Baked Orange Chicken made with Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat Sauce with an easy baked recipe that’s easier and healthier than frying in 30 minutes!
This recipe is healthier because of baking, but has the same sauce as my classic Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat) recipe and you should make it immediately and serve it with Easy Chow Mein or Chinese Fried Rice.
Baked Orange Chicken
Baked Orange Chicken takes the most difficult part of making my crazy popular orange chicken recipe out of the equation (that would be the deep frying). Most people don’t like deep frying because it can be dangerous, messy and it takes a lot of oil. This recipe is so much easier but uses the same delicious sauce you love and easy enough for dinner tonight.
The first time you make this recipe make it with this sauce (because yes, it is as good as the Panda Express original), but next time try making my recipes for General Tso’s Chicken or Easy Sesame Chicken using this method for baking the chicken. When you break down the panko bread crumbs and make them smaller you won’t have the spiky texture most people have when baking with panko, so it will taste and feel more like a classic orange chicken recipe.
Orange Chicken Sauce:
Classic orange chicken sauce is made with white sugar but some recipes call for marmalade or brown sugar. Using the Panda Express recipe most of the flavor comes from garlic, ginger, orange juice, orange zest and sesame oil.
The first thing we do is add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes to a pan with a bit of oil to saute before adding and thickening the sauce ingredients.
To cut down on the time you are working on this orange chicken recipe make your sauce while your chicken is baking. This way your orange sauce will be ready right when the chicken comes out and is perfectly crispy.
Finish the dish with some green onions, sesame seeds or extra crushed red peppers as a garnish.
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Chicken Thighs vs Chicken Breast
You can absolutely use skinless chicken breast in this recipe instead of chicken thighs, the reason I chose to use chicken thighs was because the classic Chinese Orange Chicken recipe is made using chicken thighs.
Since we are baking it in the oven the thigh meat will keep the meat more tender and any fat that renders out of the chicken will help to crisp up the bites. Most Chinese food that is battered is made using dark meat, so while chicken breast is certainly an option, just know it will make the dish slightly less tender.
You can also bread the chicken pieces and freeze them ahead of baking on a baking sheet. When ready to cook be sure to spray with cooking spray or coat with vegetable oil well because the extra condensation from defrosting will cause the breading to soften a bit, so the extra oil will help.
What to serve with Baked Orange Chicken:
We love to serve this with Chinese Steamed Rice, dim sum favorites like Crab Rangoon, Egg Rolls, Spring Rolls, or Potstickers and something non chicken like Beef Teriyaki or Coconut Shrimp.
More Easy Chinese Recipes:
- Beef and Broccoli
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Chinese Lemon Chicken
- Chinese Honey Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 pounds chicken thighs , boneless skinless
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil , divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger , minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons rice wine (white wine works too)
- 1/4 cup orange juice , from the orange
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 10 tablespoons sugar
- 10 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 orange , zested
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and add the panko to a food processor and pulse until the crumbs are much smaller, like regular breadcrumbs.
- Add the panko to one bowl, the chicken (cut into small chunks) in a second bowl, the eggs in a third bowl, and the flour in a fourth bowl.
- Dip the chicken pieces into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and place on baking sheet, then spray with cooking spray (or brush lightly with vegetable oil).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, while the chicken is baking, make the sauce.
- Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil, ginger, garlic and crushed red peppers to a saucepan on medium heat and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, bring to a boil until it thickens then turn off the heat and wait for the chicken to finish baking, then toss the chicken with the sauce and serve.
What can you use instead of rice wine?
Here’s a list to consider:
Best Rice Wine Substitutes
Pale Dry Sherry
Dry White Wine
Sake or Mirin
Apple or Grape Juice
This was really good! 2 things I will comment on though- it was WAY too sweet, next time I’ll add less sugar. Prep time is also much longer than 10mins, but I also don’t spend a ton of time in the kitchen so I’m probably slower than most! I added it to rice which helped the sweetness a little. Overall good and I’m glad I meal prepped it for the week
I love the taste of this recipe but who are you kidding? 10 minutes prep time? I didn’t even cut up all the chicken in 10 minutes and it took 20 minutes to make the sauce.
Hi Janet, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will take a look at this and test the times again. Were your chicken thighs boneless and skinned by any chance? Again, thanks for letting me know.
This was amazing. I love sweet and sour with a little kick and this was perfect. My family loved it too. I added this to my faves because this will definitely go into the dinner rotations.
I never leave comments but decided to for this as I make it again and again. It is so good we can’t get enough. I serve it with fried rice to get my veggies. Thank you for a recipe that isn’t fried as I have a sensitive stomach. And it is so good!
This orange chicken is better than the box orange chicken I get from target. I will definitely be making this again. I didn’t have a food processor so I used a blender and it worked well, I also did 1/4 cups of orange juice instead of it being fresh from an orange.
The family loved it! Your recipes are easy to follow and elevate recipes to the next level. Thank you.
This was easy to make and a big hit for my family! I don’t have a food processor so I just put the panko in a ziploc baggie and went at them with a rolling pin. Served it with long grain white rice that I cooked in vegetable stock instead of water and steamed broccoli.
Made this tonight for 2 ….I used 3 boneless thighs and dredged in rice flour
Doubled sauce due to previous comments…I used 2 cloves garlic, 11/2 Tbsp chopped ginger, 1//3 c white sugar plus 1/3 c. Tangerine marmalade, as that’s what I had, used some white wine vinegar (1Tbsp) and the rest white vinegar, dark soy sauce (tamari) and low sodium soy equally, chicken got crispy baked convection oven at 400…I did have a full cup of sauce left I froze for later.
We really enjoyed it. Ty
I doubled the recipe and still didn’t have enough sauce for 2 lbs of chicken. I could have used another half as much. Following the advice of another reviewer, I used 2/3 c of vinegar and sugar. I used only panko but it was kind of gloppy. If I make this again I will use only cornstarch. My local grocery store has been out of cornstarch since the holidays. We liked the flavor. I added a couple of drops of red food coloring to brighten it. I didn’t have yellow food coloring. I let mine bake for another 15 minutes because the gloppy breading wasn’t browning. I served this with rice and baked egg rolls made with ground turkey.
I usually never leave reviews but considering this recipe made it into the “Really Good, Would Make Again” bookmark folder, this deserved a review. Wow this was yummy!! My husband is a pretty tough critic when I try new recipes and he loved this. I used chicken breast and it came out great. My only suggestion is you may want to double the sauce ingredients because it’s orangey deliciousness and you’ll want more! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful creation!
What is your recommendation for a side to serve with this.
I do rice and green vegetables, usually broccoli or green beans.
Absolutely delicious and better for you than frying!!
Made this last night, it was delicious! I made it with boneless skinless chicken breasts and it was terrific!
This is a repeat performance!! The balance of flavors is phenomenal! Wouldn’t change a thing!!
OK. I have finished the sauce and chicken. Well worth the time. It is absolutely delicious. An afternoon well spent.
As others have said, prep time of 10 minutes is way too generous. 2 eggs was not enough. Had to add a third. 1 c. Panko bread crumbs were not enough. Ended up using plain bread crumbs. Certainly not dragging out my processor to grind up more panko with my egg, flour, crumbs encrusted hands. I’m a trained chef. I feel for all the home cooks. A hint. Put flour into a baggie and shake like Shake and Bake. Easier. Off to grate orange rind and juice oranges. Another 10-15 minutes. Will report later as to how sauce turns out. As others have said, one recipe is not enough. I plan to double it but with less sugar and vinegar.
So the recipe says 10 Tblsp sugar and also 10 Tblsp white sugar. Is this a typo? If not, can you please explain? I really want to make this!! Thank you!
do you use a sheet pan with a rack to elevate the chicken? I want the chicken crunchy. Thank you.
Hi, I ran out of white vinegar. Can I use apple cider vinegar?
I always make orange chicken (and similar dishes) with apple cider vinegar. Given that it is already fruit-flavored from the orange, the apple cider is a nice complement to the orange. As an aside, I also use orange marmalade, which I make at home.
Hi. Is it ok to use white wine vinegar for the white vinegar?
It would change the consistency and flavor, but experimenting is half the fun of cooking!
Do I spray the pan before placing chicken on the baking sheet or am I spraying the chicken after placing it on baking sheet? Making tonight, excited to try!
Need to ask – am I spraying the pan before putting chicken on or spraying the chicken after placing on the pan? Making tonight, excited to try it!
Delicious – just like the photo.
My 14 year old daughter made this for dinner & it worked perfectly.
As others have mentioned you could adjust the sugar/vinegar/chilli ratio to suit tastes but it was crispy with a perfect sticky sauce.
Wouldn’t change a thing!! Amazing!!
This dish is really tasty. Here are the reasons for 4 stars and not 5. The prep time is way longer than 10 minutes. After dipping in egg and panko crumbs for half of the chicken, I needed to add another egg and more panko crumbs. The flour makes the egg thick and the egg makes the panko gooey. The sauce needs to be doubled so it is not all absorbed. It is definitely tasty and I will make again knowing these variations.
It’s delicious. I made this for my guests tonight and the sauce was so flavorful that everyone loves it!! Thank you.
Turned out very well. I would recommend have all your sauce ingredients laid out ahead of time. I used chicken breast and it was so tender. I put in extra garlic and peppers since we like it spicy
I’ve made this now twice. It’s good BUT….looks nothing like your pic. The chicken in the picture looks like more of a reddish tinted sauce. What am I missing? Thanks!
This was amazing! However the prep time is way off, unless not all prep is included in the time. (This happens on most recipes so an explanation of what prep time in a recipe refers to would be helpful) it takes 10 minutes to zest and juice oranges! I doubled the recipe and used 6 cups of panko, 8 eggs and 2 cups of flour. Dredging is messy but it was so worth it. If there is an easy way to dredge small pieces of chicken I would love the tip. I love this recipe but will plan my time better! I prefer to mince my own ginger and garlic so that added time too. I will make this again. My family loved it!
There are some easy ways to cut the prep time dramatically: 1. use a food processor to produce orange zest + juice; 2. dredge the chicken in batches, by using a ziplock bag, and rather than buying panko or bread crumbs, you can save $$ by using leftover bread run through a food processor. That saves only a little money, but it also takes only a tiny amount of time (and it saves worrying about buying and keeping store-bought bread crumbs.
Loved this recipe. Will make again. Did have to use more panko and eggs then called for. I’m not sure what I did wrong but my chicken looks nothing like the picture. I did double the recipe like someone suggested and glad I did. I don’t think my sauce was anywhere near as thick. I tried adding more cornstarch, but it just clumped up. Still tastes great, just not sure what adjustments to make. Doing your shrimp cocktail this weekend.
it looks good
My Grandson (7) says this is the BEST and he knows cause he loves it!
I was looking for a healthier version of Panda Express Chicken and this is it! It was delicious. My son’s favorite dish and he said it is just like the restaurant version. Definitely making again.
Yay!! Thanks for coming back to let me know.
I am definitely making this, sounds and looks amazing. I will substitute the sugar with Monk Fruit Sugar thou, as I don’t eat sugar & monk fruit may make it a little less sweet but does not spike your blood sugar.
Is it possible, if you can, I have been looking for some time for a copycat recipe for Brown’s Social Club Ancient Grain Salad & dressing. It is TO DIE FOR, extremely healthy and filling, but they don’t have it on their menu anymore. I am crushed, it is that delicious! Loving your site.
Great recipe and easy to make. Personally when I make it again, I would probably only use 1 tspn of ginger as it seemed to be an over powering flavor for me.
Of course! You can definitely adjust it more to your liking. Enjoy!
Made a few changes for my taste and it was DELICIOUS!!! The man and picky little guy also loved it. Highly recommend 🙂
Not much for exact measurements but I used less sugar (used 6-7 tablespoons) and it was still very sweet. I used 1/2 low sodium soy sauce and 1/2 coconut aminos. Extra grated ginger and garlic. I used the panko as is to cut out a step. I did have to add an egg and more panko to cover it all. I’d recommend drizzling the the sauce over it instead of tossing so that you still have lots of crunch, if you toss it you lose all that great crispness that you just worked so hard for. Lastly, I cooked my chicken about 20 min then flipped and cooked for another 10 min to crisp both sides.
Love it when you can win over a picky eater!
took a lot longer than 30 minutes. took me an hour and twenty minutes. the ratios were off. i needed 4 eggs and 3 cups of panko. 10 tablespoons? just say a little over half of a cup. i don’t appreciate working harder than i need to. it tasted pretty good but not for all the work! never returning.
WOW!! Crabby?? Who woke up on the wrong side of life??
Some of us aren’t as fast as others, we just have to understand that and not be so angry, it would be a better idea to put that all of that energy you’re exerting in your rage into working on your speed. I don’t work fast, I know that there isn’t a 30 minute recipe on earth that I will complete in 30 minutes, that’s not the authors fault though…
I will admit that it would be a great idea to use an easier, more friendly form of measurement with regards to the 10 Tablespoons, that’s not incredibly helpful and does add unnecessary time. So I will give you that, but to throw SO MUCH ANGER at this poor woman who is just trying to help us create wonderful, easy, quick meals?? Absolutely not necessary AT ALL.
We should all try to remember the Golden Rule, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”. That would have been a better idea in this case. There’s already so much hate and harm that goes on everyday, kindness goes a VERY LONG WAY, you should give it a try…
This recipe is so good! I served it over lo mein noodles and and my husband loved it. It makes a lot…Will have leftovers tomorrow over rice.
Made this tonight. Definitely a hit! I was concerned after I added the vinegar because it smelled strong but the sauce ended up tasting perfect. Thank you for the recipe!
This orange chicken was fabulous! I have tried other recipes for baked orange chicken and it always ended up soggy when I took it out of the oven. However, this chicken was perfectly crunchy and delicious. I have finally found a recipe that I will make over and over again. For the sauce, I forgot to zest an orange so I didn’t use that. I added a half cup of vinegar and a half cup of coconut sugar to the sauce (no patience for so many tablespoons). I highly recommend this delicious chicken! Thanks for the recipe!
You’re welcome, Chris.
My brother loved this. Great to bake the chicken. Used combo of Panko (crushed in bag with rolling pin) and bread crumbs cause I didn’t have enough Panko in the house. It was fine. Had to add a little extra cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Will make this again!!!
This recipi is very helpful! I dont like frying food so much because its unhealthy, so this recipi was like a healthy and delicious version of orange chicken. THX
When you say one orange zested, do you mean the zest of one orange?
Delicious! Made this with one and a half the amount of sauce. Didn’t have panko so I used regular. I left bits of orange pieces in the sauce. Loved it!
Next time will try doubling the sauce and using panko.
This was amazing! I am gluten free, and have a hard time finding GF Chinese/Japanese food. Orange Chicken is my favorite, and this tasted just like what you get in a restaurant. It was so easy to make. I just subbed GF bread crumbs, flour and soy sauce! How long will the sauce keep in the fridge for future use if I want to make a large batch to keep on hand?
It would last up to 2-3 weeks if stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
thank u for your post i to am gluten free will try this
I often make a similar version with a quick cornstarch dredge and stir fry the chicken in a tablespoon or two of oil. I tried this recipe because I was interested in the difference using panko. It tasted fine, but it wasn’t worth it. This took twice as much time with no noticeable difference in flavor and way more calories between the breading and a whopping amount of sugar.
Thanks for the insight. I’m also concerned about carbs so it’s great to know stir fry + corn starch coating is a tasty option <3 i'll try that!
A little too much vinegar but very good
Baked instead of fried! A killer sauce! I have been looking for a sweet version of this dish for quite awhile and nothing seemed to be quite right, but your recipe hit it just right! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and the tips. We are in California and I was dying for some orange chicken and I’m thrilled to find such an easy prep as well. I made the recipe as laid out and I doubled the sauce because I knew I would love it. Thanks again!
You’re welcome, Wendy. I appreciate the 5 stars.
I tried it today for lunch with jasmine rice. Came out beautifully but a tad too sweet for my taste. Loved the fresh orange flavor the zest lent to it. Next time I try it I will put less sugar. Simple and delicious dish.
I followed the recipe verbatim as this was my first time making it. All I can say is it was fantastic!! Never ate a Panda Express as we have none here but next time I am in the states I will see how it compares, lol. I stir fried some carrots, celery, red onions, and red peppers with a little sesame oil and placed that on top of a bed of white rice and smothered it with chicken and sauce. Great recipe!!!
Yay!! I’m so happy you decided to give it a try. Thanks for coming back to let me know and for the 5 stars.
EXCELLENT ! Made per recipe w/o modifications. Tangy and sweet. Delicious. I wouldn’t do anything differently. The extra step to add panko to the chicken coating was worth it! I don’t think you could find a better recipe than this.
So glad you decided to give it a try, Kathy. I really appreciate the 5 stars.
Thought I had ginger but don’t. What can I use as a substitute?
You can use allspice, cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg but just know that it will change the flavor a bit. Enjoy!
can you use chicken breast instead of thigh’s?
My boyfriend and I made this last night. It was delicious! Easy to make, AMAZING sauce, and simple ingredients. A few things…
It would be helpful to have a bit more instruction on the sauce. The recipe states add “the rest of the ingredients” however it left me guessing a bit. Also, it doesn’t say to make a slurry out of the cornstarch but I did and had to double it because it wasn’t getting thick and I can’t imagine cornstarch working not as a slurry.
2 lbs of chicken is a LOT of chicken. The sauce amount doesn’t cover it and neither does the egg wash and Panko amounts. Either make less chicken or double the sauce.
This is a wonderful recipe. My husband loves it.
I left out the sesame oil (not a fan).
I don’t have wine so I used Mirin.
I also used chicken breast (it was awesome).
So glad you were able to customize it to your liking. I appreciate the 5 stars.
Do you have to bread the chicken?
No, you could skip it for a lighter option.
Made this tonight as the recipe said. I didn’t have white wine,so I left it out, but the chicken was delicious. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, Sue.
How could I make this ahead of time, say the morning of? Please advise 🙂
You could make the chicken ahead of time and place in the refrigerator. When you’re ready for dinner, warm them up in the oven while you make the sauce. Hope this helps.
Tasted good and appreciate it was baked.
I suppose I didn’t pulse the panko enough, but we weren’t fans of the crunchiness.
Good enough that with a few changes my 10 year old would like it.
Personal notes for next time:
– For ease the next time 10T (sugar & vinegar) = about 2/3 c.
– Try breadcrumbs or just cornstarch and increase to about 1.5 cup.
– Make extra sauce to ensure coverage (this just covered ~1.5 lb of thighs). The sauce is good.
– Add extra orange.
– Don’t like it hot so used about 1/8+ tsp of cayenne.
Thanks for all of the suggestions.
Where do we put in the cornstarch, it is not mentioned in the instructions ,but in the ingredients list?
You’ll add the cornstarch in step 6 (rest of the sauce ingredients). Sorry for the confusion. I hope you enjoy it!
Can you leave out the rice wine, we don’t have wine in our house? will to be ok without it, or what can I use to substituent?
It’s a huge part of the flavor for the sauce but you can substitute white grape juice. Grape juice will be slightly sweeter.
maybe some vinegar?
Perfect! Thank you! My boyfriend and I absolutely loved it, already planning to make it for friends. A billion stars, better than any restaurants.
Thanks so much, Tristen. I really appreciate the 5 stars.
Yes, this was very good. My daughter picked up some thighs for me (marked down). So I made 3+ lbs and have enough in the freezer for 2-3 more meals depending on who eats. I bought a bottle of wine across the street from where we live to avoid having to go into the grocery store for the rice wine vinegar.
That’s awesome! So glad you were able to make some extra for fast meals later 🙂
I will say my husband loves this! I’ve already made it four times since I discovered this recipe not long ago. I myself have never been a fan of orange chicken.
Wow, four times! That’s almost as much as me haha! If you aren’t a big fan of orange flavor, I would try my Easy Sesame Chicken. Very popular and close enough to orange chicken that I bet your husband will still love it and you can enjoy it too! 🙂
notes for when i make again:
1 1/2 cup panko, 3 eggs (didn’t have quite enough for 2 lbs chicken)
buy 2-3 oranges
double sauce recipe! mine didn’t have near the amount in your pictures and i followed recipe exactly
sorry if i double posted, no need to post both:0
So glad you liked and were able to adjust notes for next time!
Hello Sabrina , You have done it again; it taste far better than the Panda Express or any other place. It was so simple easy and quick.
I want you to copycat Taylor Farms Kale salad the Lemon Poppy dressing. I know you can surpass it.
Every thing you made is AWESOME.
You’re so sweet, thanks! I’ll add your suggestion to my to do list. Have a great day!
We can’t get crushed red peppers here in Oz but I have found crushed dried chilli that is 50% seeds. Can you tell me if the American crushed peppers has the seeds in it or is it just the flesh?
There are no seeds in crushed red peppers. I would probably just use cayenne as a substitute but you may need to add about 1/4 teaspoon to adjust for the difference. Hope this helps!
Okay, so I made this tonight for about 18 volunteers who prep food for our homeless breakfast, and they LOVED it. This is sooooo good! Made a quadruple batch and baked half, fried half. Most folks tried both, and really loved the baked version. Two little girls who decorate the lunch bags thought they’d hate the sauce but then ended up licking it off their fingers. State Department lady who’s been all over the world just had to have the recipe! Have I raved enough! This is the most appreciative I’ve seen this crowd. They always eat, but tonight they went on and on about how delicious it was. I have enough left for a full steam pan, half and half, for our homeless folks in the morning. They’re a discerning crowd, but very appreciative. I’ll let you know what they say.
You just made my day, Jeanie! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know.
Our homeless folks the next morning loved this orange chicken too!! I’m making another double batch for after church tomorrow. Thank you so much for this recipe!
You’re welcome, Jeanie!
Very very very good. I would like a little more sauce because it was so yummy
Thanks for dropping by to let me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
LOVE that this is baked instead of fried! Absolutely giving this a try!
Thank you, Taylor!
I am loving the idea of baking this orange chicken. Sounds so delicious.
This was really good! My husband loved it!
Fantastic! Thanks for coming back to let me know.
mmm..this looks SO good!! A must try!
I hope you enjoy it!
My favorite orange chicken recipe!
I’m so glad you love it so much Aimee.
Delicious! I subbed two of the tablespoons of sugar for brown sugar. Sooooo good!
Made this tonight and I would give it 10 stars if I could. The sauce is so spot on, it tastes just like Panda Express! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks Sabrina!
Yay!! Thank you so much, Mandy!
Can’t wait to try this. Love orange chicken
I’m excited to try this recipe out tomorrow and will update this comment after I do. But first I have a (maybe?) dumb question. Is mirin the same as the rice wine you listed or would I need to find chinese rice wine? Thanks!
Mirin is a bit sweeter so as long as you’re okay with that, you can use that. Enjoy!
Hi Sabrina, I love your site and the recipes you share. Thank you. I have a question about oven baking the Orange chicken … you state to “add the panko to a food processor and pulse until the crumbs are much smaller, like regular breadcrumbs”. Instead of doing this, can regular breadcrumbs be used or will this change the texture of the chicken?