Orange Chicken

5 from 35 votes

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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 takeout any day!

Piece of Orange Chicken with chopsticks.
Featured with this recipe
  1. How to Make Orange Chicken
  2. Alternate cooking methods
  3. Make it Gluten-Free
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. What to Serve with Orange Chicken
  6. Orange Chicken Recipe Recipe

Orange Chicken takes center stage whenever I decide to have a Chinese food night. This may not be the exact Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe, but our copycat recipe comes pretty close. I rarely get Chinese takeout anymore because it’s so much cheaper to make it at home, and it tastes so fresh.

My favorite part of this meal is the homemade tangy orange sauce. The vibrant orange flavor complements the tender chicken chunks perfectly.

Bowl of Orange Chicken garnished with sliced green onions.

How to Make Orange Chicken

Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients. I promise you have most of these on hand.Just a little of this and a little of that adds up to one incredibly easy orange chicken recipe.

  1. First, trim any fat from the chicken and then cut it into bite size pieces. In a resealable plastic bag or in a bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Crack the egg into a small bowl. Blend the egg with a whisk. Now dredge the chicken by dipping it into the egg mixture then the coating it with the cornstarch mixture. Dip all the chicken pieces at once and add them to a resealable plastic bag. Coat the chicken by shaking the bag. Or, if using a bowl, after dipping the chicken in the egg, roll each piece in the cornstarch mixture in a bowl to coat it one at a time.
  2. Next, heat the oil in a deep fryer or wok to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep fry the chicken in batches until completely cooked (internal temperature of chicken should be 165 degrees, according to the USDA) and the coating is golden brown. Remove the chicken to drain on paper towels.
  3. Make the orange chicken sauce by combining cornstarch with ¼ cup water in a small bowl and mixing thoroughly. Set aside. Whisk the remaining 1 cup water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes. Add in the brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, and green onion. While continuing to stir, bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture until the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  4. Lastly, gently stir the sauce into the chicken until the chicken is coated with the sauce.
Four collage photos with steps to making orange chicken.

Alternate cooking methods

Pan Frying – If you are looking for a healthier alternative to deep-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.

Baking – Fry the chicken until it cooks on the outside, then place it on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. You will still get a little bit of a crispy texture and still have all the flavor!

Air Frying – To fry your chicken in the air fryer, you just need to make sure you are coating your chicken with cooking spray before it cooks. All air fryers are different so check the correct temperatures and times for chicken pieces. I cook it at 350 for about 10-12 minutes on each side, spraying any parts of the chicken with dry flour with cooking spray while turning. Just make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before serving. 

Make it Gluten-Free

Because we use a cornstarch coating on our orange chicken instead of flour, this is really close to being a gluten-free recipe. However, as you can see in the recipe below, we use soy sauce in the orange sauce, which contains gluten. The good news is, GF soy sauce is easy to find. Just replace regular soy sauce with a gluten-free brand and you should be good to go. As always, check labels on everything to make sure you’re working with gluten free ingredients.

Chopsticks grabbing a piece of Orange Chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Orange Chicken the same as General Tso?

Orange Chicken is a variation of General Tso’s Chicken (which IS an authentic Chinese dish). The dish is definitely “Americanized” and sweeter, using brown sugar and soy sauce. In China, you’ll likely find Orange PEEL Chicken instead of Orange Chicken. This version has a tangier flavor as it’s flavored with orange rinds.

Why do they call it Orange Chicken?

Originally, Orange Chicken wasn’t breaded and the sauce was made with leftover orange and lemon peels. So it was citrusy, but kind of bitter, not sweet like it has become today.

Is Orange Chicken usually white meat?

Generally, orange chicken is made with dark meat, which is juicier and more flavorful than white meat. But you can use whichever you prefer when you make it at home.

How do I store and reheat orange chicken?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Please do not reheat in the microwave! The chicken will no longer be crisp. Stir-fry leftovers in a wok or skillet with a little bit of canola oil or sesame oil over medium-high heat. You can also reheat orange chicken in an air fryer for great results!

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 broccoli or stir-fry vegetables and steamed white or brown rice, but if you’re wanting to wow friends and family with a scrumptious Asian-inspired spread, try a few of these delightful recipes:

Chopsticks grabbing a piece of Orange Chicken.

Orange Chicken Recipe

5 from 35 votes
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!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6




Orange Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion, plus more for garnish
  • red pepper flakes, to taste



  • Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, use a fork to beat the egg until the yolk and egg white are blended.
    Ziplock bag with corn starch mix, beaten egg and cut up chicken for Orange Chicken.
  • Dip chicken pieces into beaten egg. Shake in cornstarch mixture to coat.
    Battered chicken pieces for Orange Chicken in a dish.
  • Heat oil in a deep fryer or wok to 375 degrees F. Deep-fry chicken in batches until completely cooked. Remove it to drain on paper towels.
    Fryer, battered chicken and a pan with paper towels to make Orange Chicken.

Orange Sauce

  • In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with ¼ cup water and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
    Fried chicken on a paper towel for Orange Chicken.
  • In a large saucepan combine the remaining 1 cup water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk ingredients together over medium heat for a few minutes.
    Pan of Orange Chicken sauce base.
  • Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, and green onion. Bring to a boil Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce until it thickens.
    Spoon holding up thickened sauce for Orange Chicken.
  • Place fried chicken in a large bowl and pour sauce over the top.
    Sauce pouring onto fried chicken for Orange Chicken.
  • Fold the sauce into the chicken or toss gently to coat. If desired, add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.
    Stirring a bowl of saucy Orange Chicken.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 580kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 32gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 175mgSodium: 1036mgPotassium: 479mgFiber: 1gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 787IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 2mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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5 from 35 votes (18 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    This is so good, I had a hard time not eating it all before serving it to my husband. So much better than take away.

  2. 5 stars
    This tasted just like Panda Express! My family thought I got take out haha. Thanks for a great dub for the real thing.

  3. 5 stars
    Glad I can make this delicious orange chicken at home and no need for me to rush to the mall to get my Asian food fix! YUM!

  4. 5 stars
    My family loves Chinese food and all things chicken! This copycat orange chicken recipe is a real winner!

  5. How do you think this would be with half the sugar? We’ve cut out most sugar and wondering if 1/2 cup would still taste ok?

  6. 5 stars
    Used an orange off my tree, didn’t have fresh ginger so used ground and didn’t have green onions so threw in some dehydrated. I fried the chicken in my big skillet all together, just kept turning until done, drained the oil and poured the sauce on and stirred. I don’t like it hot or spicey so didn’t add the pepper flakes. So yummy and better than Panda ???? Will make again!

    1. Yum! That all sounds delicious. Fresh oranges from your own tree? Yes please! That sounds amazing!

  7. 5 stars
    I made this and I have to say I was VERY impressed. Never new I could make something like this in my own kitchen and it taste as if I ordered it in a 5* restaurant. Everyone thought I’d ordered out. Thank you. It will BE made often.

  8. I am not sure how I happened to come upon this website/blog? But I am excited to try the orange chicken. I have looked at some of these question/answers and glad to see that you are a part of them. That is something I always hope to see! I will look at your whole blog tomorrow (when then the sun is new for me 🙂 ) and enjoy it all then, I am sure. Thank you very much! From an old lady and her husband. Linda B