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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Other Classic Chinese Dishes
Here are a few of our other favorite Asian-inspired dishes that you will love making at home:
- Homemade Egg Rolls
- Pork Dumplings in Peanut Sauce
- Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
- Sesame Chicken
- Best Chicken Fried Rice
In the meantime, don’t you want to sink your teeth into this classic dish?
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!
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!
Orange Chicken (Panda Express Copycat)
- 1 Wok or sturdy pot that can handle high heat
For the Sauce
- ⅓ 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
- 2½ 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.
- 1 tbsp ginger fresh, minced
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp scallions chopped, for garnish (optional)
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.