Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat)
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Panda Express Orange Chicken with tender chicken thighs fried crisp and tossed in a magical perfect-copycat sauce!
Panda Express Orange Chicken is the most popular recipe on the Panda Express menu and I’m sure you all know why! This recipe will make you dance a little in your chair as you eat it because it is just right on the money!
This recipe is different than the orange chicken recipe with orange marmalade that is SUPER popular online because the sauce in that recipe is based on a mixture of barbecue sauce and orange marmalade. While some of the pictures may look slightly similar, this Panda Express Orange Chicken is going to taste a lot different.
Looking for the ENTIRE Panda Express Recipe List? I have recreated the entire menu on the blog and have a Panda Express Recipe Index so you can easily access them! I have an entire section of the site dedicated to your favorite copycat recipes too!
Want some of the most popular Panda Express recipes?
- Panda Express Mushroom Chicken
- Panda Express Chow Mein
- Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken
- Panda Express Beijing Beef (Copycat)
Here’s a video of this Orange Chicken being made (I added green onions in the video, but that’s just for personal taste, the copycat doesn’t actually contain green onions).
It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients at play here and a lot of dishes to dirty, but it really does come together pretty quickly and at the end of the cooking when you have a plate of this chicken waiting to be eaten you’ll forget all about that pile of dishes left behind!
If you would like to kick up the heat a little bit and make this a spicy orange chicken, I suggest about 1/2 tablespoon of Sriracha mixed into the sauce. Any additional heat you can add with crushed red peppers.
If you’re looking to make your Orange Chicken healthy I have THE EXACT SAME Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe on the blog adapted for a much healthier meal. Look at Ground Orange Chicken (1 Pan!) and I even make it into a burrito (which was AMAZING) —> Orange Chicken Burrito. Most people make a version of baked orange chicken to lighten the calories, I do it instead with ground chicken which is browned really well first to give the crispy texture without the breading.
You all have loved this recipe so much since I posted it originally in 2015, I made a Q&A section of the most popular questions I was asked:
Orange Chicken Recipe for Crockpot/Slow Cooker?
I used to actually make this recipe in the slow cooker when Tyson made raw chicken tenders. I’d just put the tenders in the slow cooker with the sauce, cook on low for 3 hours, then add in a bit of cornstarch/water slurry and cook an additional hour. Now, I make small nuggets, bread them in panko then freeze them and cook them the same way. This recipe is coming soon on the blog.
What is in General Tso’s chicken?
Wok: The best way to cook quickly and over high heat for Asian dishes, this wok is the perfect stir fry pan.
Sriracha: Quite possibly the king of all pre-made hot sauces as far as I’m concerned. Adds heat without overwhelming you and can be used in almost every cuisine. Try mixing with mayo to make a perfect spicy mayo!
Citrus Zester: This zests your citrus perfectly without getting any of the pith in the recipe.
Soy Sauce: Nothing much to say here except Kikkoman has the best flavor overall and I always recommend reduced sodium.
Panda Express Orange Chicken
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 2 tbsp oil divided, plus more for frying
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup flour
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 10 tablespoons sugar
- 10 tablespoons white vinegar
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger root minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp hot red chili pepper crushed
- To make the sauce combine the 1 tablespoon cornstarch, rice wine, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, white vinegar and orange zest.
- To coat the chicken add the egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil into a bowl and whisk together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup corn starch and flour and mix well.
- In a large frying pan or a wok, heat oil in a wok 375 degrees.
- Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
- Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
- When you are done with the chicken, drain most of the oil from the pan (leave about a tablespoon).
- Add the ginger, garlic and crushed red peppers, cooking for about 10 seconds.
- Add the orange sauce and bring to boil
- Turn off the heat, and add cooked chicken and stir until well mixed.
The pictures above are from a newly photographed, but here were the originals from 2015:
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