3 Ingredient Orange Chicken (Orange Marmalade BBQ)

3 Ingredient Orange Chicken is made in less than 20 minutes! Easy orange marmalade bbq sauce with just 3 ingredients and crispy chicken makes a quick and tasty dinner!

It’s no secret that we are huge fans of Orange Chicken. From our classic Panda Express Copycat to Ground Orange Chicken, we are constantly on the hunt for new versions of this popular Chinese Recipe.

3 Ingredient Orange Chicken in bowl over rice


What do you get with 3 simple ingredients and your favorite frozen popcorn chicken? Microwave magic also known as the easiest version of Orange Chicken ever. It’s been floating around Pinterest for as long as Pinterest has been around.

If you’ve tried any of our other recipes of Orange Chicken, you know by now that we know our way around creating a zesty, sweet orange sauce with a bit of kick. If we could make this popular Chinese takeout dish every night, we absolutely would.

But life gets busy and sometimes we just don’t have time to bust out the wok and gather all the ingredients to make our favorite dish. This recipe is so easy, you can even put your kids in charge of it. It makes a great after school snack that they can make on their own.

One of the best parts of easy dishes like this Orange Marmalade sauce is that you can customize it to your taste. We have some suggestions of how to alter the flavors by just swapping or adding an ingredient or two.

This recipe uses frozen popcorn chicken, but we also like to make a big batch of Chicken Nuggets and freeze them for quick dinner recipes like this one.

Serve your 3 Ingredient Orange Chicken sauce (note: the 3 ingredients is for the sauce, since the chicken is variable depending on if you make your own or use frozen) with your favorite Chinese sides like our super easy Fried Rice for an easy weeknight meal in less than 30 minutes total!



  • Cook the chicken nuggets according to the directions on bag (or make Homemade Chicken Nuggets.)
  • Mix together the bbq sauce, orange marmalade, soy sauce and sesame oil (optional) in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel.
  • Microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Toss the hot, crispy, chicken nuggets with the orange bbq sauce.

Orange Chicken with just 3 ingredients in bowl with white rice


  • BBQ Sauce: We like to use Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce but you can substitute your favorite brand instead. Choose a spicy version for more of a kick.
  • Spicy: If you are fan of heat, you can add a tablespoon of Garlic Chili Sauce, Sriracha, or crushed red peppers to your sauce.
  • Vegetarian: Make this with fried or baked tofu for an easy vegetarian version. A tip for making tofu is press between two plates, with the top one weighted. Line plate with paper towels and leave in the fridge pressing for a few hours before baking or frying.
  • Lighten Up: Try this sauce with turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs served on top of Steamed Rice and Mixed Veggies for a healthy, quick lunch or dinner.
  • Asian Flavors: Play around with ingredients you might have on hand like teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds, or hoisin sauce to give slightly different Asian inspired flavors. Hoisin sauce is generally regarded as an Asian bbq sauce, so swapping it in here would be a great option.

Three Ingredient Orange Chicken and bowl


You don’t have to stick with just your traditional easy Orange Chicken with this sauce. Use it for:

  • Shrimp: Toss some popcorn or Tempura Shrimp in the sauce for a delicious party appetizer. 
  • Chicken Wings: Use this easy sauce for some sticky sweet chicken wings. Mix in your favorite hot sauce for a spicy version.
  • Dip: Instead of Sweet and Sour Sauce, use this recipe as a zesty dip for Egg Rolls or Crab Rangoons.

More Delicious Chinese Food Recipes You NEED to make:


  • Serve: Orange Chicken is okay to leave at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  • Store: Keep leftovers for 3 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
  • Freeze: You can freeze your chicken for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
  • Make Ahead: Mix the sauce ahead of time and freeze in airtight containers next to your frozen chicken nuggets so you can make this with no extra effort needed!

Three Ingredient Orange Chicken top view

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3 Ingredient Orange Chicken

3 Ingredient Orange Chicken made in less than 20 minutes! Easy orange marmalade bbq sauce and crispy chicken come together for a quick and tasty dinner!
Yield 6
Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 5 cups chicken nuggets , precooked
  • 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce (we used Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1 cup sweet orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil , optional


  • Cook the chicken nuggets according to the directions on bag.
  • Mix together the bbq sauce, orange marmalade, soy sauce and sesame oil in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel.
  • Microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Toss the hot, crispy, chicken nuggets with the orange bbq sauce.


Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 865mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: 3 Ingredient Orange Chicken, three ingredient orange chicken

Collage of 3 Ingredient Orange Chicken photos

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Sabrina, you’ve made me the happiest woman on Earth. I’ve been staying in Serbia the past month and been craving the kind of take out I would get in the states, orange chicken isn’t really a huge thing here. We got our hands on some orange marmalade and this is the perfect use for it. Thank you!

  2. Hi, Orange marmalade is made with Seville oranges and because of the treatment that I am on it would cause me great problems. I can have any other kind of oranges. How do I get around this ?
    Many thanks for your prompt reply.

    1. You might be able to find other marmalades that are made with other types of oranges, but if not, you might want to avoid this recipe all together.

  3. Was really reluctant to try this combination, but i am so glad i did. It was so easy and so good! Thanks!

  4. Came across this recipe after searching for recipes to use up some orange marmalade that was going to go bad soon if I didn’t use. I wanted an easy, quick & delicious recipe & this absolutely hit all 3 of those! I used frozen popcorn chicken to make it super simple – was the perfect size overtop rice. I halved the recipe since I was just cooking for the two of us. Adding this to my recipe book. Thank you so much for creating this tasty recipe!

  5. Sounds great and quick and easy peasy….yummy yum yum. I am going to make pork fried rice with mine. We both love orange chicken and do you have a recipe for sweet and sour chicken by chance??

  6. Wow, what a great recipe! Super easy and tasted better than takeout. I cut up boneless chicken thighs, dipped them in egg, and then dipped in cornstarch…pan fried them in vegetable oil at about 350 degrees for about 5 minutes on each side.

    I used Wegmans Sweet BBQ sauce with orange marmalade and low sodium soy sauce, and it tasted great.

    This recipe is a keeper!

  7. Just tried this. Used what BBQ sauce we had on hand (hickory smoke … hey, I’m in TX) and it would have been perfect without the smoke addition. Picking up some non-smokey BBQ sauce to have on hand.

    One other choice for the chicken is to use the frozen popcorn chicken. It’s the perfect size for chopsticks and cooks up in the oven right about exactly the same amount of time it takes our rice cooker to finish the rice.

    For another chicken alternative, pick up a few orders of popcorn chicken from Sonic or Popeye’s on your way home. Make the rice, whip up the sauce, and pop the takeout in the microwave for a minute before tossing with the sauce.

  8. Looking forward to making the orange chicken, but no recipe for preparing the chicken. I have fresh chicken breasts that I planned to use.

  9. The sauce was delicious! I would make this again using shrimp or pork or chicken. Served this over rice with a side of steamed broccoli. It made us all very happy!!

  10. I made your Homemade Chicken Nuggets which were awesome! I fried my nuggets in Coconut oil. They were delicious even without the sauce! For the sauce, I used Kikkoman Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, but only 2 TBSP because I was afraid it would overpower. Will add more next time. Used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ sauce, because that was what I had. Next time , I will use Original or maybe even Spicy. Did not have any Sesame Oil. In spite of my tweaks, this 3 Ingredient Orange Chicken got 5 stars from the family. I can’t wait to try it again with the extra heat! Thank you!

  11. Excited about making this bought the orange marmalade sauce and barbecue sauce yesterday opened the recipe to find out this calls for chicken nuggets or frozen chicken. I don’t have either and was going to use fresh chicken and just dice it up do you think that will work?

  12. not to be picky but I believe in concise wording and your three ingredient orange chicken looks to me to be five ingredients not that it is more difficult but honesty honesty honesty

    1. No, it’s 3! In the blog, she states that the 3 is for the SAUCE. The oil is optional so it wouldn’t be counted ??

  13. I am so excited to find this recipe. This is my family’s favorite and I just so happen to have all the ingredients! So easy!