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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 sauce ever.

A bowl of white rice is topped with orange chicken and garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.

Orange chicken is a staple in so many American kitchens, but it almost always gets to that kitchen 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!

This recipe stands out among the rest of the orange chicken in the take-out world for two big reasons.

First, the chicken is freshly breaded and fried, making it nice and crispy.

Secondly, the sauce is made with lots of bold ingredients that meld together to make the best orange sauce you’ve ever had.

Make this orange chicken for an easy weeknight dinner to delight everyone in the house!

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 just some plain white rice) so they get the whole delicious experience.

Sesame seeds and scallions sit atop glazed orange chicken in a bowl.

What exactly is orange chicken?

Orange chicken is most commonly found in North American Chinese restaurants that have “westernized” the original dish that “originated” in Hunan province, China.

However, even though it is claimed to be that, it is more likely to be a variation of General Tso’s chicken, which is another popular North American Chinese dish.

None of the dishes are actually found in mainland China.

Orange chicken has a sweet and tangy flavor to it with the crispy chicken being tossed in a thick syrupy sweet sauce that is tailored to American tastebuds.

A fork is placed next to a serving of orange chicken and rice.

How to make orange chicken:

Ingredients

For the chicken, you’ll need:

  • 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.

The flavorful sticky orange sauce calls for:

  • 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!

Common questions while making this orange chicken recipe:

What other chicken meat can I use?

You can cut up any boneless, skinless chicken – thighs work well too.

I don’t have cloves of garlic – how much garlic powder would I substitute?

If you don’t have cloves of garlic or a jar of pre-minced garlic, use ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in this recipe.

Can I use brown sugar instead of white?

Yes! It’ll slightly change the flavor, but it’ll still be delicious.

Can I bake the orange chicken instead of frying it?

Yes, spread the chicken on a large, greased baking sheet. 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.

I need a larger batch – does this double well?

Yes. I would just 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.

What should I serve with orange chicken?

I think it is especially great served with fried rice and steamed broccoli or green beans.

Is this orange chicken spicy?

It 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. 

Make more of your favorite take-out staples at home!

Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken

Easy Kung Pao Chicken

Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli

Mongolian Beef

Orange Chicken

This is the best homemade orange chicken recipe. It is so much better than takeout! Deliciously fried chicken bites paired with a fresh orange sauce and a hint of heat!
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

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 degrees. (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.

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.

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.