Saucy Vegan Sesame “Chicken”

GFGluten Free

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This Vegan Sesame Chicken is saucy, sticky, and perfectly sweet. A delicious gluten-free + plant-based take on the classic Honey Sesame Chicken.

Sometimes in life, we need a little extra excitement from our food. No shade on the classic veggie-filled bowls – they are great and we all love them. But some days we just need that extra comfy, cozy meal to remind us of the simple joys in life.

Allow me to introduce your newest comfort favorite: Vegan Sesame Chicken. This plant-based play on the classic honey sesame chicken will leave you wondering if you’ll ever want to get take-out again! It’s cozy, tasty, and surprisingly easy to make.

hands using chopsticks to take piece of vegan sesame chicken out of white bowl


ingredients for vegan sesame chicken in small bowls on grey background

You only need 10 ingredients or less to whip up this better-than-takeout meal. Plus, it’s made from pantry-friendly ingredients, making it perfect for a fuss-free weeknight meal.

  • Soy Curls are dehydrated protein “strips” made from soy – once rehydrated, they’re a perfect replacement for chicken! You may be able to find them in a health food store near you, or you can purchase them online.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: you don’t need much of this oil to pack in tons of flavor. Because the sesame seeds are toasted, the oil is much more robust and adds an extra depth of flavor.
  • Vegan Chicken-Flavored Broth: what would vegan chicken be without vegan chicken-flavored broth to flavor it? It’s the perfect tasty marinade for our soy curls to soak up!
  • Low-Sodium Tamari helps make our chicken deliciously savory, without being too salty.
  • Maple Syrup helps to make our sauce perfectly sweet and sticky, and serves as a honey replacement.
  • Unseasoned Rice Vinegar adds juuust the right amount of ‘tang’ to our vegan chicken flavor.
  • Arrowroot Powder helps to thicken the sauce; if you don’t have it, you can use cornstarch instead.


soy curls soaking in water in glass bowlwhisking marinade for vegan sesame chicken in small white bowl

This vegan sesame chicken is so good that I’d take any necessary steps to make it. Lucky for us, this recipe only takes 20 minutes and a few simple steps to prepare!

  1. Rehydrate your soy curls.
  2. Sauté the soy curls, allowing them to brown.
  3. Mix together the broth, tamari, maple syrup, and vinegar then whisk in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch to make your sauce.
  4. Pour the sauce into the pan with your soy curls and heat until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Serve warm over a bed of fluffy rice.

cooked vegan sesame chicken in tan skillet topped with green onions

What I love most about this dish is how much happiness it brings for being one of the easiest meals to make. There’s nothing like the grin you’ll get when you open the fridge to see your tangy, saucy leftovers staring back at you. This is delicious over some fluffy white rice, or if you’re feeling fancy, you can steam (or stir fry) some vegetables on the side. This easy-to-make recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner or take-to-work lunch.

The saucy, sweet flavors in this dish taste even better the next day, so if you can manage to save some for later, your leftovers will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.

bowl of vegan sesame chicken over white rice with chopsticks

If you’re looking for more ‘better-than-takeout’ recipes, you’ll also love this Saucy Stovetop Peanut Tempeh, this Chinese Five Spice Braised Tofu, and this Easy Crispy Tofu!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂



Vegan Sesame “Chicken”

This Vegan Sesame Chicken is saucy, sticky, and perfectly sweet. A delicious gluten-free + plant-based take on the classic Honey Sesame Chicken.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan




  1. Prep the Soy Curls: Bring 3 cups (700 ml) of water to a boil in a pot. Add the soy curls to a large glass bowl, then carefully pour the water over the soy curls. Let soak for 7 to 10 minutes, then drain. Press the soy curls thoroughly to remove excess water. In the meantime, measure and prepare all remaining ingredients
  2. Sauté: add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to a pan over medium-high heat; once warm, add white portions of the green onions and the garlic. Cook for 60 seconds, then add the rehydrated soy curls. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown the soy curls.
  3. Prep the Sauce: while the soy curls sauté, mix the broth, tamari, maple syrup, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Whisk the arrowroot powder or cornstarch into the sauce; keep mixing until it is completely dissolved.
  4. Combine: Pour the sauce into the pan with the soy curls, mixing everything together well to avoid any clumping of the sauce. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
  5. Serve: Divide the soy curls into serving bowls over rice and vegetables (or as desired). Serve warm; leftovers will last in the fridge for up to 5 days and are best reheated on the stovetop.


  • “Chicken” Substitutes: you can replace the soy curls with either 16 ounces of super firm tofu or tempeh. Soy curls expand a lot after soaking, so you can use more of these substitutions and still have it be saucy. You can also use up to 16 ounces of another plant-based chicken alternative, such as Gardein.
  • Maple syrup can be swapped with agave, coconut sugar, or brown sugar. If you are using granulated sweetener, make sure to whisk it into the wet ingredients until dissolved before adding it to the pan.
  • Oil-Free: sauté the vegetables and soy curls in 3-4 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth instead of oil. I would recommend adding the teaspoon of sesame oil at the end for flavor, but you can leave it out if you wish.

Keywords: vegan honey sesame chicken, soy curl recipes, vegan asian recipes, recipes with soy curls, vegan sesame chicken, healthy sesame chicken, vegetarian sesame chicken

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. O.M.G. This is amazing. I doubled the recipe and served with rice and stir fry vegetables. This is going in my keeper file. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  2. My family is always requesting this vegan sesame chicken. Taste so similar to something we’ve had in Japan but way better! So nice to enjoy and know that no chickens were harmed 🥰 Thanks for another wonderful recipe! ♥️♥️♥️

    1. Another A+ recipe! Been waiting since you published this to get my hands on some soy curls to try it, and I finally did! It was even better than expected! Also,made a second batch of the sauce and put over some stirfry veggies to go with the soy curls/ rice! Thanks for another banger!

  3. Whenever I make soy curls or soy chunks or schnitzel I squeeze them twice, but because I always use some sauce to season them in the pan even for a minute they always soak it all up and become watery. Like when I bite into them I feel liquid and I hate that. Any advice how to avoid that?

  4. I am obsessed with this recipe now! I made it last week and had enough leftovers for two lunches . . . I wanted more! So, so good – thank you Caitlin.

  5. Love this recipe so much!! So flavorful and one of the quickest recipes in my group of usuals. Thanks, Caitlin!!

  6. This was y first time ever cooking with soy curls and this recipe was the perfect use for them. So delicious and so incredibly easy and quick to make! I added some red chili flakes for a little heat and put it with some broccoli and it is the perfect weeknight meal. Looking forward to leftovers too. Thanks Caitlin!

  7. I’ve tried using soy curls in a few different recipes and they didn’t turn out very well. This recipe was amazing and finally showed how great soy curls can be! Thank you 🙂

  8. That was freaking amazing ! I loooved it, first time using soy curls and I am beyond convinced !
    Thanks a lot for the recipe

  9. I made your recipe exactly as written, and it’s fantastic. I’m eating it right now and was like, if I don’t review it now, I’ll forget! So here it is lol

  10. This recipe was excellent! Really comforting as well – I used to love Chinese takeout chicken and this fills that void for me.
    Would love to see more recipes with soy curls, I bet they would make great shawarma…

    1. That’s exactly what we were going for! Glad that it hit the spot! Soy curls DO go great in shawarma ;).

  11. So so tasty, quick and easy!! Thanks Caitlin. I had it with roasted bok choi and rice.

  12. Just made this for dinner tonight! I was was out of green onions, so I subbed some finely diced white onion instead, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly as written, and served the soy curls with brown rice and steamed broccoli. So tasty!! The soy curls ended up being SO flavorful, and the sauce itself was the perfect consistency, just like the sesame chicken I remember ordering for takeout! I usually just use soy curls in random stir fries or curries, but I will definitely be making them the “main course” like this in the future! This recipe is a keeper!!

  13. This was so easy and crazy delicious! I used garlic scapes in place of green onions. I also used 8 oz of soy curls, as 4 oz was way too small of a portion. I found 8 oz made two main dishes. Thank you, Caitlin!

  14. The flavor was great but the texture of the soy curls is offputting. I would suggest buying the chicken strips from Gardein if you aren’t a fan of the slimy texture. Please let me know if there is a way to get the soy curls to harden up a bit more. Maybe air frying it?

    1. Hardened soy curls sounds a bit odd! Soy curls are intended to be soft – just re hydrated in hot/boiling water!

  15. How many portions do your recipes refer to? I’m specifically wondering about the “Vegan Sesame Chicken”

    1. This one serves roughly 2-4. 2 if it’s a main, 4 if used as more of a side. Most of our recipes should say the serving size on the top right of the recipe card!

  16. I have a few recipes from Caitlin that are staples in my kitchen and I make them at least once a week. This soy chicken might be my new favorite. So easy to make and delicious. I can’t believe how fast it was to make it

    1. So glad you’ve got multiple recipes of ours in your rotation! Glad you enjoyed this one!

  17. I made this last night – yum! Love the flavor! Curious why you recommend soaking the soy curls in boiling water? Other soy curl recipes just have you cover them in water so I was interested in the thinking behind that step.

    1. Without knowing what recipes you’re referring to it would be hard to tell what the thought process is. Soaking the soy curls in boiling water is typical practice and inline with the directions on a lot of the packages we have. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!