Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

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If you’re a fan of Panda Express you’re inevitably a fan of the most popular item on the menu, the iconic Orange Chicken. It’s juicy, it’s crispy, it’s sweet, it’s sour, and it’s spicy, all in one bite of sublime bliss. Thankfully, it’s easy to recreate Panda Express’ Orange Chicken at home with this foolproof recipe to make the Chinese food classic. This Orange Chicken recipe has everything you love about the Panda Express version and more, it’s so tasty that it might even replace the Panda Express rendition as your favorite Chinese dish. So, if you want an easy, delicious way to enjoy the delights of Panda Express at home, read on!

panda express orange chicken

How to Make Panda Express Orange Chicken

Making Panda Express’ Orange Chicken is not the most straightforward of tasks, it’s not particularly difficult, but it will take some time and effort. To recreate the famous Orange Chicken you will need quite a bit of ingredients, it’ll take some time to put together, and you will accumulate some dirty dishes in the process. However, once you bite into the magical, juicy, crispy pieces chicken elegantly coated in a robustly flavorful sweet-sour-spicy sauce, all the dirty dishes in the world won’t make you regret cooking this dynamite recipe. When making orange chicken, there’s two main components: the sauce and the chicken.

To make the chicken, thighs are best as they don’t overcook and dry out as quickly as breasts. To add some flavor to the chicken, it’s quickly marinated in dried ginger, orange, salt, and pepper. In order to get that crispy exterior that everyone loves about Orange Chicken, the breading is crucial. A mix of cornstarch and flour in a 2:1 ratio makes for a coating that is crispy and as light as air. But before dredging the chicken in the flour and cornstarch, you dip it in some beaten egg so the dry mixture will stick. Then, the chicken is quickly deep fried to crunchy, juicy perfection.

The two keys to cooking the chicken are to shake off any excess flour after dredging so you have a nice light, even coating and frying the chicken in small batches. The biggest mistake people make when cooking orange chicken is cooking too much at once and overcrowding the oil, which will reduce the temperature and cause the chicken to cook too slowly, making the breading get soggy and fall off. Be sure to properly coat and cook the chicken for the best result!

The other big part of Orange Chicken is of course, the sauce. To make the sauce, an eclectic mix of orange juice and zest, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and sriracha sauce is simmered together, seasoned with sesame oil, and thickened with a cornstarch slurry to create a syrupy sauce that coats the chicken beautifully. All of those ingredients come together to create a tantalizing harmony of sweet, sour, and spicy. Serve these golden nuggets of deliciousness over white rice, noodles, or some stir-fried veggies for a delightful Chinese feast just like at Panda Express!

Panda Express Orange Chicken

5 from 4 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: MainCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

415

kcal

Our copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken is an amazing dish to provide you with some comfort food. You can make this yourself at home and you will be in for a treat.

Ingredients

  • For the Chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 quart canola or vegetable oil for frying

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

  • zest and juice of ½ of an orange

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • For the Sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic

  • zest and juice of 1 ½ oranges

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Toss the chicken with the salt, pepper, dried ginger, orange zest and orange juice, stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the first 8 ingredients for the sauce in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Dissolve the 1 tablespoon of corn starch in just enough cold water (about 2 tablespoons) to make a paste. Add the paste to the sauce and stir, bring the sauce back up to a simmer and cook for 2 more minutes. The sauce should be slightly syrupy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  
  • Add the sesame oil and season the sauce to taste, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Preheat frying oil in a wok or large pot to 375F.   
  • For the chicken, stir together the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten egg and add to the bowl with the cornstarch mixture. Dredge the pieces in the cornstarch mixture, being sure to coat them completely. Put the pieces into a colander and shake off any excess dry mixture.
  • Fry the chicken pieces for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove the cooked chicken from the oil and place onto a cooling rack. Repeat as needed to cook all the chicken, you may have to cook in two or three batches, be sure not to overcrowd the oil or the chicken won’t get as crispy. Meanwhile, bring the sauce back up to a simmer.
  • Once all the chicken is cooked, toss it with the sauce in a wok or pan, being sure to fully coat all the chicken in sauce. There should also be some extra sauce at the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve immediately with white rice, noodles, or stir-fried veggies. Enjoy!

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Conclusion

Now that you know the secrets to making Panda Express’ divinely delicious Orange Chicken, you can skip the takeout and go about making this beauty at home for you and your family. From the juicy, tender chicken to the succulent sweet-sour-spicy sauce, this chicken hits all the notes. So, without further ado, it’s time to get cooking!

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