Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

Craving that signature Panda Express Orange Chicken? 🍊🍗 Bring the iconic sweet and tangy flavors to your kitchen with this easy homemade recipe! Perfectly crispy chicken coated in a delicious orange sauce. Serve it with steamed rice for a true takeout experience at home. 🥡
Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

This Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat is a straightforward Chinese recipe featuring crispy chicken with a flavorful, tangy orange sauce. It’s ideal for a family dinner that’s both delicious and budget-friendly.

Key Takeaways

  • Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat is a favorite Chinese-American dish that’s easy to make at home.
  • The dish includes tender, crispy chicken in a sweet and tangy orange sauce.
  • Separating the chicken from the sauce before storing makes it easier to freeze and reheat later.
  • Chicken thighs are best for their tenderness, but using breasts instead is a healthier choice.
  • Essential ingredients for this recipe include rice wine, orange juice, and cornstarch.
Panda Express Orange Chicken with Oranges

Recreating the Iconic Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat

This Orange Chicken recipe mimics the famous dish from Panda Express, but it’s much cheaper and just as tasty. The dish features tender chicken in a tangy, orange sauce. Making it at home lets you pick and adjust the ingredients. You can also make more if needed, perfect for a big family or a party. This version has a tangier, sweet and sour sauce that’s richer and more flavorful.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Served on a plate

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This Orange Chicken recipe tastes just like the famous Panda Express dish but can be made easily at home at a fraction of the cost. The recipe yields tender chicken soaked in a tangy, orange-based sauce, and it often beats the take-out version. Another benefit of making it at home is that you can control and adjust the ingredients. Plus, if you have a larger family or are hosting a gathering, you can easily double or triple the recipe. The sauce here is tangier with a sweet and sour taste, deeper and more flavorful than the original.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe Copycat

Ingredients To Make This Recipe

  • Chicken: 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs for tender, juicy pieces.
  • Sauce: 2 tablespoons each of sugar and light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, 1 tablespoon each of rice vinegar and soy sauce.
  • Batter: 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 egg, 1 1/4 cups cold sparkling water.
  • Frying: Dip the chicken in the batter and fry in oil at 350°F, cooking each batch for 5-6 minutes.
  • Consistency: The sauce should thicken to a honey-like consistency and coat the back of a spoon.
  • Sides: Serve with rice, veggies, noodles, or wraps.
Panda Express Orange Chicken Ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing the Chicken

  1. Coating: Mix egg, seasoned well, and a mix of flour with 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch.
  2. Dipping: Bathe 2 lbs of chicken, cut into small bits, in the egg. Cover in the flour mixture.
Panda Express Orange Chicken Photoshoot

Frying the Chicken

  1. Heating Oil: Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil to 375°F.
  2. Frying: Fry the coated chicken in batches for 3-4 minutes each, until perfectly brown and crispy.
Panda Express Orange Chicken over rice

Making the Orange Sauce

  1. Mixing Ingredients: Combine cornstarch, rice wine, water, orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugars, and more in a bowl.
  2. Boiling: Let the mixture boil.
Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

Combining the Chicken and Sauce

  1. Final Step: Return the cooked chicken to the pan with the sauce. Stir until the sauce thickens. Your orange chicken is ready to enjoy.
Panda Express Orange Chicken Advertisement

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken

Choosing the Right Cut of Chicken

For a juicy, tender dish, use chicken thighs. If you prefer less fat, chicken breasts are an option, but thighs bring that traditional orange chicken taste.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Piece

Achieving Crispy Perfection

Secret to Crunch: Roll your chicken in a mix of 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup flour. Fry in batches for 3-4 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Panda Express Orange Chicken on a plate

Balancing the Sweet and Tangy Flavors

The orange sauce’s magic is in the mix of sweet and tangy. It includes 2 tablespoons of rice wine, 1/2 cup orange juice, 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, and 1/3 cup white vinegar. A bit of orange zest adds a fresh, citrus kick.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Lunch

Serving Suggestions and Variations

Serving with Rice or Noodles

Serve the orange chicken on top of warm rice or noodles for a perfect combination of tender chicken and starch.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat Recipe

Adding Vegetables for a Healthier Option

Add stir-fried veggies like bell peppers, broccoli, or sugar snap peas for a balanced meal. Cook the veggies first to keep them fresh and tender.

Spicing It Up for Extra Heat

If you like it hot, add more red pepper flakes or a bit of hot sauce. The spiciness complements the sweet orange flavor.

Panda Express Orange Chicken on a table

The Origins of Panda Express Orange Chicken

Panda Express’s Orange Chicken Copycat is a simple Chinese meal featuring crispy, flavorful chicken in a tangy orange sauce. It’s a great choice for family dinners on a budget. This recipe mimics Panda Express’s famous dish, a highlight on their menu.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Bowl

The Fusion of Chinese and American Cuisines

Panda Express blends Chinese and American cuisines uniquely. The Orange Chicken mixes American orange sauce’s sweet and tangy flavors with classic Chinese fried chicken’s savory and crispy elements.

The Popularity of Panda Express

Panda Express has grown into a popular fast-food spot, with Orange Chicken as its top favorite menu item. The restaurant sells over 100 million pounds of it yearly. It’s also a regular at schools, military sites, and in the frozen food sections. The fame of Orange Chicken even reaches popular culture, loved by Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

Grilled Panda Express Orange Chicken

Nutritional Information and Dietary Considerations

Calorie and Macronutrient Breakdown

Homemade Orange Chicken: Calories 585 kcal, Carbohydrates 49 g, Protein 48 g, Fat 19 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 256 mg, Sodium 1906 mg, Potassium 649 mg, Fiber 1 g, Sugar 25 g, Vitamin A 145 IU, Vitamin C 8 mg, Calcium 39 mg, Iron 3 mg.

Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Options

  • Gluten-Free: Swap in gluten-free soy sauce and cornstarch.
  • Vegetarian: Replace chicken with firm tofu.
Crispy Panda Express Orange Chicken

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • Refrigeration: Store the orange chicken in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze for up to 3 months. Separate the chicken and sauce for the best flavor and texture.
Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

Taking My Orange Chicken To Go!

Making Panda Express Orange Chicken at home is fun and budget-friendly. You get the same great taste without the high cost. The recipe is easy to follow, with clear steps and helpful tips. This dish brings the sweet and tangy flavor of Panda Express to your table, perfect for family meals or parties. Ready to cook? Enjoy Panda Express Orange Chicken in your kitchen and spend quality time with your family without missing the restaurant.

The Best Darn Panda Express Copycat Orange Chicken Recipe You Ever Did See!

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe Copycat

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Panda Express’s Orange Chicken is a beloved dish featuring crispy fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. This homemade version brings the iconic flavors right to your kitchen, perfect for family dinners or impressing guests.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken, Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe, Panda Express Orange Chicken, Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe
Servings: 4 servings



For the Chicken:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for marinade
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ½ tsp ginger minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water to form a slurry
  • Zest of one orange


Prepare the Chicken:

  • In a bowl, whisk the egg, salt, white pepper, and 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Add the chicken pieces and coat them evenly. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  • In another bowl, mix the cornstarch and flour. Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the dry mixture, ensuring they are well-coated.

Fry the Chicken:

  • Heat enough vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the chicken pieces in batches until golden and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Make the Sauce:

  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the sugar, brown sugar, orange juice, white vinegar, soy sauce, and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry to the saucepan and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the orange zest.

Combine and Serve:

  • Toss the fried chicken pieces in the sauce until well-coated.
  • Serve immediately with steamed rice and garnish with green onions or sesame seeds if desired.


  • For a spicier kick, add more crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  • You can substitute chicken thighs for chicken breasts for a juicier texture.
  • Try adding vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers to the sauce for added nutrition.
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