Gluten-Free Is Me: Healthy Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

Easy Healthy Sesame Chicken Recipe with Broccoli | Gluten-Free Chinese

In case you hadn’t noticed, this week I’ve been on a healthy Chinese takeout tear in honor of the New Year. I have a bit of an obsession with ponies, so I was particularly excited about the year of the galloping horse being upon us. To celebrate, I thought I’d take on another classic from my old Grand Szechuan days.

Sesame chicken is one of the more egregiously unhealthy options on the Chinese menu. And it’s more addictive than crack. The combination of deep fried chicken coated with a sauce that is 75 percent sugar, basically gives your saliva glands a pleasure-induced panic attack. A.k.a. the chicken melts in your mouth.

Stir Fried Chicken for my easy sesame chicken recipe - super healthy with egg whites! Healthy Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe - packed with broccoli and peppers
But as always, I try to do things a little healthier around here. So I did a littler investigating and found these two healthy sesame chicken recipe variations via Iowa Girl Eats and Simply Scratch. I loved that the chicken was coated in cornstarch instead of flour and pan-fried. I cut down on the honey even more and the dish that resulted was a little like a hybrid of chicken and broccoli and sesame chicken. But it still satisfied my take out fix.

Healthy Sesame Chicken - gluten-free and super easy with cornstarch and tamari One health hack that I always do is make sure the ratio of vegetables to protein is always 1:1. When I used to order chicken and broccoli from my local greasy spoon Chinese spot, I’d always end up with half a leftover container full of just chicken. I hate it when vegetables are just an accent. Pus, there’s something about the way broccoli florets absorb sauce that’s just as intoxicating as munching on a piece of fried chicken. So why not embrace it?

Are there any other takeout delicacies you’d like to see a healthy and/or gluten-free version of on this site? Let me know in the comments!



Gluten-Free Healthy Sesame Chicken - a really easy weeknight stir fry

Healthy Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Healthy Sesame Chicken with Broccoli


  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil, divided
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari (I like this brand)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey (get your FREE jar here)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black or regular)


  1. In a large wok or lidded skillet, cover the broccoli with 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, reduce to medium, then cover and cook until vibrant and tender, 1-2 minutes. Drain in a colander. Rinse and dry the skillet.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg white, cornstarch, and salt in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the chicken and toss to combine.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable or coconut oil in the cleaned skillet over high heat. When hot, add the chicken in an even layer. Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 2 minutes, then stir dry until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining vegetable or coconut oil and stir fry the peppers and white scallions until lightly charred, 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan, along with the tamari, sesame oil, honey, and sesame seeds. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, 2 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and green scallions. Serve over brown or white rice.


If you find that the chicken sticks to the skillet, you can added an additional 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock with the sauce to help deglaze the pan. Usually, the peppers are enough to release those brown bits.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!

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59 Responses to Gluten-Free Is Me: Healthy Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

  1. LOVE THIS Phoebe!!!
    Maybe some absolutely god-awful for you fair food……..gluten-free corn dogs? Is that taking it too far 🙂


  2. Leah Davis says:

    I will be making this! Yikes! I had no idea there was so much sugar in the original version. You are consistently coming up with amazing recipes ~ I’m trying to think if there is anything that I’d love to see a healthier or gluten free version of. Maybe chicken piccata or chicken marsala? I love italian food but I always feel like the dishes have A TON of butter in them when you go to restaurants and I haven’t tried to make them at home because I’m not sure how to make them taste good!

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  4. Frankie says:

    I second Leah’s coment. Let’s have veal piccata but with olive oil or something, and coated with white rice flour? Or potato gratin done healthier? I remember you did a fantastic version of tuna-noodle casserole.

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  7. Christa says:

    Silly question… Did you boil the red pepper with the broccoli or cook it in the pan with the onions? Am I just missing where it’s mentioned in the directions?

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Stephanie says:

    We made this for dinner last night and it was excellent! My husband, who is usually skeptical of ‘healthified’ meals couldn’t get enough. I think next time you could even cut back on a bit of the honey, it seemed plenty sweet.
    Thanks for the yummy dinner!

    • I’m so glad!! I used less honey than most of the recipes I read, but totally great if you want to use even less than that! Hooray for your husband loving health food. Next time, just don’t tell him 🙂

  9. Amy says:

    Hi! I made this for dinner last night..and it was great! I also added sliced mushrooms. My husband said it was a “keeper” 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. Mary says:

    found your recipie on Pinterest….OMG it was so easy (I’m a terrible cook and married to a chef)!! He LOVED IT! We both did. it wasn’t too heavy, and was perfect portion for no leftovers! thank you for sharing!

  11. Christine says:

    Excellent, my entire family loves this recipe. My son (7) ask me to make it again yesterday. I don’t add the honey at all and it taste great.

    Thank you for healthy option recipes that are easy and yummy.

  12. This was delicious and pretty easy to make! I used chicken thighs instead of breast and regular yellow onions because I didn’t have any scallions. Tasty none the less! I served it with black rice. Definitely making this again.

  13. Karrie T says:

    Just made this and it is very good! Used whole wheat flour instead of cornstarch and soy sauce instead of tamari and 2 tbs of honey! Turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Ryan says:

    Loved this recipe! MY wife will love it too. I cannot wait to peruse your site for more great recipes!

  15. Jennine says:

    Phoebe, this was AMAZING! My husband was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease a few years ago, and has mostly come to terms with it (his increased energy levels and feeling better counts for a lot!). Still, he has been CRAVING sesame chicken — it was one of his absolute favorites pre-GF. Thank you for this delicious recipe! It totally hit his craving, and will become a regular part of our dinner repertoire. =)

    • Jennine – this comment made my morning! I’m so happy I could help your husband kick his Chinese takeout cravings. Thanks so much for trying it out and reporting back. I hope you’ll give some of the other GF dishes a whirl! xo

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  17. Amanda says:

    Well, I am making this tonight but I have now thawed chicken just steak (thinly sliced so I am going TRY to substitute steak strips cubed for the chicken… I surely hope it works out??? This looks tasty so we shall see…

    • I’m sorry for the belated response! I hope it worked out. I assume it did. I would just brown the steak and then stir it back in at the last minute as to not overcook. Let me know how it went!

  18. Heather Hartman says:

    Made for my family and they LOVED it!

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  20. Jasmin says:

    Was there a calorie count for this?

  21. Meagan says:

    This looks great! I am thinking about making it tonight. I am not GF so I was considering switching out the honey with Hoisin Sauce and I’ll definitely be using Soy Sauce instead of Tamari. Thoughts? Thanks for the recipe!

    • awesome! sure you can add hoisin sauce. not sure how that will affect the overall flavor profile, but there’s definitely plenty of sugar in there to compensate for the honey. let me know how it turns out!!

  22. shelley says:

    What is tamari?

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  24. joanna says:

    Can you use arrowroot instead of cornstarch? How much would you use? Same as cornstarch? Thanks! !! Excited to try this.

    • Hmm. I’ve actually never worked with arrowroot starch before! I know that makes me a naughty gluten-free girl. But I don’t see why not – worth a try? Let me know how it goes!

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  30. Rick Raponi says:

    If you had told me this was made in a restaurant ….I would have believed you.
    If you told me I had made it …….I would not have believed you.
    Delicious. I am not the fastest cook so it took me a little longer , but not much. I definitely will make this again.
    Used mushroom soy as the only change since I fo not have Tamari (gluten free soy)

  31. Melissa says:

    It looks delicious; I can’t wait to try it! However, I’m a bit confused over the directions. Step 3 says “Heat the oil”, I assume you are referring to the vegetable or coconut oil? Then step 4, states, “Add the remaining oil”, so should I only use half a tablespoon at first, and then add a second half tablespoon for step 4?

    Also, can you recommend how many cups of rice to make?

    • Melissa!! I can’t believe so many people have made this and not pointed out the error! Thank you for the amazing feedback. I’ve corrected the instructions. If you’re using a nonstick pan and want to watch your oil in take, you can probably get away with just using a teaspoon in each step. If I were making this tonight (which I might now!) I would probably use a whole tablespoon for each 🙂

      1 cup of dried rice renders about 4 servings.

      I hope this helps!

  32. Sammy says:

    I’m in Western Australia. I made this last night for dinner. We all loved it, even my son who hates broccoli, ate it ….. so happy. Definitely keeping this recipe on file.

  33. Janice Spencer says:

    As I hit the subscribe button think there was an Australian behind my email address. It doesn’t have an Australian at the end. Couldn’t figure out a way to go back and check. I like to try healthier recipes, have several in family who are gluten free for valid medical reasons. Looking forward to having recipes like these for easier mealtimes. I’m also sugar free so makes cooking for all a challenge at times. The sees me chicken is first on the try list.

    • Thanks Janice! I made sure you’re subscribed. I hope that the recipes are helpful for feeding your family. I am also on the low sugar train, so you’ll find that my more recent recipes are mostly sugar-free. Enjoy!

  34. Tracey says:

    Just tried this and it was delicious. I also added shrimp to the recipe (although it would have been just as delicious with just chicken). Next time I will double the recipe as my family gobbled it up and wanted more.

  35. Christine says:

    My husband is always asking for stir fry dishes and I’m not a fan so I’m always hesitant to make them. But this was a winner! I loved it, husband loved it, even the kids loved it, broccoli and all!

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