5 from 2 votes

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken is an easy dinner recipe that is better than takeout! Tender and juicy chicken is coated in a crispy batter and enveloped in a sweet, tangy, sticky orange sauce. It’s super delicious and addictive.

Orange chicken in a blue bowl.


If you like Panda Express orange chicken, you’ll love this copycat recipe. The tiny chicken pieces are covered in the same tangy orange sauce. When the craving strikes, it’s a straightforward way to make Chinese food at home. 

This easy orange chicken recipe tastes just like Chinese takeout, and you can customize it to taste just how you like it. Keep reading and learn how to make this easy recipe at home. 

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Why You’ll Love Orange Chicken

  • A perfect takeout copycat recipe   
  • Easy to customize.
  • Uses fresh ingredients 
  • Easy to make in a large skillet or wok. 

Ingredients

The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

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    For the Chicken 

    • Chicken breasts: Cut up boneless skinless chicken breast into small pieces for the best results. 
    • Eggs:  This helps the cornstarch and flour stick to the chicken. 
    • Cornstarch: This makes the coated chicken extra crispy. 
    • Flour: Use your favorite type of flour, even gluten-free flour. 
    • Salt: The salt enhances all the other flavors. 
    • Vegetable oil:  A little oil helps the tender chicken fry up beautifully. 

    For the Sauce: 

    • Orange zest: The zest makes the sauce taste more powerful. 
    • Orange juice: Use fresh juice from an orange for a full and citrusy taste. 
    • Honey: This sweetens the orange-flavored sauce. 
    • Rice vinegar: The vinegar adds tangy notes. 
    • Hoisin sauce: This gives the bite-sized pieces of chicken a distinct umami flavor.  
    • Sesame oil: Adds a nutty taste to the sweet and zesty sauce.  
    • Cornstarch: The cornstarch thickens the sauce.  
    • Garlic cloves: Makes the sauce have a full and robust flavor. 
    Ingredients to make orange chicken.

    How to Make Orange Chicken

    • Step One: Cut the chicken into small bite pieces.
    • Step Two: Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a shallow dish; in another bowl, whisk in eggs.  
    • Step Three: Take each piece of the chicken and dip it into the egg mixture, then transfer it to the flour mixture.
    • Step Four: Repeat until you have all the pieces of the chicken well covered with the flour mixture.
    Steps to make orange chicken.
    • Step Five: In a wok or a large saucepan, add the oil over medium-high heat; once hot, add the chicken and cook until the chicken is all cooked and no longer pink on the inside. 
    • Step Six: Remove the chicken from the wok and reserve.
    • Step Seven: In the same wok, add all the sauce ingredients and mix to combine everything. Cook until the sauce has thickened.
    • Step Eight: Reduce heat and add the chicken to the wok with the sauce.
    • Step Nine: Continue cooking and stir until the sauce covers the chicken.
    • Step Ten: Turn off the heat and sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds.
    • Step Eleven: Serve hot on rice if desired.
    Steps to make orange chicken.

    Equipment Needed

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    • Sharp knife – You need a knife to cut the chicken into tiny pieces. 
    • Two small bowls – You need a small bowl for the egg mixture and another for the flour mixture. 
    • Wok – A large saucepan can also work; it must be large enough to fry all the chicken.  
    • Wooden spoon -This will stir the chicken as it cooks. 

    What to Serve with Orange Chicken

    This healthy orange chicken recipe is perfect for making the next time you’re craving Chinese food. Here are some of my favorite sides and main dishes that taste delicious with Chinese orange chicken.   

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Use different sweeteners. Instead of honey, use maple syrup, agave syrup, or brown sugar. 
    • Swap with a different type of vinegar. Instead of rice vinegar, use white wine vinegar.  
    • Replace hoisin sauce. Either soy sauce or tamari sauce is a perfect substitute. 
    • Make it spicier. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes, and add fresh ginger to the delicious sauce. 
    • Garlic powder instead of garlic cloves. Use one teaspoon of garlic powder instead of fresh garlic cloves in this recipe.  
    Orange chicken in a blue bowl.

    Storage Instructions 

    Orange chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for four days, and you can quickly reheat it in a small skillet with a low heat setting. However, don’t forget to add a splash of water while reheating, as it helps loosen up the sauce.

    Orange Chicken Tips and Tricks

    • Try to cook your chicken in batches to prevent crowding (crowded pans will result in uneven cooking.  
    • If the sauce is thin and won’t thicken up, add more cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch with water. Mix it into the sauce. Keep stirring while adding to the sauce; it will thicken up without any lumps.
    • If the oil is spitting at you, turn down the heat or use less oil. 
    • Cook the chicken until it turns golden brown and the internal temperature of the crispy chicken is at least 165F. 

    What is Orange Chicken?

    This is an orange dish with a distinct orange flavor. It’s a popular recipe that you’ll find at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Small pieces of breaded and fried chicken are coated in an orange-flavored sticky sauce. 

    Orange chicken on a chopstick.

    What is the Best Chicken to Use?

    Boneless skinless chicken breasts are the best type of chicken to use. But, you can also use boneless chicken thighs to make orange chicken as the thigh cuts are juicier and tenderer than the breast part.

    What Does Orange Chicken Taste Like?

    Orange chicken is one of the most delicious, tangy, and sweet chicken recipes that flaunts the sweet citrus taste. It has a mild hint of spice with a lemon flavor. It is one of the best Asian dishes you can make because the bright, vibrant orange zest stands out among the sticky-sweet sauce ingredients. 

    Is Orange Chicken Spicy?

    No, it is not spicy or hot. Given the ingredients, it will have sweet, savory, and sour flavor tones.

    Orange chicken in a bowl.

    Can I Make Ahead?

    Yes, you can make it ahead of time, but it will taste better when you serve it fresh. If you want to make it ahead store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for over four days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

    Why is Orange Chicken Not Crispy After Reheating?

    Reheating leftover orange chicken tends to make the chicken soggy, and it will lose the crispiness you love. It is better to reheat the orange chicken in the skillet to maintain the crispness than to use a microwave oven. If you reheat it in the air fryer, it will also make a big difference. 

    Can I Make it in an Air Fryer?

    Yes, this is a great recipe to make in the air fryer. Coat the chicken like usual and cook it in your air fryer at 400F for about 20 minutes. 

    Can I Make it in a Slow Cooker?

    Yes, you can make orange chicken in the slow cooker too. I suggest skipping the breading and frying since the breading will soften in the slow cooker. Instead, cook unbreaded chicken pieces in the slower cooker with the same orange sauce at low heat for about 4-6 hours. 

    Orange chicken in a blue bowl.

    FAQ

    Does this taste like General Tso Chicken?

    The main difference between General Tso chicken and orange chicken is that General Tso is spicier and stir-fried in a sweet and sour sauce. Still, orange chicken has a caramelized sauce that tastes sweeter without the heat. 

    Can you use fried chicken nuggets instead of making them from scratch?

    Yes, you can use popcorn chicken instead of breading and frying your chicken pieces. Then all you have to do is cover them in the orange chicken sauce. 

    How many servings does this make? 

    This recipe makes four servings. 

    Chicken Recipes    

    Want more easy chicken recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    5 from 2 votes

    Orange Chicken

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 4
    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 50 minutes
    This easy dinner recipe is better than takeout! Tender and juicy chicken is coated in a crispy batter and enveloped in a sweet, tangy and sticky orange sauce. It's super delicious and addictive.

    Ingredients
     
     

    Chicken

    • 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 2 eggs whisked
    • 3 tbsp cornstarch
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp pepper
    • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

    Sauce

    • Zest of one orange about 1 teaspoon
    • Juice of one orange about ¼ cup
    • 3 tbsp brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 garlic cloves minced
    • Green onions, sesame seeds for garnish

    Instructions

    Chicken

    • Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in a shallow dish. Add eggs to another bowl.
    • Take each piece of chicken and dip it in the egg mixture and then transfer to the flour mixture. Repeat until you have all the pieces of chicken well covered in the flour mixture.
    • In a wok or large saucepan, add the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook until the chicken is all cooked and no longer pink on the inside.
    • Remove the chicken from the wok and reserve.

    Sauce

    • In the same wok, add all the sauce ingredients and mix everything to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened.
    • Reduce heat and add the chicken back to the wok with the sauce.
    • Continue cooking and stir until the chicken is well covered with the sauce.
    • Turn off the heat and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve hot on rice, if desired.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 783mg | Potassium: 918mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 188IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Main Course
    Cuisine Chinese
    Keyword orange chicken

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