Home Copycat Recipes Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat Recipe)

Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat Recipe)

To know Panda Express orange chicken is to love it. It’s a phenomenal dish that’s hard to pass up when you’re craving Chinese. 

The combo of breaded, fried chicken paired with deeply flavorful sauce is divine. But do you ever think about how it’s made? 

Panda Express orange chicken
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What exactly is involved in producing a dish like this one? Well, worry no more!

This post will take an inside look at the Panda Express orange chicken recipe. 

I’ll take you through the process step by step. So come along and find out what makes this fantastic entrée so irresistible!

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Ask any Panda Express employee what their most popular dish is. The resounding answer will be orange chicken.

It’s their best-selling entrée and for good reason! 

With this recipe, you won’t have to leave your house to enjoy it. 

The first thing I want to say about the recipe is this: Don’t let it scare you!

It uses a lot of ingredients and has several steps. However, the recipe is unbelievably easy to follow. 

Plus, the ingredients are simple ones; you probably have 90% of them in your kitchen right now. 

You’ll have several dishes to wash at the end, it’s true.

But once you get a taste of that sweet sauce and bite into that crunchy crust, you won’t care. This recipe truly is a Panda Express copycat. 

It tastes absolutely incredible, and you’ll love it. 

Panda Express orange chicken

How to Make Panda Express Orange Chicken 

If you want to jump straight to the recipe, you can find that below.

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However, I want first to break down all those steps a little. 

In this section, I’ll simplify the recipe and show you that it’s not as difficult as you think.

Here are the primary steps to making delicious copycat Panda Express orange chicken: 

1. Prepare the chicken.

Before you fry the chicken, you need to dip it in two different bowls. This step is no different from the preparation of any fried chicken meal. 

You start by chopping the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Then, dip those into the wet mixture (egg, salt, pepper, and oil) followed by the dry (cornstarch and flour).

2. Cook the chicken.

Next, you’ll cook your chicken in a wok heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Work in small batches and fry the chicken until it reaches the perfect golden-brown hue.

Each piece shouldn’t need more than 3 or 4 minutes in the oil. 

3. Mix up the sauce.

Some people do this before starting with the chicken. It takes only minutes to pull together, so I typically do it while my chicken drains.

You only add some of the ingredients at first. Start with the soy sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, and orange zest.

(This is all you’ll need even if you decide to make the sauce first.)

4. Heat the sauce.

This step is the same whether you make your sauce before or after cooking the chicken. Clean and heat your wok. 

Then, add oil, ginger root, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and green onions.

Stir-fry the mixture for a few seconds until your kitchen starts to smell amazing. 

Then, add the rice wine and the sauce mixture you made earlier. Stir the mixture and bring it to a boil. 

5. Return the chicken to the wok.

Once the mixture is boiling, drop your cooked chicken pieces back into the wok.

Stir it well, coating each piece completely. 

Continue to stir it gently until the sauce reaches a thick consistency.

Then, remove it from the heat and drizzle it with sesame oil if you want. 

6. Plate and serve.

Serve the chicken and sauce over cooked jasmine rice.

Cooking Tips 

Because this recipe is so easy to follow, I only have a few tips for you:

  • Use fresh-squeezed orange juice if possible. Doing so will result in the best and brightest orange flavor. If fresh-squeezed isn’t an option, use juice, not orange juice concentrate.
  • Try to keep the chicken pieces separated while frying. They cook more thoroughly that way. Also, once you get them in place, leave them be. Constantly moving them around will make it difficult to get a crispy crust.
Panda Express orange chicken

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe Variations 

This copycat recipe is so good that I’m not sure you’ll want to play with it too much.

However, if you’re feeling creative, here are a few variations to keep in mind: 

  • Spice it up. Add cayenne and red pepper flakes if you like your food with a kick. Hot sauce is another option, though it might make it tangier, too. 
  • Leave out the brown sugar. If you want a slightly healthier option, forego the brown sugar. Instead, use natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey. The taste won’t be exactly the same, but it’ll still be close. 
  • Mix in some veggies. You can stir-fry other veggies before you add the sauce to the wok. Dress up the meal however you like, with white or red onions, peppers, mushrooms, and more. 
  • Play with the toppings. Try sesame seeds or peanuts for a bit of added crunch. Other options are chopped green onions, thinly sliced leeks, a dash of cayenne, etc. 

Remember, you can also try this recipe out with beef, pork, or tofu.

How to Store Orange Chicken 

If you have any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and stick them in the fridge. They should keep for about 3 days. 

However, the chicken won’t retain its crispiness, so keep that in mind.

Despite the slightly soggy texture, the dish tastes just as good. 

Can I Freeze Orange Chicken? 

If you’ve mixed all the sauce and chicken, freezing may not be an option.

(You can freeze it. It just won’t reheat well when mixed together.)

However, freezing is a great way to extend this recipe’s life if you can freeze them separately.

Store the chicken in its own freezer-safe container. Then, store the sauce similarly. 

They should last in the freezer for approximately 3 months.

When you want to reheat them, do so separately, as well. The sauce reheats best on the stove. 

Put the chicken in the oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) and heat it for about 15 minutes.

Then, combine the two and serve it over freshly cooked rice. 

Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





This copycat recipe for Panda Express orange chicken is just like the real deal! Learn the simple recipe, plus, get cooking tips to be sure it comes out perfect every time.


  • For the Chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, diced into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 egg

  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons salt

  • white pepper

  • oil (to fry the chicken)

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • For the Orange Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3/4 cup orange juice

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • zest of 1 orange

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, minced

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 green onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • For the Chicken
  • Add the diced chicken to a large bowl and put it aside for later.
  • Combine the egg, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium bowl. Put it aside for later.
  • Using a separate medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of cornstarch and flour. Stir gently until well mixed.
  • Add oil to the wok. Heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Start by dipping the chicken first into the egg mixture. Next, dip them into the flour and cornstarch mixture. Gently shake off any excess flour.
  • Fry each piece of chicken for 3 to 4 minutes until it reaches a gorgeous, golden-brown shade. Cook in small batches, and be careful not to cook the chicken too long.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and place it on paper towels to drain.
  • For the Orange Sauce
  • Mix the soy sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, and orange zest in a small bowl. Put it aside for later.
  • After allowing the wok to cool, clean it thoroughly.
  • Heat the wok on high heat for 15 seconds.
  • Add a tablespoon of oil. Then, combine the ginger root, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and green onions. Stir-fry the mixture for several seconds until it’s fragrant.
  • Mix in the rice wine.
  • Mix in the soy sauce mixture you put aside earlier.
  • Add the fried chicken. Coat it well.
  • Using a separate small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch. Pour the mixture into the wok and continue to stir until the mixture is thick.
  • If using sesame oil, add it now.
  • Serve the chicken over cooked jasmine rice, and enjoy!
Panda Express Orange Chicken

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

7 thoughts on “Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat Recipe)”

  1. Hi Kim, I love your recipes and want to thank you and wish you a Happy Marriage, Whether it’s still in the future, Or already done. I don’t have a WOK, Can I make the Panda express Orange Chicken in an Air Fryer ?. I’m going to be 83 soon and I cook for just myself. The air fryer lets me cook small amounts easier….Thanks Again And I do appreciate all of effort you put into the great recipes….Darel

    • Hi Darel, thanks for the kind words! Here’s how to adapt this recipe for the Air Fryer:

      Follow the recipe’s initial steps by mixing the diced chicken with the egg, salt, and a dash of white pepper. Instead of oil for frying, lightly coat the chicken pieces with a spray of oil after they are coated in the cornstarch and flour mixture to help achieve a crispy exterior.

      After mixing the chicken with the egg, salt, and white pepper, combine the cornstarch and flour in a separate bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and flour mixture until they are well coated.

      Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 3-5 minutes.

      Arrange the chicken pieces in the air fryer basket in a single layer. You might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your air fryer to avoid overcrowding and ensure even cooking.

      Spray the chicken lightly with cooking oil to ensure it crisps up.

      Cook for about 8-10 minutes, then flip the chicken pieces and spray lightly with oil again if needed. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

      While the chicken is air frying, prepare the orange sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Sauté the minced ginger and garlic until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Add the red pepper flakes, green onion, and orange zest, and sauté for another minute.

      Add the soy sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, and rice wine to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

      Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl until smooth. Pour this mixture into the saucepan, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.

      Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the sesame oil for added flavor.

      After the chicken is cooked and crispy, toss it in the sauce until each piece is well coated.

      Hope you enjoy it!

  2. I made the “Panda Express Orange Chicken” tonight to go with some leftover rice. I loved this dish and its spiciness is perfect. It is a winner that I will make again.

  3. Hello, I have liked all of your recipes I’ve tried! With this recipe I have a glass cooktop and no wok. Could I use my cast iron Dutch oven to fry the chicken? Thank you.

    • Sorry for the delay in responding to your question, Bob. We’ve been looking around, researching, and trying to find a good answer for you. Unfortunately, I’m still not 100% sure as to whether or not your Dutch oven would work for this recipe.

      Dutch ovens are so much deeper than woks that I’m not sure how easily you could stir-fry in it. Plus, cast iron locks in heat really well, so it would be easy to over-cook the chicken if you weren’t careful.

      If you have a large, heavy skillet or sauté pan, that might work better. Sorry I couldn’t give you a clearer answer. :-/


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