Skip the expensive takeout and make your own Chinese orange chicken at home. With the sweet and spicy flavor that makes orange chicken such a treat, this Chinese orange chicken will be an instant family favorite.
My family loves Chinese take out. We could get it every week if the budget allowed for it. But when you’re feeding a family with four hungry boys, takeout gets really expensive really fast.
WHAT IS ORANGE CHICKEN?
One of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes is definitely orange chicken. Orange chicken is a classic takeout dish that features bite sized pieces of chicken fried in a sweet and spicy orange based sauce.
Ok, so technically orange chicken isn’t an authentic Chinese dish. Andy Kao, a chef at Panda Express, invented orange chicken in 1987.
According Panda Express, Kao was inspired by the classic flavors in the Hunan province when he fried chicken in his sweet and spicy orange sauce.
EVERYONE LOVES ORANGE CHICKEN!
To this day, orange chicken is still the most popular entree at Panda Express. According to the Daily Meal- Panda Express served up 80 million pounds of it in 2016 alone. So what makes orange chicken so delicious?
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ORANGE SAUCE…
Of course, battered fried chicken is fantastic by itself, but the sauce is what makes orange chicken really shine. Orange chicken has a thick, orange based sauce. It thickens and caramelizes as you cook it so it gets really deliciously sticky and coats every nook and cranny of the fried chicken in its goodness.
The sauce is sweet and slightly tart from the orange juice with just a touch of heat from red chili flakes. It’s that sweet and spicy flavor combo that makes this dish so finger licking good, and my take on orange chicken is no exception.
MAKING ORANGE CHICKEN AT HOME
Making this delicious food court favorite at home is easy. You only need a handful of ingredients and roughly half an hour.
It’s super simple, and easy to whip up. You just need a handful of ingredients.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE CHINESE ORANGE CHICKEN:
- canola oil
- orange juice
- rice vinegar
- soy sauce
- chili flakes
TO MAKE AUTHENTIC TASTING ORANGE CHICKEN:
- Get your orange sauce going first by adding orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and red chili flakes to a medium pot.
- Let it heat for 3 minutes then add your whisked together cornstarch and water paste. Add that paste to the orange sauce and whisk together.
- Continue to cook for 5 minutes, basically until the mixture begins to thicken. Once the sauce is thickened, remove from heat and add orange zest.
- To make it, start by cutting chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.
- Then whisk together the flour and cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl.
- In a separate dish, whisk together the eggs. Then dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture before you dredge it through the flour mixture.
- Once the chicken is battered, heat 2 -3 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees according to a cooking thermometer.
Working in batches, cook several chicken pieces at a time. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, turning often until golden brown. Place chicken on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked. Then toss in the orange sauce.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR MAKING THIS CHINESE ORANGE CHICKEN RECIPE:
- While we toss the crispy chicken in the orange sauce before serving, we’ve occasionally heard complaints. Some people say it gets soggy that way. If that’s the case, or a concern- just serve the chicken over the bed of rice with the sauce drizzled over immediately before consumption. Or serve the sauce in a small dish on the side for dipping.
- Another note about coating the chicken: the easiest way is to add all of the cooked chicken to a large mixing bowl & add the sauce; toss everything to coat. The sauce thickens to coat & begins to caramelize as it sits.
- When making the sauce, add fresh orange peel. Allow it to simmer with the sauce. Remove it before following the rest of the instructions. This simple infusion really ups the orange flavor in this dish.
Serve this delicious Chinese orange chicken over fluffy rice or with egg drop soup and shrimp toast for a fun Chinese feast at home. Then sit back and enjoy a delicious take out inspired meal without ever having to leave your house.
OTHER ASIAN STYLE CHICKEN RECIPES TO ENJOY:
- Crispy Honey Chicken
- Crockpot Thai Coconut Chicken
- Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup
- Easy Kung Pao Chicken
If you’ve tried this CHINESE ORANGE CHICKEN RECIPE, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
For The Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts chunked
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup flour
- canola oil for frying
For The Orange Marinade
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- pinch red chili flakes
- zest from one orange
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- thinly sliced green onions optional garnish
- toasted sesame seeds optional garnish
To Make The Orange Sauce
- In a medium sized skillet, bring the orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, & chili flakes to a quick simmer. Heat for 2 minutes, then set aside.
- Use a slotted spoon to separate the chicken from the sauce. Transfer the chicken to a plate to wait.
- Add the tablespoon of cornstarch and continue cooking the mixture, whisking until smooth, and letting the mixture simmer until thickened.
To Make The Chicken
- On a shallow plate, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt until smooth.
- Transfer the beaten eggs to another shallow plate.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the beaten egg mixture. Then transfer it to the flour mixture, turning to coat. Shake to remove any excess.
- Working with 2-3" of oil at a time, let it get nice and hot. Cook several chicken pieces at a time. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, turning often until golden brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate. Working in batches, repeat until all the chicken's been fried.
- Toss the chicken with the sauce. Serve the chicken over a bed of freshly cooked white rice. Top with thinly sliced green onions, and toasted sesame seeds for garnish.