Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken

This beloved Panada Express copycat recipe is made with breaded tender chunks of white meat, sauteed yellow peppers, and string beans tossed in a sweet and tangy Honey Sesame sauce. It’s delicious over white rice or noodles.

Copycat Panda Express honey sesame chicken in a bowl.


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What makes Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken so good? 

Never tried Honey Sesame Chicken Panda Express style before? Well, it’s so good that customers demanded the once limited-time dish be brought back for good. After years of waiting, it finally was!

While not as famous as some other Panda Express menu items, lots of folks think the combination of crispy chicken, string beans, and yellow peppers in a sweet and tangy Honey Sesame Sauce is even better! Make this copycat version and decide for yourself! 

Why you’ll love this recipe 

This is a spot-on copycat of the Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken recipe. All that is missing is the takeaway container and the hefty price tag that comes with Chinese takeout.

Although the ingredient list is long, there’s nothing too exotic here. The recipe uses basic cooking techniques, and if you don’t have an electric deep fryer, you can use a sturdy pot for frying.

Honey Sesame Chicken Panda Express ingredients

For the Honey Sesame Sauce, you’ll need:

  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic
  • Red chili flakes
  • Water
  • White sugar
  • Honey
  • Soy sauce
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Fresh lemon juice

For the chicken, you’ll need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Ground white pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cornstarch
  • All-purpose flour
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Green beans
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Sesame oil

To complete the dish, you’ll need:

  • Cooked chicken
  • Prepared Honey Sesame Sauce
  • Sesame seeds 
Copycat Panda Express honey sesame chicken ingredients on a tray.

How to make Honey Sesame Chicken Panda Express style

To prepare the sauce:

  1. Warm the sesame oil in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Mince the garlic and add it to the hot sesame oil. 
  3. Stir in the water, white sugar, and honey. Bring the mixture to a slow simmer while stirring occasionally until the sugar melts.
  4. Add the soy sauce, white vinegar, and salt. 
  5. Combine the corn starch with a bit of water to create a slurry, and stir it into the saucepan. 
  6. Simmer while stirring until the sauce is no longer cloudy and has thickened. 
  7. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the fresh lemon juice, cover, and set aside. 
Making honey sesame sauce.

To prep the chicken:

  1. Cut up the chicken into 1-inch pieces and reserve for later.
  2. Set up a breading station with two wide bowls and a wire rack over a rimmed baking tray.
  3. In the first bowl, whisk the egg with salt, ground white pepper, and vegetable oil. 
  4. In the second bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour. 
  5. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture with one hand and drop it into the bowl with the flour mixture. Use the other hand to coat the chicken and then shake off any excess. Place on the wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken. 

To fry the chicken:

  1. Put a clean wire rack on a rimmed baking tray and place it near where you will be frying. 
  2. Heat the oil to 350°F in an electric deep fryer or on the stove in a heavy-bottom pot. If you are using a pot, make sure to attach a deep-fry thermometer to the edge to ensure you reach the proper frying temperature. 
  3. Add a handful of the breaded chicken to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, three to four minutes. 
  4. Remove the cooked chicken and place the pieces on the wire rack to drain.
  5. Repeat with the remaining breaded chicken. 
Breading and frying chicken pieces.

To finish the dish:

  1. Cut the yellow peppers into chunks and slice the string beans in half on a bias.
  2. Place a large skillet or wok over medium heat. 
  3. Pour some sesame oil onto the cooking surface and wait until it gets hot. 
  4. Add the chopped yellow peppers and stir fry until they soften. 
  5. Add the halved string beans and cook until they begin to blister. 
  6. Stir in the Honey Sesame Sauce and bring it to a boil. 
  7. Toss the cooked chicken with the sauce and veggies. 
  8. Serve immediately and garnish with sesame seeds. 
Collage of cooking vegetables and finishing Panda Express honey sesame chicken dish.

What to serve with it

This Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken recipe is delicious on its own over a bed of white rice, but why not turn your dinner into a Chinese feast with these other dishes? 

  • Panda Express Cream Cheese Rangoons. These crisp wonton wrappers hide a creamy secret. Panda Express Cream Cheese Rangoons are easy to make and addictively delicious.
  • PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. These appetizers use lettuce to wrap tender chicken, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots tossed in a hoisin-soy sauce. PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a healthier alternative to deep-fried Asian snacks. 
  • Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp. Lightly breaded and air-fried to a golden brown, the shrimp is then tossed in sweet and tangy Bang Bang Sauce. Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp is a lighter version of the classic dish but still delivers all the flavor. 
Copycat Panda Express honey sesame chicken in a serving bowl.

Possible variations

Try these changes to switch things up a bit:

  • Prepare the chicken without the coating. Instead of deep-frying the chicken with the coating, skip the breading and saute it instead. Not only will you reduce fat and calories, but it will keep better in the fridge. 
  • Skip the vegetables. The chicken is the main attraction, so why not leave out the yellow peppers and string beans altogether. Garnish with chopped scallions for a burst of freshness. You can always make Panda Express Mixed Vegetables
  • Swap the bell peppers for hot ones. Add some heat to this dish by replacing the yellow peppers with a medium-hot chopped pepper. Cascabella and Cowhorn chili peppers are good options. 

How to store copycat Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken

Keep all the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you are preparing a day in advance, keep the chicken separate from the veggies and the sauce to prevent sogginess. 

How long does it last?

The chicken will get a little soggy even after the first night in the fridge, but the dish should stay fresh for two or three days.

A bowl of copycat Panda Express honey sesame chicken.

More copycat Panda Express recipes

Check out more of my easy Chinese food recipes and the best fast food recipes right here on CopyKat!

Copycat Panda Express honey sesame chicken in a bowl.

Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken

You can make honey sesame chicken like Panda Express with this copycat recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Panda Express Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 658kcal

Ingredients

Honey Sesame Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup water plus additional for making the cornstarch slurry
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water to make a slurry
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Chicken

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus additional for frying
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 8 ounces string beans cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish
  • 4 cups cooked rice for serving

Instructions

  • To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the water, sugar, and honey, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and cornstarch slurry. Simmer until the sauce is no longer cloudy and has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, white pepper, and vegetable oil. In a second bowl, stir together the cornstarch and flour.
  • Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture. Shake off any excess liquid and transfer the chicken to the cornstarch mixture. Press down lightly so the cornstarch adheres on all sides.
  • In an electric deep fryer or Dutch oven, heat four inches of vegetable oil to 350°F.
  • Working in batches, drop the dredged chicken pieces into the oil one at a time. Deep-fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Remove the chicken to a wire rack set inside a sheet pan and continue frying the remaining chicken.
  • In a large skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the string beans and cook until lightly blistered, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve over hot rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 658kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1234mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 552IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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