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

4.94 from 96 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. I had no idea what to make with ground chicken in my freezer. I think this is the first time I cooked with it. Thank you for saving dinner! I didn’t have white sugar, so I used brown instead and swapped some sugar for orange juice. Yummy ?

  2. Delicious! Made a chicken version for myself and a veggie version for my vegetarian family. You nailed the flavor, thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Oh my god I made this last night and it was amazing. I live alone so lucky I have two more dinners from it. I will freeze it to have later in the month. I did substitute orange juice for the water in the sauce and I would double the sauce next time as there wasn’t enough to suit me but the flavour is superb. A real fast meal.Signing up for more.

  4. Thank you for this AWESOME recipe! Definitely a keeper! the flavor profile is good. I hope 2021 brings you and your family peace. Mahalo ?

  5. Great recipe! It was easy. I used less sugar and zest from the entire orange we enjoyed it I’ll make this again when I want a quick meal !

  6. Wow! This is so good and easy! My husband is literally scraping the pan to get every last tasty morsel of this dish. My only regret is that I didn’t double the recipe so we would have leftovers.

  7. This was surprisingly delicious and quite simple. I used monk fruit instead of sugar (would reduce to 4 tbl next time) and we had it over cauliflower rice. It was nice to fit this tasty satisfying meal into out low carb lifestyle. Thanks!

  8. I thought this recipe was great! Very simple to prepare and would hold it’s own at my fave NYC Chinese restaurant. Yes, the sugar could certainly be reduced, but it still tasted really good. Maybe next time I’ll use 2-3Tbs sugar. Oh, by mistake I used the zest of an entire orange but thought it was just right when I tasted it. Yum.

    I appreciated the direction to let the chicken get crusty before breaking it apart. Little hints like that make a BIG difference, so thank you to the chef.

  9. This was really good, although I would agree with others that I would reduce the sugar a lot more next time. What I liked also was that it was quick and easy to make and I already had all the ingredients.

  10. Loved this recipe. Super quick and easy. Some folks said it was bland. NOT! Full of flavor! I went easy and opted for the Uncle Ben’s instant brown rice, and it didn’t matter because the flavor profile of the sauce made it all wonderful (for those of you that aren’t fond of healthy brown rice). The only sub I made was to take the sugar amount and half it, and of that half, made half honey half sugar. Also served it with some microwaved steamed fresh broccoli, and married all the leftovers together for lunch the next day. Just super yummy without all the fat of frying. WAY TO GO, Sabrina!

  11. This was delicious. I used less vinegar and only 1 T sugar and olive oil and sesame seeds since I did not have sesame oil and the orange juice instead of water. Threw on a few pecans for crunch.

  12. This recipe is terrible. I am shocked by all of the great reviews. I used less than half the sugar because 5 TBSP seemed horrendous and it was still way too sweet! It looked, smelled, and tasted horrible. I put it over cauliflower rice and in the fridge for lunches this week hoping I won’t waste a whole pound of meat, but I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to eat it. What a waste!

    1. My daughter didn’t care for it either and complained about dinner. On the other hand, my husband, son and I were scraping sauce from the pan. Thankfully I made a double batch!

  13. This chicken was so good that I want more today. I had some ground turkey that I didn’t know what to do with and this fit the bill perfectly. I didn’t have any ginger so just used about 1/2 t. dried powdered ginger and it worked fine. I’ll be making this often!

  14. I just discovered ground chicken – I know where have I been. In searching for recipes I came across this one. It was a hit. It was perfect mixed with rice. I added orange juice instead of water in the sauce for a little extra kick. My chicken never really browned but will certainly be adding this to the rotation. Thanks!

  15. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! Gluten Free (With Gluten Free Soy Sauce) and Super Tasty. Made it for myself and My family couldn’t keep their paws off it, Ill be making it again tonight

    1. Really yummy! We had this tonight and all liked it. I used Monkfruit/erythritol sweetner in place of the sugar and it was perfectly sweet. Also used Coconut aminos for the soy sauce and added cauliflower rice and steamed veggies at the end. Thank you!

    1. I’ve not tested it that way before. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turned out. Thanks!

    2. Susan, as far as adding the 5 TBS of sugar, I used Monkfruit/Erythritol white sugar substitute and it was perfect.

  16. Thank you for this recipe! My husband and I are both nurses. This was so fast a flavorful!! We ate a healthy meal then relaxed.

    Also, I converted this easily to gluten free for our son with celiac. I swapped out the soy sauce for tamari. He loved it!

    1. Thank you for what you and your husband are doing every day for us. You’re both heroes. I’m thrilled to bring even a moment of happiness to your day. 🙂 Thank you for the comment!

  17. This was pretty good…. I was looking for a way to use ground chicken that I had and it was a nice change from my usual chicken meatballs. I did make some changes though…

    (1) IMO there is way too much sugar and vinegar and not enough soy sauce. I cut both the sugar and vinegar by half — the vinegar seemed right, but it was still too sweet for my taste.

    (2) I mixed the cornstarch/water into the ground meat and let it sit for a few minutes before cooking as cornstarch tenderizes ground meats.

    (3) Instead of the water in the orange sauce, I squeezed the juice from the orange after I zested it.

  18. Hi! We’ve made this a few times and have liked it, but realized last time I made it that I was using white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar… am I supposed to use distilled?? The color has been a little off (not deep amber) so I’m wondering if I’ve done something wrong. Would love to make it even better! Any advice?! Thank you!

    1. The recipe does use white vinegar (distilled) which will give it a stronger flavor than using white wine vinegar.

  19. It was ok. Used ground turkey since thats what I had on hand .I ended up adding more soy sauce, tangerine juice, hoison,extra ginger and garlic. There’s not much flavor to the turkey otherwise and no actual sauce was left in the pan unfortunately.

  20. I followed this recipe to a T. It was not good. Despite the number of robust ingredients this dish was incredibly bland (we could taste plain, ground chicken – not a good flavor!) I had seriously high hopes for this and wish it turned out better. We barely ate enough to be full and did not keep the leftovers. We served it with white rice and Asian style green beans.

  21. Is there a video of this being made somewhere? I was really excited about this dish, but the flavors seemed “off” to me and the consistency of the sauce never got to where I felt it should be. With so many positive comments, maybe I did something wrong?

  22. This was definitely enjoyed by my hubby, I used ground turkey, more OJ instead of vinegar and more soy sauce, to his liking. Served it over rice and he wants it again today in tacos! Thank you!

  23. Was super easy and amazing! Hard to find the Rice wine but managed to find it! super easy also. Next time I would double on the sauce so that way the chicken is not that dry, I like for my rice to have the sauce in it…. Im weird lol

  24. Great! I’m going to try diced chicken next time but I love the easiness of the ground chicken. I also used about 2/3 of the recommended sugar and the flavor was fine.

  25. This was delicious! Made it exactly to the recipe, bit found it a bit too sweet. So the next week, when my family demanded it again, I cut it back a bit.

    This is SO good and SO fast, I’m sharing it with everyone.

    Thank you for sharing it with US!

  26. I made this tonight for my sisters family, it was a hit. The only changes that I made where that I halved the sugar and I added the juice of half an orange. I also doubled the recipe, next time I’ll triple it!

  27. This was an awesome recipe! I would double the sauce recipe next time but other than that, would not change a thing. Thanks for a great recipe!

  28. Next time I will halve the sugar as it was a little too sweet for me. I also made the sauce a few hours ahead of time so that the flavors would have a chance to meld. Delishioso!!

  29. Delicious! Total hit with the family. I used white wine vs rice wine and added much more garlic and ginger. Topped with sliced green onions and paired with fried rice and broccoli. This one will definitely be made again.

  30. This was delicious! We ate it over white rice, roasted onion, zucchini and red pepper. Was so quick and easy to make!

  31. This is ridiculously good.

    I thought it would be a healthy-tasting imitation that would make me wish I was eating Panda Express. Instead, it was the exact same flavor without the guilt or the drive to the restaurant 🙂 AND it’s super-fast to boot?? So glad I made this! Thank you!

  32. Thank you for a really solid recipe! I made this with double the sauce (as others suggested) with twice the cornstarch slurry to account for the extra liquid. I also used 5 T of Lakanto sweetener instead of the 10 T sugar the larger amount of sauce would have needed. I felt that the Lakanto substituted well and the flavor was good. I will definitely be making this again!

  33. I so wanted to love this recipe but i really disliked it!! Cooking the ground chicken by itself first made it taste like boiled chicken. Adding all the flavor after the chicken was cooked never allowed the flavors to mesh with the chicken. I would marinate the chicken first at the very least. I almost threw it out but then decided to save it as well as I could by dumping all the cooked chicken and sauce in some egg and then tossing it in some flour and putting back in the pan with some oil and doing a quick fry. This added so much flavor and really helped this dish but I would only do that as a fix. Don’t think I’ll be making this again.

  34. I love Panda Express so was very excited to try this recipe! I used ground turkey. The sauce ingredients need to be quadrupled at least. This dish was ok. It’s a nice way to season ground turkey. I’ll try the other recipe that it actually says it’a a Panda Express orange chicken copycat.

    1. If you search the site, I do have a copycat version of Panda Express Orange Chicken if you’d like to try that next time. Enjoy!

    2. Hi Sabrina – thanks for the great recipe! Your chef experience shines through – I made this ground orange chicken and it was packed of flavor. Sweet, salty, tangy, and has texture too. My little picky eater (my toddler) and my big picky eater (my husband ?) love this recipe so much. We enjoyed it. So many adaptation can make. For extra veggies, I added chopped celery ? my picky eaters loves it and doesn’t mind the celery as oppose to adding it on other recipe. I have to double the serving portion because it doesn’t last long ? I have to try your Korean sloppy Joe next. Stay safe and take care!

  35. So easy and delicious! I omitted the red pepper flaked for fear they might be too spicy for the littles. We made sautéed green beans and cilantro lime rice as sides.

  36. So delicious! I omitted the red pepper flaked for fear they might be too spicy for the littles. 10 out of 10 recommend!

  37. Made this according to directions doubling the recipe and it was perfect. Easy to make and tasted just like take out, but better in my estimation. Thank you for the recipe

  38. Made this tonight for my family- it was delicious. I made a few adaptations as others did to lower the sugar, soy and corn content and increase the orange flavor. I doubled the recipe and made it in my wok.Used the frozen grated ginger cubes from Trader Joes and jar minced garlic. Plenty of flavor- I do prefer using fresh ingredients but was crunched for time. I wasn’t sure about the white vinegar so I used white wine vinegar. Used Coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, honey in place of sugar, potato starch in place of corn starch, the sake ( rice wine) was a great addition( in the recipe) to the sauce. I tasted it before and after I added it. I also quadrupled the sauce. Someone had mentioned that it needed more sauce, so I also added more potato starch, since I had more volume of liquid. At the end I stirred in some chopped green onions and garnished with fresh orange slices that tasted great with it too. So really not big changes at all. I used the Perdue Ground Chicken- which was all that was avail. as opposed to Whole Foods fresh ground- that was the appearance problem- they grind it in strands/ropes. Not very attractive. It looked just like the garlic vegetable fried rice I made. Really weird looking. It’s a keeper! Highly recommend. I don’t eat at Panda Express, but love fresh Asian cooking, as long as it is not in a heavy sauce. Thanks for the recipe.

  39. I have no rice wine, white wine or even red wine….can i just forego it and add in an extra Tbsp of rice vinegar? Obviously it will change the flavor profile, but would it effect the consistency of the sauce?

  40. I am very excited to try this recipe! I have ground turkey that I need to use – I’m wondering if that would change the flavor profile or the dish too much?
    Thank you!

  41. Wow! Just made this, so delicious ! Didn’t have some ingredients, used olive oil instead of sesame oil, flour instead of cornstarch, red cooking wine instead of rice wine and it was perfect! Definitely a keeper. Thanks!

  42. Delicious!!! It was easy too!! I did use 2 oranges for zest, more crushed red chili, cut sugar in 1/2 , added unsalted peanuts, water chestnuts and at end added cubed oranges to just warm them… So good. Love this recipe because you can add pretty much anything you have in kitchen and it will be terrific. Thank you!!