good as your sweet and sour chicken, I bet it’s fabulous! I can’t wait to add it to my rotation 🙂

  22. Holly says:

    Is there a sesame oil you recommend? I bought some at our local Asian market, and it is SO overpowering. Do you buy yours at a regular grocery store?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Holly – I have the Imperial Dragon brand of sesame oil in my fridge right now (I think that’s the kind I usually buy) and we like it, but I have to confess that I haven’t really tested out different brands. Sesame oil can be very overpowering and it may just be a preference on taste – some people just don’t like the flavor. My husband isn’t a huge fan so I always cut down on it a little for his sake. I have bought mine anywhere from Walmart to my larger local grocery store.

  23. That is too cute! He IS a good man! I love stir-fry and cook it at least once a month probably. I actually made one last night with tofu. My husband refuses to eat tofu so he only had the veggies and rice part but he loved it. I usually use brown rice with mine though because it’s health benefits are so much greater.

  24. Kim in MD says:

    What a cute, funny story about your Dad- I am laughing out loud! 🙂 I absolutely love a good stir-fry and Asian flavors in general. I love that this is a one-skillet meal, and it’s a quick meal, too! With the holidays coming up, and all of the craziness that comes with them, I am going to need a few delicious, quick recipes up my sleeve. This stir-fry will be one of them!

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