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Chinese Orange Chicken is one of the most popular picks for take-out, and now you can make it in your very own kitchen! In less than 30 minutes, create a semi-homade dish of sweet and tangy orange sauce glistening over crispy breaded chicken pieces. It’s easily a top choice for the next time you crave Chinese takeout!

A white table set with a serving plate of Orange chicken on top of white rice decorated with orange slices and sliced green onions.

Now, I admit, it is so easy to call for Chinese takeout whenever you get that craving. But this recipe is so easy it takes less effort than calling to place the order. Not to mention, the orange sauce pairs just right with the crispy, fried chicken pieces, making it a popular dish the whole family will love. Whether you like it more on the sweet side or with a spicy kick, you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit your taste!

And, isn’t it the best when you can enjoy your favorite restaurant dishes in the comfort of your home? I have plenty more restaurant-quality recipes, like this Alice Springs Chicken Recipe Outback Copycat, Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl Recipe, and this Salsa Recipe that tastes like your favorite Mexican restaurant. 

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients need for Chinese orange chicken recipes.
  • Chicken nuggets or Chicken Bites: Use your favorite store-bought chicken nuggets or make your own crispy chicken nuggets!
  • Orange juice: Squeeze fresh orange juice or a store-bought jug. If you use a fresh orange, be sure to zest it first.
  • Sugar: Sweeten the sauce with classic white granulated sugar. Use brown sugar for extra rich and sweet results.
  • Soy sauce: I like to use low-sodium soy sauce to add a savory and salty flavor to the orange sauce.
  • Vinegar: Rice vinegar is more traditional for Chinese dishes, but white vinegar will do the trick.
  • Ginger: For subtle spice, flavor the sauce with fresh ginger minced.
  • Garlic: For additional spice with savory notes, add minced fresh garlic cloves.
  • Red pepper flakes: Sprinkle in some red pepper flakes for a kick of heat.
  • Cornstarch and water: Make a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the orange chicken sauce.
  • Garnish: If desired, garnish the final dish with additional red pepper flakes, green onions, and orange zest.
  • White rice: (Optional) Steam jasmine or white rice to complete this meal!

Variations and Substitutions

  • Extra Spicy Orange Chicken: Add more red pepper flakes or include red chili flakes in the sauce to turn up the heat of this sweet and sour chicken.
  • Gluten-Free Orange Chicken: Make your own chicken nuggets using gluten-free flour, or choose a certified gluten-free brand of frozen nuggets from the grocery store. The soy sauce should also be labeled gluten-free or find a suitable substitute, like tamari or liquid aminos.
  • Vegan Orange Chicken: This tasty recipe can also be enjoyed as a vegan dish! Use your favorite plant-based chicken nuggets; all other ingredients are naturally vegan!

How To Make Easy Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Prep Spices and Cook Breaded Chicken

Take out that bag of frozen nuggets to make this dish super easy and so fast! Begin by cooking the chicken nuggets according to the package directions.

In the meantime, mince and chop the fresh ingredients for the recipe.

Prep garlic, ginger, orange zest and slice green onions then add spices and sugar to sauce pan.

Step 2 | Combine the orange sauce ingredients

Next, set a large pot over medium heat and add the orange juice, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, fresh ginger, garlic cloves, and orange zest, stirring until well combined.

Orange zest, sugar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange juice added to sauce pan and stirred.

Then, in a small bowl, make a slurry to thicken the sauce with cornstarch and water. Add it to the sauce, stirring for about five minutes until it is thick. Then, remove it from the heat.

Soy sauce added to orange sauce and stirred to combine.

Step 3 | Combine chicken and sauce, garnish, and serve!

Now, drop all the cooked chicken nuggets into the pot, tossing in the orange sauce until it is completely coated.

Adding cooked breaded chicken to orange sauce and stirring to coat.

If desired, serve the orange chicken recipe over steamed rice and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, green onions, and some orange zest. 

You are gonna love this one, I just know it!

Sliced green onion on breaded chicken tossed with Chinese orange sauce.

Tips

  • Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice– If you’re using fresh oranges, make sure to zest them first.
  • Thicken the Sauce– If you prefer a thicker orange sauce, add more water and cornstarch slurry until it’s the desired consistency. 
  • Drain Excess Grease: If using a frying cook method for the chicken, move the chicken onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess grease. Then, toss in the sauce.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, too, if you’d like.

Can I Make The Breaded Chicken From Scratch?

Sure! Homemade chicken nuggets are delicious! Here’s what you need:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil

Just whisk eggs in a bowl, then add cornstarch flour and salt to another bowl. Next, dredge the chicken pieces in the eggs and the flour mixture. 

Place a skillet over medium heat, adding oil– Sesame oil is best! Once it’s nice and hot, add the breaded chicken and cook it on each side for 4 to 7 minutes until golden brown. To be sure, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. It should reach 165 degrees F.

Recipe FAQs

Is orange chicken an authentic Chinese dish?

Like most dishes at American Chinese take-out restaurants, orange chicken is not served at any restaurant in China, an American-made recipe inspired by Chinese flavors and ingredients.

What’s the best chicken to use for orange chicken?

It’s most commonly made with boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, but just about any chicken cut will work for this recipe. Note that dark meat tends to be more tender and juicy, while white meat can easily dry out.

What is the difference between General Tso and Orange Chicken?

General Tso’s chicken is spicy, sweet, and sour, while Orange chicken is crispy with a sweet and citrussy glaze. They are similar in taste and trendy choices at American Chinese restaurants.

Storage

Storage: Save the leftover orange chicken to enjoy later by keeping it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat the dish in a saucepot on the stove or warm it for a few minutes in the oven or air fryer.

Freeze: You can certainly freeze the sauce in an airtight container. Then, thaw and heat up the sauce, whisking a little to reconstitute the sauce.

Chopsticks picking up a piece of orange chicken from a white plate with chinese orange chicken on top of white rice.

What to Serve with this Recipe for Orange Chicken

Swap the sweet chili-glazed chicken tenders in this Asian Chicken Wonton Toastadas Recipe with your homemade orange chicken. Or serve the recipe over freshly steamed rice with a side of these easy Air Fryer Green Beans. Cauliflower rice is an excellent option to make the meal a little healthier and lighter.

Tasty Orange-Flavor Recipes & Treats

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Chopsticks picking up a piece of orange chicken from a white plate with chinese orange chicken on top of white rice.
Recipe
5 from 8 votes

(click stars to rate)

Easy Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
In less than 30 minutes, create a semi-homade dish of sweet and tangy orange sauce glistening over crispy breaded chicken pieces. It’s easily a top choice for the next time you crave Chinese takeout!
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Ingredients 

  • 20 ounces breaded chicken nuggets, See notes to make homemade breaded chicken.

Orange Sauce

  • 2 cups orange juice, fresh or store bought
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, (or to taste)
  • 1 zest from orange, divided (reserve some for garnish if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon green onion, (or to taste)
  • zest of orange

Instructions

  • Cook your chicken according to the package ingredients- approximately 10 minutes. *See note section to make homemade chicken nuggets
  • In a large pot over medium heat, add the orange juice, sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic cloves, red chili flakes, orange zest, and soy sauce. Stir until combined.
  • In a small bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch and water. Add the slurry to the orange sauce. Stir for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Then remove from heat.
    TIP: If you would like extra sauce to drizzle over rice or veggies, double the orange sauce recipe.
  • Add the cooked chicken to the pot and toss until the chicken is fully coated.
  • Serve over rice and top with red pepper flakes, green onions, and the remainder of the orange zest.

Notes

    • Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice– If you’re using fresh oranges, make sure to zest them first.
    • Thicken the Sauce– If you prefer a thicker orange sauce, add more water and cornstarch slurry until it’s the desired consistency. 
    • Drain Excess Grease: If using a frying cook method for the chicken, move the chicken onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess grease. Then, toss in the sauce.
    • Garnish with sesame seeds, too, if you’d like.
To Make Homemade Breaded Chicken
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
Whisk the eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch, flour, and salt. Dredge the chicken in the eggs and then the dry flour mixture. Over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook on each side for 4-7 minutes or until the juices run clear. You want to reach a temperature of 165°F.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 250kcal (13%) Carbohydrates: 19g (6%) Protein: 33g (66%) Fat: 4g (6%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.02g Cholesterol: 91mg (30%) Sodium: 749mg (33%) Potassium: 863mg (25%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 11g (12%) Vitamin A: 454IU (9%) Vitamin C: 65mg (79%) Calcium: 32mg (3%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    What a tasty and delicious orange chicken! These were so good and my kiddos couldn’t stop eating! Will surely be making it again!

  2. 5 stars
    What a great idea to use chicken nuggets. Saves so much time and you get the crunch in the sauce too. So delicious.

    1. Thank you, Amanda. I love time saving meals. There are also instructions included for homemade chicken if you ever want those as well

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe tasted even better than my favorite Chinese restaurant’s orange chicken!! I know I’ll be making this again and again!