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Orange Chicken

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Homemade Orange Chicken is SO much better than anything you’ll find on a take-out 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.

A bowl of orange chicken over white rice

Orange chicken is a staple in many American homes, but it almost always gets there in a little white box. Instead of ordering greasy take-out (wonderful as it may be some nights), try your hand at this easy orange chicken recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Orange Chicken Recipe

This recipe stands out among the other orange chicken in the take-out world for two big reasons:

  • Crispy: The chicken is freshly breaded and fried, making it nice and crispy. 
  • Full of flavor: The sauce has lots of bold ingredients that meld together to make the best orange chicken sauce you’ve ever had.

Trust me, even the biggest take-out 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!

Taking a bite of orange chicken

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 sweet sauce tailored to American tastebuds.

Ingredients for orange chicken

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 take-out again. Here’s what you’ll need.

For the Chicken

  • Chicken – Boneless skinless breast meat is preferred.
  • Eggs – I like to use free-range organic.
  • Flour – All-purpose will get the job done.
  • Cornstarch – The best thickening agent.
  • Salt and Pepper – Just a few pinches of each.
  • Oil – Vegetable oil is best for frying.

For the Flavorful Orange Sauce

  • Orange Juice – Pulp free, and get a good quality for the best flavor!
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar – White granulated 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 – Fresh ginger will bring the most flavor.
  • Garlic – Pre-minced will do just fine.
  • Red Chili Flakes – Add more if you like a little extra heat!

How to Make Orange Chicken at Home

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!

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 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.
Close up of a bowl of orange chicken and rice

Tips for Success

  • Any Kind of Chicken is Fine. Feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs 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 batches.
Orange chicken served over rice with green beans on the side

Is Orange Chicken Spicy?

This recipe only has a little 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. 

Serving Suggestions

The best part of making orange chicken at home is that you can pair it with anything you’d like. I’m partial to enjoying this with fried rice and garlic roasted green beans. Fluffy white rice and steamed broccoli would also be really tasty! At the end of the day, the chicken is the star and it’ll shine no matter what. Enjoy!

How to Store and Reheat

To store your leftover orange chicken, let it come to room temperature and place it in an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days. 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!

Make More of Your Favorite Take-Out Dishes at Home!

A bowl of orange chicken over white rice

Orange Chicken

Homemade Orange Chicken is SO much better than anything you'll find on a take-out 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.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

For the chicken:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup oil

For the orange sauce:

  • 1 cup orange juice, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Optional garnish: chopped green onions, toasted sesame seeds

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • 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 (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.

Recipe Notes

This will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. 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.  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. 

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 1174 kcal | Carbohydrates: 116 g | Protein: 35 g | Fat: 64 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 38 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 236 mg | Sodium: 1248 mg | Potassium: 818 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 69 g

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.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: general tso’s chicken, how to make orange chicken, orange chicken, orange chicken recipe, orange chicken sauce
Recipe Rating




Jane Barnes

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Tres Bon!

Debbie

Monday 14th of January 2019

I'm new to cooking with a instant pot. I enjoyed your instant pot beef and broccoli. Now I see this orange chicken and was wondering if it can be used in the instant pot (settings?) Thank you for creating these quick, yummy meals.

Julie Wampler

Wednesday 16th of January 2019

I haven't tried making this in the Instant Pot so I can't be 100% certain in giving instructions for that.

Beverly Yates

Monday 2nd of April 2018

This orange chicken recipe has NO SWEETENER. It was so vinegar-y! Surely you must have accidentally left out the brown sugar, or something.

Julie

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018

The orange juice itself is the sweetener and the 1 1/2 cups of water should have mellowed out the vinegar. Sorry it didn't work out for you!

Nata

Friday 14th of April 2017

Hello. I just stumbled on your website, and I LOVE the recipes. One question: In the Better Than Take-out Orange Chicken you don't have the amount of orange juice used. As written, the recipe says "1/4 orange juice." I assume you mean 1/4 cup of orange juice, rather than the juice from 1/4 of an orange. I'm looking forward to making the dish, but I want to know I have the correct ingredients. Thank you

Julie

Saturday 15th of April 2017

Hi, sorry about that. When I converted recipes into a new plugin it must've taken the 'cups' out. It is 1/4 cup of orange juice :) you are correct!

Ping

Wednesday 30th of December 2015

As a orange chicken connoisseur, add two TBS of honey or 1 TBS of sugar.