Monday, April 18, 2022

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Panda Express orange chicken combines crispy fried chicken pieces with a flavorful citrus sauce. Make this easy orange chicken recipe today!

Panda Express Orange Chicken on a plate
Hot and crispy, with a sweet and tangy sauce — Panda Express® has nailed the perfect way to make orange chicken. It’s no wonder why it’s their most popular menu item!

Now, you can recreate this entrée in your kitchen right down to that signature irresistible sauce.

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Enjoy all of the delicious flavors of takeout at a fraction of the cost! This easy orange chicken recipe makes enough to feed the whole family.

Pair this scrumptious entrée with pork fried rice and crispy spring rolls for a full spread that can’t be beat.

Looking for more copycat recipes of your takeout favorites? Try our homemade version of the Panda Express broccoli beef recipe, or my delicious barbacoa, just like the kind from Chipotle!

easy orange chicken recipe ingredients

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Choose the right oil. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all great options for frying. When making this easy orange chicken recipe, we typically use liquid vegetable shortening.
  • Adjust the spice level. The spice in this dish comes from chili pepper paste and ginger. As written, the recipe is mildly spicy like the restaurant version, but you can adjust the amounts to make this dish spicier if you’d like.
  • Watch the oil temperature. It needs to stay consistent, between 350°F and 375°F. Too low, and the battered meat will absorb too much oil and take longer to cook. If the oil is too hot, the batter will burn before the center has a chance to cook through.
  • Or use a deep fryer! If you happen to have one, now’s the time to use it. You can set the exact oil temperature you need, and the appliance will keep it consistent throughout frying.
  • Time-saving tip: Many grocery stores now carry bottles of Panda Express Orange Chicken sauce. Homemade is better, but this is a good short cut if you need it.
panda express orange chicken battering station

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
easy orange chicken recipe fried in oil

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe FAQ

What does Panda Express orange chicken taste like?

All of the flavor in the Asian chicken dish comes from the Panda Express signature sauce, which features orange peel, soy sauce, vinegar, and red chili peppers. This gives the dish a citrusy sweet and tangy flavor with just a hint of heat.

Can I make the orange chicken recipe ahead of time?

For the best flavor, we recommend serving this dish immediately after frying. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days and reheated prior to serving.

making panda express orange chicken sauce in dutch oven

Reheating Orange Chicken Leftovers

Air Fryer
For perfectly crispy results, nothing beats the air fryer! Place leftovers in the basket and cook for 3 to 4 minutes at 400°F. Warm any additional sauce in the microwave.

Reheating in the Oven
If you don’t have an air fryer, arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until warmed through.

You could also reheat leftovers in the microwave, but they will be soft instead of firm and crispy.

easy orange chicken recipe with a bite out of the chicken


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panda express orange chicken wide photo

Yield: 6-8
Author: Donna Elick
Panda Express Orange Chicken

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Panda Express orange chicken combines crispy fried chicken pieces with a flavorful citrus sauce. Make this easy orange chicken recipe today!

Prep Time: 45 Min  Cook Time: 15 Min  Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • green onions, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat at least 4-5” of vegetable oil in a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven until it reaches 375°F.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken pieces. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, paprika, black pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  3. Dip the chicken pieces (a few at a time) first into the milk mixture and then into the flour mixture to coat evenly.
  4. When the oil heats to 375°F, cook the chicken by carefully dropping several battered pieces at a time into the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is light golden brown. Lift the chicken from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper bag or paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
  5. For the sauce: In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over medium heat. Add the chili pepper paste, garlic paste, and ginger paste and saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  6. Add the remaining sauce ingredients: soy sauce, orange zest rice vinegar, and sugar. Whisk the cornstarch into the orange juice and add that too the saucepan as well. Stir and simmer sauce for a few minutes until it has thickened.
  7. Toss the cooked chicken with the finished sauce to coat completely and serve immediately.
  1. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days; but chicken is crisp and best immediately after frying.
  2. Maintain a steady temperature between 350° and 375°F for the cooking oil. If the temperature falls too low, the chicken will absorb too much oil and take longer to cook. Oil that is too hot will burn the batter on the chicken quickly. If using the stovetop (versus a deep fryer), you will likely need to monitor and adjust the frying oil throughout the cooking time.
  3. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all options for fry oil. We typically use liquid vegetable shortening.
  4. The chili pepper paste and ginger add the spice in this dish and can be adjusted for spicier flavor. As written, the recipe is mildly spicy, like Panda Express.

Panda Express Orange Chicken close up

Originally published April 2022

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1 comment:

  1. This is delicious! My only problem was...the whole time I was eating it, I was wanting crab rangoon to go with it! I need a recipe for crab rangoon! This orange chicken would be so delightful with it!


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