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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? 

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Panda Express orange chicken

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. 

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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.

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 your 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 your 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)

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

383

kcal

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.

Ingredients

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

  • 1 1 egg

  • 1 1 -1/2 teaspoons salt

  • white pepper

  • oil (to fry the chicken)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 flour

  • For the Orange Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons 3 soy sauce

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 orange juice

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 brown sugar

  • zest of 1 orange

  • 1 tablespoon 1 oil

  • 2 tablespoons 2 ginger root, minced

  • 2 teaspoons 2 minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon 1 red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 1/2 green onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons 2 rice wine

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 water

  • 2 tablespoons 2 cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon 1 sesame oil

Directions

  • 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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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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