Today’s orange chicken recipe will introduce you to a well-known dish that has been a part of many Chinese banquets.
In this recipe, you’ll have bite-sized chicken chunks tossed with a sweet, sticky, and glossy orange marmalade. Together, they make a super tasty staple that’s done in 35 minutes
What Is Orange Chicken?
Orange chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish that consists of fried chicken chunks coated in a sweet, glossy orange-based sauce. Nowadays, this recipe is commonly found in North America, and is considered a variation of General Tso’s chicken.
Is Orange Chicken Healthy?
With 66.4 grams of carbohydrates per serving, orange chicken might not be the right choice for low-carb dieters.
However, as we’ve carefully tested and calculated all the nutritional values, this recipe still satisfies our healthy requirements. Accordingly, you’re safe with a total fat of 2.6 grams of fat and less than 600mg of sodium.
How to Make Orange Chicken
Step 1: Coat the chicken
Prepare two shallow plates, the first one with the beaten egg, and the second one with a mixture of cornstarch, flour, salt, and ground black pepper. Coat the chicken pieces successively in the two mixtures, going slowly with one piece at a time.
Step 2: Refrigerate the chicken
Cover the coated chicken with cling film and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Deep-fry the chicken
Heat 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Deep-fry the coated chicken for 5 minutes. Make sure the pan is not overcrowded.
Step 4: Make the sauce (1)
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, then add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Step 5: Make the sauce (2)
Continue to add orange juice, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and oyster sauce to the pan. Stir frequently until the mixture thickens.
Step 6: Add chicken to the pan
Transfer the fried chicken back to the pan, and toss to coat with the sauce. Add fresh orange slices to the pan, then turn off the heat. Stir.
Step 7: Serve
Sprinkle some black sesame seeds and chopped leeks. Serve with hot steamed rice.
Orange Chicken Sauce
The sweet orange chicken sauce lends a tangy and zesty touch to this dish and is super easy to make. It’s a combination of ginger, garlic, pepper flakes, orange juice, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and oyster sauce.
The mixture is cooked until it thickens and caramelizes into a glaze. It’s then tossed together with the crispy fried chicken, resulting in a sweet and sour orange-flavored dish.
Spicy Orange Chicken
In this recipe, it’s easy to kick up the heat. You can either mix Sriracha into the sauce, or sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top before serving.
Please make sure you go easy with these spicy ingredients. Try adding just a little of them at a time until you get the best taste.
1. Orange Beef
In addition to chicken, you also have beef as another choice of meat, known as orange beef. Although orange beef is less popular, it’s no less savory in comparison to orange chicken.
For orange beef, instead of cutting the meat into chunks, you’ll have to slice against the grain. Cook the beef together with the orange-based sauce just like you do with orange chicken.
2. Sesame Chicken
Little did you know, besides orange chicken, there’s another dish that’s often mistaken for General Tso’s chicken. It’s sesame chicken.
This misconception owes to a similar cooking method that requires tossing pan-seared chicken chunks in a sweet and sour glaze. In sesame chicken, the meat takes center stage while a spicy-sweet glaze works in the background to compliment the flavors.
Sesame chicken, much like orange chicken, is quick and straightforward with basic methods and ingredients. It makes both plating and cleaning convenient.
Feel free to take a look at both of our recipes to spot their differences!
What Goes with Orange Chicken?
As chicken thighs cook better over high heat, we believe they’re the best choice for this orange chicken. However, battered chicken alone can hardly make it a complete dish without the help of extra ingredients.
Orange chicken is always delicious on a bed of steamed white rice. This is pretty much the most basic combo in Chinese cuisine— serving a protein-rich dish on white rice.
If you’re trying to cut down on carbohydrates, simply swap regular white rice with cauliflower rice for a similar mouthfeel.
Aside from white rice, noodles are the second best choice to side along with orange chicken. In that case, this dish should be called “orange chicken lo mein.”
Fresh egg noodles with a stretchy texture will be what you need for lo mein. They break down into three common types: thin and chewy yi mein, flat noodles, and wonton noodles.
In this recipe, we replaced honey with brown sugar and orange juice.
We think honey might be too bold and could overshadow the orange flavor. However, please feel free to alter the sauce to your taste, or try adding honey during an attempt.
A hearty chicken salad with crisp broccoli really sounds like a powerhouse of protein. With just a few pantry ingredients, you have plenty of room for creativity in cooking.
You might want to mix some extra fruits and nuts in, then toss them together with the flavor-packed orange dressing. There you have an easy and comforting salad, done in a blink.
Calories in Orange Chicken with White Rice
As displayed in the images, one serving of this dish includes both battered chicken and a portion of white rice.
Accordingly, you’ll get 497 calories from consuming a single serving of this recipe as mentioned.
How Long Does Orange Chicken Last?
If staying on the counter, orange chicken is edible and safe within the same day it’s cooked. When stored in the fridge, it can last up to 2 days, as orange juice goes bad pretty quickly.
We honestly don’t recommend freezing fried chicken that’s already coated with the orange sauce, though. Both the flavor and the sauce consistency would be lost after reheating, so why take the chance?
What to Serve with This Recipe
Served with white rice and topped with orange slices, this orange chicken makes a lovely dinner with delightful flavors. The following recommendations will give you more ideas to wrap it up as a complete meal.
Leftover orange chicken can be tossed with nuts and leafy greens to make a homemade veggie-based salad.
In the same vein, dried fruits or feta cheese could also be added. Drizzle over some oil-free salad dressing, and there you have a light and fulfilling salad.
2. Miso Soup
Miso soup is a comforting and quick-to-make Japanese soup that we believe is a wonderful pairing with orange chicken.
Miso soup comes with soft tofu and savory salmon and shrimp in every scoop. Together with orange chicken, it creates an easy and delicious homemade meal.
3. Carrot Orange Pineapple Juice
Finally, this carrot orange pineapple juice will be the last thing you need to create a complete meal with orange chicken.
With fresh carrots, oranges, and pineapple, this refreshing three-ingredient drink is a nutritional powerhouse. It makes for a fantastic antioxidant boost at the end of the day!
How to Make Orange Chicken
- 14 oz skinless boneless chicken thigh chunked
- 2 eggs beaten (*)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil (*)
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp ginger grated
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
- 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp leeks chopped
- 5 oz oranges diced
- 3 cups cooked medium-grain rice equal to 1 cup uncooked
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Coat the chicken
- Prepare two shallow plates, the first one with the beaten egg, and the second one with a mixture of cornstarch, flour, salt, and ground black pepper.
- Coat the chicken pieces successively with the egg, and then with the cornstarch mixture. It is advised that you coat every chicken piece separately rather than pour the egg and cornstarch mixture into the chicken bowl and toss to coat. This way, the coating will be able to cover all the pieces evenly and won’t get crumbled.
- Cover the coated chicken with cling film and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Deep-fry the chicken
- Remove the chicken from the fridge.
- Heat 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Deep-fry the coated chicken for 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, otherwise, the chicken pieces might be glued together. If your pan is not large enough, divide the chicken into small batches (the cooking time for each batch is still 5 minutes).
Make the sauce
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir.
- Continue to add orange juice, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and oyster sauce to the pan. Stir frequently until the mixture thickens.
- Transfer the fried chicken back to the pan, toss to coat with the sauce. Add fresh orange slices to the pan, then turn off the heat. Stir.
- Sprinkle some black sesame seeds and chopped leeks. Serve with hot steamed rice.
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