The BEST Orange Chicken | Panda Express Copycat


Craving Chinese takeout? Before you make an order, consider making this homemade Orange Chicken! Crispy breaded chicken is fried and then coated in a sweet and spicy orange sauce for a delicious dinner.

Orange chicken with chopped green onions.

This Is A Spot-On Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe!

I love Chinese takeout – and specifically Panda Express – as much as the next gal, but sometimes I just don’t want to leave the house. And that means making takeout-inspired recipes from home. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. This chicken dinner will take 30 to 45 minutes to make, tops.

Sometimes I make Beef and Broccoli when I’m craving Chinese food, but recently I’ve been loving this Orange Chicken recipe (Panda Express’ signature dish), so I’m sharing it with you today.

What Makes this Recipe Orange Chicken the Best?

This homemade orange chicken is SO flavorful. The orange sauce is sweet, with its base of orange juice and sugar, but also spicy because of the crushed red pepper. The chicken is juicy on the inside, but perfectly crispy and golden brown on the exterior. Mix the two together, and you have a savory chicken dinner that nobody can resist. So don’t try to – just give in and make it already!

  • You Control The Flavors: When you order takeout, there’s only so much you can control about the food you’re going to receive. When you’re the one making the food, though, you can add more red pepper to the sauce to make it spicier, a little sugar to make it sweeter, etc.
  • It’s Healthier Than Takeout: No surprise there! Because you’re the one making the meal, you can buy fresh ingredients and spices that make your meal healthier and tastier! You can also use less oil when frying, make substitutions, and just play around with the recipe in general, if you feel the need.
  • It Gives You Flexibility: I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control of when dinner comes to the table. Most of the time takeout is fairly quick, but sometimes there’s a wait, and it’s just not worth it when I could have made my own version. Plus, this chicken stores really well, so you can make it ahead if you need to.
Orange chicken on a bed of white rice.

What You’ll Need

The ingredients for making orange chicken are fairly simple, but there’s quite a few of them. Here’s what you’ll need to round up before starting:

For the Chicken

  • Chicken: You’ll need boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces.
  • Egg: To bind the breading to the chicken.
  • Olive Oil: To mix with the egg. You can use another kind of cooking oil if you want to.
  • Breading Mix: This will be a combination of flour, cornstarch, and kosher salt.
  • Vegetable Oil: For frying. You can also use canola oil if you want to.

For the Orange Sauce

  • Orange Juice: You can use fresh or store-bought orange juice, but fresh OJ provides the best and most powerful orange flavor!
  • Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil: To add savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar boosts the sweetness in this sauce.
  • Vinegar: You can use rice vinegar, white vinegar, etc.
  • Water: To ensure that the sauce doesn’t become too thick.
  • Seasoning: You’ll need minced ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce a little bit at the end – you’ll need some cold water to mix with this.

How to Make Orange Chicken

Orange chicken is always a crowd-pleaser in my house. There’s just something so addicting about that sticky-sweet chicken.

Luckily for us, it’s really easy to make. Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Set Your Oven to Warm: Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

Whisk the Egg and Olive Oil: In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and olive oil. Set aside.

Bread the Chicken: Add the cornstarch, flour, and salt into a large zip-top bag, shaking to combine. Add the chicken in portions to the egg mixture and then into the bag with the flour mixture, shaking to coat evenly. Place coated chicken on a plate and set aside. Repeat with all the chicken.

Heat the Oil: Add the vegetable oil in a deep Dutch Oven or large skillet until it’s 2 – 3 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F.

Fry the Chicken: Working in 3 batches, add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3 – 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the oil and place on a prepared baking sheet and place in the warm oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken.


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