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!
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!
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!