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Homemade Orange Chicken is SO much better than anything you’ll find on a takeout menu! Crispy chicken bites are fried to perfection before being tossed in what can only be described as the most flavorful orange chicken sauce ever.
Orange chicken is a staple in many American homes, but it almost always gets there in a little white box. Instead of ordering greasy takeout (wonderful as it may be some nights), try your hand at this easy orange chicken recipe!
This crispy coated chicken is so juicy and tender. Smother it in a tangy orange sauce made with orange juice, ginger, red chili flakes, and more, and it becomes one of the most divine chicken dinners you’ve ever had.
If you’re looking for more easy Chinese takeout recipes that you can make from the comfort of your own kitchen, I’ve got you covered. Try instant pot General Tso’s chicken, three cup chicken, or chicken lo mein!
Why You’ll Love This Orange Chicken Recipe
This recipe stands out among the other orange chicken dishes in the takeout world for a few reasons:
- Crispy. The chicken is freshly breaded and fried, making it nice and crispy. Every bite is a delight!
- Full of flavor. The orange sauce is full of sweet honey, tangy orange juice, warm grated ginger, savory soy sauce, spicy red chili flakes, and more.
- Crowd-pleaser. Trust me, even the biggest takeout enthusiasts won’t be able to argue that this stuff is so much better. Just be sure to serve it with some Fried Rice (or plain white rice), so they get the whole delicious experience. Make this orange chicken for an easy weeknight dinner to delight everyone in the house!
What Is Orange Chicken?
Orange chicken is commonly found in North American Chinese restaurants that have westernized the original dish that “originated” in Hunan province, China. However, many think it’s more likely to be a variation of General Tso’s chicken, another famous North American Chinese dish.
None of the dishes are actually found in mainland China.
Regardless of its origins, orange chicken is 100% delicious. It has a sweet and tangy flavor, with the crispy chicken tossed in a thick, syrupy sauce tailored to American tastebuds.
What You’ll Need
Recreating this orange chicken recipe at home is much easier than you’d think! The key to all the flavor is the incredible sticky orange chicken sauce. One bite of this and you’ll never order takeout again. Here’s what you’ll need (check out the recipe card below for exact measurements):
For the Chicken
- Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken breast meat is preferred for this recipe.
- Eggs – I like to use free-range organic.
- Flour – All-purpose flour will get the job done.
- Cornstarch – This is the best thickening agent.
- Salt and Pepper – Just a few pinches of each.
- Oil – Vegetable oil is best for frying.
For the Orange Chicken Sauce
- Orange Juice – Use pulp free, and get a good quality for the best flavor!
- Cornstarch – To thicken up the sauce so that it’s not too liquidy.
- Sugar – White granulated sugar is all you need.
- Vinegar – White vinegar works best.
- Soy Sauce – Tamari works too if you want to keep things low sodium.
- Honey – Try to pick a good quality honey that’s not all sugar and artificial flavor.
- Ginger – Freshly grated ginger will bring the most flavor.
- Garlic – Pre-minced garlic will do just fine.
- Red Chili Flakes – Add more if you like a little extra heat!
How to Make Orange Chicken
Not only does the homemade version taste better, but it’s also much better for you. We’re using whole-food ingredients to add incredible, rich flavor. No hidden MSG here! And, since this recipe is so quick, you can have dinner on the table in just over 30 minutes!
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do that (scroll on down to the recipe card below for the full, concise set of instructions):
To Fry the Chicken
- Prep the chicken. Cut the raw chicken into 1-inch pieces. I like to butterfly my chicken first, cut each half into strips, and then cut smaller chunks from there. This keeps the chicken chunks a little thinner, making them easier to cook.
- Prepare the chicken batter. Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk everything together until well combined, and then set aside.
- Heat the oil. Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed skillet or dutch oven and heat it to approximately 350°F. While the oil heats, prepare the eggs.
- Prepare the eggs. Put the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat them. Place the bowl next to the bowl with the flour mixture.
- Coat the chicken in egg. Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten eggs, then use a slotted spoon to remove them. Place the chicken briefly on a paper towel to allow the excess egg to come off.
- Bread the chicken. Add the egg-coated chicken to the flour mixture and stir to coat each piece thoroughly.
- Fry the chicken. Put the breaded chicken into the skillet. Cook the first side undisturbed for about 5 minutes, then turn each piece over using tongs and cook the other side. You’ll likely need to do this in batches.
To Make the Orange Chicken Sauce
- Measure out the orange juice. While the chicken is cooking, measure 1 cup of the orange juice. Remove 2 tablespoons and add it to a small bowl. Mix that small amount of orange juice with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. We’ll use this mixture as a thickening agent for the sauce.
- Whisk together the sauce. Whisk together the remaining orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and red chili flakes in a separate bowl.
- Cook the orange chicken sauce. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove all the pieces from the skillet and set them aside. Pour all the contents of the skillet – including any remaining oil – onto a plate lined with paper towels. Place the skillet back onto the stove to make the sauce. Pour the orange juice mixture into the skillet. Gradually stir in the orange juice/cornstarch mixture and cook for 5-10 minutes. Make sure to stir often, bringing up any bits that may be stuck to the pan from cooking the chicken. You’ll know the sauce is ready when it’s nicely thickened and will coat the back of a spoon.
- Add the chicken to the sauce. Once the sauce is done, add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat it well.
- Garnish and serve. Garnish the orange chicken with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
Tips for Success
There you go! Irresistible, sticky orange chicken done in just over half an hour. Here are some tips that will help you get the best results possible every time:
- Any kind of chicken is fine. Feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for this recipe too.
- Sub in dried spice if needed. If you don’t have access to fresh garlic, feel free to sub in garlic powder instead. Use 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder for this recipe.
- Bake your chicken for a healthier dish. If you don’t want to fry your chicken, you can bake it instead. Bake at 375°F for about 10 minutes. Then broil (watch very carefully) for another 2-3 minutes to brown the chicken nicely. You will still heat the sauce in a skillet and add the baked chicken to it to coat it before serving.
- Double the recipe. If you have a big family or want to have leftovers for lunch, go ahead and double this recipe. I recommend that you only put 2 cut-up breasts of chicken in the beaten egg and flour mixture at a time. Also, make sure to use a large enough skillet so that the chicken is not too crowded. You may not need to double the oil. Just make sure you have enough to generously cover the bottom of the skillet and cook the chicken in batches.
This recipe only has a little bit of heat. Feel free to leave out the red chili flakes if you like. Or, if you like your chicken spicy, feel free to increase the red chili flakes according to your taste.
They are similar dishes, but they are not the same thing. Orange chicken features crispy chicken smothered in a sweet, tangy, syrupy sauce, whereas General Tso’s chicken is made with a sauce that is spicier and less sweet. Also, sometimes General Tso’s chicken is stir-fried rather than deep-fried.
The best part of making orange chicken at home is that you can pair it with anything you’d like. Here are a few ideas:
- Rice. I’m partial to enjoying this with fried rice, but you could also use fluffy white rice!
- Noodles. If you prefer noodles to rice, serve your orange chicken over some egg noodles instead.
- Veggies. I love whipping up some garlic roasted green beans with this meal. Steamed broccoli would also be really tasty, though!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
If you end up with leftover orange chicken, this is the best way to store and reheat it later on:
- To store. Let the chicken come to room temperature and place it in an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To reheat. You can reheat your orange chicken in the microwave until hot. Unfortunately, you’ll lose the first night’s crunch, but it’ll still be tasty! For the best results, reheat your chicken in a skillet on the stove or in the air fryer.
Can I Freeze This Orange Chicken Recipe?
Yes! Once your orange chicken has cooled, pop it into an airtight container and freeze it for up to 6 months. If you freeze it with the sauce added to the chicken, the best way to reheat it is in the oven.
More Easy Chinese Dishes
These Chinese takeout recipes are so easy to make at home! The whole family will love them.
- Easy Kung Pao Chicken
- Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
- Mongolian Beef
- Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli
- Hunan Beef
For the chicken:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (63 g) flour
- ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup (118 ml) oil
For the orange sauce:
- 1 cup (237 ml) orange juice, divided
- 1 tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) cornstarch
- ½ cup (100 g) white sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons (1 ½ Tablespoons) white vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons (1 ½ Tablespoons) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) honey
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- Optional garnish: chopped green onions, toasted sesame seeds
- Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. I like to butterfly my chicken, the cut each half into strips, then smaller chunks so the pieces aren’t as thick.
- In a medium-size bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Set this aside.
- Pour the oil into a heavy skillet and heat it to approximately 350 °F (177 °C) (Place at medium-high heat.)
- While this is heating, put the eggs into a shallow dish and beat them. Place this next to the bowl with the cornstarch/flour mixture.
- Stir the chicken pieces into the beaten eggs, then use a slotted spoon to remove them and place them on paper towels to allow excess egg to come off.
- Then place the chicken into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir to coat them well.
- Put the coated chicken into the skillet. Cook the first size undisturbed for about 5 minutes, then using tongs, turn each piece over and cook the other side.
- While the chicken is cooking, measure out 1 cup of orange juice. Remove 2 Tablespoons of orange juice to a small bowl and mix it with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch. Set this aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining orange juice, white sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and red chili flakes.
- Finish cooking the chicken until there is no pink left and remove it from the skillet and until golden. Pour all the contents of the skillet, including the oil, onto a plate lined with paper towels.
- Using the same skillet, make the sauce. Pour the orange juice mixture into the skillet. Gradually stir in the orange juice/ cornstarch mixture. Allow this to cook for about 5 – 10 minutes or until thickened. Make sure to stir often, bringing up any bits that may be stuck on the pan from cooking the chicken.
- When this is the desired thickness, add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat well.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds if desired.
- To store. This will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- To reheat. It is best reheated in a skillet on the stove or in the air fryer. The texture will not be as nice if it is microwaved.
- To freeze. It may be frozen for up to 6 months. If you freeze it with the sauce added to the chicken, the best way to reheat it is in the oven.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
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