This Copycat Orange Chicken features juicy, tender pieces of chicken tossed in a sticky and sweet orange glaze. Just like the Panda Express version – but better!
Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken
If you’re a fan of the orange chicken at Panda Express, you’re going to love this copycat orange chicken recipe. Not only is it just as good, I dare say it’s even better! Along with sweet and sour chicken, this is one of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes so I’m so happy to have mastered it at home.
Chunks of tender, juicy chicken are tossed with cornstarch and then fried to golden perfection before being tossed with a homemade orange sauce made of ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and orange zest. The end result is sticky sweet perfection.
Serve with rice or lo mein noodles, steamed broccoli, and a crab rangoon egg roll for an easy weeknight dinner that rivals any takeout you could order!
Prefer to use your Instant Pot? Check out my Instant Pot orange chicken recipe.
What You’ll Need
The ingredient list for this recipe is made up of primarily pantry staples, with a few additions like rice wine and sesame oil. See the recipe card below for measurements.
- Chicken – I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Egg – Room temperature.
- Salt & pepper
- Cornstarch – Helps to achieve a crispy outside on the chicken, as well as thickens the sauce.
- Ginger root – Minced ginger root adds loads of fresh flavor to this homemade orange chicken.
- Red chili pepper flakes – Adds a hint of heat to the sauce.
- Green onion
- Rice wine – In a pinch, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work.
- Sesame oil – Key to achieving the authentic flavor.
- Soy sauce
- Sugar – Helps to balance the acidity of the sauce.
- White vinegar – Adds a bit of tanginess.
- Orange – The orange zest infuses the dish with lovely citrus flavor.
How to Make Panda Express Copycat Orange Chicken
This recipe comes together in about the same amount of time it would take to order takeout. Perfect for busy weeknights!
- Prepare the orange sauce. Stir together the soy sauce, water, sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest. Set aside.
- Cook the chicken. Combine the egg, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil in one bowl and the cornstarch and flour in a second bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then the cornstarch mixture. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until fully cooked. Place on a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with any remaining chicken.
- Saute the aromatics. Add the oil, ginger root, and garlic to a large skillet Cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the chili pepper flakes and green onions. Stir in the rice wine vinegar.
- Add the sauce and chicken. Add the orange sauce and bring the mixture to a boil, then stir in the cooked chicken. Whisk the remaining cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Stir into the stir fry. Cook until the sauce has thickened.
- Enjoy! Stir in the sesame oil and then serve and enjoy.
Tips & Variations
Here are a few tips for making your restaurant quality orange chicken at home.
- Cut the chicken into even pieces. For even cooking, make sure all pieces of chicken are roughly the same size.
- Cook the chicken in batches. You’ll want to cook the chicken in 2 or 3 batches, leaving space between each piece, so that they can brown on all sides.
- Keep an eye on the sauce. Note that once you combine the ingredients, the sauce will continue to thicken as it cooks. So keep an eye on it to remove it from heat when it reaches the desired consistency.
- Can I use chicken thighs? Yes. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts but thighs would also work.
What to Serve With Orange Chicken
Serve this orange chicken over your favorite rice, whether that’s steamed white rice, brown rice, or fried rice. Cauliflower rice is a good alternative if you want something with fewer carbs.
For sides, I’ll usually go with some steamed or roasted veggies, like broccoli, and some crab rangoon or egg rolls to round out the meal. Or my favorite, crab rangoon egg rolls – two sides in one!
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover orange chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can easily reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
You can also freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the fridge, and reheat as directed above.
More Copycat Recipes:
- Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Copycat)
- Air Fryer Chick-fil-A Nuggets
- Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme
- Cheesecake Factory Louisiana Chicken Pasta
- Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Copycat Orange Chicken
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 egg room temp.
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 pepper
- 2 tbsp oil -separate form frying
- 1/2 cup corn starch plus 1 tbsp
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ginger root minced
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup green onion chopped
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp water
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 orange zest grated
- Prepare your Orange Sauce first.
- ( This can be prepared and stored cold for a week. )
- In a bowl, add the soy sauce, water, sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest.
- Stir to combine.
- Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix egg, salt, pepper and vegetable oil.
- Set aside.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, add your corn starch and flour and mix well.
- Set aside.
- In a small bowl, dissolve your cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees
- Chop your boneless and skinless chicken into small chunks.
- Dip a small amount of the chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then to the corn starch mixture and place in your fryer for 3 to 4 minutes.
- While the chicken is frying place a paper towel on a plate and set it next to the fryer.
- Pull your chicken from the fryer and place on the paper towel lined plate.
- Repeat these steps with the remaining chicken.
- Using a wok or large skillet.
- Add oil, ginger root, and garlic and stir fry about 1 minute stir constantly.
- Add chili peppers and green onions, then stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add rice wine and stir to combine for less than a minute
- Add orange sauce and bring mixture to a boil.
- Add cooked chicken and stir until well combined.
- Stir in your corn starch mixture
- Stir until the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in sesame oil.