Mar 1, 2016

Crispy Orange Chicken

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
This Chinese-American chicken commonly found on takeout menus is the perfect combination of sweet, tangy and citrus flavors.

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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.

I haven’t found a really good Chinese-American go-to takeout spot around me so instead of ordering in, I opt to make this myself! While I do love Panda Express (a total guilty pleasure of mine) and there is a location down the street from me it’s just not the same as a family-run hole in the wall spot.

Crispy Orange Chicken

Crispy Orange Chicken-2.jpg

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Chicken thighs – Chicken thighs stay much juicier than chicken breasts so I opt to cut the thighs into small pieces which 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.
  • Orange – The freshly squeezed orange juice is used to both flavor the sauce as well as to marinate and tenderize the chicken.
  • Cornstarch – Cornstarch is whisked together with cold water and added to the sauce to thicken it and create a sticky glaze-like sauce for the chicken.
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How to Make Crispy Orange Chicken

For the sauce:

  1. Make the orange 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.
  2. Simmer the sauce. 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.
  3. Thicken sauce and strain. 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:

  1. Marinate chicken. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the orange juice, cover and marinate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  2. Heat oil. Fill a large cast iron skillet with at least 1-inch of the oil and heat to 350ºF.
  3. Prep the dredge. In a medium shallow bowl whisk the eggs. In another medium shallow bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper.
  4. Dredge chicken. Working in batches dredge the chicken in the egg and then in the flour, shaking off any excess flour.
  5. Fry the chicken. 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 the process with remaining chicken.
  6. Toss with sauce. Add the chicken to a medium mixing bowl and toss with the sauce.
  7. Serve. Serve topped with the remaining green onions with a side of rice.
crispy orange chicken recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Crispy Orange Chicken

Print Pin
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

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
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying

Instructions:

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-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the orange juice, cover and marinate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  • Fill a large cast iron skillet with at least 1-inch of the oil and heat to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • In a medium shallow bowl whisk the eggs. 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, shaking off any excess 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 the process with remaining chicken.
  • Add the chicken to a medium mixing bowl and toss with the sauce.
  • Serve topped with the remaining green onions with a side of rice.

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  1. 5 stars
    We now have this recipe bi-weekly. The orange flavor makes this a household favorite. It is way better than any place we have ever gotten it for takeout. We have made it for friends and they called to ask for the recipe so they could recreate it. We make double the sauce because everyone wants extra for their rice and on their chicken and anything else you can put it on. It is a lick your plate clean kind of recipe!

  2. Oh my! I happened to find your blog today from an article about life changing moments.

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic!!! My husband just wished there was more sauce because it was so freaking good!!

    Thank you for sharing this!