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Orange Chicken is the perfect crunchy chicken that has been coated in a zesty and tangy orange sauce. No need for takeout with this easy and delicious homemade recipe!
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Panda Express Orange Chicken (copycat recipe) is the perfect crunchy fried chicken that has been coated in a zesty and tangy orange sauce. No need for takeout with this easy and delicious homemade recipe!

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Orange Chicken (Panda Express Copycat)

I never knew it could be so simple to make my favorite Chinese takeout dish until I tried this Orange Chicken recipe. This is one of the easiest recipes, and has become a frequent recipe for busy nights. All these years ordering takeout, if only I’d known how easy it was.

It’s not lacking in flavor. If anything, it’s even better than takeout. The sauce is pooling with flavors. The chicken is breaded and cooked to crunchy perfection, and then coated in the decadent orange sauce. Served over a bed of white rice and you really can’t go wrong with this classic Chinese takeout dish.

If you are a huge fan of orange chicken, like I am, then I really can’t wait for you to try this. You won’t believe your taste buds when you take your first bite. The flavors in this dish are seriously out of this world!

What is the difference between orange chicken and mandarin chicken?

Orange chicken typically features a sweet and tangy orange-flavored sauce, while mandarin chicken is often less sweet and might include a more diverse range of citrus flavors, not just orange.

Is sweet and sour sauce the same as orange chicken sauce?

No, they are different. Sweet and sour sauce is a generic sauce with a balanced sweet and sour flavor, while orange chicken sauce has a distinct orange flavor, often with a hint of both sweetness and tanginess.

orange chicken held in chopstick

Orange Chicken Ingredients

Chicken Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Sesame oil
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Ground white pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder

Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce Ingredients:

  • Orange juice
  • Sugar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Ground ginger
  • Garlic powder
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Green Onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • Rice

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How to Make Panda Express Orange Chicken

1. In a small bowl, add eggs and beat them together with a whisk.
2. In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, ground white pepper, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder. Whisk them together until they are combined.

add flour, salt, ground white pepper, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder mixed in a bowl

3. Take each piece of chicken and dip it in the egg mixture, then dip it in the flour mixture to coat all sides of the chicken pieces. Set the coated chicken on a plate until ready to put in the skillet.

dip the chicken in the egg and coat with flour

4. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add sesame oil.

5. Once the oil is hot and simmering, add coated chicken to the skillet, adding one piece at a time. Individually turn each piece of chicken over and allow it to cook and brown on the other side.

6. Once the chicken is done cooking and browned on both sides, remove to a paper towel lined plate.

cook coated chicken in a pan

7. While the chicken is cooking, add orange juice, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, zest from 1 orange, and red pepper flakes to a medium saucepan. Whisk together to combine.

add orange juice, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, zest from 1 orange, and red pepper flakes to a medium saucepan

8. In a separate small bowl, add the cornstarch to water. Mix together until no lumps remain. Pour into boiling sauce mixture and whisk together.

add cornstarch to the pan

9. Place the browned chicken in a large mixing bowl and pour ¾ of the sauce over the top. Use tongs or a large spoon to gently toss and coat all chicken in the sauce.

coat chicken with the sauce

10. Serve immediately over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Use extra sauce to pour over rice when serving.

orange chicken on top of rice

Orange Chicken Recipe Substitutions

  • Chicken: You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe in place of the chicken breasts. They will turn out very tender and make for a great substitute. I would recommend cutting them into bite size pieces before adding them to the recipe.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: You can add more or less red pepper flakes depending if you are a spice lover or not. Half a teaspoon of flakes will give the chicken a really nice kick! 
  • Vinegar: If you don’t have rice wine vinegar on hand, no worries! Any type of white vinegar will do the trick for this recipe.
  • Rice: I like to eat orange chicken over rice, although you could opt to have it over a bed of vegetables or simply eat it plain. If you do choose to eat it over rice, any type of rice will work. I recommend doing a white jasmine rice. It’s so delicious! 

Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe Tips

  • This recipe is very “spicy” if the optional red pepper flakes are added. I suggest tasting the sauce before you add in the optional red pepper flakes.
  • You can usually find sesame oil in two places at the grocery store. It can be found in the baking aisle, in the oil section. You can also find it with the Asian foods as well. It is usually cheaper if you pick the oil that is in with the Asian foods. For some reason they charge twice as much for the sesame oils that are in the baking aisle.
  • This recipe makes a little bit of extra sauce that can be used to pour over the rice when you’re serving it up!

Orange Chicken Panda Express FAQs

Why is orange chicken always soggy? 

Orange chicken can become soggy if the sauce is added too early or if the chicken isn’t fried at the right temperature. It’s important to fry the chicken until crispy and add the sauce just before serving.

How do you thicken orange chicken sauce?

To thicken orange chicken sauce, you can use a slurry made from cornstarch and water. Mix them together and add it to the sauce, cooking until it reaches the desired consistency.

How do you make orange chicken crispy again?

To make orange chicken crispy again, reheat it in an oven or air fryer at a high temperature for a few minutes. This method helps to crisp up the coating without overcooking the chicken.

How do you thicken orange chicken sauce without cornstarch?

If you’re out of cornstarch, you can use alternatives like flour, arrowroot powder, or tapioca starch to thicken the sauce. These should be mixed with water to create a slurry before adding to the sauce.

Is orange chicken spicy?

Traditional orange chicken is not typically spicy; it’s more sweet and tangy. However, you can adjust the spice level to your preference by adding chili flakes or hot sauce.

orange chicken served with rice on a plate

No need to dial up takeout to enjoy a zesty and tangy order of orange chicken. This homemade orange chicken recipe is full of flavor, and will hit the spot for your craving. It’s super easy to make this recipe. It’s the perfect dish when you’re busy and on the go, but don’t want to sacrifice a delicious meal.

More like this Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe:

Better Than Takeout Fried Rice | Mongolian Beef | Ground Beef Bulgogi (Korean Beef Bowl) | Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps | Honey Garlic Chicken | Easy Sesame Chicken | Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken | Korean Chicken | Chinese Chicken Salad | Sheet Pan Asian Chicken

5 from 1 vote
orange chicken square image

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

Serves — 4
Orange Chicken is the perfect crunchy chicken that has been coated in a zesty and tangy orange sauce. No need for takeout with this easy and delicious homemade recipe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4-5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup orange juice pulp free (I used Simply Orange Pulp Free)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • ¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • tbsp cornstarch
  • tbsp water

Garnish:

  • 5 green onions chopped
  • Sesame seeds
  • Orange Zest

Instructions
 

Chicken Directions:

  • In a small bowl, add eggs and beat together with a whisk.
  • In a medium bowl add flour, salt, ground white pepper, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder. Whisk together to combine.
  • Take each piece of chicken and dip it in egg mixture, then dip in flour mixture to coat all sides of the chicken pieces. Set coated chicken on a plate until ready to put in the skillet.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat add sesame oil. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add coated chicken to the skillet, one piece at a time.
  • Once all chicken is added to the skillet and has browned on the bottom, individually turn each piece of chicken over and allow it to cook and brown on the other side. Once chicken is done cooking and browned on both sides remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Sauce Directions:

  • While the chicken is cooking add orange juice, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, zest from 1 orange, and red pepper flakes to a medium saucepan. Whisk together to combine. Turn heat to medium and allow sauce to boil 3-4 minutes, whisking often.
  • In a separate small bowl add the cornstarch and water. Mix together until no lumps remain. Pour into boiling sauce mixture and whisk together. Continue to boil 1-2 additional minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to thicken as it sits.
  • Place the browned chicken in a large mixing bowl and pour ¾ of the sauce over the top. Use tongs or a large spoon to gently toss and coat all chicken in sauce.
  • Serve immediately over rice and garnish with green onions. Use extra sauce to pour over rice when serving.

Jenn’s Notes

Tips:
  • This recipe is very “spicy” if the optional red pepper flakes are added. I suggest tasting the sauce before you add in the optional red pepper flakes.
  • You can usually find sesame oil in two places at the grocery store. It can be found in the baking aisle, in the oil section. You can also find it with the Asian foods as well. It is usually cheaper if you pick the oil that is in with the Asian foods. For some reason they charge twice as much for the sesame oils that are in the baking aisle.
  • This recipe makes a little bit of extra sauce that can be used to pour over the rice when you’re serving it up!

Nutrition Info

Calories: 624kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 983mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 4mg

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