This Orange Chicken recipe is a homemade copycat version of Panda Express. So good and so easy to make!

This is the BEST Orange Chicken Recipe on the internet! 

If you’re a fan of the famous Panda Express Orange Chicken, then this homemade version is going to bring a smile to your face.

This Orange Chicken Recipe is a homemade copycat version of Panda Express. So good and so easy to make!

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Juicy chicken thighs are battered in a quick cornstarch mixture and lightly friend until crisp, then tossed in a sweet and delicious orange sauce.

How To Make Best Orange Chicken Recipe:

  • Start by marinating cut up chicken thighs in a mixture of cornstarch, egg, soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • You can fry the chicken pieces in a heavy bottomed skillet or quickly in a deep fryer set at 375 degrees F.
  • While the chicken is cooking you can quickly make the delicious orange chicken sauce.

The BEST Homemade Orange Chicken Recipe

Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce Recipe:

You’ll be blown away at how delicious this copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce is! The sauce starts with fresh ginger and garlic, and uses fresh orange zest and orange juice. You can give it an extra hint of spice by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes, but I usually leave this out as it can be too spicy for my kids.

The sauce calls for dry sherry, but if you’re not a fan of using that, you can also substitute it for more chicken broth. The sauce is sweet and slightly spicy with a perfect balance of orange. It’s not a gritty sauce, but rather smooth in texture, and when you toss the chicken in it, it sticks and gives the chicken a gorgeous shine.

Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

I won’t tell you how many times I went back to Panda Express to make sure I was getting all the right components of their sauce.

It was all in the name of research I tell you!

Orange Chicken Sauce Recipe

I did pull out my deep fryer for the chicken. Mostly because it’s just easier and less messy. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can fry up the chicken in skillet or wok.

The crispy coated chicken and sweet, sticky sauce make this one AMAZING dinner! My kids were literally licking their plates clean.

What To Serve with Orange Chicken?

Orange Chicken is fantastic over a bed of hot rice, but here are some simple recipes that can make it a complete meal!

YUM! This Orange Chicken over rice is one of my family's favorite chicken recipes!

You’re going to love this super simple Orange Chicken Recipe!

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Orange Chicken Recipe

This crispy Orange Chicken Recipe is better than take out with a sweet and slightly spicy orange sauce.

  • Author: Shawn
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian
Scale

Ingredients

  • Canola Oil for frying
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

For the Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (or dry sherry)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

For the Garnish:

  • sliced green onions
  • orange slices

Instructions

  1. Pour 1 to 2 inches of canola oil in a small deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot and heat to 375 degrees F.*
  2. In a large bowl combine the sesame oil, egg, 3 tbsp soy sauce and 1/3 cup corn starch until a thin batter forms. Toss in the chicken pieces and let sit for a few minutes while the oil heats up. Fry the chicken in batches and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

For the Sauce:

  1. Combine the orange zest, orange juice, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp water, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (or dry sherry), 1/3 cup chicken broth and 2 tbsp corn starch in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Once chicken is finished cooking, heat 1 tsp canola oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Toss in the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once thickened (about 3 to 4 minutes) add the chicken to the wok and stir to coat with sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and orange slices and serve over hot steamed rice if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you don’t have a deep fryer or a heavy bottomed pot, add a few tablespoons of canola oil to a skillet with high edges and cook the chicken on all sides until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plates.

Keywords: Orange Chicken, Panda Express, Orange Chicken Sauce, Asian Chicken

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
23 Responses
  1. Debbie

    My 12 year old found this and wanted to make it. (She really hasn’t cooked much) She made some mistakes along the way but it still turned out awesome and it was a big hit with our family of 8.

  2. Christina

    I just made this and it’s amazing!!! I’m trying to lay off sugar and gluten so I substituted it with swerve and used coconut oil instead of canola and tamari for soy sauce… I’m so happy to have orange chicken back in my life! Thank you!!!

  3. Cheryl Beard

    Is thete anyway you could make a lemon or pineapple chicken recipe? Or would I just swap out the lemon & orange? I love both!

  4. Faithe

    We loved this orange chicken! Absolutely scrumptious! The only problem I had was that my chicken came out looking very different than your pictures. It was very dark in color (not pretty orange). Not burnt or anything, just a lot darker. And the breading wasn’t as thick as it is from Chinese takeout, or even as thick as yours appears. I wish I could attach a picture. Any suggestions?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the chicken! The only thing I could think for your chicken being darker is that maybe your sesame oil was dark sesame oil? I’m not sure if that would really make that much of a difference though. Also, the breading on this chicken isn’t very thick. If you want it thicker you would probably have to double batter the chicken. Maybe roll them in flour and then coat again with more cornstarch slurry.

  5. Sharice

    Just made this last night and it was awesome! Would probably add more orange zest next time, and would probably double the sauce. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  6. Jo

    This was a great alternative to going out for orange chicken! I have tried many different home made versions and this one is the BEST by far! Thank you for your research!

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Shawn Syphus Hi, I'm Shawn and I'm a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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