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Easy Orange Chicken Recipe

Orange chicken, also called orange peel chicken, is a popular take-out dish in America that serves Chinese-American flavors in a plate. Panda Express, one of America’s largest American-Chinese food chains, also serves this well-loved orange chicken recipe. You guessed it right, orange is the main ingredient of the sauce. The use of fresh orange peel adds a sweet and sour citrusy note to the usual deep-fried chicken, and the addition of ginger and garlic gives the orange chicken a wondrous umami taste.

Ever wondered if the popular Chinese orange chicken in the US actually came from China? Truth is, the orange chicken recipe did not really originate from China but was inspired by Chinese cuisine. The original orange chicken in China is actually called tangerine chicken, and is made with dried tangerine peels.

Orange chicken is one of the easiest takeout meals you can prepare at home. This easy orange chicken recipe won’t disappoint with its heavenly fried chicken and perfectly balanced sweet and sour sauce that will surely satisfy your Chinese cravings. If you’re looking for more Chinese cuisines, we are sure you’ll love our Crispy Fried Shrimp and Pork Wonton and First-Rate Fried Rice. Meanwhile, here’s how to make your favorite Chinese orange chicken recipe at home.

How To Make Easy Orange Chicken

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Cooking your favorite Chinese fried chicken in orange-flavored sauce has never been this easy!

Preparation: 15 mins
Cooking: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Serves: 6 people Pen Icon Edit input

Ingredients

For Sauce:

  • 1 cup orange Juice
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger minced
  • ½ tsp garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp orange zest

For Chicken:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For Garnish:

  • orange zest
  • sesame seeds toasted
  • green onions chopped

Instructions

Sauce

  1. Combine orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Cook sauce for 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water until blended then add it to the sauce.

  3. Cook sauce for another 2 to 3 minutes until thickened.

  4. Remove from heat and sprinkle orange zest into the sauce. Let sauce cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Chicken

  1. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag.

  2. When the sauce has cooled, pour ¾ cup of sauce into the bag. Save the remaining sauce.

  3. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  4. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.

  5. Add the marinated chicken pieces and shake to coat.

  6. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

  7. Fry the coated chicken in the skillet, a few pieces at a time, for around 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.

  8. Remove excess oil in the fried chicken by placing them over paper towels.

  9. Heat the remaining sauce in the skillet until warm.

Garnish

  1. Drizzle the sauce over chicken and garnish with orange zest, sesame seeds, and chopped green onions.

  2. Serve orange chicken over rice and chow down!

Nutrition

  • Calcium: 30mg
  • Calories: 410kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Cholesterol: 97mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Potassium: 701mg
  • Protein: 35g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 615mg
  • Sugar: 21g
  • Vitamin A: 153IU
  • Vitamin C: 24mg
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Commonly Asked Questions

Why is it called orange chicken?

It’s called orange chicken because the orange flavor dominates the taste of the dish. Besides giving the orange color of the dish, orange also adds to it the sour citrus flavor that perfectly complements the sauce’s sweet taste.

Is orange chicken healthy to eat?

With the deep fried chicken and sweet sauce of orange chicken, it’s not exactly the healthiest dish. However, you can serve it with rice and/or vegetables on the side and use healthier and fresher alternatives for the ingredients.

chicken with orange sauce and garnish

Conclusion

Orange chicken is one of the guilty pleasures of Chinese-American cooking. It’s the perfect take-out food that you can easily recreate at home. It’s that ‘take out fake out” recipe that’s perfect for your budget and comfort food cravings. Once you try this, you won’t be ordering take out anytime soon!

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