3 Ingredient Orange Chicken (Orange Marmalade BBQ)

Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 15 minutes

3 Ingredient Orange Chicken in less than 20 minutes! Easy orange marmalade bbq sauce and crispy chicken make for 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 for 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 you just don’t have time to bust out the wok and gather all the ingredients to make your 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. The FAQ below has some suggestions on how to alter the flavors by just swapping or adding an ingredient or two.

This recipe uses frozen popcorn chicken, but you could also 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!

Most Popular Panda Express Recipes

How to Make 3 Ingredient Orange Chicken

  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of BBQ sauce should I use for Orange Chicken 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.

How do I make a spicy Orange Chicken sauce?

If you are fan of heat, you can add a tablespoon of Garlic Chili Sauce, Sriracha, or crushed red peppers to your sauce.

Can I make Vegetarian Orange Chicken?

Make this with fried or baked tofu for an easy vegetarian version. A tip for making tofu is to press it between two plates, with the top one weighted. Line plates with paper towels and leave in the fridge pressing for a few hours before baking or frying.

How do I lighten up this Orange Chicken recipe?

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.

What other Asian flavors can I use for Orange Chicken sauce?

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

How to Use 3 Ingredient Orange Marmalade BBQ Sauce

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

How to Store 3 Ingredient Orange Chicken

  • 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. To 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 in less than 20 minutes! Easy orange marmalade bbq sauce and crispy chicken make 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



  • 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
3 Ingredient Orange Chicken Collage

Photo used in a previous version of this post.

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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. My son is a foodie! Panda is one of his favorite places to eat, until last night. This recipe “tastes better than Panda” were his exact words. The fact that there was enough to have leftovers (not so with Panda portions), was a bonus. I cooked it in a wok for the true authentic feeling. Great job on the recipe!

  2. I made this for the first time tonight. It was wonderful and very easy to make. Even my husband, who is really picky about his chicken, said he’d eat it again. I did have to add some brown sugar to the sauce since my BBQ sauce was more spicy than sweet and I wasn’t tasting any orange. Added 2-3 tablespoons and it was perfect.

  3. Delicious! My husband and I love it! Per our opinion, better than P.F. Chang and Panda Express and so quick and easy! Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I use breaded chicken tenders from the deli which I cut into bite size pieces. Makes it even easier!

  5. I tried this recipe and it was so quick and easy and very tasty. Great recipe for a quick dinner. Leftovers are great as well.

  6. Tasted good but a little too sweet and sauce was a little to thin. All in all a good new way to serve chicken to my family.

    Thank you

  7. Sure was easy, and very tasty used the frozen chicken nuggets, there’s only the two of us so we had leftovers today! This recipe going in my binder.

    Thanks for the tip!

  8. Made this tonight for a quick dinner. Used panko nuggets from Costco. When I made the sauce, it was a bit sweet for my family, so I just added a little sriracha and then heated the sauce for an additional minute. Whole family was a fan. Will definitely make again!

  9. This was just not good. It tasted very heavily of BBQ and not nearly enough “orange” to be orange chicken. Very disappointed.

    1. I agree, bbq sauce was all I tasted. I’m not that disappointed though, because minimal ingredients and time make me feel like I don’t have much to complain about.

  10. Made this tonight. So quick and easy. I only cook for myself. Halved the recipe. I added some red pepper flakes. Very tasty. Love it.

    1. I wonder if you could convert ounces to cups? If 1 cup is 8 ounces, then 5 cups of nuggets would be 40 ounces and 16 ounces = 1 pound. or you could put the nuggets on your kitchen scale and go from there. I just eyeballed it when I made it and there was enough for both of us to have leftovers for lunch.

  11. Omg first time making this and it was amazing! We used chicken breast and panko crumbs then fried instead of frozen nuggets. We skipped on the soy sauce and added some spice by using Cajun pepper along with red pepper flakes. Tasted better than our local Chinese place!

  12. Thanks for this easy and simple recipe. This is the first time I’ve had orange chicken and your I’m enjoying it.

  13. I made this and it was awesome. I did use fresh chicken that I soaked in buttermilk and then cubed, tossed in seasoned flour and fried. The sauce is so easy and my husband loved it, which is saying a lot!

  14. So easy and so delicious! I can finally give my kids gluten free orange chicken by using GF chicken nuggets. And it’s perfect for a busy weeknight meal! I look forward to trying more recipes!

  15. Making it tonight for tomorrow. Going to put it in the crockpot for 2 hours or so. We want the chicken really tender. We’ll see how it turns out.

  16. Looking forward to trying this. Just wondering if you could do a lemon version of this instead. Not sure how as I don’t even know if there is such a thing as lemon marmalade?

  17. Absolutely love this. It is one of my favorite. I only use the 3 ingredients and I cut up chicken breast and fry it in a flower and seasoning to a nice and crispy state then I add the sauce. My husband says it’s the best hes ever had better than restaurant.

    1. Thx for the tip about cutting up the chicken breast and frying it in flour. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this recipe without using chicken nuggets.

  18. Why is it that you advertise a recipe and then you have keep strolling to read this long drawn out story WITH ADVERTS before you can finally actually see the recipe ??Stop the trickery!!! Don’t start emailing me junk

    1. Hi Boyd. At the begging of the recipe there is a “jump to recipe” tab, that takes you directly to what you are looking for. There is no trickery. Just reading comprehension.

    2. Wow Boyd how rude. It’s a food blog. If you don’t want to read all the info there is a tab that says…JUMP TO RECIPE!!!
      Sabrina is sharing her amazing recipes so I would advise you to not look up recipes if you don’t want information that could be vital to how it will turn out.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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!

  23. 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??

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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!!

  28. 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!

  29. 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?

  30. 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 ??

  31. 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!