This Orange Chicken is better than take-out and so easy to make. Tender chicken coated in a homemade orange sauce is an easy dinner you can make whenever you get a craving for take-out. Plus, the chicken is baked, not fried, so it’s healthier than restaurant versions.
Do you love take-out? We do, but it can get costly, and it’s not always the healthiest, so when we get a craving, we make this baked orange chicken. It’s less expensive, healthier, and easy to make.
With this easy orange chicken recipe, you get crispy coated chicken with the sweet and salty citrus sauce just like your favorite take-out but without all of the fat from deep-frying. Baking the chicken is the best way to lighten it up without sacrificing any of the flavor.
What is Orange Chicken?
If you’ve never had it, I think you’re going to love it. It’s a Chinese-American dish that usually has battered chicken pieces that are fried and then coated in a sauce made with orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. It’s sweet, salty, and a little spicy, depending on how much red pepper is added.
Our homemade version has the same flavorful sauce, but instead of frying the chicken, we bread it and bake it to cut back on the calories and fat. It’s just as delicious as what we get at restaurants or for take-out.
I’m showing you how to make orange chicken that is so good you’ll skip the take-out! Serve it over rice with some eggrolls on the side for a dinner your family will love.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and pepper
- Store-bought orange juice (no pulp)
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Minced garlic
- Orange zest
- Minced ginger
- Red pepper flakes
- Sliced green onions (just the green parts)
- Sesame seeds for garnish
How to Prepare the Chicken
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. To bread the chicken, first combine the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in a large resealable bag. Place the chicken pieces inside the bag, seal it, and shake the bag to coat the chicken evenly in the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Spread the breaded chicken in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake it for 20 minutes at 400°F or until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
How to Make Orange Chicken Sauce
While the chicken is in the oven, you can make the sauce.
Combine the orange juice, water, soy sauce, honey, orange zest, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium-sized saucepan.
Heat the mixture over medium heat and whisk until the sauce is well combined. Bring it to a boil, and then add the green onions.
At this point, give the sauce a taste. If it’s too sweet, add a little more soy sauce and if it’s not sweet enough, add more honey. If you want more heat, add some more red pepper flakes. Add the salt and pepper, to taste, too.
To thicken the sauce, you will need to make a slurry with cornstarch and water. So, in a small bowl, combine them until smooth. Pour the mixture into the boiling sauce while whisking. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens, which doesn’t take very long.
Once the sauce is thick, add the cooked chicken and stir to coat it evenly in the sauce. Serve the orange chicken over rice and garnish it with green onions and sesame seeds.
A Few Recipe Tips
The orange sauce cooks fast, so be sure to prep all of your ingredients before you start making it. You don’t want to be worried about chopping garlic when you need to be whisking!
I recommend tasting the sauce while you’re making it so you can adjust it to your tastes. Some people like the sauce sweeter, saltier, or spicier, and you can easily adjust the flavors while it’s cooking. Once it’s done, it’s hard to make those adjustments.
The secret for making a thick and glossy sauce is with the cornstarch slurry. It’s a really easy way to make a fast sauce – just be sure to mix the cornstarch with the water until it’s smooth, so you don’t get lumps in the sauce.
Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. The breading will soak up the sauce and won’t be as crispy, but it will still taste delicious.
Add the ingredients for this baked orange chicken recipe to your shopping list so you can make it this week! You won’t miss the take-out – this version is just as good, but lighter and easy to make!
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Orange Chicken Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup honey
- ½ cup no pulp store bought orange juice
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Zest from one small orange
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 green onions sliced using only the green parts
- Slice chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Spray a large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a gallon sized plastic resealable bag. Add chicken and then shake well and make sure all chicken is coated. Place the coated chicken pieces on the cookie sheet in a single layer.
- Bake about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Halfway through cookie flip the pieces of chicken.
- While chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Add orange juice, water, soy sauce, honey, orange zest, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. On medium heat whisk ingredients until combined. Bring mixture to a boil. Add the green onions and taste. Not sweet enough, add a small amount of honey, too sweet, add a little soy sauce. Not spicy enough, add a little more of the red pepper flake. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir together the cold water and cornstarch and make sure it is smooth and all lumps are gone. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the boiling sauce while whisking. Cook until the sauce thickens. This will happen very quickly. Take off the heat.
- Add the cooked chicken into the sauce and stir to make sure it is fully coated. Serve over hot rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
This Orange Chicken is coated in a homemade orange sauce that is perfect when you are craving your favorite takeout meal. We love how easy this is to make at home!