Sesame, Citrus, And Soy Air Fryer Chicken Skewers Recipe

Your air fryer can be used for so much more than just frozen french fries. Whether you have a basket-style or a toaster oven-style air fryer, you can make juicy, tender chicken with a fraction of the effort required by pan-searing or grilling. Forget about bland, dry chicken — this recipe locks in flavor and juiciness with a zesty, tangy marinade. Fresh lime and tangerine form its base, along with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, and nutty tahini. For lovers of spice, the recipe also adds a touch of heat from red chile flakes, which can be dialed up or down to suit your preferences. 

Recipe developer Taylor Murray created this recipe for the air fryer, but it can also be adjusted slightly for use on any cooking medium, like an oven or grill. Ideal for busy weeknights, cooking for a crowd, or straightforward meal prep, these chicken skewers are a satisfying, healthy option that's anything but boring. 

Gather the ingredients for sesame, citrus, and soy air fryer chicken skewers

The secret to making chicken skewers that aren't bland is all in the marinade. After sourcing some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cutting them into strips, gather the ingredients for the marinade. There's a bit of soy sauce, honey, tahini, sesame oil, and chile flakes for a bit of spice. The tart flavor comes from a combination of fresh lime and tangerine juice, which gets whisked into the marinade. A showering of toasted sesame seeds adds a nutty crunch, and you can optionally finish the dish with some sliced green onions.

Step 1: Whisk the marinade ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil, tahini, honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and chile flakes.

Step 2: Add the citrus

Juice lime and tangerine and whisk into marinade.

Step 3: Add the chicken to marinade

Add chicken and toss to coat.

Step 4: Let the chicken marinate

Let marinate at least one hour and up to four.

Step 5: Thread the chicken onto skewers

Thread chicken onto skewers.

Step 6: Set the air fryer and cook

Set air fryer to 400 F and place chicken skewers in until browned and fully cooked, about 18 minutes.

Step 7: Serve the chicken skewers

Serve and top with green onions, if using.

What are some suggested sides to go with this chicken skewer dish?

While this chicken skewer recipe does not include a side, it offers a great starting point to pair with a variety of dishes that complement its Asian-inspired taste. A refreshing and light option could be a crisp, spicy Korean cucumber salad dressed with vinegar, a touch of sugar, and sesame seeds, offering a crunchy contrast to the savory chicken. For a more substantial side, consider serving these skewers with steamed jasmine or brown rice to highlight the delicious citrus-soy marinade on the chicken. 

Stir-fried vegetables like bok choy, bell peppers, and snap peas can add color and nutrition to your meal. Another excellent choice is a cold noodle salad with a sesame or peanut dressing. These sides not only balance the meal but also enhance the intricate flavors of the chicken skewers, making for a well-rounded, satisfying meal.

How can I make this chicken skewer recipe without an air fryer?

If you're looking to enjoy this chicken skewer recipe but don't have an air fryer at your disposal, you can easily adapt it for cooking in your oven or on a grill. 

For oven cooking, start by preheating your oven to 425 F, using the convection fan if your oven has it. Prepare the chicken following the original recipe. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, arrange the skewers using a wire rack (if you have one) to facilitate airflow around the chicken, promoting even cooking and a crispier finish. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until fully cooked, turning the skewers halfway through to ensure they brown and cook evenly.

To grill the skewers, preheat your grill to a medium-high heat (around 400 F), and prepare the chicken as directed. If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes beforehand to prevent them from burning. Grill the skewers for 10 to 15 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they're well-browned and fully cooked.

Sesame, Citrus, And Soy Air Fryer Chicken Skewers Recipe
5 from 34 ratings
A citrusy marinade with lime and tangerine juice contributes to the big flavor of these skewers. Though made for an air fryer, you can also bake or grill them.
Prep Time
1.25
hours
Cook Time
18
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
Plate of sesame soy skewers
Total time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced in strips
Optional Ingredients
  • Green onion, thinly sliced on the bias
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil, tahini, honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and chile flakes.
  2. Juice lime and tangerine and whisk into marinade.
  3. Add chicken and toss to coat.
  4. Let marinate at least one hour and up to four.
  5. Thread chicken onto skewers.
  6. Set air fryer to 400 F and place chicken skewers in until browned and fully cooked, about 18 minutes.
  7. Serve and top with green onions, if using.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 336
Total Fat 22.7 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 106.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 5.5 g
Sodium 552.6 mg
Protein 24.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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