This recipe for orange chicken is sweet, tangy, and loaded with bright citrus flavor. Get ready for tender, hand-battered chicken bathed in an insanely tasty orange-flavored sauce. Even better, you can make this masterpiece in just 30 minutes.
My orange chicken recipe is your one-way ticket to irresistible Chinese restaurant flavor, right in the comfort of your own home. This easy-to-make, Chinese-inspired dish is delightfully sweet and boldly bright.
One of the secrets to orange chicken is the orange zest mixed right into the batter. That, plus the orange sauce, delivers major flavor!
The ingredient list might look long at first glance, but don’t be intimidated. You can put this entire meal together in just 30 minutes — quicker than the time it would take to order takeout. Plus, your house is going to smell spectacular!
Table of Contents
- Orange – Infuses the dish with a bright, tangy blast of citrus. You’ll use both the zest and orange pieces.
- Chicken – Boneless and skinless is the way to go. You can use either breasts or thighs.
- Batter – This zingy batter has orange zest mixed in with flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and egg.
- Green Onions – Freshens up the dish with a pop of grassy pungency and bright green color.
- Vegetable Oil – Go for an oil with a higher smoke point. Vegetable, canola, peanut, or avocado oil are all great options.
- Orange Sauce – Garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes add zestiness while orange juice and vinegar add a bold brightness. Soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar add savoriness, nuttiness, and a harmonizing sweetness.
Orange Zest Punch!
The zest from any citrus has essential oils that really are powerful flavor weapons. I add the orange zest to the batter for an extra orange kick! Zest one of the oranges and then use the juice for the sauce. Cut the other orange into several slices and cut each slice into 6 pieces for garnish.
- Prepare Ingredients. Zest one of the oranges and then juice it. Set aside. Cut the other orange into several slices and cut each slice into 6 pieces. Chop chicken into 1-inch pieces.
- Make the Batter. Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture, add the egg and water, then whisk everything together until a pancake-like batter forms. Stir in the orange zest, then add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
- Cook the Sauce. Heat the oil in a small saucepan or wok placed over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute for one minute. Then, add in the sugar, orange juice, white vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ¼ cup of water. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar.
- Add a Cornstarch Slurry. Mix the 2 remaining tablespoons of water with the cornstarch in a small bowl to form a slurry. Add this mixture to the boiling sauce, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Fry the Chicken. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Place a deep pot, wok, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat along with 2 inches of vegetable oil. Bring the oil to about 350 degrees F, then carefully drop each piece of chicken into the hot oil. Work in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Cook each piece for about 5 minutes, or until it is a nice golden brown color. Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray with a wire rack, then place in the oven to keep warm while you finish the rest of the chicken.
- Fry the Chicken Again. Once you have cooked all the chicken once, add all of it back to the hot oil to cook for another minute. Carefully toss in the hot oil, remove, drain on the rack, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Sauce & Serve. Carefully pour the orange sauce over the chicken, along with the orange pieces, and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle green onions over the top.
Both are popular American Chinese dishes made with breaded and fried pieces of chicken. However, they feature different sauces that make them distinct from one another.
General Tso’s sauce is sweet, but with much deeper umami flavors and a significant level of spice. It contains ingredients like dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and dried chile peppers that aren’t found in your typical orange chicken recipe.
Orange chicken, on the other hand, features ingredients like rice vinegar, sugar, orange juice, and zest that give it a distinctly sweet, tangy, and bright flavor profile.
For the crispiest results when making this orange chicken recipe, first be sure that your frying oil is at least 350 degrees F before adding any chicken. Have patience and fry the chicken in small batches. Overcrowding the pan will lead to uneven and soggy results.
To avoid soggy leftovers, store sauce and chicken pieces separately.
This orange chicken recipe pairs perfectly with lots of different dishes. Here are just a few suggestions to get you inspired.
– Pair with a soup like Egg Drop or Hot and Sour.
– Serve over a bed of steaming Brown Rice or Jasmine Rice.
– Enjoy with vegetable side dishes like Bok Choy Stir Fry or Asian Green Beans.
– Freshen up your meal with a Chinese Cucumber Salad or other salad.
– Add other restaurant favorites like Crispy Egg Rolls and Crab Rangoon.
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- Zest one of the oranges and then juice it. Set aside. Cut the other orange into several slices and cut each slice into 6 pieces. Set aside.
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces, set aside. In a bowl mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and egg. Whisk together to form a pancake like better. Add the orange zest and stir through to mix thoroughly. Add the chicken, tossing to coat. Set aside.
- In a saucepan or wok over medium heat add the oil. Saute the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes for a minute. Add the sugar, orange juice, white vinegar, 1/4 cup of water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir and cook until sugar has dissolved and sauce is boiling.
- In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with remaining 2 tablespoons of water and stir into boiling sauce mixture. Stir and cook on low until sauce has thickened, 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat a Dutch oven, deep pot or wok with 2-inches of vegetable oil. Heat to 350°F, and working in batches, carefully drop each piece of chicken in hot oil, cooking for 5 minutes and golden brown in color. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking tray with wire rack. Keep warm in 250°F oven while frying remaining chicken.
- Once all chicken has fried, add all back to the hot oil and fry 1 minute, tossing carefully. Remove from oil, drain on wire lined tray and then transfer to large bowl.
- Pour sauce over chicken, add orange pieces and toss to coat. Serve with green onion sprinkled on top.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.