Healthy Sesame Chicken (using fresh milled flour + other swaps)

Whole food ingredients make this a delicious, healthy sesame chicken recipe that you can feel good about.

Over the last few years, we’ve “eaten out” very few times. Restaurant prices have jumped up, service has gone down.

And we’ve left so many places thinking, meh…we could have made that at home.

So, we have. We’ve cooked nearly every meal at home, and have learned lots of ways to make foods we used to buy in restaurants.

Of course, the great thing about recreating your favorite recipes is the ability to control the ingredients. You can make simple swaps for healthier, whole food ingredients.

Vertical image with sesame chicken dish and text "Healthy Sesame chicken"

And you can feel zero guilt while eating it!

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Substitutions for making Healthy Sesame Chicken

Chinese takeout usually includes things like soy sauce, vegetable or peanut oil (for frying), and loads of sugar (it’s why it’s so addictive).

Here are some ingredients used in this recipe, instead:

High Quality Chicken

I either buy organic chicken (usually from ButcherBox), or source it from a local farm that I can trust.

This way, there’s no mystery meat or bleached, questionably sourced product.

Coconut Aminos

If you’re sensitive to soy like I am (many people are- not to mention the effects of the high sodium content), coconut aminos are a healthy choice that won’t cause inflammation.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Instead of rice vinegar (which isn’t all that bad- just not something I tend to keep on hand)- I am using apple cider vinegar to balance the sweetness in this sauce.

It also gives the sauce a nice tangy flavor.

Recommended Products For This Recipe

Raw local honey

We’ve bought local honey for allergies for a long time, and it’s easy to swap brown sugar for honey.

Honey has a lower glycemic index and when you buy it from a local beekeeper it is in its natural (unprocessed) state.

Fresh milled whole wheat flour

If you don’t mill your own flour, you can use any wheat or spelt flour. I used a mixture of hard white wheat and spelt in this recipe.

Tapioca flour

This was a thickening agent I discovered when cornstarch was in short supply in 2020. However, cornstarch has little nutritional value, not to mention it’s likely made from GMO corn (as most corn in the US is GMO).

Tapioca flour comes from a root veggie (cassava), and is similar in nutritional value to cornstarch, but there are no GMO cassava crops.

Another benefit is that tapioca flour is more stable (does not change texture) after you refrigerate or freeze it. It’s also better suited for sauces cooked at a low heat, such as this one.

Coconut oil and Olive oil

Coconut oil has numerous health benefits and it is great for frying chicken. Avocado oil would be another great choice as it also has a higher smoke point (it’s just a little pricier).

I also use olive oil in the sauce for this recipe, as I always have it in my pantry (versus sesame oil).

Vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oils are heavily processed and we try to steer clear of them when cooking at home.

How to Make Healthy Sesame Chicken

You can make this better-for-you Sesame Chicken in under an hour.

Make the rice first (optional)

If you’re making rice as a side dish, you may want to start with it, first. I like to make Jasmine Rice in the Instant Pot. (Azure Standard carries an organic Jasmine Rice.)

Simply combine equal amounts of (rinsed) rice and water in the Instant Pot. We use 2 cups for our family of six.

Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes with a 10 minute natural release, then vent. I usually just leave it in the Instant Pot until the chicken is ready.

Prep and fry the chicken

Add about 1-1/2 inches of coconut oil to a cast iron skillet (once melted). Bring heat to medium. (On my electric oven, about a level 3-4.)

After cutting up the chicken, you will dredge each piece in beaten eggs, and then a whole wheat flour/tapioca flour mixture. Then fry on both sides until done.

Fried chicken, tossed in sauce in saucepan.

Once all chicken is almost done, you’ll mix the ingredients for the sauce (see full recipe below) and simmer over a low heat for a few minutes until thickened.

Then the chicken gets tossed into the sauce and it’s ready to garnish and serve.

Finished sesame chicken recipe serving in square gray bowl on a butcher block countertop.

Let us know if you enjoy this recipe!

Sesame chicken in square gray bowl on a butcher block countertop.

Healthy Sesame Chicken Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Takeout sesame chicken gets a healthy makeover with better-for-you ingredients!


Fried chicken ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1.5 cups freshly milled whole wheat flour (and/or spelt flour)
  • 1.5 cups tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Coconut oil (for frying)

For sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos such as Coconut Secret
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons tapioca flour dissolved in 1/2 cup of water (whisk)


  • 1 bunch of sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Rice (optional)

  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil


  1. If serving over rice, cook according to package and set aside, covered to keep warm. Or - INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS: Combine 2 cups Jasmine Rice (rinsed), 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons olive oil in Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes, 10 minutes natural release. Leave in Instant Pot until chicken is ready to serve.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add enough coconut oil for about 1.5 inches of oil once melted.
  3. Cut chicken into one-inch pieces.
  4. FOR CHICKEN COATING: In one medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs together. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat and/or spelt flour, salt and pepper.
  5. Dredge each piece of chicken in the egg, then the flour mixture, and fry on both sides in hot oil until cooked through (about 4 minutes on each side). Repeat with remaining chicken, adding more oil as needed (let it come back up to heat before adding the next batch).
  6. Towards the end of frying the chicken, make the sauce. In a saucepan large enough to toss the chicken in later- cook the garlic in the 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil until fragrant (approximately 1-2 minutes). Then mix in all the remaining sauce ingredients on LOW heat in a saucepan (large enough to toss the chicken in later). Whisk until sauce is combined and thickened. If it becomes too thick, add additional olive oil and/or coconut aminos as needed, to taste. *Do not heat the sauce too far in advance as the honey can burn. Remove pan from heat once sauce is thickened.
  7. Toss all fried chicken pieces in sauce mixture until well coated. Serve over rice if desired. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds on each plate.
  8. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 872Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 376mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 6gSugar: 30gProtein: 59g

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Best Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Chicken and Dumplings (with fresh milled flour)

Easy Stuffed Peppers

Healthy Oatmeal Spelt Cookies

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