This Orange Chicken recipe tastes just like the popular Panda Express dish, but made with simple ingredients right at home! Tender chicken in tangy sauce beats restaurant take-out any day!
Orange Chicken takes center stage whenever we decide to have a Chinese food night. We rarely get take-out anymore because it’s so much easier and cheaper to make it at home. The tangy orange sauce is made with pantry staples you already have on hand, and complements tender chicken chunks perfectly. Whip up a batch for your next Chinese feast and turn take-out into take-in!
Is Orange Chicken an Authentic Chinese Dish?
Not quite. Andrew Cherng, the founder and CEO of Panda Express (thank you Wikipedia) said that Orange Chicken is a variation of General Tso’s Chicken (which IS an authentic Chinese dish). Orange Chicken is definitely “Americanized”. If you are able to find an Orange Chicken in China, it will probably be “Orange PEEL Chicken” which is a similar dish that is flavored with orange rinds, creating a much tangier flavor.
Is Orange Chicken Gluten Free?
As the recipe is written, no it’s not. However, it’s really simple to convert this recipe to a GF one. Just replace regular soy sauce with a gluten-free brand. As always, check labels on everything to make sure you’re working with gluten free ingredients.
We got the idea for this recipe from blogchef.net. It’s delicious on its own but I decided to kick up the heat a little. If you like things nice and spicy too, add some Sriracha Sauce or red pepper flakes. That way you can control the spice depending on taste.
Is Orange Chicken Healthy?
Because this recipe is fried, it may not be considered the healthiest Panda Express copycat recipe (see our other options below). If you are looking for a healthier alternative, instead of frying, heat a little oil in a large skillet and cook chicken on each side for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through and THEN add the sauce. You will still get a little bit of a crispy texture and still have all the flavor! You can also reduce the sugar amounts or even use a sugar substitute.
What to Serve with Orange Chicken
We pull out all the stops when putting together a Chinese feast. Sure, you can make things simple by serving this dish alongside some steamed rice, but if you’re wanting to wow friends and family with a scrumptious Asian spread, try a few of these delightful recipes:
- Restaurant Ham Fried Rice
- Panda Express String Bean Chicken Breast (Copycat Recipe
- Panda Express Chow Mein (Copycat Recipe)
- Jared’s General Tso’s Chicken
- Pork and Veggie Potstickers
- Low Calorie Sesame Chicken Stir-fry
How Long Does Orange Chicken Last?
Box up leftovers and store in the fridge for up to four days. The great news is you can freeze this chicken and store it for a couple of months in the freezer. Thaw by microwaving and enjoy!
How to Make Orange Chicken
How to Make Orange Chicken (Panda Express Copycat Recipe)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons FRESH orange juice
- 1/4 cup FRESH lemon juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange zest grated
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger root minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons green onion chopped
- red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
Combine cornstarch salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in beaten eggs and shake in cornstarch mixture to coat.
Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 degrees in a deep fryer (or use a wok) until completely cooked.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 cup water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil.
Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens.
Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.