With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create an easy, delicious marinade for your favorite cut of chicken. After cooking the chicken, serve it in wraps, on salads, or over rice.
Ingredients in Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade
Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. This complex marinade requires mostly pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.
Let’s meet the key ingredients…
- Avocado or peanut oil – A fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
- Rice vinegar – This traditional Asian vinegar provides the acid component to the marinade.
- Soy sauce – Adds saltiness and that mouthwatering “umami” flavor.
- Honey – Just a hint of sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce.
- Sesame oil – A touch of this oil adds a deep nuttiness. Don’t go overboard.
- Pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.
How to Make and Store the Marinade
You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.
When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor. If you plan to freeze the chicken in the marinade, do not let it marinate first.
Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Asian Sesame Chicken. You choose your method! We’ve included instructions for how to cook boneless chicken breasts any of these ways in the recipe below.
Ideas for Serving Asian Sesame Chicken
Idea #1: Asian Chicken Wrap
One unique way to serve this marinated chicken is in an Asian Chicken Wrap. To make it, grill the chicken, chop it, and serve it in a wrap with thinly shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, julienned water chestnuts, and a little brown rice. Boil the remaining marinade, strain out the solids, and use as a sauce.
Idea #2: Asian Slaw Salad with Chicken
Grill the chicken and chop it up. Boil the marinade, strain out the solids, and let it cool. Create a salad of shredded coleslaw, shredded carrots, frozen edamame (that’s been thawed), roasted sunflower seeds, roasted almonds, and dried cranberries. Feel free to add chopped apples or pears, too. Top it with the chicken and cooled sauce, which works as a dressing! It’s delicious.
Idea #3: A Simple Asian Chicken Dinner
Just serve the cooked chicken on top of rice. Stir-fry your favorite asian veggies as a side. You can find a bag of these in the freezer section to make it easy. Again, you can boil the marinade, strain it, and use it as a sauce over the veggies, rice, and chicken. So simple and healthy!
Other Chicken Marinades
Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:Print
With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create an easy, delicious marinade for your favorite cut of chicken. This recipe works for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts, thighs, or tenders.
- ⅓ cup oil (recommended: peanut or avocado)
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s not “seasoned” rice vinegar)
- ¼ cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free option: coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Make It Now:
- Add the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and pepper to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Cook the chicken however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.
Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!
How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)
How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:
- Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
- Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
- Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
- Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.