This easy to make and naturally sweet orange chicken recipe is a delicious take on the American-Chinese classic and is ready in 20 minutes. No deep frying is needed here and the orange flavor makes it a fun and tasty meal for the entire family!
What is Orange Chicken?
Orange chicken is said to have originated in the Hunan Province in China, as a dish known as “tangerine chicken”. While tangerine chicken is made with pieces of chicken that are stir fried in a tangerine spicy sauce, the chicken in orange chicken is breaded just like General Tso’s chicken, and tossed in a sweet orange chili sauce.
Orange chicken is often linked to Panda Express since the American restaurant chain founder, Andrew Cherng, claims to have developed the recipe at a Panda Express, in Hawaii. Instead of relating the dish back to China, Cherng says it’s just a variation of General Tso’s chicken, here in North America.
The version of orange chicken I have for you on this blog is the tangerine chicken version. The steps are easy to follow and there is no deep frying involved. Who needs Chinese takeout when you can save your money and make it at home!
Ingredients for Orange Chicken
- Chicken breast: I’m using boneless, skinless chicken that have been chopped into bite size pieces. But feel free to use any cut you like – if you enjoy chicken with the skin on, slice it into strips and follow the cooking steps below.
- Rice vinegar: Plain rice vinegar adds a sour element to the dish. You can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch helps to make the chicken juicy and thickens the sauce. You can also use potato starch as an alternative.
- Oil: Any neutral oil such as vegetable oil or grapeseed oil, will do. You can also use peanut oil if you enjoy a little nuttiness.
- Scallions: Finely chopped scallions are added as a topping for a refreshing crunch and a pop of color.
- Sesame seeds: More nuttiness is infused in the dish by sprinkling sesame seeds.
- Sesame oil: drizzle of sesame oil can be added as well for even more nuttiness – although it’s completely optional.
- Bean sprouts: Bean sprouts are also optional but a wonderful addition to the dish for those who like a juicy and cleansing crunch.
- Orange chicken sauce: A mix of garlic, fresh ginger, orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and cornstarch.
I suggest trying this recipe as is and then getting creative the next time you give it a try. Here are some common ingredients others like to use when switching up how they make their own orange chicken dish. It’s all about finding a good balance between the ingredients and your personal taste as well.
- Garlic powder, for a little sweetness without the pungent garlic taste
- Brown sugar, if you like the sauce to be sweeter
- Black pepper, for a floral and spicy taste
- Green onion, as a garnish
- Red pepper flakes, for heat
- Chili sauce for a sweeter taste and a little heat
How to Make Orange Chicken (Tangerine Chicken)
Scroll all the way down to the recipe card for the full recipe.
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Place the sliced chicken, rice vinegar, and cornstarch, in a bowl, and mix until the cornstarch has dissolved and the chicken pieces are evenly coated. Marinate for 10 minutes.
- Make the orange chicken sauce by mixing the garlic, ginger, orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and chicken and toss for 4-5 minutes, until chicken is almost cooked through.
- Stir the sauce and add to the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and add cornstarch and water mixture, stirring constantly.
- Cook for a minute or until the sauce has thickened and looks golden brown. Turn the heat off.
- Put the bean sprouts on a plate and top with orange chicken. Drizzle a little sesame oil over the chicken and finish by sprinkling sesame seeds and scallions on top. Enjoy!
This easy recipe is ready in around 20 minutes, so it’s an easy go-to meal for those busy days when you’re balancing work, little league practice and all the other things that can sometimes make a day seem too short to cook.
While the ingredient measurements I’ve listed below are for approximately two servings, you can easily double (or even triple) the amounts if you’re cooking for a big group.
With a short and easy ingredients list – and super-simple cooking steps, this fun orange chicken recipe will be ready in no time. Oh, and it’ll be delicious and perfect for the entire family to enjoy!
What to Serve with Orange Chicken
You can serve orange chicken with a side of white rice or brown rice. I would also suggest you give noodles a try, too! My husband loves to pair stir fries with noodles and I have to say, I have come to like it too! As for side dishes to pair with this bright, citrusy, and savory dish, here are some of my favorites:
Side Dishes That Pair Well With Orange Chicken
Other Chinese influenced chicken recipes:
Did you like this orange chicken recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Orange Chicken Recipe
This easy to make and naturally sweet Orange Chicken Recipe is a delicious take on the American-Chinese classic and is ready in 20 minutes. A fun and tasty meal for the entire family!
- Prep Time: 12 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 people 1x
- Category: Stir fry
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Chinese
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (chopped into bite size pieces)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 3 stalks scallions (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
- 2 cups bean sprouts (rinsed and patted dry, optional)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey (add one more if you like it sweeter)
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 3 teaspoons water
- Put chicken, rice vinegar and cornstarch in a bowl and mix until cornstarch has dissolved. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, make the sauce. Mix the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey, and set aside.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and chicken and toss for 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is almost cooked through.
- Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring constantly.
- Cook for a minute or until the sauce has thickened and turn the heat off.
- Put the bean sprouts on a plate and top with orange chicken. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds and scallions on top. Serve immediately.
Store the leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 481
- Sugar: 18 g
- Sodium: 546.6 mg
- Fat: 15.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 28.7 g
- Fiber: 2.7 g
- Protein: 56.4 g
- Cholesterol: 165.5 mg
Keywords: recipe, Asian, main
Looks delicious! Just wondering if you think substituting lemon juice for orange juice would work. Of course, sweetening would be necessary.
Hi Nonbirira! I don’t think lemon would work because it is so highly acidic in taste and even with the addition of sugar, it wouldn’t taste the same unfortunately 🙁
This sounds like a great recipe and I’m going to try it tomorrow. I’m amazed how much cholesterol and sodium are in the recipe. I will get low sodium soy sauce to substitue.
I agree about the nutritional facts – sometimes I think the calculator is a little (or quite) off on those things. I’ve also noticed the fat content being much higher than I expected on some recipes I think are super healthy. I think the issue is that those counters still don’t have a large variety of ingredients added to their systems so they calculate recipes based on general food items.
Too perfect! One of my all time favorites!