If you’ve ever been to Panda Express, you must know how famous their orange chicken is, and my easy to make copycat Panda Express orange chicken helps knock it out of the park! The tangy, flavorful, and crispy batter-fried chicken with orange sauce has been making the rounds since the 1980s and has become an all-time favorite for people who frequent the restaurant.
While we cannot compete with the original recipe by Chef Andy Kho, we can try to make one as close to the original as possible. Therefore, after going through several copycat Panda Express orange chicken recipes, I decided to give it a shot.
And guess what? It turned out amazing! It was crispy, it was flavorful, and the chili sauce had that distinct citrusy tang that makes it so popular. At one point, my family literally thought I had ordered food from Panda Express! Yep, that’s how fantastic it was!
Well, for starters, it’s the award-winning dish at one of our favorite restaurants Panda Express, so there’s no question about loving it. Secondly, the copycat Panda Express orange chicken recipe is very easy to make.
You must be thinking that a dish that’s so famous must require one to spend hours in the kitchen; however, that’s not the case with this recipe. You can whip it up in less than 30 minutes! As for the ingredients, you won’t believe it, but most of them are basic pantry staples readily available in our kitchens.
So, if you’re lacking the motivation to cook something for dinner or a get-together, this copycat Panda Express orange chicken is one of the best options!
The crispy batter-friend chicken, coated with silky smooth, tangy orange sauce, is an instant crowd-pleaser! Serve it with steamed or garlic rice, and you have an extravagant meal to wow your guests.
Here are the simple ingredients you need to prepare the copycat Panda Express orange chicken recipe:
- 1 pound chicken thighs: We need boneless chicken cut into 1-inch cubes for this recipe. I used meat from the things; however, you can use chicken breast, also.
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour for coating: To get a crispy batter-fried chicken, we’ll coat it in flour.
- 2 eggs: We need 2 eggs as the wet ingredients for coating the chicken.
- 1 cup oil: We need oil to pan-fry the coated chicken. However, if you’re deep frying it, you can use 3 cups of oil.
- 1 cup orange juice: It’s orange chicken; therefore, we’ll use orange juice as the base of the sauce.
- 1 tbsp cornstarch: To give the orange chili sauce a thick glossy consistency.
- 1 tsp fresh ginge and 2 garlic cloves: Minced ginger and garlic to add flavor to the sauce.
- 2 tbsp brown sugar: To add a distinct sweetness to the tangy orange sauce.
- 2 tbsp soy sauce: Soy sauce adds depth to the sauce and gives it a pleasing brown color.
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes: To give the orange sauce a dash of spice.
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar: Rice vinegar adds a mellow sweet taste to the sauce and is less acidic than other kinds of vinegar.
- Salt and pepper to taste: The dish is incomplete without salt and pepper seasoning!
- Spring onions for decoration: To give the orangish-brown chicken a burst of fresh green color.
I’ve hand-picked some common queries to help you make the perfect orange chicken:
Can we make this copycat Panda Express orange chicken recipe in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can. Just put raw chicken with the sauce in the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours. Add cornstarch slurry to get the desired thickness. You can also quickly coat the chicken morsels and pan fry the chicken and then place in the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients (minus the corn starch slurry at the end). Once the slurry has been added, you can allow it to thicken and cook in the slow cooker.
Can we make the orange chicken in advance?
Sure, you can make the chicken in advance. Just coat the chicken in flour, fry it as described, and freeze it for up to 3 months. As for the sauce, you can make a batch and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, reheat the chicken, add it to the sauce, and simmer until everything is heated.
1. You can use water instead of orange juice. Just add rice/white wine and orange zest to the sauce to get the citrusy flavor.
2. Cooked orange chicken can stay good enough in the freezer for up to 3 months.
3. Serve it with white rice, fried rice, or quinoa.
More Delicious Chicken Recipes to Make
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sub
- Best Matzo Ball Soup
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Air Fryer Kung Pao Chicken