A traditional Chinese dish with chicken coated in a sweet orange-flavor sauce which thickens into a glaze.
Everyone has their favorites at Chinese restaurants. For me it’s General Tso’s (I know typical American) and orange chicken. The problem with both is that they’re fried so they aren’t too healthy for you. Then I came across Gimme Some Oven which inspired me to make a healthy orange chicken recipe. This version of Chinese orange chicken packs the savory and sweet orange flavor, but way fewer calories that is sweetened with honey instead of sugar. Perhaps the best part is you can make it under 30 minutes!
The key difference is that I sauté the chicken instead of deep-frying it. Just by adding a little cornstarch to the chicken, it still gets some crunchiness to it. Believe me you won’t miss the deep frying, plus it’s just easier to make to begin with!
If you want to go the traditional route, you serve the chicken over rice as I did. But if you want to be even healthier, try it over quinoa. I just didn’t have any quinoa at the time. Lauren and I always do our best to have vegetables as well at dinner so some green beans are a good complement. Either way, you’ll love how quickly this Chinese orange chicken comes together and how great it tastes. Enjoy!
What Ingredients are in this Easy Orange Chicken Recipe?
- Boneless, skinless chick breasts
- Vegetable oil
- Spices, kosher salt, black pepper, ground ginger, crushed red pepper flakes
- Orange juice
- Soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Orange zest
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
- White rice (jasmine or basmati)
How to Make Orange Chicken
- In medium bowl, combine orange juice, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, orange zest, crushed red pepper flakes and 3 tbsp cornstarch.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with 1/4 cup cornstarch.
- Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in large wok or saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook half the chicken for 3 minutes.
- Flip chicken and cook for another 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Add another tbsp vegetable oil and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Add sauce and bring to boil for 1 minute or until sauce starts to thicken.
- Add chicken back to wok and coat with sauce. Serve over rice.
Can I Do Baked Orange Chicken Instead?
Yes. If you want to bake the chicken, just preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add chicken in even layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. From there, add chicken to sauce pan once sauce is thickened.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs?
Yes of course. I made this with chicken breasts as most people (including my wife) like white meat better, but if you’re a fan of dark meat go with the same amount of chicken thighs.
Who Invented Orange Chicken?
Chef Andy Kao invented what is now Panda Express’s signature dish in 1987. So no this did not originate in China.
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Chinese Orange Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp cornstarch, divided
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- zest of one orange
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Cook rice according to package instructions.
- In large bowl, add orange juice, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, black pepper, orange zest, red pepper flakes and 3 tbsp cornstarch and whisk until combined. Set aside.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and mix 1/4 cup cornstarch thoroughly so chicken is coated. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat. Cook half of the chicken for about 6 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken and repeat with the other half of the chicken. Remove rest of chicken and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to large saute pan and add the sauce. Let the sauce come to a boil, then boil for an additional minute until it starts to thicken. Add chicken back to pan and coat with sauce. Remove from heat. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.