Panda Express Orange Chicken

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With a sticky sweet and tangy sauce and tender pieces of chicken, this Panda Express Orange Chicken is a true copycat recipe. Serve over rice for an easy dinner in half the time it takes to order takeout!

Panda Express Orange Chicken on top of rice

Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken

If we’re ordering takeout, there’s a pretty good chance that we’re ordering Chinese. It’s easy, it’s tasty, and the servings are perfect for sharing. But something I’ve found just as rewarding, and sometimes better, is perfecting our favorite takeout dishes at home.

I have to say I knocked the ball out of the park with this Panda Express orange chicken recipe. It’s good – like good GOOD. Plates were licked clean and I quickly learned to double the recipe for second servings and leftovers.

If you love orange chicken as much as us, you’ll also want to check out my air fryer orange chicken, 4-ingredient orange chicken, and Instant Pot orange chicken recipes. (Did I mention orange chicken is the one dish we ALL love?!)

A piece of orange chicken between chopsticks showing off the inside of the chicken

Why You’ll Love This Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

What makes this Panda Express copycat so special? Here are a few things!

  • Quick and easy. We’re starting with cooked chicken chunks so this recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights!
  • Sweet, tangy orange flavor. The orange chicken sauce is made with ingredients like fresh orange juice and zest, sugar, and soy sauce for that sticky texture and incredible flavor.
  • Tastes just like Panda Express. There’s orange chicken and then there’s Panda Express orange chicken – this recipe is a perfect copycat of the latter!
Overhead view of ingredients needed to make copycat Panda Express orange chicken

What You’ll Need

Here’s an overview of what you’ll need for this copycat Panda Express orange chicken recipe. You can find the full measurements in the recipe card below!

  • Cooked chicken chunks – I used Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks from Costco but you can dice and cook a chicken breast yourself too.
  • Rice – I used Basmati rice but other white rice works too, for serving.
  • Cornstarch – Thickens the orange chicken sauce.
  • Rice wine
  • Water
  • Orange juice – I used freshly squeezed for the best flavor but you can use bottled juice.
  • Sesame oil & soy sauce – Add umami flavor to the sauce.
  • Sugar – White and brown sugar help create the caramelized sauce.
  • Orange zest – Another reason to use freshly squeezed orange juice is that you’ll also need the orange zest.
  • Ginger & garlic – Aromatics for flavor.
  • Red chili flakes – Optional, for a bit of heat.
  • Garnishes – The green tops of white onions and sesame seeds are both optional garnishes.

How To Make Panda Express Orange Chicken

This copycat recipe comes together in about the same amount of time it’d take to grab takeout. You can scroll down to the recipe card below for printable instructions.

  • Cook the chicken. Cook the chicken according to package directions, making sure they’re crisp and golden.
  • Make the sauce. Whisk together the cornstarch, rice water, and water. Add the juice, oil, soy sauce, sugars, orange zest, ginger, and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes stickier.
  • Toss the chicken. Toss the cooked chicken in the sauce to coat. Serve over rice.
Close up of Panda Express orange chicken

Tips & Variations

Here are a few things I’ve found helpful in making the BEST Panda Express orange chicken.

  • Make it spicy. If you want some heat, add the chili flakes.
  • Add some veggies. Feel free to add any variety of cooked vegetables to the chicken and sauce. Snow peas, sliced carrots, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, etc. would make a nice addition.
  • Make sure the chicken cooks fully. The chicken needs to be fully cooked before being tossed with the sauce. I try to make sure it’s a bit browned and crispy too. Try our popcorn chicken recipe if you want to make it at home.
  • Stir the sauce. Stir the sauce frequently as it simmers, to prevent it from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pan.
A plate of Panda Express orange chicken over white rice

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve my Panda Express orange chicken over basmati rice. You can also serve it with chicken fried rice, cauliflower rice, or lo mein noodles.

I always love to make some egg rolls and/or crab rangoon to accompany my Chinese takeout dishes too.

How To Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Fridge. Store leftover orange chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until hot.

More Chinese Takeout-Inspired Recipes

Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat recipe feature
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Panda Express Orange Chicken

With a sticky sweet and tangy sauce and tender pieces of chicken, this Panda Express Orange Chicken is a true copycat recipe. Serve over rice for an easy dinner in half the time it takes to order takeout!
Servings: 4 people
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 23 minutes
Total: 28 minutes


  • 2 pounds fully cooked chicken chunks I used Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks from Costco
  • 4 servings Basmati rice cookied
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup rice wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup orange juice I used freshly squeezed, but any will do.
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Zest of two oranges set a small portion aside for garnish.
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger root
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes optional
  • Chopped white onions for garnish green tops only, optional.
  • Sesame Seeds for garnish optional


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Add the chicken nuggets to a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Cook the nuggets according to directions making sure they are crisp and golden brown.
  • While the chicken bakes, add the corn starch, rice wine and water to a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the juice, oil, soy sauce, white and brown sugar, zest, ginger and garlic to the saucepan and combine.
  • Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow to reduce and become stickier while the chicken finishes. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the chicken is fully baked, add it to the sauce and toss to fully coat.
  • Serve over rice.

Last Step:

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Calories: 718kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 1896mg | Potassium: 1075mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg


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