Not your average orange chicken

Inspired by the famous orange chicken from Panda Express, this homemade version is crispy, sweet, and better than takeout.

Day 5 of 6 days of Asian inspired takeout favorites

If there’s one thing Panda Express is known for it’s their orange chicken—apparently, they created it. Did you know that? I actually didn’t but found it fascinating that a fast-food chain came up with this amazing dish. I used the tips and tricks from this tasty video to adapt my recipe and It came out amazing! The batter was the game-changer. A wet batter is the secret to getting the orange chicken to taste like the one they serve at Panda Express. It creates a beautiful crust for the chicken and It fries up to be this gorgeous light golden brown color. A tip from the video is to fry the chicken until it’s almost the shade you want, and then remove the chicken from the oil. The chicken will actually continue to darken as it cools and by the time you add it to the sauce, it will be the perfect color of orange chicken that you’re used to seeing at the restaurants—pretty neat huh?

Ingredients you need for not your average orange chicken:

boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped

salt

pepper

cornstarch

flour

egg

water

chicken bouillon

olive oil

Oil for frying

For sauce:

Olive oil

Pinch of chili flake

garlic cloves, minced

ginger, minced

tbsp sugar

brown sugar

An orange, juiced

apple cider vinegar

soy sauce

water

sesame oil

Fresh orange wedges to garnish

How to make not your average orange chicken from scratch:

  1. First, chop your chicken thighs into cubed one inch pieces and set aside.
  2. Next, in a mixing bowl, add flour, corn starch, egg, water, salt, pepper, boullion powder and oil. Whisk together until a batter is formed.
  3. Add chicken to the batter and toss well.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat and once hot add chicken being careful not to crowd the pan.
  5. Fry chicken for about 5-7 minutes until the pieces are lightly brown and cooked through.
  6. Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
  7. While chicken is cooking in batches, make the orange sauce.
  8. To a saucepan, add oil, once hot, add garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds, being sure not to burn the garlic.
  9. Next add red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, water, juice of orange and sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add corn starch and stir well. When sauce begins to thicken like a syrup consistency turn off the heat and set sauce aside.
  10. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken and sauce and toss until chicken is well coated and glossy from the orange sauce.
  11. Serve hot and garnish with orange wedges.

Tools you will need:

Frying pan

Mixing bowls

Saucepan

Measuring cups

Knife

Cutting board

Common questions:

Can I bake the orange chicken?

You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are looking to achieve that crispy exterior. I especially wouldn’t bake it with the batter, I would do the chicken naked, no batter, and then coat in sauce.

Can I air-fry the orange chicken?

Yes, just add the sauce halfway through and then finish in the air fryer so that the sauce can stick well to the chicken. Remove the chicken and toss in a mixing bowl with sauce then add it back to the air fryer to finish cooking for about 2-3 minutes.

More recipes to try:

Crispy, sweet chili garlic nuggets

If you make this not your average orange chicken recipe, be sure to tag me at @asiliglamcooks on Instagram so that I can re-post it.

Recipe adapted by Tasty – by Panda Express

Not your average orange chicken

Inspired by the famous orange chicken from Panda Express, this homemade version is crispy, sweet, and better than takeout.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
  • Any neutral cooking oil for frying enough to coat the bottom of a skillet

For Batter

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup water plus a splash more if needed
  • 1 tsp chicken boullion
  • 1 tsp Olive oil

For orange sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch of red pepper chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 medium orange, juiced plus 4 wedges for serving
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesmea oil
  • water a couple tbsp's depending on how strong you like your sauce. Taste the sauce to determine how much more water it needs

Instructions

  • First, chop your chicken thighs into cubed one inch pieces and set aside
  • Next, in a mixing bowl, add flour, corn starch,egg, water, salt, pepper, bouillon powder and oil. Whisk together until a pancake like batter is formed
  •  Add chicken to the batter and toss well
  • Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat and once oil is hot add chicken being careful not to crowd the pan
  • Fry chicken for about 5-7 minutes until the pieces are lightly brown and cooked through
  • Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towels
  • While chicken is cooking in batches, make the orange sauce

For orange sauce

  • To a saucepan, on medium heat, add oil, once hot, add garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds, being sure not to burn the garlic
  • Next, add red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, water, juice of orange, and sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add corn starch and stir well. When sauce begins thicken like a syrup consistency turn off the heat and set the sauce aside
  • In a large, heat resistant mixing bowl, combine chicken and sauce and toss until chicken is well coated and glossy from the orange sauce
  • Serve hot and garnish with orange wedges

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