orange chicken

Orange Chicken

It’s hot sticky sweet. This Chinese American chicken commonly found on takeout menus is the perfect combination of sweet, tangy and citrus flavors. The chicken is marinated in orange juice to add an extra kick of citrus while tenderizing the meat. Small pieces of the chicken are then dredged and fried to a golden crisp before being coated in the sauce. I like to toss the chicken in the sauce rather than adding the sauce to the pan for it to caramelize so that the chicken remains crispy.



For the sauce:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Zest from 2 oranges

¼ cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons water

½ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons white vinegar

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 green onions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated

1 teaspoon cornstarch


For the chicken:

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs

Juice from 1 orange

1 large egg

½ cup cornstarch

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying



For the sauce:

In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk together the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, orange zest, soy sauce, water, sugar, white vinegar, rice wine vinegar and the white part of the green onions. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by about half. Once the mixture is reduced, make a slurry by whisking together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Whisk the slurry into the sauce and continue to simmer until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat then strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.


For the chicken:

Cut the chicken into 1” cubes and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the orange juice, cover and marinate for at least an hour.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. In a medium shallow bowl whisk the egg. In another medium shallow bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Working in batches dredge the chicken in the egg and then in the flour. Fry the chicken in batches, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and repeat process with remaining chicken. Add the chicken to a medium mixing bowl and toss in the sauce.

Serve topped with the remaining green onions with a side of rice.


Serves 4. 

orange chicken closeup
bowl of orange chicken


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