Sheet Pan Sesame Chicken with broccoli, peppers, onions and an addictive tangy sauce is a crave worthy alternative to take-out!
Once I discovered easy sheet pan cooking I was totally hooked…for life. Crispy meat and roasted veggies…what could be better for a quick and easy dinner.
Sheet pan dinners are all the rage today…when actually they’re really making a comeback. They’ve been a favorite cooking style for decades. What’s different from our mama’s cooking? No big hunks of Sunday roast with vegetables cooking in the juices and family-size meatloaves of days past. Here, you cook the meat in single portion sizes with the veggies roasted alongside. There’s always still a time and place for those (who doesn’t love a good roast with gravy?) but this is so much better for an easy weeknight meal.
HOW TO MAKE SHEET PAN SESAME CHICKEN
This easy recipe requires only a few easy steps for amazing flavor. Make the bold spice rub and completely coat the chicken thighs. Roast the chicken separate from the vegetables until almost done (165 F). Brush on the sauce and caramelize with a little more time in the oven. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and EAT!
TIP -Spices stick better to the chicken during baking if they’re made into a paste. So I added sesame oil (lots more flavor) to the rub and viola’ …the spices stayed on the chicken instead of dripping off with the meat juices.
INGREDIENTS FOR SHEET PAN SESAME CHICKEN
- Chicken Thighs – I used skin-on, bone-in thighs for the most flavorful, moist chicken you can get from the oven. You can reduce calories by using skinless thighs, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.
- Broccoli – Pre-cut fresh broccoli florets are a breeze to use and cut way down on the prep time.
- Red Bell Pepper – red bell peppers are the sweetest variety and adds bright color. Use orange and yellow too!
- Red Onion – the sweetest of the onion family, they add flavor and color. Really, what are peppers without the onions?
Sauces and Spices
- Sesame Oil – an essential for this recipe!
- Garlic Powder – mixes easily into the sauce and rub.
- Brown Sugar – light or dark brown sugar are equally good…adds sweetness and caramelizes the sauce.
- Red Pepper Flakes – add more if you can take the heat.
- Rice Vinegar – this is a sweet, light vinegar. If you are using regular distilled vinegar, dilute with half water.
- Ketchup – we like the sugar-free variety.
- Soy Sauce – regular soy sauce, reduced sodium and Tamari are all good to use. Add citrus flavor by trying Ponzu as a soy sauce replacement.
- Sweet Chili Sauce – brings the heat…and more sweetness to the sauce.
We roasted the chicken on a separate sheet pan to keep the chicken fat away from the veggies. Once the chicken was almost done (and the fat was rendered out) the chicken was moved to the veggie pan. * We used parchment paper under the chicken for easy cleanup and non-stick cooking spray for the veggie pan.
Tip – We used the upper and lower middle racks of the oven to roast both pans at once.
Spread the vegetables out on a sheet pan, drizzle with oil and add salt and pepper. You’ll drizzle on the sesame sauce later with the chicken.
Ahh…brush the chicken with the tasty sauce. Put the pan back in the oven for 2 – 3 minutes to caramelize the sauce. I like to do this a few times to make sure there’s a thick layer of sauce on the chicken. In my opinion…you can never have too much sauce!
For the final touch sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds. (You can toast your own by putting a tablespoon or so into a small pan and stir over medium-high heat until you can just start to smell the sesame. Remove from the pan right away to stop the toasting.)
MORE SHEET PAN DINNERS TO LOVE
Sheet Pan Sesame Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken thighs skin on, bone in
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 medium red bell pepper stemmed and seeded, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 medium red onion peeled and sliced into wedges
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
For The Chicken Rub
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Use 2 sheet pans and lightly grease, spray with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix spice rub ingredients until well combined. Rub over chicken, coating both sides. Place chicken on one baking sheet in single layer.
- Spread vegetables out on second baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil evenly over vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place oven racks at middle top and middle bottom of oven. Place one sheet pan on each oven rack with vegetables on top. Bake 20 minutes, stir the vegetables and continue cooking 15 more minutes until chicken reaches 165°F on meat thermometer inserted at thickest part of thigh.
- Remove pans from oven and transfer chicken pieces to pan with the vegetables. Brush chicken with sesame sauce. Lightly dab sauce onto vegetables (optional). Place pan back in oven for 3 minutes to caramelize sauce. Repeat for a second layer of sauce.
- Remove pan from oven, sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds. Serve with vegetables and remaining sauce on the side.
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