Orange chicken recipe

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Orange chicken is a very popular chicken recipe, especially in the Asian cuisine. There are a lot of variations for this recipe, depending mostly on the ingredients used. In this recipe, boneless chicken pieces are coated first in a seasoned egg mixture, then in flour and cornstarch, deep fried and then stir-fried and cooked in an orange flavored sauce. The chicken can be cooked in a wok or a deep frying pan.
Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 40 minutes, Serves: 4 - 6 
Variations of the original orange chicken recipe are very popular dish in Western fast food restaurants. In the original Chinese orange chicken recipe, battered chicken pieces are cooked in a dried orange or tangerine peel. In the Western version, the chicken is cooked in a sauce that is often flavored with fresh instead of dried orange peel. In many recipes, the orange peel is ommitted.

The orange chicken dish is similar to the popular Chinese sweet and sour chicken dish. In both recipes, chicken pieces are lightly battered and deep fried, then stir fried with ginger, chili and garlic, and finally cooked for a few minutes in an sweet and sour sauce that mainly consists of soy sauce, water, sugar or honey, vinegar and something to provide the orange flavor. The orange flavored sauce is usually thickened with cornstarch dissolved in water.

Variations of the orange chicken recipe include the use of orange juice, tangerine juice, white sugar, brown sugar or honey, spring or white onion, white wine or rice vinegar etc.

There is finally a beef version of the orange chicken recipe that is known as orange peel beef. In this recipe, beef is used instead of chicken.


Orange chicken sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp orange zest (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger root
1 garlic clove, minced

For browning the chicken
2 lb boneless chicken breast, skinned
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)

For cooking the chicken
1 inch ginger root, grated
1/2 fresh chili, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp rice wine
2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil


Prepare the orange chicken sauce
In a bowl add the brown sugar, orange zest (if using), orange juice, lemon juice, light soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic and stir for a while until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Brown the chicken

Cut the chicken breast into 2 inch cubes and place them in a bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil, egg, salt and black pepper and mix until all ingredients are blended.

In another bowl sift the cornstarch together with the flour. Lightly coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, a few pieces at a time. Set aside.

Cook the chicken pieces
In a deep frying pan over medium high heat add the vegetable oil and bring to a heat. Cook the chicken pieces in batches (make sure not to overcrowd the pan), for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crisp. Remove cooked chicken using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Cook the chicken in the spices and orange sauce
Clean the pan and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place the pan over medium high heat and add the ginger, chili pepper, onion and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the rice wine and orange chicken sauce and bring to boil.

Add the cooked chicken and stir until well coated in the sauce. Stir in the water and cornstarch mixture and mix well until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add the vegatable and sesame oil. Stir until well combined and serve hot with rice or fries.

Notes and tips

This recipe is based on the Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe. The main differences are found in the orange flavored sauce, where fresh orange juice and orange peel are used. If there are no fresh oranges available, canned orange juice can be used instead.

The orange zest gives an extra orange flavor to the dish but can add a bit of bitterness to it. Use the orange zest carefully, omit it if you do not want the orange flavor to dominate the dish.
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Great recipe! This is the second orange chicken recipe I have tried. The first one did not include any orange zest in the sauce. I like the citrus favor in this one.
Posted by kpot187 on May 05, 2008, 11:15
I have tried this recipe with a few modifications and the result was delicious. What I did was use two egg whites instead of a whole egg, use less ginger (1/2 teaspoon), use 2 tablespoons of orange juice (instead of half an orange) for the orange sauce and add a chopped green bell pepper together with the onion when cooking the chicken.

The orange zest is very important in this recipe. I have tried this recipe without it and the result was not good.
Posted by ann_c on May 05, 2008, 11:25
Best orange chicken recipe so far. I added 2 chopped bell peppers while cooking the chicken and served the dish over fried rice. Definitely recommended!
Posted by emily11 on May 05, 2008, 11:34
I tried the recipe but the chicken was not crispy. Quite a good taste though.
Posted by monique on May 05, 2008, 11:42
One of my favorite chicken recipes. What I do is prepare the orange sauce a few hours ahead - I use both the zest and juice of an orange. The extra time allows the flavors in the sauce to develop and therefore results in a much tastier dish. I have my orange chicken with fried or steamed rice.
Posted by Mike_c on May 05, 2008, 11:49
I have been making orange chicken for some time now. This recipe is one of the best, with a few minor changes. Use the zest of 1/2 an orange, 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, cut the chicken pieces smaller (about 1 inch cubes) and make double the orange sauce. To double the sauce, use the following quantities:

8 Tbsp brown sugar
Zest from 1 orange
4 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
10 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Posted by andy on May 05, 2008, 11:59
Great recipe!!! Orange chicken is one of my favorite chicken dishes.
Posted by Sue L on May 06, 2008, 02:02
Not as good as the original Panda Express orange chicken recipe, but as close as it can get.
Posted by mike31 on May 06, 2008, 02:04
I have used 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur of the orange sauce (instead of fresh orange juice and zest) and the result was quite good! I have also substituted the white onion with spring onion - it adds some extra color to the dish.
Posted by jen-b on May 06, 2008, 02:10
Awesome chicken recipe!!! Here is a good tip: To get crunchier chicken, add the orange sauce into the pan before you add the chicken, cook it until you get the desired consistency, then add the chicken and toss for about a minute, until it is covered in the sauce. Add the vegetable and sesame oil and serve immediately.
Posted by apple-b on May 06, 2008, 03:18
Another chicken favorite! I use less ginger and 1 teaspoon of orange flavoring instead of the orange zest for the sauce. Omitting the orange zest takes out a bit of the bitterness from the sauce. Next time I will try orange extract instead of flavoring.
Posted by shumai on May 06, 2008, 03:37
I made this recipe yesterday and I liked it more than Panda Express orange chicken. And it's cheaper too!
Posted by lyla 88 on May 07, 2008, 12:31
Great chicken dish! Brown sugar and orange zest really makes a difference - I tried it with white sugar and the result was not as good. I also changed the amount of ginger and chili used (I like it hotter). This orange chicken recipe is definitely my favorite.
Posted by Julian M on May 07, 2008, 12:40
Great! I used the tips about cooking the sauce before adding the chicken and the result was even better. Thanks...
Posted by guest on May 07, 2008, 12:45
Very close to the Panda Express orange chicken! We use less ginger, a bit more chili, definitely orange zest and we thicken the orange sauce before we add the chicken. The result is delicious
Posted by Ann L on May 07, 2008, 12:49
Excellent recipe! We like it more than the authentic Panda Express recipe. The tips were very helpful, especially the one about cooking / thickening the sauce before adding the chicken. We like the taste of orange in the sauce so I use the zest and fresh orange juice. My next attempt will be to use orange extract instead of the zest and juice. Thanks!
Posted by hoisun on May 07, 2008, 12:51
Thanks for a great recipe! We made it a while ago and it was fantastic!
Posted by mozy on May 07, 2008, 12:52
I tried this recipe for the first time and I did not like it at all. The chicken came out soggy and the orange sauce was not as good as the one at Panda Express.
Posted by Marion on May 08, 2008, 03:08
Not as good as Panda's but quite close.

I am using a wok and fry the chicken in peanut oil. I also leave the ginger out - I don't like it. I do use the orange zest and juice though, as mentioned in the recipe above.
Posted by nandi on May 08, 2008, 03:17
Great recipe. I tried it today and the result was quite good. I will definitely try it again. Can anyone suggest recipes similar to orange chicken? Thanks
Posted by aslam on May 09, 2008, 04:33
If you like orange chicken, try the Chinese sweet and sour chicken. The cooking method is very similar, the main difference is in the sauce.
Posted by gemini on May 11, 2008, 11:39
This was delicious!!! Probably one of the best chicken recipes I ever made. Here is a good tip. To make the chicken crunchier, repeat the coating process before deep frying it, ie, dip it in the egg mixture, coat it with the flour mixture and repeat, first with the egg and then with the flour. This dish is supposed to be made in a wok, from start to finish, but I using a deep fryer for frying the chicken, then I use the wok to finish the recipe.
Posted by zz10 on May 11, 2008, 11:51
My family loves orange chicken. It is one of our favorite dishes and we must have it at least twice a month. I make extra orange sauce (double the quantity) and serve the dish with fried rice. If there are leftovers, I put them in the refrigerator and reheat them the day after. The chicken gets soggy the next day but the flavor is even better!
Posted by maryc on May 12, 2008, 12:06

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