This super easy Orange Chicken recipe features bite-sized pieces of chicken, dredged in a delicious batter, then fried until golden brown and tossed in a tasty homemade orange chicken sauce.
When you try this recipe, you'll get Panda Express-style orange chicken at home with ingredients and instructions that are so simple that it's easier to make than ordering Chinese takeout! The sauce has the perfect level of sweetness combined with a tang and spicy flavor to make you fall in love with it!
It's, by far, one of the easiest stir fry dishes you can make at home and is known for its characteristic orange flavor. But even though it's a tasty dish, it's easy to get it wrong or to overdo the orange flavor in the recipe. So try my recipe for a dish you won't be able to forget!
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
This orange chicken recipe requires pantry-staple ingredients to make it.
You can scroll down to the recipe card for further details and instructions.
Chicken: We'll, of course, need some chicken to make this recipe. I've used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can also use skinless chicken thighs for this recipe.
Orange juice: For the perfect orange flavor, we'll use freshly squeezed orange juice. Make sure to use fresh orange juice instead of packaged ones since the flavor will change, and store-bought juice won't give you the right taste.
Soy sauce: Another key ingredient we'll use is soy sauce for that savory undertones. Try to get on good quality soy sauce since it makes all the difference. You can also opt for low-sodium soy sauce and adjust it with salt.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE
This recipe will give you the classic Panda Express flavor but better at home in just a few simple steps.
The full instructions are in the recipe card down below, but let's look at the main steps to make this dish.
Season the chicken with white pepper and soy sauce. Mix well and keep aside.
In a wok or skillet, saute garlic, chili flakes, and ginger in vegetable oil for a few seconds, then add the orange juice and the other ingredients of the orange sauce. Cook on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil
Add the corn starch slurry mixture to the wok while stirring. Let it thicken and remove it from the heat.
Make the chicken batter as instructed and add the chicken pieces to coat them well with this mixture. Heat vegetable oil in a pan and fry the chicken in batches until they turn golden brown. You have to fry the chicken two times.
Add the fried chicken to the orange sauce and mix to coat the chicken with the sauce. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
💭 COOKING TIPS
- Make sure to use freshly squeezed orange juice in this recipe instead of bottled orange juice bought from the store.
- Fry the chicken in batches rather than overcrowding the pan so they fry evenly and turn perfectly golden brown.
- Before adding it to the orange sauce mixture, remove any lumps in the cornstarch slurry.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS
This Orange Chicken recipe is seriously amazing and gives excellent results every time! But if you're looking to customize it to your preference, here are a few ideas you can try:
Garnish: You can garnish your orange chicken with some sesame seeds or chopped green onions before serving.
Veggies: Serve it with any veggies you like! Some steamed broccoli pairs well with orange chicken and white rice.
Gluten-free version: You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce skipping the flour or using gluten-free flour instead. However, this will alter the texture and flavor a bit.
Bolder flavor: You can add orange zest from half an orange to the sauce for an even more robust orange flavor.
Spicer version: If you want to make your Orange Chicken a bit spicier, you can add a little more red pepper flakes to the recipe.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Executive Chef of Panda Express, Andy Kao, invented this dish in 1987 in Hawaii, and he was inspired by the cuisine of the Hunan province of China when creating the flavors in this dish.
Orange Chicken has a bright and tasty orange flavor that's sweet, savory, and has a hint of spiciness thanks to the red pepper flakes.
No, it's not recommended to use store-bought bottled orange juice as the flavor will not be as bright and delicious as it should be in Orange Chicken.
🍲 MORE STIR FRY RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
🌡️ STORING AND REHEATING
Fridge: You can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezer: It's not recommended to freeze this stir fry dish as the chicken's texture, and the sauce's consistency will change if you do.
Reheat: You can reheat your leftovers in a skillet on the stove. You may have to add a splash of water to fix the sauce's consistency.
- 400 grams bite size skinless chicken breast
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
FOR THE BATTER
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup flour
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons of water
- Oil to fry
ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE
- ¾ cup orange juice fresh
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger minced
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 teaspoon oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon water
- Season the chicken with pepper and soy sauce. Mix well and cover then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
MAKING ORANGE SAUCE
- In a wok or a large pan, add the oil and then add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a few seconds.
- Add the orange juice, and the rest of the orange sauce ingredients to the wok and cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low medium heat and then mix the slurry mix, cornstarch, and water and add it to the orange sauce while stirring.
- Cook the sauce for 2 minutes or until the sauce gets a little thick. Remove from heat and keep aside.
MAKING THE BATTER
- In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with flour. Add the eggs and water and whisk to remove the lumps.
- Cover the batter and let it rest for five minutes.
- Add the chicken to the batter and mix well.
- Heat enough oil to cover half the chicken. Add the chicken in batches and fry until lightly golden.
- Remove the chicken from the oil and keep aside for 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the oil and fry until light brown in color.
- Remove the chicken from the oil and place it in a strainer to remove access oil.
- Add the fried chicken to the orange sauce and mix to coat the chicken with the sauce.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
- If the orange is too sweet, add another tablespoon of soy sauce to the orange sauce. Or, reduce the sugar to two tablespoons instead of three.
- Do not use packed orange juice in this recipe.
- You can use chicken thighs too.
- To ensure the chicken is cooked after frying, cut one piece in half if the inside is still pink, the chicken needs more time to cook.
- For more flavor, sprinkle chopped spring onions or toasted sesame seeds before serving.