Family Life

Better Than Panda Express Orange Chicken

It seems like it’s been forever since I posted a recipe so I dug through my recipe binder and grabbed some of our favorites. I asked some friends of mine which I should post next and overwhelming they picked orange chicken.

Orange Chicken

Better Than Panda Express Orange Chicken

Here’s our version of Panda Express’ orange chicken. We think it’s better than Panda Express’ version but you be the judge.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 349 kcal


  • 2 pound chicken breasts boneless skinless boneless-skinless, cut into 1” cubes
  • frying oil


  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped (green, yellow, red – your choice)
  • 1 tbsp rice cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water plus
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar plus
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


Dredge & Fry Chicken

  • Heat frying oil to 375*.
  • In shallow dish, combine buttermilk, salt, pepper, and oil. Add chicken cubes.
  • In another shallow dish, combine cornstarch and flour.
  • Take chicken from wet mixture, dredge through dry mixture and place in fryer. Do not overcrowd fryer.
  • Fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden crisp.
  • Remove from fryer and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
  • Set aside.

Make The Sauce

  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil.
  • Add garlic and onions and fry until translucent.
  • Add remaining sauce ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Cook until sauce thickens slightly.

Combine and Serve

  • Add cooked chicken to the sauce, stirring until well mixed.
  • Serve over steamed rice.
Keyword freezer friendly, kid friendly, quick bite

By Angelia Embler

Angi grew up in southern Arizona but now lives in central New Mexico with her husband, two sons and four dogs. She creates, answers @Yoast support, and loves to ramble. Find her curled up with a book or watching her favorite TV shows, movies, or American football game. ?

108 replies on “Better Than Panda Express Orange Chicken”

We’ve had appetizer dinner where we serve all finger foods and bite size everything. We’ll have to add crab rangoon to our recipe to do list as they’re one of Tim’s favorites, too.

Yum! this looks really good. The rafflecopter wasn’t loading for me… I’ll have to come back later for your giveaway. Glad I have this recipe though now! Stopping by as part of the blogathon. Emily@nap-timecreations

I love love orange chicken. My other favorite is fried rice. My sister in law lived in China for a while and makes the best fried rice! I also love marfar chicken. I’m pretty boring with what I like.

Yum! Can’t wait to give this a try. I’m always amazed by people who can make figure out copycat recipes of restaurants.

Dredging makes it look lumpy but if you use a liquid batter, you’ll get an even coating. Mix the buttermilk/oil and flour/cornstarch in this recipe to make a liquid batter but you might need more buttermilk/oil to make it a pancake batter consistency.

I do love me some orange chicken, but my husband doesn’t. Since he does all our cooking, it’s never on the menu. Ha! Thanks for the giveaway!!

We’ve done Chinese buffet nights. Make 1/2 recipes of a couple different main and side dishes along with a yummy dessert. It’s not uncommon for us to do buffet dinners when introducing a new recipe.

5 stars
I am so going to make this on the weekend. It never even occurred to me to try to make Chinese Food; we just go get it. I can’t wait to try it and since I’m not someone that enjoys cooking…I like that it appears to be an easy recipe. Thanks for sharing.

We used to be that way, too. We made all sorts of food at home but never Chinese. I’m learning to enjoy cooking. It’s super easy as that’s pretty much a rule when I cook. If it’s too complicated, the recipe find it’s way to the trash. I don’t do complicated. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

5 stars
Kudos! I absolutely love Orange Chicken…. I just wish I had time to prepare a great recipe like yours for my family. I’m sure it’s much more healthy when you can clean and prepare your chicken knowing you’re using good quality grade poultry. I”m going to print this out and keep for when I have time to use it because it sure sounds delicious!

You can make it ahead by doing large batches of the chicken and pop them in the freezer in full meal portions. Then the morning of the day you want to eat it, take out the chicken from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. At dinner time, take out the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you make the sauce and cook the rice. Toss the chicken in the sauce and serve over the rice. Much easier for those busy days!

Yum yum and yum! Your recipe looks divine and simple, which is a plus to me. I will have to try my hand at this one, doesn’t look to complicated at all. Thanks for sharing, Angi.

p.s. The recipe plugin looks cool, too. I’ll have to bookmark this one.

I don’t know what it is about Chinese food, but it always gets my mouth watering. Love when I can make it at home too. Save the money and calories! This seriously looks delicious

This looks delicious. I miss Panda Express. There isn’t one by where I live. I may have to try making this. Can I substitute something for cornstarch? I try to stay away from corn based products. Any suggestions would be great. Looks yummy!

Oh my goodness – orange chicken is by far one of my favorite Chinese dishes. This looks delicious! I tend to stay away from making Chinese food at home because I usually have to buy so many wacky ingredients I don’t use for anything else. This one, however, I might just have to bite the bullet and try it out!

The only ingredient that was not in our kitchen was the rice cooking wine so when we made it the first time, I substituted water and it was still pretty good.

Someone after my own heart. I prefer soy sauce over the sweet and sour sauce. I have a sweet & sour chicken recipe but haven’t put it through our test kitchen. I might just have to add it to our menu soon.

Sometimes for variation, we have an Sesame-Orange Chicken recipe that we’ve done a few times. It takes a little more prep than this recipe but is just as yummy. We’ve only done one chicken dumpling recipe and it was a tad on the challenging side so we’re still looking for a good one. Do you have one to share?

5 stars
I love Chinese food and its been so long since I have either made some or gone out for a good meal. This looks like a keeper. Yummers!!!

I love orange chicken but can’t eat it now with a soy allergy in the house. I’m going to try your recipe minus the soy sauce!

My favorite Chinese food is beef and broccoli. Mmm, heavy on the broccoli please!

I probably wouldn’t remove the soy entirely but substituting it would be ok. I’ve heard that beef broth works and also diluted Worcestershire sauce in other dishes so it might work in this one, too. If you do try a substitute, report back on your results so we can add them to the recipe notes for others.

I don’t do complicated recipes! I was pretty cooking challenge when Tim and I married but I’ve slowly learned over the years. That’s why Tim is our primary cook!

I bookmarked this! I love orange chicken but don’t have the money to eat out often. I tried some frozen version from the grocery store and it wasn’t even close! Definitely going to give this one a try! Actually, I’m going to give it to my boyfriend so he can give it a try. I’m a little cooking challenged! 🙂

Until we moved out into rural country, we hadn’t thought of making Chinese food at home. We felt it was complex and thus must be hard to make. Boy, were we wrong!

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