Ground Orange Chicken (1 Pan!)

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Ground Orange Chicken is made in one pan and only takes 20 minutes using a Panda Express copycat sauce. So much healthier than the original!

Ground Orange Chicken is made in one pot and only takes 20 minutes using a Panda Express copycat sauce. So much healthier than the original!

Ground Orange Chicken was born in my head one evening about a month ago when we were preparing Korean Ground Beef as we have for years. I had a package of ground chicken and I was about to suggest making Korean Ground Chicken when I thought, “ooooorrrrrrrrrrrrr….” and a whole new world of ideas came flooding into my head. In the last month we’ve made them in four different flavors (which are all coming soon).

This Ground Orange Chicken is amazing because it still has the crisp texture because we brown it well before breaking the chicken apart and it still has that amazing Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce that we all love. The only thing missing is the deep fat frying. Plus it takes literally 20 minutes to make, and that is at a leisurely pace. Maybe we can start a write in campaign to Panda Express and say hey, make this version for when we want the sauce but not the breading!

We LOVED this ground orange chicken, full of Panda Express Orange Chicken sauce and in just 1 pot and 20 minutes!

Set your rice to cook in the rice cooker, start cooking the chicken, and wash and cut up some broccoli to steam in the microwave (glass bowl, a bit of water and a wet paper towel over the top for 3 minutes). By the time the rice is done cooking, so is dinner.

Want more Chinese Food Recipes?

Ground Orange Chicken is made in one pot and only takes 20 minutes using a Panda Express copycat sauce. So much healthier than the original!

Tools Used in the making of the Ground Orange Chicken:
Wok: Great for high heat, quick cooking. This wok is a great addition to your kitchen if you love cooking Chinese food or stir fries in general.
Large Frying Pan: I use this Cuisinart for most of my non cast iron cooking unless I am going with a stainless steel option, then I choose my All Clad.
Soy Sauce: Nothing much to say here except Kikkoman has the best flavor overall and I always recommend reduced sodium.
Sesame Oil: The flavor of sesame oil in this dish is unmistakeable and not really able to be substituted. Some Asian grocery stores will try and sell less expensive options that aren’t actually sesame oil, so just be sure the one you’re buying is authentic sesame oil.
Rice Wine: Adds an authentic flavor to the sauce, in a pinch if you absolutely can’t find it you can substitute white wine, but it will make it taste slightly different.



Ground Orange Chicken

4.92 from 69 votes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Chinese (sort of...)
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Ground Orange Chicken is made in one pan and only takes 20 minutes using a Panda Express copycat sauce. So much healthier than the original!


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoons ginger root minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp hot red chili pepper crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. To make the sauce combine the rice wine, 2 tablespoons water, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, white vinegar, and orange zest.
  2. To make the cornstarch mixture, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and set aside.
  3. To a large pan add 1 tablespoon oil and ground chicken.
  4. Cook until a good crust forms before breaking apart, then finish cooking by breaking it apart with a spatula and cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.

  5. Once the chicken is cooked add the ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for about 10 seconds.

  6. Add the orange sauce and bring to boil.
  7. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and cook for just a few seconds, stirring until it thickens.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Amount per serving: 248 calories, Calories: 248g, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 405mg, Potassium: 604mg, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin C: 0.5g, Calcium: 10g, Iron: 1.1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Ground Orange Chicken (1 Pan!)
Ground Orange Chicken is made in one pot and only takes 20 minutes using a Panda Express copycat sauce. So much healthier than the original!
We LOVED this ground orange chicken, full of Panda Express Orange Chicken sauce and in just 1 pot and 20 minutes!
Ground Orange Chicken is made in one pot and only takes 20 minutes using a Panda Express copycat sauce. So much healthier than the original!

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  1. Good dish but a little too sweet for our taste. Next time I’ll cut the sugar in half, and add some garlic chili paste an extra kick.

  2. This is an awesome dish. Highly recommend it. I made them into lettuce wraps added cooked onion and pepper during the process of making the ground chicken. I did double the sauce but subbed out some of the white vinegAr for rice wine vinegar since I didn’t have regular rice wine. Sabrina is one of my favorite bloggers! Her recipes never fail.

  3. Thank you very much for this recipe. I’ve been looking for an orange chicken sauce recipe for such a long time and it was never quite right until I found your recipe. I made this last night with ground turkey and steamed veggies and brown rice and it was delicious and the sauce is absolutely delicious and spot on to what you would get at a Chinese restaurant. My family loved it so much and couldn’t stop raving about it. Thanks again.

  4. I made this recipe for the first time and was very pleased.
    I would add onions and peppers to the meat mixture and double the sauce.

  5. This is so good, and easy to make. The first time I made this, I followed the recipe exactly, and found there wasn’t quite enough sauce for my liking. I made it again tonight with an assortment of veggies and twice the sauce, and it was just as delicious, with all the sauce I love to use! We’re having pork loin roast tomorrow night, and I’m going to do a looser version of this sauce to use as a glaze for the roast. I expect it to be spectacular! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  6. I tried this tonight with my family. It was really delicious. definitely something we would make again. Thank you so much for the healthy recipe. I took out the sugar and substituted some honey and added some crushed cashews and some snow peas very good

  7. This is excellent and so easy! I tweaked it very slightly, substituting arrowroot powder for the cornstarch, as well as Sukrin brown sugar substitute for the sugar. Ground chicken is so easy to get at Trader Joe’s, and this is a recipe with ingredients that I keep on-hand. Thank you for sharing! I loved it!

  8. Thank you for posting. This is a quick, easy dinner for enjoying a warm spring on the patio. As a long time cook, I rarely measure anything ad sub as I go along, usually because that’s what I have on hand (actually I taste as I go, and end up full before dinner!) I used ground turkey and browned in a combo of sesame and vegetable oils. your browning technique is right on for larger pieces. I have not tried that before. I added the ginger, garlic and used sambal oelek. If you don’t like spicy, I would recommend adding a tsp. at a time to taste. I added a Tbl. orange marmalade, skipped the sugar, and made the sauce with some chicken broth and OJ. Thickened it with the cornstarch, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Served over brown rice and steamed broccoli. Will definitely put this in my rotation and look forward to trying your other recipes.

  9. Thank you for posting this recipe! I had ground chicken on hand, but had to substitute a few of the ingredients – and it still came out really good! I doubled the sauce, and had to use these substitutes due to what I had on hand: ground ginger for the fresh, cayenne for the red pepper, cooking sherry for the rice wine, and olive oil for the sesame oil. Again, many thanks for helping change up our dinner menu! I’m so glad I found your website, Sabrina!

  10. Just made it. Amazing!! Quick AND easy. Did not have an orange so I used 1 teaspoon orange marmalade. Hints of orange still apparent. Definitely will make again and when company comes over. Side with some rice and broccoli for a quick meal that seemed like I did a lot of work.

  11. your recipe was absolutely amazing! It cooked up in no time and the sauce was delicious. Didn’t and wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you Sabrina for posting this wonderful and relatively healthy recipe. Do you have any suggestions for a sugar substitute for part of the 5 tablespoons as it would make it the perfect recipe for those who need to watch their sugar intake? Thanks again Sabrina, great recipe

    1. I’m so glad you loved it! If you’re looking for anothe recipe with a lower sugar intake, I would recommend my Ground Kung Pao Chicken recipe. Enjoy!

  12. This recipe is great. Love being able to make a sauce from scratch instead of using a bottled product full of “extra “ additives!
    The only thing I changed up was, I added 1 TBs of a fresh squeezed orange to the cornstarch instead of the water…
    Thanks for post this delicious meal!

  13. Made this for dinner for 2. Used half the chicken and all the sauce. (We like extra on rice). Very good! Except I used a little more time orange zest and it was too much. Didn’t measure it correctly

  14. I made the recipe with the exact measurements given but substituted dry sherry for the rice wine and olive oil for the sesame oil. Those were the suggested substitutions I found online for those products. Since the recipe specified “sesame oil” and not “toasted sesame oil” I figured that would be ok. My understanding is toasted sesame oil has a stronger flavor and there’s really no good substitution. Well, it was super yummy!!! My husband thought it was a little heavy on ginger, & I was concerned when making the recipe that it might be too much. After eating it I didn’t think it was, but I think it would be just as good with a little less ginger. I served it with broccoli and brown rice. Oh my, it was so good. I’m happy to have found something good to make with ground chicken. I’m not a fan of chicken in general or of any ground poultry, but I had it in the freezer and didn’t know what to do with it. This is something I will definitely make again. Thank you!

  15. thank you for this recipe, i’ve been looking for one that will put the ground chicken I’ve got to great use.
    in as far as the ingredients are concerned, i think that 5 tablespoons of vinegar is too much, i think 1.5 tbs is generous. and for a more kid-friendly taste, be unafraid to add more sugar.

  16. I made this for dinner tonight. I quadulpled the sauce and doubled everything else so I’d have sauce for rice and leftovers for tomorrow. It’s a hit! Thanks!

  17. I’m going to try this tonight. I went to the store yesterday, picked up ground chicken knowing I had no Idea what to do with it. (I don’t know why I did that. smh) Thanks girl, i’ll let you know how it comes out.

  18. Ooooh, I’m gonna have to try this! My toddler is so picky about the texture of meat and will only eat ground meat so I’ve been trying to figure out how to get her to eat chicken!

  19. AWESOME RECIPE! I had some ground chicken in my freezer and searched up recipes for ground chicken.. I’m so glad yours showed up. It was delicious (used brown sugar but definitely used too much) But otherwise really goodP.S. HAY NAME TWINS

  20. Fantastic recipe. We tripled the sauce as a previous poster advised. Next time, I will use less sugar as I found it a bit sweet. This was a family favourite and will definitely be part of our regular dinner rotation.

  21. Tried this and won’t be making it again. Too much vinegar taste, and added honey like someone suggested to curb the tanginess of this. Pretty much a waste of ingredients. Bummer.

  22. While the flavor was good the amount of sauce was lacking. My chicken was actually dry- and I even doubled the sauce. I’d definitely make it again because the flavors are so good, but needs much more sauce.

  23. This panda Express orange chicken recipecalls for rice wine, but if you click on it it takes you to white cooking wine on Amazon. Which is it supposed to be?

  24. Awesome recipe. Definitely double the sauce. I didn’t have orange zest but did use someone’s recommendation to add some orange marmalade. Would definitely make again.

  25. I’m going to try this Tonight but not having and ornage for the zest I’ll replace the water oj I think it should be fine. This sounds delicious though

  26. Made this recipe tonight and it came out really good. I didn’t have rice wine so I used dry white wine. For added flavor I squeezed a half of orange into the pan while it was cooking. I will definitely make this again.

  27. Yum.  We used honey instead of sugar. Also added chili garlic paste- we like it hot.
    Added onions and mushrooms and served with “lettuce bowls “ hit with my gal pals for a lite lunch….

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! Sorry I don’t have the nutritional facts for recipes on the site but I know there are a lot of free resources on the internet from when I’ve cooked for clients with low calorie diets.

  28. Loved it made some substitutions because of what I had available. Threw in some carrots, water chestnuts, red bell pepper and snap peas w the broccoli. Whole family loved it. Will definetly be making again!!!

  29. This was very good! Added a little sambal as we like it a little spicier. Will definitely make again and looking forward to trying your other recipes. Thanks!

  30. What oil is used to cook the chicken? Also, way too much sugar. Can it be cut back? Also, am I looking for rice wine in the food section of an Asian market or something drinkable as well, that part is vague.

    1. I used canola oil but you can use whatever cooking oil you have. You can definitely cut back on the sugar though it will change the flavor of the dish. Rice wine is found in the part of the supermarket where Asian cooking products are found. There’s also a link above in the post that takes you to where you can find it on Amazon. You can use white wine as a substitute but again, it will change the flavor of the dish. Hope this was helpful. Enjoy!

  31. This was delicious! I didn’t have any ginger on hand but it was still very good. Will definitely make it again. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Dang! Sabrina! This is going down as one of my top 3 favorites on Pinterest! That flavor is so orangy and delicious! TO think it’s also healthy? Terrific! The only thing I changed was to replace the sugar with erythritol to keep the blood sugar under control.

    1. SO GLAD you liked it! We’ve been doing this with a few of the Panda Express recipes to cut down on frying and the whole family loves it. Thank you so much for leaving a comment! PS, I have a kung pao version going up in a week or so too. 🙂

    1. It’s similar but it’s a rice cooking wine which has a more distinct asian flavor and makes the dish more authentic in taste.

  33. This was a win for everyone in the family. I tripled the sauce as someone else recommended and lowered the sugar a bit. Awesome! Thank you, thank you!

  34. So good. I made this with ground turkey..had on hand. Turned this into a lettuce wrap topped with shredded carrots, green onion and sesame seeds. Will be making these often!

  35. Oh, this is brilliant! We love orange chicken, and this sounds like a fabulous rendition to make at home!