Sesame Oil Chicken (No Marinade)

Sesame Oil Chicken (No Marinade)

Sesame oil chicken is an easy and healthy recipe that does not require any marinade. Make this one-pot dish with some potatoes in the comfort of your home and be sure that it will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

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Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 30 mins



Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

738 kcal
41 g
40 g
52 g

Sesame oil chicken is a simple but hearty dish often cooked in many Chinese homes across Singapore and Malaysia. The fragrance of the sesame oil is distinct that you will crave for it before it is ready. It is easily a staple in the homes of many families for its simplicity and delicious seasoning where the flavours are very light. The potatoes in the dish are meant to absorb the savoury gravy. Pair it with a bowl of rice and you are good to go.

Why is this the best sesame oil chicken recipe?

I grew up eating this wholesome chicken dish cooked by my grandma. She makes a smashing bowl of sesame oil chicken that our family love so much. After I learned how to cook, I realized the dish is not that tough to make after all. No marinating or long cooking process is required. The steps may be simple but to nail it, choosing the right sesame oil and ginger is crucial.

Exactly how many grandma does it
Exactly how many grandma does it

Tips to choosing sesame oil

This ingredient is easily found in supermarkets but you have to get the 100% pure (white) sesame seed oil. It has a golden shade of brown as the oil comes from roasted sesame seeds. Do not confuse this with sesame oil which is yellow or colourless.

Another tip is to get those that are produced in Singapore, Hong Kong or China. You can, of course, use sesame oil from other Asian countries but the flavour profiles of those produced in the mentioned countries are more fitting for the dish. It is originally a Chinese dish after all.

Old ginger vs young ginger

My granny swears by using old ginger in this dish as it is more fragrant compared to young ginger which has not developed the brown skin. In Malaysia and Singapore, we love using ginger from Bentong, a district in the state of Pahang located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The ginger from Bentong is said to be juicier.

Sliced old ginger
Sliced old ginger

If you do not have fresh ginger, then opt for ginger powder. For this recipe, 4 teaspoons of ginger powder should do the trick. However, this should be left as a last minute option because nothing beats the flavour of fresh ginger in the gravy.

Must Shaoxing wine be used?

Shaoxing wine which is sometimes called Hua Diao wine is a type of rice wine. It adds sweetness to the dish while giving the classic authentic Chinese flavours. Substitute it with dried sherry or Japanese sake, if you like.

Otherwise, skip the alcohol and add a pinch of brown sugar.

Which part of chicken to use?

I used half a chicken with flesh that has bones attached where some parts have more fats than the other. Bones give the dish more flavour. Otherwise, use chicken thighs as they are more tender compared to chicken breast.

A dish with lesser gravy

My grandma‘s version of the sesame oil chicken has lots of gravy as we love flooding our bowl of rice with it.

Adding water for more gravy
Adding water for more gravy

For more intense flavours, try making the dish with little or no water. During the cooking process, water will be released from the chicken. Covering the pan while cooking helps contain the liquid which will be the gravy of the dish.


60 g
1 1⁄2 tsp
sesame oil
1 kg
2 tbsp
oyster sauce
2 tbsp
light soy sauce
1⁄4 tsp
white pepper
1⁄4 tsp
1 tbsp
shaoxing wine
1 tsp
dark soy sauce Optional
500 ml

Steps to Prepare

Sesame Oil Chicken (No Marinade) Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 60 g ginger
    • 4 potatoes

Cut ginger into thin slices. Skin potatoes and chop them up into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Sesame Oil Chicken (No Marinade) Step 2

Step 2 of 4

    • 1 1⁄2 tsp sesame oil

Preheat sesame oil in a pan over low to medium heat. Stir-fry the ginger strips until fragrant. It should take about 1 to 2 minutes.

Sesame Oil Chicken (No Marinade) Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • 1 kg chicken
    • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1⁄4 tsp white pepper
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
    • 1 tsp dark soy sauce Optional

Once ginger strips are slightly golden and fragrant, add the chicken pieces. Sauté until the meat begins browning. Add the potatoes before seasoning with Shaxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Sauté for another minute. Optionally, add some dark soy sauce for colour.

Sesame Oil Chicken (No Marinade) Step 4

Step 4 of 4

    • 500 ml water

Lastly, add in the water and let it simmer for 25 minutes over medium heat or until potatoes are soft. Optionally, add a tablespoon of sesame oil before serving because it loses some flavour when heated.

Published: July 18, 2020

1 Discussions

Ian Morrison
9 months ago

Ian Morrison

Looks good. Will try. Only I prefer to leave the chicken skin on.

9 months ago


Please do. Leaving the skin on will add more flavour too. Yummy yummy

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