My husband loves Orange Chicken. I found a knock-off Panda Express recipe that I thought I would try but as I started making it I realized it was going to be a disaster so I pulled out the Blog Chef version and combined the two and the result was incredibly delicious. Plus, I found a few work around areas that will make this dish very speedy in the future.

Both recipes called for deep-frying the chicken, which I did. It was still great (I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog that I like fried foods!) but with this recipe, it was time-consuming and not worth the effort for me, mostly because the chicken tasted…well, fried…and didn’t soak up the flavors of the sauce. So I am posting the recipe the way that will give the chicken the best flavor without deep-frying it. If you are partial to deep-fried chicken, feel free to deep-fry the chicken and serve it with the thickened sauce. But if you want a lighter, baked version, follow the recipe below.

You won’t be disappointed either way because the sauce makes this dish shine and it is fantastic!

What To ServeBaked Brown Rice
Summer Corn Salad or Grilled Corn Salad
Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad or fresh, seasonal fruit

Fabulous Orange Chicken

Fabulous Orange Chicken

Ingredients

    Chicken:
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons green onion
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350. In a shallow dish combine the flour, garlic powder and pepper. Dip each piece of chicken in flour mixture and coat evenly.
  2. Pour oil (or melt butter and pour) in a shallow baking dish, large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer. Arrange chicken in pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine water, fresh orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and green onion and let it come to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened.
  4. After chicken has baked the 30 minutes, turn each piece over and pour 1/2 sauce mixture evenly over chicken. Bake another 30 to 40 minutes basting frequently.
  5. Serve chicken over rice with extra sauce on the side
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/fabulous-orange-chicken/

Recipe Source: adapted from Blog Chef

74 Responses to Fabulous Orange Chicken

  1. PheMom says:

    Hey Mel – This looks awesome! I haven’t eaten at Panda Express in years but I think yours looks way better anyway!

  2. grace says:

    mmm…hello, brown sugar. nice to see you. :)orange chicken is marvelous, and i love your version of it–the less hot oil involved, the better. :)

  3. alan and bonnie says:

    Wow, I just made this tonight, and it was delicious! The chicken was very tender and my two children 2 and 3 had no problems eating it. I am excited to try more.

  4. Lesli Dustin says:

    Melanie,this was so yummy! My kids love the school cafeteria’s version of orange chicken and have asked me to make it, so I finally did. I kind of worried about it not tasting like the lunch lady’s and kind of worried that it might. I actually licked the pan clean, but that was only because all the chicken and rice were completely gobbled up by each one of us and I was sad to see it gone so quickly. I’ll just have to make it again…

  5. Leah says:

    I am totally bookmarking this, I love that you included a deep fried alternative. Sounds really, really good!!

  6. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    Just made this for dinner last night and it really is fabulous!! Everyone in my family and our two dinner guests just loved it. Thanks for another great recipe!

  7. Deborah says:

    If it’s anything like the Panda Express orange chicken, I know my husband and I will love it!

  8. Norah says:

    Loved this dish. I added some red pepper flakes just for a little zing and it was really good.

  9. Jenn says:

    Just made this for dinner tonight. It was really good. I’m glad there’s leftovers because that means I get it for lunch! Next on the docket–honey lime enchiladas.

  10. Melanie says:

    AmISparky – let me know when you try it without breading and what you think!

  11. Melanie says:

    Jenn – you sound like me – I totally hoard the leftovers from dinner! Thanks for letting me know you liked this. And I can’t wait to hear about the honey lime enchiladas…they are a family favorite.

  12. Nicole says:

    Just finished eating this and it was a hit! Thanks! I’ve tried a lot of chicken recipes that use orange juice and I’m not usually a fan- this one is different and has the perfect flavor! No bribing my 2 year old either…maybe because he saw me pour in the orange juice! Thanks again Mel- I’m never disapointed!

  13. Katie says:

    Oooh! YAY! Starring this! I love orange chicken but never ahve made it b/c I hate fried food. Thanks for posting!!

  14. Jonelle Hughes says:

    Who are you and where have you been hiding this blog? I was so excited I found this blog today, I almost cried. I could move in with you and never complain about the food. We have very similar tastes. Your pictures are gorgeous. Do you have a special camera? Anyway, forget food network, this is where my free time wil be spent! Thank you!!!! (mom of 4 and one on the way!)

  15. amisparky says:

    Yum, yum, triple yum! This was fabulous. I did make it with the breading but next time I am going to try it without. I will probably alternate between the two when making it.

  16. Melanie says:

    Kara – I love the recipes from your blog, too, so I’m glad that you liked this! Thanks for letting me know.

  17. Kevin says:

    That orange chicken looks really good!

  18. Melanie says:

    Norah – fantastic idea to add red pepper flakes. I love what they do for a meal.

  19. Melanie says:

    Jonelle – well, hello! Thanks for making my day. Really! Hopefully you aren’t disappointed with any of the recipes! I actually have the most basic digital camera known to man – I just set it to the macro focus setting/no flash and shoot away. Anyway, you are so, so sweet. AND amazing for expecting your fifth baby! Thanks, again. Check back often and feel free to send any winning recipes my way…I’m always looking for new ones! ([email protected])

  20. Melanie says:

    Melanie A. – I cook the recipe as stated and boil the green onion with the other ingredients but I always slice a few extra green onion rounds for a bright garnish like in the picture. Hope that helps!

  21. Anonymous says:

    My husband and I love this meal! After looking at your picture though I was wondering if you put your green onions in with the sauce (like the recipe states) or if you just use them as a garnish. They look so green in the picture, and mine never turn out looking that way once they’ve been cooked into the sauce. -Melanie A.

  22. restrainedchaos says:

    I bookmarked this recipe a while ago and just got around to trying it. Although the chicken didn’t seem to get very crispy in the oven, once I got everything in there, it was fairly hands-free. The sauce was wonderful. I switched blood orange juice and zest for the regular (too old to be used for marmalade anyway). My two kids and husband wolfed down what they called ‘Blood Chicken.” ;) Thanks!

  23. Melanie says:

    restrainedchaos – ok, kind of funny and kind of gross on the “blood orange” rename, but hey, I’m glad they liked it! Thanks for letting me know!

  24. Cheme' says:

    I am such a novice to cooking, but this looks delicious. I am also very short on time. Do you think I can cook this in the crock pot and get the same delicious results? I have not ventured much into what I call chinese cooking. How would you recommend "converting" the recipe? Thanks so much! Your blog is awesome!

  25. Melanie says:

    Cheme'-I've never made this in the crockpot so I'm hesitant to tell you you'll get the same results, but there is probably no harm in trying it. If I were you, I'd probably only use half the sauce in the crockpot with the chicken and thicken the other half on the stove and use it to drizzle on top. Good luck!

  26. Brittany says:

    I made this this week for the first time. I must preface my review by stating I have never had orange chicken before (seems absurd, I know). The chicken was perfectly cooked and not dry at all. I really love that it’s not fried. However, my husband is out of town and I will be freezing the leftovers to try to pawn off on him – I can’t eat it at all. It is WAY too sweet (I mean, I was expecting sweet but not this sweet).. but all in all I’m glad to have found a way to not fry chinese chicken and not miss the fact that it’s not fried – so thanks Melanie!

  27. Mel says:

    Brittany – thanks for letting me know you liked this, albeit a little sweet. Hopefully your husband will help you eat the leftovers!

  28. Melanie C. says:

    well, we just ate this tonight for the second night in a row, and my husband is taking the last little bit to work tomorrow, so I’m pretty sure that’s a big success!!! I loved that it was so simple to put together. that orange sauce is seriously OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! I mean, is it socially acceptable to drink it??? I served basmati rice and steamed broccoli/carrots/baby corn on the side. we ALL loved it!
    another great one Melanie! thank you so much!!!

    • Mel says:

      Melanie – you totally had me laughing wit the “socially acceptable” question. Too funny. I’m so happy you liked this – it is a family favorite around her, too!

  29. Kim in MD says:

    Ok, Mel- I broke my “don’t turn on my oven this summer” rule last night in order to make this dish. It was SO worth it! The sauce is absolutely TO DIE FOR! No kidding-my family raved about this dish all night! I mentioned that I am hosting an Asian themed party in September…this dish will be the star! Now I have to figure out how to make enough to serve 25-30 people! :-)

    P.S. I am going to break my “rule” again today to make the oatmeal cookie recipe you posted this morning! :-)

    • Mel says:

      Kim – I’m kind of sorry you had to heat up your house but am honored you broke your rule with one of my recipes! I’m so glad you liked this chicken and am glad that you have found “the one” to serve at your dinner party. I can’t wait to hear how it goes over in a couple of months!

  30. Nancy says:

    This recipe was fab-u-lucious. We cooked it in a frying pan on our bbq (weather was way too hot to turn on the oven) and cooked it for 10 minutes (lid on), flipped the chicken and poured the sauce over the top (put lid back on) and cooked another 10 minutes. It was so tender and scrumptious. We served it with fresh pineapple chunks on the side.

  31. paramedichick06 says:

    Made this tonight and it turned out wonderful! My husband absolutely loved it! Thank you so much for posting a non fried version!

  32. Kensi says:

    We had this for dinner tonight and it was perfect!! Thanks!

  33. Sarah says:

    Delicious! As a picky eater, I have only in the last few years ventured into trying a few Chinese foods that seemed “safe”, and orange chicken is one of them. Made this tonight with brown basmati rice and my husband couldn’t stop raving about it! No leftovers here!

  34. Adrienne says:

    Im pregnant and having a hard time getting excited about any kind of food, however I made this for my husband last week and it looked and smelled so good I had to try a bite… before I was even done chewing I had loaded up a plate for myself and needless to say ATE THE WHOLE THING! It was incredibly divine and my husband is begging me to make it again which I know will not be a problem at all! Thanks so much for all the wonderful recipes.

  35. katiebee says:

    My only regret with this recipe, is that I only made half as there is only two of us…the hubs and I were both wishing we could have had seconds…this is really FABULOUS ORANGE CHICKEN!

  36. kelley says:

    I made this with a few healthier substitutions- I baked the chicken as others said above, never breaded and fried it. I also used only 1/4 cup of brown sugar and it was still delicious. To add more veggies I sauteed zucchini, onion, green peppers, red peppers, and broccoli for about 10 minutes, then added them to the chicken cooking in the oven for the last 15 minutes and they were delicious covered in the sauce! Served over brown rice it was great. Thanks Mel for another tasty tasty recipe :-)

  37. Deb says:

    Another winner from Mel! My kids love the orange chicken at Panda Express but were skeptical that I could recreate at home. Everyone was delighted with the results. Served with a homemade fried rice I make with brown jasmine rice and it was awesome. Thanks!

  38. Nathalie says:

    While this recipe was good I wouldn’t say it was great in my books- I just briefly looked at the intructions again and I’m sure I followed it to a T, although my sauce was WAY darker than yours…and I since I was busy looking after the boys while cooking I wasn’t sure which quantity of water I was suppose to put first for the recipe, looking at it now I’m guessing it would of been the 1 1/2 cups of water instead of the 1/4 cup which might of affected the way the sauce turned out…but could it of affected the darkness of the sauce? I’ve had lemon chicken before which I LOVED so perhaps the organge just wasn’t for my tastedbuds- on another note the chicken was nice and tender in the oven :)

    • Mel says:

      Nathalie – it’s been a while since I made this so I’m not sure what would have affected the darkness of your sauce – maybe something to do with the water amount. Sorry you didn’t love it!

    • lindy says:

      if the soy sauce you use is too dark ,you would end up with a darker sauce. try using light soy sauce.

  39. Melanie H says:

    This recipe has become one of my top fav 5 dinners. I think I’ve made it 4 times now. The whole family loves it! Thanks!

  40. Ashlee says:

    Mel!!! I made this last night as a late Chinese new year celebration, with tiny spicy chicken, egg rolls sweet and sour sauce, and egg drop soup!! This was AMAZING! I actually used half the chicken, and just put all the sauce in to bake, and it was so good! Thanks! I’m excited for the leftovers!

  41. Kristina says:

    Holy moly this was good! We made this for dinner tonight and found we didn’t even need the extra sauce. It was moist and so full of yummy flavor! We served it over jasmine rice, omitted the garlic, and added a pinch of onion powder since I didn’t have any green onions on hand (grocery day is tomorrow). Thanks for another “fabulous” recipe to keep in my dinner rotation!

  42. Hilary says:

    made this tonight. it was really good! best orange chicken recipe i’ve tried! and i LOVED that it was baked and not fried. the chicken turned out so tender and the sauce was great. my massively picky 3 year old actually ate it without us having to tell her to. or feed her bites. haha thanks! can’t wait to try more of your recipes. :)

  43. […] Orange Chicken, rice and roasted […]

  44. Diane says:

    I really, really love Panda Express orange chicken, so I probably should not have made this expecting that. Obviously, since I baked it, it wasn’t fried… and the sauce was very much more orangey. It was pretty sweet, and I was stingy with my brown sugar. I added somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. My husband really loved it. I have mixed feelings about it, though it was good. I feel like the dredging took way too long – I feel like I could have gotten similar results using a ziplock bag.
    Also, maybe I’m just not very basting savvy, but I feel like that part was a little unclear. I sort of tried to use what was in the pan to smear back on the chicken, with little success, so then I ended up using the second half of my sauce in basting about every seven minutes. I guess it worked, I just wasn’t sure how it was supposed to be.

  45. Mel says:

    Diane – I think the ziploc bag approach would work great if you want to streamline the process. Sounds like you basted just the way you needed to, basically just brushing the sauce onto the chicken. Sorry you were underwhelmed!

  46. Trudy says:

    I have this baking in the oven at the moment but I noticed something odd….the sauce is a very dark brown from the soy sauce. Yet the picture above shows a clear, orange glaze on the chicken. I did put some extra orange zest in for some extra kick and it did deliver! Can’t wait to taste it although I don’t think it will look as “pretty” as yours :)

  47. Trudy says:

    Forgot to mention……I got lazy and poured all the sauce over the chicken in a casserole dish. Put it in to bake at 350. Let’s hope this works. Judging from the recipes on this blog, I would wager a guess that you are my sister-from-another-mister :) LOVE. IT. ALL.

  48. Mel says:

    Trudy – hope this worked out for you! It could just be the old picture that makes the sauce color look different than yours.

  49. Wendy says:

    I have a confession. We had a small portion of this leftover and planned to do a leftover smorgasbord lunch the next day to clean out the fridge. I went to sleep that night thinking I could get up early and eat these particular leftovers for breakfast. Because I knew I’d be busted by the kids, I refrained. But it took every ounce of self control. This dish was that good.

  50. Shannon says:

    I tried this tonight. I, too, am not fond of deep frying. This is a great solution! I loved the flavor of the orange sauce. Another hit at my house!

  51. Tamar Oren says:

    I made this for dinner tonight – another excellent recipe of yours! From your other orange chicken recipe (Simple Orange Chicken with Broccoli) I took the idea to add to it broccoli as well as bean sprounts and orange pepper. I prepared the chicken as you suggested and steamed/stir-fried the vegetables in the leftover sauce – then added the chicken in once I took it out of the oven – I served it all over white rice. Very, very good! My husband (who isn’t a big fan of Chinese-style food) complimented me by saying this dish is one of the best I’ve ever made :) I pass the compliment on to you Mel! Thank you!

  52. Amber says:

    I love this chicken..in fact I haven’t made anything on this site that I haven’t loved. Tonight when I made it, I changed it up a bit (which I never do, because I’ve learned you’ve already perfected it and even when I see an ingredient, I’m not sure I want to add-I always just tell myself that Mel knows best-and I’ve never been wrong on that one). But tonight I replaced the butter with cocnut oil (have you cooked with that stuff yet? Hello-yummio!!!!) I have to say it took it up a notch in our book and I didn’t think that was possible!!!

  53. Andrea says:

    I made this recipe a while back and I must have doubled the sauce recipe so I had some sauce left over. I froze it in a jar to await inspiration. Let me tell you that I baked some frozen meatballs in the sauce, served it with rice and vegetables and it was WONDERFUL! My family loved the first meal AND the second. I love double-whammies like that! :)

  54. Terry A. says:

    I tried this for supper tonight. Yum. This is definitely a keeper! Thanks.

  55. Anne says:

    My husband is not a fan of Asian food but I made this tonight and he thought it was great. I have been hungry for this since I saw a pin on Pinterest but didn’t want to fry the chicken. Thank you so much for this recipe. It was wonderful.

  56. Rochelle says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on camera bag purse. Regards

  57. JessicaG says:

    This was ok for us. I have made the firecracker chicken and sweet and sour chicken, plus about a dozen other recipes from this site that my family LOVES!!! From that I assumed we would likevth

  58. Maureen says:

    Hi Mel — I think I understand, but just to clarify — the question mark after the 2 (regarding the chicken cubes) means “twenty-something” cubes? It’s a perfectionist thing, sorry if it’s a dopey question. :)

  59. Joan Vogan says:

    Mel, Do you use the whole green onions, or stop when you get to the green “chivey” part. It appears in the picture that you’re just using the white part.

    Jvogue

  60. Joan Vogan says:

    Mel,
    Please don’t use my whole name — I should have put jvogue in the first blank for “name.”

  61. Anissa says:

    I made this, but cut the chicken into chunks and coated with the flour mixture and then cooked in a wok, added broccoli and onion and sautéed, and then poured the sauce mixture over the top and let it thicken in the wok. It was seriously amazing flavor and a full meal in one pan. YUM!

  62. Jane says:

    I never leave comments on recipes but have to on this one. My family thinks it’s better than Panda Express! This is the second meal I’ve made from your website and they all say “keep them coming”. Thanks, Mel. I know it must be time consuming but we appreciate it!

  63. Bonni says:

    Melanie,
    I could be at your web site all day! I love reading new recipes and love making them from scratch. I like to know what’s in the food I eat. Thanks again, as this recipe for Orange Chicken sounds good. I have a recipe section on my computer for saved recipes, and today, created a Mel’s Homemade file just for collecting your recipes.

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