Easy Orange Chicken

Easy Orange Chicken

Craving Chinese takeout? Before you make an order, consider making this homemade Orange Chicken! Crispy breaded chicken is fried and then coated in a sweet and spicy orange sauce for a delicious dinner.

Orange chicken with chopped green onions.Orange chicken with chopped green onions.

This Is A Spot-On Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe!

I love Chinese takeout – and specifically Panda Express – as much as the next gal, but sometimes I just don’t want to leave the house. And that means making takeout-inspired recipes from home. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. This chicken dinner will take 30 to 45 minutes to make, tops.

Sometimes I make Beef and Broccoli when I’m craving Chinese food, but recently I’ve been loving this Orange Chicken recipe (Panda Express’ signature dish), so I’m sharing it with you today.

What Makes this Recipe Orange Chicken the Best?

This homemade orange chicken is SO flavorful. The orange sauce is sweet, with its base of orange juice and sugar, but also spicy because of the crushed red pepper. The chicken is juicy on the inside, but perfectly crispy and golden brown on the exterior. Mix the two together, and you have a savory chicken dinner that nobody can resist. So don’t try to – just give in and make it already!

  • You Control The Flavors: When you order takeout, there’s only so much you can control about the food you’re going to receive. When you’re the one making the food, though, you can add more red pepper to the sauce to make it spicier, a little sugar to make it sweeter, etc.
  • It’s Healthier Than Takeout: No surprise there! Because you’re the one making the meal, you can buy fresh ingredients and spices that make your meal healthier and tastier! You can also use less oil when frying, make substitutions, and just play around with the recipe in general, if you feel the need.
  • It Gives You Flexibility: I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control of when dinner comes to the table. Most of the time takeout is fairly quick, but sometimes there’s a wait, and it’s just not worth it when I could have made my own version. Plus, this chicken stores really well, so you can make it ahead if you need to.
Orange chicken on a bed of white rice.Orange chicken on a bed of white rice.

What You’ll Need

The ingredients for making orange chicken are fairly simple, but there’s quite a few of them. Here’s what you’ll need to round up before starting:

For the Chicken

  • Chicken: You’ll need boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces.
  • Egg: To bind the breading to the chicken.
  • Olive Oil: To mix with the egg. You can use another kind of cooking oil if you want to.
  • Breading Mix: This will be a combination of flour, cornstarch, and kosher salt.
  • Vegetable Oil: For frying. You can also use canola oil if you want to.

For the Orange Sauce

  • Orange Juice: You can use fresh or store-bought orange juice, but fresh OJ provides the best and most powerful orange flavor!
  • Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil: To add savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar boosts the sweetness in this sauce.
  • Vinegar: You can use rice vinegar, white vinegar, etc.
  • Water: To ensure that the sauce doesn’t become too thick.
  • Seasoning: You’ll need minced ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce a little bit at the end – you’ll need some cold water to mix with this.

How to Make Orange Chicken

Orange chicken is always a crowd-pleaser in my house. There’s just something so addicting about that sticky-sweet chicken.

Luckily for us, it’s really easy to make. Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Set Your Oven to Warm: Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

Whisk the Egg and Olive Oil: In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and olive oil. Set aside.

Bread the Chicken: Add the cornstarch, flour, and salt into a large zip-top bag, shaking to combine. Add the chicken in portions to the egg mixture and then into the bag with the flour mixture, shaking to coat evenly. Place coated chicken on a plate and set aside. Repeat with all the chicken.

Heat the Oil: Add the vegetable oil in a deep Dutch Oven or large skillet until it’s 2 – 3 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F.

Fry the Chicken: Working in 3 batches, add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3 – 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the oil and place on a prepared baking sheet and place in the warm oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Make the Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, granulated sugar, vinegar, water, ginger, garlic, and red pepper and bring to a boil. Mix together the remaining water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add this to the boiling sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat.

Combine the Chicken and the Sauce: Remove the chicken from the oven and place in a large bowl. Pour the orange sauce on top of the chicken, gently mixing to coat each piece. 

Tips for Success

And, there you have it. A classic Chinese takeout recipe, replicated. Enjoy, my friends.

But, before you do that, here are a few last-minute tips that you might want to keep in mind:

  • A Note on Sauce: This recipe makes enough sauce to coat the chicken. If you prefer more sauce for rice, you can easily increase the amounts by 50%, or even double it.
  • Can I Use Chicken Thighs? Yes, but make sure they are also skinless and boneless. Using chicken breast is healthier, and also yields more traditional results, but you can definitely use chicken thighs if you prefer them.
  • If You’re Making this Dish Ahead: If you’re going to make this dinner ahead of time, fry the chicken and prepare the sauce, then store them separately in the fridge. Then, when you’re ready to eat, bake the chicken for a few minutes, heat up the sauce on the stove, and combine!

Serving Suggestions

Wondering what to serve your orange chicken with? I’ve got a few suggestions for you. These are some of my usual side dishes and supplements:

  • Garnish: Serve your chicken with chopped green onions for a simple garnish.
  • Rice: I almost always serve this orange chicken on a bed of white rice. You could also use brown rice, if you want to.
  • Noodles: If you want something other than rice, try serving your chicken on a bed of Chinese noodles.
  • Vegetables: For a light side dish, serve your orange chicken with some steamed broccoli or your favorite steamed/roasted vegetable.
Orange chicken with green onions and rice.Orange chicken with green onions and rice.

How to Store and Reheat Orange Chicken

You can store this orange chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, bake the chicken in the oven until warmed through, use a skillet over low heat, or microwave. Note that if you microwave, the chicken will not be as crispy.

Can I Freeze Extras?

Sure. Store leftover chicken in an airtight container and freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating, but be aware that the chicken will not be as crispy this time. If you can freeze the fried chicken and the sauce separately, you will have crispier results.

Print

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Orange chicken with chopped green onions.Orange chicken with chopped green onions.


Description:

Craving Chinese takeout? Before you make an order, consider making this homemade Orange Chicken! Crispy breaded chicken is fried and then coated in a sweet and spicy orange sauce for a delicious dinner.


Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • vegetable oil for frying

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions

  1. Chicken: Set your oven to warm. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Add the cornstarch, flour, and salt into a large zip-top bag, shaking to combine.
  4. Add the chicken in portions to the egg mixture and then into the bag with the flour mixture, shaking to coat evenly. Place coated chicken on a plate and set aside. Repeat with all the chicken.
  5. Add the vegetable oil in a deep Dutch Oven or large skillet until it’s 2 – 3 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F.
  6. Working in 3 batches, add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3 – 4 minutes.
  7. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the oil and place on a prepared baking sheet and place in the warm oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  8. Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, granulated sugar, vinegar, water, ginger, garlic, and red pepper and bring to a boil. 
  9. Mix together the remaining water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add this to the boiling sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat.
  10. Remove the chicken from the oven and place in a large bowl. Pour the orange sauce on top of the chicken, gently mixing to coat each piece. 
  11. Serve with rice if desired.

Notes:

This recipe makes enough sauce to coat the chicken. If you prefer more sauce for rice, you can easily increase the amounts by 50%, or even double it.

Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Keywords:: panda express orange chicken, orange chicken recipes

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