Homemade Takeout: Orange Chicken

November 8, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Put down the takeout menu and the forlorn look of someone settling for second best. Today we recreate the real thing: Panda Express' orange chicken.

Kendra Vaculin

Serves: 4


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or potato starch), divided
  • canola (or other neutral oil) oil, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
In This Recipe


  1. Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, wine, ginger, and garlic together in a large bowl. Add the cubed chicken and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Using a large slotted spoon, move the chicken cubes from the marinade into a new bowl, leaving the remaining liquid behind. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cornstarch over the chicken and mix slightly to coat.
  3. In a large pot over medium-high, heat 1/4 to 1/3 inch of canola oil . Working in batches, add chicken cubes in a single layer and fry, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Move to a paper towel-lined large plate or baking sheet to drain. Cubes will be crunchy looking nuggets of magic. Resist urge to eat them all from the baking sheet.
  4. In a small pot or saucepan over medium heat, mix remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, honey, orange juice, marmalade, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. In a small bowl, mix remaining tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water together to form a slurry. Bring orange sauce mixture to low boil, and add some of the slurry, a spoonful at a time, while whisking, to thicken the sauce. Remove from heat once thickened.
  5. Toss chicken cubes in the sauce in a large bowl. Serve with rice and broccoli like the homemade takeout queen you ARE.

More Great Recipes:
Chicken|Honey|Orange|Orange Juice|Sesame Oil|Soy Sauce|Vinegar|Fry|Gluten-Free|Entree

Reviews (39) Questions (3)

39 Reviews

Robin March 17, 2018
Great flavors, easy to prepare. A deep saucepan with sufficient oil (I used close to 1/2 inch of peanut oil) along with leaving the chicken untouched while it cooks, should alleviate the sticking problem.
windofheaven February 11, 2018
White wine is pretty 'foreign' to traditional Chinese cuisine. I'd go with rice wine/sake or sherry instead. Would definitely benefit from a squirt of ketchup, a few crush or dried whole chiles (arbol) and strips of orange peel.
Elise F. December 9, 2017
I followed this recipe exactly and it was totally inedible. The chicken was a gooey mess that stuck to the pan. I had such high hopes for this and they fell short.
windofheaven February 11, 2018
Not supposed to pan-fry, but deep-fry.
Matti N. November 1, 2017
Every ounce of coating stuck to my pan, despite more than sufficient oil. Mostly a disaster of a recipe.
windofheaven February 11, 2018
Not enough oil specified for properly deep-frying the chicken. They need room to swim!
ENEB August 1, 2017
This was not good at all. In fact, it was inedible. My kids are big fans of orange chicken so I thought I would make a homemade version. I had great hope for this recipe but it simply doesn't work. I wish I could say otherwise. First recipe from Food52 that was a hug flop.
Veronica_Lytle July 14, 2017
I felt compelled to comment. I never comment. Make this. That is all.
Anna F. March 23, 2017
this was delicious and my family loved it. so much better than take out. thanks for an amazing recreation!
Marie B. February 28, 2017
I made this for dinner last night for my family of 4. I didn't know how much chicken 4 chicken breasts called for in the recipe really was, so I settled on 2 pounds. As it turned out, that amount of chicken pretty much used up all the marinade, so I didn't even bother with the extra step of transferring the chicken to another bowl before sprinkling with the cornstarch. I just added the cornstarch right to the marinade bowl with no ill effects noticed. My family really liked this! I have to confess I've never had Panda Express orange chicken, So I can't compare. In all honesty it wasn't as delicious as the orange chicken we had at this authentic Chinese restaurant in Chinatown in Chicago last spring. But it was quite tasty and a nice change from what we'd been having. It's a keeper!
Carolina H. February 14, 2017
This recipe looks yummy but what about the rice? Someone has the recipe to make the perfect panda-express white rice that comes with the orange chicken?
Yayita January 30, 2017
This was a pleasant surprise; as it was as satisfying as orange chicken from takeouts I had back in college. To say they taste and look the same would be a lie, but I wasn't after eating takeout. I was craving sweet and tangy chicken entree and this hit the spot. I followed the recipe as directed, but since I didn't have orange marmalade I used strawberry jam which could account for the darker orange sauce coloring. I definitely browned my chicken a bit more which gave my chicken a darker hue than the photos; I plan to be more attentive next time and get them lightly browned.
jenncc August 30, 2016
This is really good! I did not use all the sauce but it was delicious. Will be making this again.
linklau May 28, 2016
This sauce is extremely intense with orange flavor! I think I should have just used enough sauce to make the chicken glisten, instead of enough for the chicken to swim in. Family liked it, but we all agreed that the sauce was too strong.
Kate April 7, 2016
This is as good as it looks and really easy! Do not skip the ginger -- it adds the perfect depth to the flavor, oh so good. I am nervous about my chicken cooking times so fried mine for 5:30 and it was probably a little crispier but very good. I followed this recipe perfectly (other than the chicken cook time) and it really turned out beautifully. Agree there are more dishes to clean up than I'd like, but if you clean as you go it's not so bad. Thank you!! Yum!
lois February 25, 2016
I made this last night and we enjoyed it. It was a little dish-intensive for my taste (two bowls for raw chicken, a pot for the sauce, and a very messy skillet for cooking the chicken--not to mention whatever you need for your side dish(es)), but I will make it again on occasion. I was concerned about quantity: what is "four chicken breasts"? For the record, I used a package of chicken that was about 1.7 lbs before trimming. There was enough marinade and sauce, but none to spare.
Marie B. February 28, 2017
Same concerns here! As I noted, I settled on about 2 pounds of chicken for a family of 4. We had some leftovers, but this produced a good ratio of sauce to chicken. Also, I dirtied every pan in my kitchen plus several bowls. I had a ton of cleaning to do afterwards. It's a good recipe, but there's a reason people order take-out. That said, it was good enough I will be making it again, just not on a weekly rotation.
Linda A. February 21, 2016
What does one use in place of the white wine--which Panda Express doesn't use according to cv?
David November 28, 2016
Mirin (Japanese rice wine) should work. Since it's used to make teriyaki sauce, I could see Panda Express using it. Look it up and you'll see lots of information of its use in Oriental cooking.
Marie B. February 28, 2017
I used Japanese sake, because that's what I had on hand in my fridge. It turned out delicious.
rinamay January 19, 2016
I think I'm going to try this using tofu instead of chicken. My mouth is watering just this recipe.
Josh D. December 27, 2015
White wine. Does anyone have any words of advice about what kind of wine would work best? Chardonnay, Sauvion Blanc, etc...?
702551 February 6, 2016
If you have a "daily drinker" white wine, just use that, no need for anything fancy here. Pour in something that you'd drink, but not something so expensive that you'd regret eating something in which you can't taste it.<br /><br />With all the other flavors in this dish, the wine isn't a crucial part. Without a doubt, Panda Express does not use wine.
Nancy November 18, 2015
This was delicious! The only complaint from my sons was there wasn't enough.... I'll double recipe next time.
Alvin November 17, 2015
Queen? Gender bias anyone.
Author Comment
Kendra V. November 17, 2015
i am a queen, and was addressing myself, as i often do while recipe writing. you can change it to king in your mind if that's helpful to you!
Alvin November 17, 2015
No worries. King or Queen, the dish is tasty. (I've made something very similar many times.)
Alina November 16, 2015
I have been looking for an orange chicken recipe for a while now, I have found some to try but did not come out how I always wanted so I gave up. The ingredients used in this one looks delicious and is something that I have not found yet. My family is obsessed with orange chicken, so I would love to cook a whole bowl for them! Hope this one turns out yummy as it sounds.