Orange Chicken (Panda Express Copycat)

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We all love to indulge in a delicious guilty pleasure every now and then.

There is something irresistible about a dish that is a little sweet, a little tangy, a little saucy, and a whole lot of crunchy. This dish takes the fast-food chain’s classic dish and turns the dial up in a big way.

An overhead view of a wok filled with orange chicken with a wooden spoon inserted in the side.

How To Make Orange Chicken From Scratch

As is the case with many Asian-inspired dishes, it’s important to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

This dish is no exception.

EXPERT TIP: If you don’t have a wok, no problem. The dish can easily be prepared in a cast-iron skillet or any pot that can handle high heat.

NOTE: If you liked this video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. Remember to click the little ‘bell’ icon so you’ll never miss a new video.

How To Make Extra Crispy Fried Chicken

When we set out to make this iconic dish even better (a tall order, we know), we knew we had to start with the chicken. It needed to be extra chicken.

A two-stage dredge does the trick. We’ll start with a wet flour batter to dredge the chicken pieces in and then a second dry seasoned flour will produce extra crispy chicken

EXPERT TIP: When adding water to the flour to make the wet batter, be sure it’s ice cold. Add iced water to a large measuring cup and then pour into another 1-cup measuring cup, holding the ice back. This is a similar approach to making amazing tempura. The wet batter should have the consistency of pancake batter.

A fork being used to dredge chicken pieces in a wet batter in a pan and then those pieces dredged in flour.

Dredge all of the chicken pieces first while your oil is heating up.

We highly recommend using a candy thermometer to ensure you’ve reached an oil temperature of 350°F to 360°F.

EXPERT TIP: Fry the chicken in batches, you don’t want to overcrowd the oil. Use a spider or a couple of forks to move the chicken pieces around in the oil. This will keep the pieces from sticking to each other.

A kitchen spider holding up pieces of fried chicken nuggets over a wok filled with hot oil.

How To Serve

Once you’ve created the amazing orange chicken sauce and then coated the extra-crispy pieces of fried chicken with it, you’ll be tempted to eat them all right from the wok.

However, we love to serve the dish over perfectly steamed rice.

NOTE: Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to several days, but this dish is best when served piping hot right from the wok.

An overhead view of a black dinner plate filled with white rice topped with orange chicken with a pair of chopsticks on the side of the plate.

Other Classic Chinese Dishes

Here are a few of our other favorite Asian-inspired dishes that you will love making at home:

In the meantime, don’t you want to sink your teeth into this classic dish?

A black dinner plate filled with white rice topped with orange chicken and garnished with chopped scallions.

Folks, if you love Orange Chicken from Panda Express as much as we do, then you are going to flip for this dish.

Super crispy fried chicken pieces in a deeply flavorful orange syrupy sauce that are just unbelievable.

You may never order out again. Well, that’s a stretch. But, seriously, this orange chicken will change your life. It’s honestly that good!

A pair of chopsticks holding up a piece of fried orange chicken over a plate of the same.

Ready to make the best homemade take-out dish this side of, well, you know where? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A black dinner plate filled with white rice topped with orange chicken and garnished with chopped scallions.

Orange Chicken (Panda Express Copycat)

If you love orange chicken from Panda Express, then you are going to absolutely flip for this dish. Extra crispy chicken in a deeply flavorful orange sauce. Truly amazing.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Chinese / American
Keyword: how to make orange chicken, orange chicken copycat recipe, Panda Express copycat recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 763kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Wok or sturdy pot that can handle high heat

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

For the Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken thighs boneless, skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup water ice cold
  • cups flour divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for frying and then for stir-frying.

Finishing

  • 1 tbsp ginger fresh, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp scallions chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Make the Sauce

  • In a medium bowl, mix together all of the sauce ingredients until fully combined. Set aside.

Prepare the Chicken and Stir-Fry

  • In a medium bowl or pan, mix together 1½ cups of flour with the cold water and egg. Stir until a batter forms (it should have same consistency as pancake batter).
  • In another bowl, pan, or platter, mix together 1 cup of flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in your wok to 350°F.
  • Working in batches, coat the chicken pieces in the wet batter and then dredge in flour. Set aside. Finish the remaining chicken.
  • Working in batches, fry the battered chicken in the oil until golden brown and very crispy. Carefully remove from the oil with a spider or metal tongs and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Carefully discard all of the oil from the wok and clean out with a paper towel. See NOTES.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil over high heat in your wok.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Stir constantly.
  • Carefully pour in the reserved sauce and stir frequently. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  • Add all of the fried chicken pieces and stir to fully coat. Serve at once over rice.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance.  If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.  
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be substituted for chicken thighs.
You can fry the chicken up in a separate pot or deep-fryer and then cook the sauce in the wok or sturdy skillet.  Discard of any oil responsibly (don't pour down the kitchen sink!). 
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute.  This dish is best served piping hot right out of the wok!
We love serving this over Steamed Rice

Nutrition

Calories: 763kcal | Carbohydrates: 107g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 1819mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

4 Comments

  • Thank you so much for your prompt reply! The chicken was awesome but we didn’t have nearly enough sauce. When I make it again I will double it.

    • Ahh!! We are glad you enjoyed the chicken and we hope you try it again and if you love that sauce…double it!! It is a yummy sauce! Thanks for letting us know!!! Kris & Wesley

    • Woo hoo!! We usually use Kosher salt, but if you go with table salt (which is totally fine), use a little less than what is called for. Have fun and please let us know how it turns out!! Kris & Wesley

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