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Move over take out menus, this homemade Orange Chicken is here and couldn’t be more flavorful and easy to make. This chicken recipe is full of savory and orange citrus flavors, topped with sesame seeds and scallions for garnish. Serve over rice or other Chinese inspired sides, like my Chow Mein or Veggie Stir Fry.
What is Orange Chicken?
Orange Chicken is a popular staple menu item for many Chinese cuisine restaurants. Bite size chicken pieces are battered in a corn starch/flour mixture and fried and toss with an orange sauce. My orange sauce consists of orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, rice wine vinegar and, best of all…fresh orange zest, which really brings out that orange flavor!
How to Make Orange Chicken
For full recipe details, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is what you can expect when making this easy orange chicken recipe:
Make the Orange Chicken Sauce
Heat sesame oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add fresh garlic and sauté for a couple minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
Add sugar, orange juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and fresh ginger. Give it a stir.
Add cornstarch slurry and increase heat to bring to a boil. Stir in orange zest.
Keep your delicious orange sauce on the lowest heat while you fry chicken, stirring occasionally.
Fry the Chicken
Heat oil in large dutch oven pan or deep fryer. Beat eggs and place in a shallow dish for dredging.
Combine flour and cornstarch in a 2nd shallow dish. Cut boneless skinless chicken breast into bite size pieces.
Dredge diced chicken pieces in egg first, then flour/cornstarch mixture.
Drop chicken pieces one by one into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, flipping chicken over in oil halfway through until it’s golden brown. This will need to be done in batches to avoid overcrowding.
Remove crispy fried chicken pieces to a paper towel lined plate.
Toss Chicken + Sauce Together
Toss cooked chicken pieces in orange sauce to thoroughly coat. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve hot over white rice.
What Is the Best Chicken to Use?
There isn’t a cut of chicken that is better than the others for making orange chicken. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I like that chicken thighs are slightly juicer than chicken breast tends to be. They are also very forgiving if you have a tendency to overcook. Still, boneless skinless chicken breasts will work fine as well. Feel free to use what you prefer or have on hand.
What to Serve with Orange Chicken
Since Orange Chicken packs a huge punch in the flavor department, I like to pair this with plain white rice. You can also use cauliflower rice, or brown rice if you prefer. Other sides dishes that go great with orange chicken is my Ramen Stir Fry or Better Than Take-Out Fried Rice. You really can’t go wrong with either choice.
If you’re looking for something lighter or just aren’t in the mood for rice, then steamed vegetables are your best choice, especially steamed broccoli.
And if you want to make your Chinese orange chicken even more flavorful, you can add a sprinkle of chopped green onions on top, or if you want to intensify the flavor of fresh oranges, you can add more orange zest.
Storing Leftover Orange Chicken
Are you wondering what you can do with the remaining chicken? You have two options, depending on when you want to eat it next – if in the next few days, you can refrigerate it, and if later on, you can freeze it.
- Refrigerate – Store leftover Orange Chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. To reheat, place in a skillet over low heat.
- Freezing – Orange Chicken freezes great and stays fresh for 3 months. Allow to thaw before reheating.
If you aren’t sure whether you’ll have time to prepare my orange chicken recipe on the day you want to serve it, you can always meal prep.
- Make Ahead – If you’re short on time, frying the chicken before needed is an option. Make the orange sauce and toss in chicken. Heat until cooked chicken pieces are warmed through.
More Chinese Inspired Dishes to Try!
- Kung Pao Chicken (Family Favorite!)
- Easy Pork Potstickers
- Beef and Broccoli
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Pineapple Fried Rice with Pork Medallions
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! It’s in our meal rotation on the regular. The printable recipe card is below. Be sure to save, print, bookmark or share this recipe. Have a great weekend, friends! 🙂
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 inch ginger fresh, grated
- 1 cup orange juice freshly squeezed, about 2 oranges
- orange zest from 2 oranges
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water to create a slurry for thickening
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
- 2 scallions chopped, for garnish
- oil neutral oil for frying
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Heat sesame oil in pot over medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute for a couple minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
- Add sugar, orange juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and ginger. Give it a stir.
- Add cornstarch slurry and increase heat to bring to a boil.
- Stir in orange zest.
- Keep on the lowest heat while you fry chicken, stirring occasionally.
- Heat oil to 350° F in large dutch oven pan or deep fryer.
- Place beaten eggs in a dredging pan.
- Combine flour and cornstarch in a 2nd dredging pan.
- Dredge chicken pieces in egg first, then flour/cornstarch mixture.
- Drop chicken pieces one by one into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, flipping around in oil halfway through. This will need to be done in batches to avoid overcrowding.
- Remove chicken pieces to a paper towel lined platter.
- Toss cooked chicken pieces in orange sauce to thoroughly coat.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve hot over a bed of white rice.
Yes. While freshly squeezed out juice would be ideal for this orange sauce, store-bought orange juice will work as well.
Yes, just substitute regular flour for gluten-free flour and soy sauce for a gluten-free one, like Tamari.
If you follow my recipe to the tee, then your orange chicken will not be spicy. However, if you want to add a bit of heat to your dish, you can add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Yes, you can – in this case, instead of using chicken, you can use plant-based protein, such as tofu.