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Panda Express Orange Chicken

You might be a fan of Panda Express, especially their iconic dish – the Orange Chicken.

This popular recipe is loved by many for its sweet and zesty flavors, combined with tender crispy chicken pieces.

But what if you could recreate this delightful dish in the comfort of your own home?

Good news – you can!

Thanks to our recipe, it’s now possible for you to satisfy your cravings for Panda Express’s Orange Chicken anytime you want.

Not only is it delicious, but it’s also quite easy to make.

It’s all about mastering the perfect balance between the battered and fried chicken, and that tangy, sweet, and mildly spicy orange sauce.

Below, we’ll dive in and guide you in recreating this delectable dish in your own kitchen.

Soon, you’ll be impressing your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills, all while never leaving the house!

panda express orange chicken recipe

So, first things first. What do you need to make this?

Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients for your Panda Express Orange Chicken:

  1. 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  4. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  5. 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1/4 cup water
  8. Vegetable oil (for frying): enough to fill a wok or frying pan to a depth of about 1 inch

For the crispy fried chicken coating, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, egg, and water in a bowl.

Then, toss your chicken pieces in the mixture before frying them in oil in a wok.

For the flavorful orange sauce:

  1. 1 ½ cups water
  2. ¼ cup orange juice
  3. ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  4. 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  5. 1 tablespoon orange zest
  6. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  7. ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  8. ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  10. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  11. 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine these ingredients in a separate bowl, and heat them up in your wok to create the delicious, tangy sauce that embodies the classic Panda Express taste.

How to Make Panda Express Orange Chicken

Here are the steps that will lead you to yum-yum land:

  1. Start by making the tangy orange sauce.
  2. Combine soy sauce, white vinegar, rice wine, sugar, chili flakes, and orange zest in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces on a cutting board.
  4. Make a pancake batter-like mixture by combining flour, cornstarch, salt, and water.
  5. Dip the chicken pieces into the batter and let them marinate. Better yet, refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Heat vegetable or peanut oil in a deep fryer or skillet. Place a wire rack on a nearby rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Fry the chicken pieces in batches until they’re golden brown. Keep a close eye on them, and use a thermometer to maintain the right temperature.
  8. When finished, transfer the chicken onto the wire rack to drain excess oil.
  9. For extra flavor, stir-fry some broccoli, red peppers, and green onions in a separate skillet.
  10. Combine the chicken and veggies, then pour the orange sauce over everything. Gently toss to fully coat everything in that delicious sauce.
  11. Serve the orange chicken with jasmine rice or chow mein. If you prefer, garnish with scallions and a sprinkling of chili flakes.

Now you can easily enjoy a tasty copycat recipe for Panda Express Orange Chicken at home without a slow cooker or air fryer!

Store your leftovers in an airtight or freezer-safe container and pair it up with some fried rice or sesame chicken next time.

When making this I’ve definitely adjusted the amount of chili flakes or exchanged panko breading. It just depends what you want!

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Orange Chicken

orange chicken on a plate

Select boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the best texture and flavor.

Cut them into bite-sized pieces, around 2 inches.

Always use a wok or heavy bottom pan for frying the chicken.

Pour an inch of oil into the pan and set the heat to high.

While the oil heats up, coat your chicken pieces evenly with cornstarch or batter.

Keep the coated chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before frying.

Once the oil reaches 350˚F (180˚C), gently add the chicken to the pan.

Cook for 5-6 minutes until golden brown, and then transfer the chicken onto a paper towel-lined plate.

Simultaneously, prepare the orange sauce in another pan or wok on medium-high heat.

Use fresh garlic, ginger, and optional red pepper flakes for an authentic taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil, turn off the heat, and mix in the fried chicken carefully to avoid splattering.

Remember to control the heat during cooking and monitor the sauce’s consistency.

Variations and Substitutions

Sometimes I switch things up in the recipe or substitute ingredients.

You can use chicken thighs instead of breast for a juicier result.

If you’re out of cornstarch, try using cornflour or equal parts regular flour.

For a gluten-free option, consider using arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.

For the breading, again, you can swap regular breadcrumbs for panko to achieve a crispier result.

Feel free to use different types of oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying.

When it comes to leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

You can reheat your leftover orange chicken in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Feel free to make modifications to the orange sauce for a spicier or tangier flavor.

Experimenting with different ingredients and techniques can help you create new and unique variations of the classic Panda Express Orange Chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Recipe

closeup of orange chicken

Can I customize the recipe to my family’s taste preferences?

Absolutely! Feel free to add extra chili flakes for a spicier version or adjust the sweetness level to suit your family’s taste buds.

Is orange chicken the same as General Tso?

No, orange chicken is a sweeter Americanized version of General Tso’s chicken, which is an authentic Chinese dish made with brown sugar and soy sauce.

How can I make a healthier version of this dish?

You can use air-fried or oven-baked chicken instead of deep-fried chicken to reduce the fat content.

Additionally, you can choose low-sodium soy sauce to control the salt levels.

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Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

Ingredients
  
For the chicken
  • 1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp Salt and white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp White pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • Vegetable oil (for frying): enough to fill a wok or frying pan to a depth of about 1 inch
For the flavorful orange sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Orange juice
  • 1 tbsp Orange zest
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Rice vinegar
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp Chopped green onion
  • 3 tbsp Cornstarch
Instructions
 
  • Make the orange sauce by mixing soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine, sugar, chili flakes, and orange zest in a bowl.
  • Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate in a batter made from flour, cornstarch, salt, and water.
  • Fry the chicken in vegetable or peanut oil and drain on a wire rack.
  • Stir-fry broccoli, red peppers, and green onions (optional) in a separate skillet.
  • Combine the chicken and veggies, pour the orange sauce over everything, and toss to coat.
  • Serve with jasmine rice or chow mein and garnish with scallions and chili flakes if desired.

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