Instant Pot Sesame Chicken


This Instant Pot Sesame Chicken recipe is sure to delight your taste buds and fulfill your cravings! It’s tremendously delicious and you may even prefer it to your favorite Asian restaurant meal.

As a bonus, it’s super easy to make! With minimal effort, thanks to your pressure cooker, this recipe will be ready to eat in just 20 minutes. Keep reading for some helpful tricks and tips.

Is this Recipe Gluten Free?

This recipe is not gluten free, but can easily be altered to adhere to a gluten free diet.

How to make it Gluten Free?

First, substitute the soy sauce with tamari. Soy sauce is traditionally made from fermented soybeans and wheat, so it’s not gluten free. However, tamari is a very similar product made from only soybeans. They taste almost identical, especially incorporated in this recipe!

You’ll also want to double check your brand of cornstarch. Most cornstarch is naturally gluten free but is oftentimes manufactured on the same equipment as wheat-based starches, so be sure to check your ingredient label for potential cross-contamination.

With those two small steps, you’re on your way to a delectable gluten free meal.

Why Cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a traditional thickening agent in many Asian cuisines, versus flour which is more common in European cooking. In China, they frequently utilize a technique called velveting in which cornstarch is used to lightly coat proteins before briefly frying in oil or blanching in water.

Velveting chicken is a trick that sets great food apart but is fairly simple to do. To try the simplified technique in this recipe, simply coat the chicken pieces with a light layer of cornstarch before the sautéing step.

When used to thicken sauces, cornstarch should be mixed with water to create what’s called a slurry before adding it to the sauce. This helps prevent clumping and results in a silky-smooth sauce.

What Can I Substitute for Honey?

You can substitute the honey in this recipe with virtually any sweetener, including maple syrup or brown sugar. Feel free to add a little more or less sweetener depending on your taste preferences.

Can I add more honey?

Sure. Add as much as you like! You can also check our Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken recipe, where we are using ¼ cup of honey.

Should I Use Toasted Sesame Seeds?

Toasting sesame seeds brings out their flavor to the fullest extent. If you only have untoasted sesame seeds, you can easily toast them in a dry skillet for a few minutes. It really enhances the flavor, so is worth the effort in my opinion!

You could also try black sesame seeds, or a combination of white and black sesame seeds. Black and white sesame seeds taste very similar to each other.

Some say black sesame seeds are slightly more bitter, while white sesame seeds are a tiny bit sweeter. The balance of the two will make for a more complex flavor and it also makes for a visually appealing garnish.


As pictured, we like to serve Instant Pot Sesame Chicken with jasmine rice. Add steamed vegetables and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!

More Recipes

If you love Asian cuisine, check out the recipes for Instant Pot Orange Chicken and Mongolian Beef.

If you like chicken recipes, try this fan favorite—Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli

This Instant Pot Butter Chicken is a great option as well.

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken
4.56 from 49 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: chicken breast, Sesame Chicken, sesame seeds
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 6
  • lb chicken breast skinless cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper crushed
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbps sesame seeds
  • Add the sesame oil in the instant pot and press “sauté”
  • Add half of the amount of chicken, stir and cook for 3 minutes until browned.
  • Take it out and saute the remaining half the same way. You can add more oil if necessary.
  • Take a bowl and add honey, soy sauce, red pepper and garlic, and mix it well.
  • Put all the chicken in the pot and then add the sauce. Cover the lid.
  • Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
  • After cooking time ends, do a quick pressure release.
  • In a small bowl mix the cornstarch and water and whisk.
  • Press “sauté” and add the cornstarch mixture into the Instant Pot. Let it cook for about 1 minute to get the required thickness.
  • Enjoy. Don't forget to sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Calories: 204kcal Carbohydrates: 8g Protein: 26g Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 73mg Sodium: 673mg Potassium: 469mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Vitamin A: 60IU Vitamin C: 3mg Calcium: 48mg Iron: 1mg

This recipe is part of our 1001 Instant Pot recipes project, a huge collection of free, easy and delicious recipes.

    Reader Interactions

  1. Lisa

    It would be nice if you could include instructions for a stove top pressure cooker. Not all of us have an instant pot.



    • Maria

      Maybe find another recipe? Not everyone has a stovetop pressure cooker...

  2. pam

    Honestly, 4 minutes was way too much, came out well done, almost burned.....Im sure it would be just as good to stirfry like I normally do...pieces are small enough to cool up tender.....

  3. Lisa

    AMAZING!!! I am new to the instant pot and also on weight watchers, so choosing recipes can be tricky at times. I saw this and had to make it. I swear that it is one of the best oriental dishes I’ve ever made! I made the chicken in my 6 quart and I steamed broccoli, cauliflower, red peppers, and carrots in my 3 quart. Boiled a bag of basmati rice on the stove, and the three together were as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant. A keeper recipe for sure! Thank you!

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      Wow Lisa this was one of my best comments I ever got! Also great upgrade ideas! Thank you so much :]

  4. Suzy

    I love your recipes because you get to the point with tips not fluff like “during my time in China...”. Thank you for that.

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      I never been to China. After I will, I may edit this recipe accordingly... :]

  5. Katie Eckrich

    Can you double this recipe??

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      Yes. Double the ingredients but use the same cooking times.

  6. Chris

    Will this fit a 3 quart or should I cut it in half?

  7. Katie Zeller

    I'm curious - and new to Instant Pot. I could cook this in the same amount of time in a skillet.... Why would I use the Instant Pot?

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      That may be true for this recipe, but the Instant Pot significantly cuts the cooking time for many others. Another benefit is that it takes the guesswork out of cooking. You don't have to worry as much about overcooking or undercooking the protein, or forgetting about a pan and having it burn. It's hands off and you get a perfectly cooked, tender product every time 🙂

  8. Sandy H

    Very good!! A tad bit too spicy for us, would definitely cut the crushed pepper to half. Would make again.

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      So glad you liked it!! 🙂

  9. Jacki

    Thanks for this recipe. Just made it tonight and it was delicious! Can't wait to try more of your recipes

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      You're welcome! Thank you for the compliment!

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