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    Orange Chicken Recipe

    Published February 2, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This easy-to-prepare Orange Chicken Recipe of fluffy batter fried chicken in a sweet orange sour sauce is the perfect weeknight Chinese meal for family and friends. You will love how quickly this comes together and just how flavorful it is. You may never order takeout again.

    We love quick Asian-Inspired weeknight meals that are jam-packed with flavor. If you do, too, then check out my Mongolian Beef or Egg Fried Rice.

    orange chicken in a bowl


     

    Orange Chicken

    Orange Chicken is a Chinese American dish consisting of battered fried chicken that is coated in a sweet and sour orange glaze. It’s commonly served with steamed white rice. You will find variations of this recipe on almost every Chinese menu in the United States.

    Orange Chicken was created in 1987 by Panda Express’s Executive Chef, Andy Kao. While it’s not a classic Chinese recipe, its inspiration can be drawn from General Tso’s chicken and Hunan cooking style, which includes frying, braising, and rich, silky sauces.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    orange chicken ingredients
    • Chicken – I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, you can also use boneless skinless thigh or drum meat or a combination of all three.
    • Oranges – Regular navel oranges are what you need. You could substitute with mandarins or tangerines if all are accessible.
    • Corn Starch – Regular corn starch is what’s needed for this. You can substitute it with potato starch.
    • Flour – All-purpose flour is what’s needed. Feel free to substitute with bread flour if that’s all you have.
    • Water – Plain tap water works fine.
    • Eggs – Large, chilled eggs or at room temperature work perfectly for this orange chicken.
    • Oil – You will need some neutral-flavored cooking oil like avocado oil. In addition, I used some sesame oil when coating the chicken.
    • Wine – I used Shaoxing wine, but you can substitute it with dry sherry wine.
    • Vinegar – Rice wine vinegar is best to use in this recipe. However, you can use regular white distilled vinegar.
    • Sugar – I used plain granulated sugar. You could substitute with light brown sugar or honey.
    • Soy Sauce – Any good soy sauce, such as tamari, will work. You can also use low-sodium soy if you want to cut back on salt.
    • Oyster Sauce – You can find oyster sauce in the international aisle of most grocery stores. There isn’t a good substitute for this as it is so unique. You may be able to find a vegan oyster sauce if you don’t eat shellfish or have an allergy.
    • Ginger – Fresh peeled and grated ginger is used in the sauce.
    • Garlic – You will need a few freshly grated garlic cloves.

    How to Make Orange Chicken

    In a bowl, add the orange zest, orange juice, water, Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and optional chili flakes and mix to combine.

    Cut the chicken into roughly 1-inch cubes. Place them in a large bowl.

    cut up chicken

    In the bowl with the chicken, add the Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, water, and eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.

    mixing together chicken

    Next, mix in the cornstarch, flour, salt, and white pepper until combined. It should be a wet batter like Tempura.

    chicken in batter

    Add the cooking oil to a large wok or non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350°.

    oil in a wok

    Place in individual battered chicken pieces at a time until the pan is full without getting the chicken to close to one another to avoid clumping.

    adding chicken to a wok

    Cook the chicken for 1 minute before using a slotted spoon to move the chicken pieces around and cooking for a further 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked throughout.

    frying chicken

    Repeat the process by cooking the chicken in batches and draining on a plate with paper towels.

    fried chicken set aside

    Once the chicken is done, drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and over low to medium heat add in the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 to 45 seconds or just until fragrant.

    ginger and garlic cooking in a wok

    Pour in the orange sauce and turn the heat to medium.

    adding sauce to a wok

    Once the sauce begins to gently bubble add the slurry 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time until it becomes silky and thick.

    cooking orange chicken sauce

    Place in the cooked fried chicken and toss until coated.

    coating chicken in an orange sauce

    Serve the orange chicken with an optional garnish of sesame seeds.

    orange chicken in a bowl with sesame seeds

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead, but keep the chicken separate from the sauce. Keep both warm before tossing and serving.

    How to Reheat: Add a few tablespoons of cooking oil to a large wok over medium heat, add your desired amount of orange chicken to the wok, and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot.

    How to Store: Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • The batter should resemble a thick tempura-style batter when mixing the flour and cornstarch with the marinated chicken. Add a few tablespoons of water or another egg if it’s dry.
    • To make a slurry, mix 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until combined.
    • Substitute the fresh ginger and garlic with 1 teaspoon each of dry ginger and garlic.
    • Another soy sauce substitute is coconut aminos.

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    Orange Chicken Recipe

    5 from 14 votes
    This Orange Chicken Recipe of batter fried chicken in a sweet orange sour sauce is the perfect weeknight Chinese meal for family and friends.
    Servings: 6
    Prep Time: 25 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients 

    For the Sauce:

    • zest of 1 large orange
    • juice of 2 large oranges, about ¾ cup total
    • ¼ cup water
    • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
    • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • 1 optional hand ground mild chili or ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
    • 2 finely grated garlic cloves
    • 1 inch chunk of peeled, finely grated ginger

    For the Chicken:

    • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1” cubes
    • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • ¼ cup water
    • 2 large eggs
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup corn starch
    • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
    • cooking oil

    Instructions

    • In a medium-sized bowl add the orange zest, orange juice, water, Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and optional chili flakes and mix to combine. Set it to the side.
    • Cut the chicken into roughly 1-inch cubes. Place them in a large bowl.
    • In the bowl with the chicken add in the Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, water, and eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.
    • Next, mix in the corn starch, flour, salt, and white pepper until combined. It should be a wet batter like tempura.
    • Add about 1 cup or so of cooking oil to a large wok or non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350°.
    • Place in individual battered chicken pieces at a time until the pan is full without getting the chicken to close to one another to avoid clumping.
    • Cook the chicken for 1 minute before using a slotted spoon to move the chicken pieces around and cooking for a further 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked throughout.
    • Repeat the process by cooking the chicken in batches and draining on a plate with paper towels.
    • Once the chicken is done, drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and over low to medium heat add in the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 to 45 seconds or just until fragrant.
    • Pour in the orange sauce and turn the heat to medium.
    • Once the sauce begins to gently bubble add the slurry 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time until it becomes silky and thick.
    • Place in the cooked fried chicken and toss until coated.
    • Serve the orange chicken with an optional garnish of sesame seeds.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead, but keep the chicken separate from the sauce. Keep both warm before tossing and serving.
    How to Reheat: Add a few tablespoons of cooking oil to a large wok over medium heat, add your desired amount of orange chicken to the wok, and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot.
    How to Store: Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.
    The batter should resemble a thick tempura-style batter when mixing the flour and cornstarch with the marinated chicken. Add a few tablespoons of water or another egg if it’s dry.
    To make a slurry, mix 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until combined.
    Substitute the fresh ginger and garlic with 1 teaspoon each of dry ginger and garlic.
    Another soy sauce substitute is coconut aminos.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 352kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 36gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1473mgPotassium: 620mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 2mg
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Chinese