Sesame Oil Marinade for Chicken: A Delicious Twist to Your Grilled Chicken

If you’re looking for a new flavor to add to your chicken dishes, look no further than sesame oil marinade. Not only does it add a delicious nutty taste, but the oil also helps keep meat tender during cooking. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly sesame oil marinade is and why it’s perfect for chicken. We’ll also dive into how to make the perfect marinade, which cuts of chicken work best with it, and some suggestions on how to cook and serve your finished dish.

What is a Sesame Oil Marinade?

A sesame oil marinade is a mixture of ingredients used to flavor and tenderize meat, tofu, and vegetables before cooking. It typically contains sesame oil as the main ingredient, along with other complementary flavors such as soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey or sugar, and spices like black pepper or chili flakes.

Sesame oil has been used in cooking for thousands of years. Originated from East Asia where it’s frequently referred to as “golden oil, ” it has become an essential component of many cuisines worldwide due to its unique nutty taste and aromatic scent.

History of Sesame Oil

  • The ancient Babylonians were believed to have used sesame oil for culinary purposes more than 4, 000 years ago
  • In Chinese literature dating back to around 2000 BCE citing how the healthy properties of sesame oil can cure earaches and kill lice
  • In South India, where it is commonly known as “nallennai” was praised in the ancient Tamil medical text Charaka Samhita for its healing powers

Today The combination of toasted sesame oil with rice vinegar and soy sauce creating some popular dressings that are often enjoyed on salads. So If you want to add some depth of flavor and aroma to your dishes or impart a tangy sweetness then this Sesame Oil marinade won’t disappoint!

Why Use Sesame Oil Marinade for Chicken?

Using sesame oil as a marinade for chicken has numerous benefits. Let’s discuss why:

Nutritional Benefits

  • Sesame oil is packed with healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which can help lower cholesterol levels in your body.
  • It contains vitamin E and antioxidants that protect against damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Sesame oil helps support skin health due to its anti-inflammatory properties; it can soothe irritated skin while also moisturizing it from within.
  • This superfood also promotes bone health since it is rich in calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus that strengthen the bones & make them dense.  

Enhanced Flavor

  • Sesame oil adds a unique flavor profile to chicken, making it an excellent ingredient option when marinating your poultry batches.
    • Its nutty taste enhances the natural richness of chicken meat while blending well with other flavors.
    • You’ll love how this marinade adds depth and complexity to the dish without overpowering other seasonings that you add.
    • The oil has a bold aroma that will make anyone hungry just at its sight.  

If you’ve never tried using sesame oil before or are simply looking for new ways to amp up your poultry dishes’ flavors, give this marinade recipe a try once- 1/4 cup sesame oil, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 4 cloves garlic (minced), and one teaspoon of salt. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to this delicious marinade!

How to Make Sesame Oil Marinade for Chicken

Making sesame oil marinade for chicken is a quick and easy process. This marinade will take your plain chicken to the next level, providing it with a tasty and aromatic flavor that will leave everyone wanting more.


  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
  • Juice from 1 lime or lemon (optional)


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until combined.
  2. Note:

    You can use a blender if you want your marinade smoother. However, avoid blending for too long as this could compromise the texture of the ingredients.

  3. Add your chicken pieces into a large zip-lock bag then pour in the marinade on top of it.
  4. Note:

    If you don’t have a ziplock bag you can also use an air-tight container or any glass bowl covered with plastic wrap as an alternative. Just make sure that the container is big enough for all of your chicken pieces and the marinade combination.

  5. Seal the bag making sure there are no air pockets then give it a toss until all of the chunks are coated properly by the marinade mixture.
  6. Note:

    You can also use tongs to massage and spread evenly over each part of each piece of meat so it can be marinated equally. Or turn over every 30 minutes but not longer than 12 hours.

  7. Refrigerate the bag for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  8. Note:

    If you choose to marinate your chicken birds longer than chest-cut parts. The increase in acidity may turn enzymes into proteins, causing meat to toughen a bit more while cooking.

  9. After marinating, remove the chicken pieces from the bag and discard any excess marinade before cooking it.


  • If you want a smokier flavor profile on this recipe, substitute half of the sesame oil with toasted sesame oil instead.
  • The marinade can be used for grilled, baked or roasted chicken recipes but only brush it over towards the end of each process if you don’t want your sauce charred badly due to its sugar content.
  • Not all marinades are created equal when it comes to preparing different cuts of meat – acidity level matters too! Be careful about leaving acidic-based ingredients such as vinegar or fruit juice too long which increases tenderness but likewise lessens texture by changes brought about by enzymes and acids interactions inside the acidic environment. Hence, beware longer exposure time beyond 12 hours if possible especially if your dish is not slow cooked nor braised/simmered afterwards. If you want that succulent textured poultry meat when working with a cut that has bones on (legs, wings), extending marination time between 6-8 hours would suffice compared making use of boneless breasts.

The Best Cuts of Chicken to Use for Sesame Oil Marinade

If you’re looking to make a delicious sesame oil marinade for your chicken, it’s important to choose the right cut that will hold up well with the flavors. Here are some of the best cuts of chicken that work well with sesame oil marinade:


  • Pros: Boneless and skinless breasts are lean and versatile.
  • Cons: Can easily dry out if overcooked on high heat.

Cooking Instructions:
Marinate thinly sliced pieces breast fillet in the sesame oil mixture for 30 minutes. Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat, then cook chicken for 5-6 minutes per side until fully cooked through. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan or else the meat will steam instead of sear, which causes it not to brown correctly.


  • Pros: A more flavorful cut thanks to their higher fat content.
  • Cons: They need gentle handling since they can become too greasy if you’re not careful while cooking them..

Cooking Instructions:
Mix chopped garlic and ginger paste along with soy sauce and corn starch. Marinate thighs in this mixture and let it sit overnight in frigde. Preheat oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit, place marinated chicken onto oven rack., bake it for about 40-45 minutes until chicken is golden brown from outside crusty from inside fully cooked through.

Drumsticks and Wings

  • Pros: Great option when serving large groups as they are inexpensive compared to other cuts such as boneless chicken breast.
  • Cons: Drumsticks and wings have more connective tissue than other cuts, requiring a longer cooking time to become tender.

Cooking Instructions:
You can’t go wrong with the classic buffalo sauce for chicken wing. You may also try sweet chili paste sesame oil mixture to take it to another level of flavor!. Whether you are using drumsticks or wings, preheat oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit, bake marinated chicken for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown from the outside crispy from inside fully cooked through.

To get the most out of your sesame oil marinade, choose your chicken cut based on your preferences and handling skills in order to achieve an optimally flavored, juicy and tender meal!

Cooking with Sesame Oil Marinade for Chicken

Instructions for Marinating:

If you’re looking for a marinade that adds depth and flavor to your chicken, try using sesame oil. Here are the steps to marinate your chicken:

  1. Clean the chicken thoroughly.
  2. In a bowl, mix sesame oil with soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger or any other seasonings you prefer.
  3. Add the cleaned chicken to the mixture and make sure it’s coated well in every nook and cranny of the chicken pieces.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or place it in an air-tight container and let it sit marinated overnight in your refrigerator.

Cooking Methods:

To cook marinated sesame oil chicken, there are various ways of cooking like grilling, baking or pan-frying. Choose whatever method works best for you!

  • Grilling Method: Preheat grill on high heat (400 degrees F), then reduce heat before placing on small chunks of marinated chichen on grill grate. Rotating them occasionally until reaching optimal doneness (165-degrees F internal temperature) ~15-20 minuts approxiamtely.
  • Baking Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place marinaded chickem carefully onto a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake them uncovered between 20-25 minutes until tender juicy coating is developed around crispy skin outside.
  • Pan-Fry Method: Firstly Heat some oil In skillet over low flame. Then add small chunks of marinaded chickens in hot oil for 20-25 minutes, turning chicken pieces occasionally to ensure they’re uniformly cooked.

Storing leftovers:

When it comes storing the leftover marinated chicken, promptly transferred cooled chicken to an airtight container and kept refrigerated (below 40 degrees)will allow it to last between two and three days. When reheating stored leftover chicken from chiller or freeze in microwave safe dish with sprayed cooking oil or small amout of water.

Serving Suggestions

How to serve sesame oil marinated chicken:

Once you’ve marinated your chicken in sesame oil, there are several delicious ways to serve it up. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Grill the chicken and serve it alongside a green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. The fresh greens will help balance out the rich flavors of the marinade.
  • Slice the chicken thin and layer it on top of steamed jasmine rice for an easy, protein-packed meal.
  • Serve the chicken on skewers as part of a fun, Asian-themed appetizer spread. Pair with other small bites like edamame or spring rolls.

Side dishes that complement the flavors of the marinade:

The nutty, sweet taste of sesame oil pairs well with many different types of side dishes. Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Roasted vegetables like carrots, broccoli or bok choy seasoned with soy sauce and garlic
  • A simple cucumber salad dressed in rice vinegar and topped with black sesame seeds
  • Miso soup or broth-based soups made with plenty of umami-rich ingredients like mushrooms or seaweed

Experimenting with different sides can be a fun way to play around with flavors and discover new tastes that complement your favorite marinades. Enjoy!


In conclusion, sesame oil marinade is a great addition to any home cook’s repertoire. Its unique flavor profile and ability to help tenderize meat make it an ideal choice for chicken dishes. Whether you prefer grilling or baking your poultry, using this marinade will elevate your meal and impress all of your dinner guests.


Can I use store-bought sesame oil instead of making my own?

While you can certainly use store-bought sesame oil in lieu of making your own, homemade ensures that all flavors are fresh.

How long should I marinate my chicken in the sesame oil mixture?

It’s best if left overnight in refrigerator after marinating.

What other meats can I use this marinade on?

This marinade works well on pork or beef as well!

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