There’s no denying that Orange Chicken is one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes! I just love it, the succulent, crispy fried chicken pieces tossed in a tangy, sweet and sticky orange sauce. But I’m here to tell you to put that takeout menu down and create your very own orange chicken at home that’s not only easy but tastes so much better than anything you could ever order!
What you need to make this recipe
Chicken – for an authentic orange chicken taste make sure to use skinless and boneless chicken breasts cut into small chunks. You can also use chicken thighs (skinless and boneless) but the texture will be slightly different from the classic takeout dish.
Oranges – this is one of the most important ingredients because it gives the sauce that classic sweet orange flavor. I find that using freshly squeezed orange juice and zest is the way to get the best flavor!
Rice vinegar – the sauce has a delicious sweet and sour flavor and that comes from rice vinegar which is used in most Chinese dishes. White vinegar will also work.
All-purpose flour – along with egg this creates the crispy and delicious coating on the outside. To make it gluten free you can substitute GF flour or more cornstarch.
Vegetable oil – I find vegetable or canola oil the best for frying. Make sure to use a thermometer to control the temperature so your oil is not too cool or too hot.
How to make Orange Chicken
1. Mix all ingredients for the sauce except the cornstarch in a jug or bowl.
2. Mix the cornstarch with a little water and set aside. Add the sauce ingredients to a skillet and simmer. Add the cornstarch and cook further until thickened.
3. Mix the chopped chicken pieces in egg, toss to coat.
4. Next dredge the chicken in flour.
5. Fry the chicken in batches until crispy and golden.
6. Toss in the warmed orange sauce and serve.
Pro tips for making this recipe
- To save time, I like to warm the orange sauce up while I’m frying the chicken.
- If you want to make the sauce spicy you can add fresh chili or more red chili flakes to taste.
- You can use store-bought orange juice instead of freshly squeezed but don’t skip that orange zest and make sure it’s 100% orange fruit juice and not from concentrate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this Orange Chicken better than takeout?
Ok, so why order takeout? It’s easy and you’re hungry? The thing is this homemade orange chicken is super easy to make and believe me when I say that it tastes 100x better than any takeout you’ll ever have. Because this is made from scratch you are in control of the amount of sugar and salt that’s added and it’s free of any nasty additives!
How do I know the chicken is cooked?
The chicken is cut into small pieces and fried in hot oil so when the outside turns crispy and golden brown you know that the chicken is cooked through. An important tip is to use a thermometer to measure the temperature of your oil because if it’s not hot enough you’ll have too much excess oil in your chicken and it may overcook and if it’s too hot the chicken will burn.
Can I make it gluten free?
Yes, this recipe is easy to make gluten free simply replace the flour for dredging the chicken with GF flour or more cornstarch and use tamari instead of soy sauce.
I love this served with rice and garnished with green onions for a little freshness. If you don’t want rice you could serve it with Chinese noodles or your favorite Chinese dishes.
How can I make this dish lighter?
You can make this recipe lighter and a little healthier by making a few simple swaps. Instead of frying the chicken in batter you can stir fry it just as is it and toss it with the orange sauce. It won’t have that crispy texture on the outside but it will give you a light version that tastes great. Also, try using low sodium soy sauce to reduce your salt intake.
Can I prepare this in advance?
You can prepare the sauce and fry the chicken in advance but keep them stored separately in the fridge for 1-3 days. When you are ready for dinner pop the chicken in a hot oven for a few minutes to crisp up while you heat up the sauce in a large pan then toss them both together and serve.
Can it be frozen?
Yes, this recipe can be frozen but I recommend freezing the sauce and cooked chicken separately. Thaw them both completely then heat the chicken up in an oven and heat the sauce in a pan before tossing them both together. If you have leftovers they can be frozen but the chicken won’t be crispy once thawed and reheated with the sauce.
If you’ve tried this Orange Chicken recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
- 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Cornstarch
- 1/2 cup Flour
- Oil for frying
Orange Chicken Sauce:
- 1 cup Orange Juice fresh
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Rice Vinegar or White Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce use tamari for a gluten-free dish
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder or 2 garlic cloves finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Orange Zest from 2 oranges
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- Green Onions chopped
For the sauce:
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce except the corn starch in a bowl and set aside. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water or orange juice in a small bowl and set aside.
- Pour the sauce into a large skillet and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce is bubbling, stir in the cornstarch slurry and continue cooking until thickened about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until the chicken is fried.
For the chicken
- Fill a Dutch oven or large skillet with about an inch of oil then place over medium high heat. Monitor temp with a thermometer, you'll want it to be 350F when you start frying.
- Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk together and mix the chicken pieces in the egg.
- Whisk the flour and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and set aside on a plate or paper towels.
- Fry the chicken in batches. Cook until golden brown (2-3 minutes) then flip over and fry on the other side. Once golden transfer to a plate lined with paper and continue frying the remaining chicken in batches. Keep the orange sauce warm on a low heat while frying the chicken.
- Add the fried chicken to the warmed orange sauce and toss to cover then sprinkle with green onion and serve over rice.
- To save time, I like to warm the orange sauce up while I'm frying the chicken.
- If you want to make the sauce spicy you can add fresh chili or red chili flakes to taste.
- You can use store-bought orange juice instead of freshly squeezed but don't skip that orange zest and make sure it's 100% orange fruit juice and not from concentrate.
- Leftovers will keep well for 3-4 days or can be frozen.