Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat)

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Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce! Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!

Panda Express Orange Chicken is the most popular recipe on the Panda Express menu and I’m sure you all know why! This recipe will make you dance a little in your chair as you eat it because it is just right on the money! I am on a mission, probably before the end of 12 months to recreate the whole menu. Why you ask? Because I have enjoyed Panda since I was a little kid and I pretty much love the menu. If I am in a food court I almost always order from Panda Express. Well, unless there is a Rubio’s (I <3 their fish tacos) or somewhere that looks like they make a killer cheesesteak sandwich (they are pretty much the perfect food).

Keeping track of all the Panda Express copycat recipes here on the blog?

So back to this recipe. When I was really young (teenage years) I could totally get away with ordering this every time I went. Double orange chicken, chow mein. Best order ever. Then you grow up and quickly have to come to terms with how to order healthier dishes. Okay fine, truth be told, you go to Weight Watchers and you find out that your double orange chicken and chow mein meal is 36 points. 36!! More than I would be allotted in a single day. Whomp whomp.

Now this dish is more of a special occasion dish. I usually serve it with lighter options as well like the Kung Pao Chicken or the Mushroom chicken which are both made with white meat chicken and are quickly stir fried instead of deep fried. BUT you can’t just take a girl’s orange chicken from her, so there is no way I am eliminating it all together!

Made at home the dish is fresh and natural, but also I can take just a couple of pieces instead of a huge serving I am compelled to finish. It made for a totally delicious meal! I also served it up with some steamed vegetables just to add a bit more color to the plate too.

It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients at play here and a lot of dishes to dirty, but it really does come together pretty quickly and at the end of the cooking when you have a plate of this chicken waiting to be eaten you’ll forget all about that pile of dishes left behind!

To make the Panda Express Orange Chicken sauce combine the soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, sesame oil (I buy this online actually because by ounce it is WAY less than in the store where bottles are tiny and it has the added benefit of being non-gmo), sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest. To make the chicken we are going to set up a dredging station. Add the egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil into a bowl and whisk together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup corn starch and flour and mix well. Lastly, in a third small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/4 cup water and set aside.

In a large frying pan or a wok, heat oil in a wok 375 degrees. Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken. When you are done with the chicken, drain the oil from the pan and wipe it clean. Add 1 tablespoon oil, ginger, garlic, crushed red peppers and green onions, and cook for just a few seconds. Add rice wine and Panda Express Orange Chicken sauce and bring to boil. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and cook for just a few seconds until it thickens. Turn off the heat, and add cooked chicken and stir until well mixed. Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!
Garnish with green onions or sesame seeds (optional). Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!

Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!
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Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat)

Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Dinner, then Dessert

Ingredients

  • 2 lb boneless , skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil , divided, plus more for frying
  • 1/2 cup corn starch , plus 1 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger root , minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic , minced
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili pepper , crushed
  • 4 green onions , chopped from tip to tail (not including root)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges

Instructions

  1. To make the sauce combine the soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, sesame oil, sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest.
  2. to make the cornstarch mixture, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/4 cup water and set aside.
  3. To make the chicken we are going to set up a dredging station.
  4. Add the egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil into a bowl and whisk together in a large bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup corn starch and flour and mix well.
  6. In a large frying pan or a wok, heat oil in a wok 375 degrees.
  7. Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
  8. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
  10. When you are done with the chicken, drain the oil from the pan and wipe it clean.
  11. Add 1 tablespoon oil, ginger and garlic and cook for about 10 seconds.
  12. Add crushed red peppers and green onions, and cook for just a few seconds.
  13. Add rice wine and orange sauce and bring to boil.
  14. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and cook for just a few seconds until it thickens.
  15. Turn off the heat, and add cooked chicken and stir until well mixed.

The pictures above are from a new photo shoot now that I know about shooting in RAW, with natural light! Here is an original. 🙂Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!

Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!
Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!
Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!

Tender Chicken Thighs fried crisp and tossed in that magical Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce! This copycat will make you dance a little in your chair as you eat it because it is just right on the money!

Tender Chicken Thighs fried crisp and tossed in that magical Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce! This copycat will make you dance a little in your chair as you eat it because it is just right on the money!
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