Sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy, this Orange Chicken tastes even BETTER than what you get at a restaurant, and it’s healthier too!
There is something so satisfying about making your own takeout food at home. Maybe it’s the fact that you control the quality of the ingredients, or maybe you like the challenge of creating the perfect copycat recipe of your favorite dish.
Either way, homemade orange chicken is DEFINITELY the next recipe you need to check off your list! It’s takeout, but better. In our house, the most requested dinner recipe is always either this honey butter chicken recipe or this tangy orange chicken.
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When I was in college there was a Panda Express dangerously close to campus. You’d walk out of your dorm and the smell of delicious Chinese food wafted towards you and drew you in like a moth to a flame. Like I said…. dangerous.
I had to limit my trips there one, because I had a meal plan already paid for (what college kid passes up free food?) and two because if I ate my favorite Panda Express Orange Chicken every time I smelled it, I would’ve gained way more than the freshman 15!
Anyway, fast forward too many years to count and here I am still obsessed with orange chicken. I’ve moved on from indulging in the less than authentic fast-food version though and learned to make homemade orange chicken! This tangy orange chicken recipe is definitely a family favorite in our house.
What is Orange Chicken?
Whether you’re talking Panda Express orange chicken or some delicious homemade orange chicken, the answer is: orange chicken is delicious.
Typically orange chicken is made with bite-sized chunks of chicken which are coated in a breading and then deep-fried to crispy perfection. The fried chicken is then coated in orange chicken sauce – a sweet, tangy, and ever-so-slightly spicy sauce made from orange juice and soy sauce.
One of the best things about orange chicken is that it can be paired with almost ANY Asian side dish. If you’re a rice person, serve your Chinese orange chicken with white rice, brown rice, or fried rice.
In our house, we love to eat our homemade orange chicken with some ramen noodle stir fry. That way we get our veggies in and use up some of the ramen noodles we have laying around. (Yes, still re-living my college days over here haha.)
Orange Chicken Ingredients
I love this easy orange chicken recipe because you can completely control what is being put into your food. The ingredients are all super easy to get and the dish isn’t packed full of artificial ingredients like the one you’d get at Panda Express. Here’s what you’ll need to make this copycat (but even better) orange chicken:
Chicken – obviously as the name of the recipe states, you’ll need some chicken. The easiest (and healthiest) cut to work with is definitely a boneless, skinless breast. You’ll just need to chop it up into bite-sized pieces!
Sauce – the key to making this orange chicken taste just like the one from your favorite restaurant is the combination of ingredients to make the sticky, slightly spicy sauce. You’ll need orange juice, sesame oil, ketchup, orange marmalade, soy sauce, and some red pepper flakes to get your sauce going.
How to Make Orange Chicken
In under an hour, you can be eating fresh, healthy orange chicken without even leaving your house. If you ordered takeout, you would’ve had to wait for it to be cooked, wait for it to be delivered, you get the picture… it’s faster AND better to make homemade orange chicken!
- Start by preheating your oven to 400. You’re going to be baking your breaded chicken instead of deep-frying it.
- While you’re waiting for your oven to heat up, start prepping the rest of your ingredients. Cut chicken up into small, bite-sized pieces.
- Next, grab a small bowl and mix together the flour, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add this mixture to a gallon-size food storage bag.
- Add the chicken pieces into the bag and shake to cover the chicken with the flour. Give it a real shake – you want that chicken coated!
- Now, place your coated chicken into a bowl. Grab two more bowls and place the beaten egg in one and the panko in the other.
- Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray and set it aside.
- Now it’s time to get that delicious crispy coating on your chicken! Coat the chicken first in egg and then into the panko. Place the chicken bites on the rimmed cookie sheet.
- Once all of the chicken pieces are coated, place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes.
- While your chicken is baking, you’re going to mix up your signature orange chicken sauce. In a medium saucepan, add the garlic, ginger, orange juice, orange zest, sesame oil, brown sugar, ketchup, orange marmalade, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens (it will smell AMAZING).
- Once your chicken is cooked, add it to the saucepan and fully coat.
- Serve warm with green onions and red pepper flakes by itself or over some ramen noodle stir fry.
How many Calories in Orange Chicken?
If you’re anything like me and totally obsessed with orange chicken, you’ll be so glad to hear that this recipe is ACTUALLY healthy orange chicken.
The version you get at Panda Express has nearly 500 calories for a single serving, and that’s not even including side dishes. (Who just eats the chicken?! Come on….) So, add on the rice or lo mein for your side and you’ve got yourself a meal pushing 1000 calories.
This homemade orange chicken cuts back on SO many calories because it’s baked instead of deep-fried. The recipe is only about 335 calories per serving. You still get the delicious sauce, you still get the signature crunch of the chicken (thank you panko breadcrumbs!), but without all the guilt!
Try out some of these other Real Housemoms favorite Asian-inspired recipes!
- Pot Stickers
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Sheet Pan Orange Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetables
- One Pot Pad Thai
- more MAIN DISH recipes…
Tools used to make this Orange Chicken recipe
Rimmed baking sheet: I love this baking sheet for all of my favorite sheet pan dinners!
Saucepot: I have this saucepot in every single size they make… can’t beat a good stainless steel saucepan!
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons green onion thinly sliced, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Add flour, onion powder, salt, and pepper to a gallon-sized ziptop food storage bag. Seal and shake to combine.
- Open the bag and add chicken pieces. Seal again and shake until all the chicken is coated with flour.
- Transfer chicken to a bowl or small baking sheet. Discard excess flour. In a second bowl, beat the eggs. To a third bowl, add the bread crumbs.
- Coat a few chicken pieces in the eggs and then place chicken in the bread crumbs. Turn the chicken until it's coated all over in bread crumbs. Transfer chicken to the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all the chicken is breaded.
- Bake for 15 minutes until breading is golden brown and chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken cooks, make the sauce. To a medium saucepot, add garlic ginger, orange juice, marmalade, brown sugar, ketchup, orange zest, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until sauce has thickened.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add to saucepot in batches and stir to coat chicken. Transfer sauced chicken to a serving bowl and repeat with remaining pieces.
- Serve warm with green onions sprinkled on top and extra red pepper flakes, if you want some more heat.