I’ve been craving more Asian food in my life. We live with my mother-in-law who is a self-professed “traditional white girl,” so I have to vary what I cook to suit the entire family – nothing too weird, but authentic enough that I can still enjoy it.
We go to this Chinese restaurant for Dim Sum on the weekends. Josh always orders either Orange Chicken or Lemon Chicken. We always have oranges on hand, so for dinner tonight, I decided to whip up some Orange Chicken using fresh oranges.
Everything for this meal you will already have in your pantry – flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper for the chicken coating; soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and oranges for the glaze.
Orange Chicken is super easy to make. It only takes a few minutes to assemble everything. The only time consuming part of this meal is deep frying the chicken. (Be careful of the oil popping if you dry the chicken pieces over the stove, like I do.) If you have a deep fryer, you’re so lucky and you should totally use it!
Serve it over white rice, and it is a delicious, comforting meal for the entire family.
For my Orange Chicken recipe, I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs because I find that darker meat has more flavor. But if you don’t have chicken thighs around, you can use chicken breasts too.
There are four steps to cooking orange chicken:
- Making the batter, which coats the chicken pieces.
- Frying the chicken in very hot oil until it’s golden brown.
- Assembling and cooking the sauce over the stove.
- Adding the fried chicken and coating it with orange sauce goodness.
If you want to add heat to your recipe, sprinkle in pepper flakes or chili flakes at the end. OR you could include one or two Thai whole chilies during the cooking process (step 3).
Healthier alternatives: If you don’t feel like frying orange chicken the traditional way, you can also bake the batter-coated pieces in the oven (at 400˚F for 25 minutes until they’re golden brown, or use an air fryer.
If you don’t want to skip frying all together, you can just sauté the chicken pieces in the skillet before adding the orange sauce ingredients.
However you make it, this dish is so delicious for dinner!
Super Delicious and Easy Orange Chicken Recipe
- 1 to 2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
- oil for frying
For the Batter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
For the Orange Sauce
- 2 large ripe oranges, juice and zested
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water for the slurry
- 1-2 whole red Thai chilies (if desired for spiciness), optional
Make the Batter
- In a large bowl, combine all the batter ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper, egg, oil, and water). Mix until the batter is well-blended.
- Add the chicken cubes, making sure everything is well coated.
Fry the Chicken Pieces
- Use a deep fryer, if you have one, to fry the chicken pieces.
- If you don't have a deep fryer:Add 2-3 inches of oil in a large saucepan.
- Fry the batter-coated chicken cubes in small batches, turning halfway. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until the chicken is golden brown.
- Line a plate with a paper towel. Place the browned chicken on the paper towel, so it soaks up any extra oil. Let rest while you make the sauce.
Make the Orange Sauce
- In a large skillet, juice and zest two whole oranges. Add soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Mix together. If you like spicy food, add 1-2 thai whole chilies at this time. (Optional)
- Place the skillet on the stove. Cook on medium-high heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Taste and adjust the flavor. Add more sugar if you like it sweeter, or more soy sauce if you like it to be saltier.
- Mix the cornstarch and water together to make a slurry. Pour into the sauce, stirring constantly, until the orange sauce thickens. This takes less than one minute.
Toss the Fried Chicken with the Sauce
- Add the fried chicken pieces back into the skillet and toss until the sauce coats every piece.
- Turn off heat and serve over rice.