Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken

Published October 11, 2018. Updated December 7, 2023

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Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken is your new family favorite! It’s brimming with fresh orange flavor — no jarred orange marmalade or corn syrup here (which also makes it a bit healthier!). It far outdoes Panda Express and other Chinese chain restaurants’ orange chicken. Trust me, your DoorDash budget will thank you. 

You get bite-sized pieces of chicken that are fried to golden brown perfection, and they’re coated in the most amazing sweet and sticky sauce. Talk about delicious comfort food!

Orange Chicken

Homemade Orange Chicken

This easy orange chicken recipe is a classic Chinese take-out dish that’s super popular here in the U.S.—for good reason. The lightly battered and fried pieces of chicken coated with an irresistible sweet and tangy orange sauce… it’s satisfying and delicious.

Everyone in the family will love this recipe! It will likely be one of those recipes that the spouse, kids, friends, parents, etc. request again and again.

The secret is in the sauce. The tangy and sweet orange sauce is really what makes this recipe stand out. It’s a delicious blend of fresh orange juice and zest, plus chicken broth, which is healthier than restaurant versions and even more tasty. Then you also get a sweet, salty, and sour blend from the sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar with a fresh finish of flavor from the ginger, garlic, and onion.

Skip the take-out tonight and make this delicious Chinese dish at home! You’ll save money from takeout or DoorDash, and save some calories and preservatives from your diet.

Serve my Better Than Takeout Chinese orange chicken with white rice, brown rice, or even cauliflower rice. And be sure to use chopsticks, Chinese food just tastes better when eaten from chopsticks right? :)

Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients

For the easy orange chicken and the special orange sauce you’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Chicken broth
  • Orange juice and zest
  • White vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Granulated sugar
  • Dried ginger
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Sriracha
  • Pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
  • Green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish

Orange Chicken shown here served over white rice on an individual plate garnished with fresh orange slices

How to Make Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken

  • To make this homemade orange chicken, you marinate chicken pieces in a simple orange chicken sauce, while setting aside 1/3 of the sauce and thickening it for coating at the end.
  • Then you dredge the marinated chicken pieces in eggs followed by cornstarch and fry in hot oil until they’re perfectly golden brown and crisp.
  • And you finish by coating them in that truly irresistible orange sauce.

It may take a few steps to make Chinese orange chicken, but after one bite you’ll realize it was most definitely worth it!

Can I Use Honey Instead of Sugar?

To make it just a tad healthier you could try swapping out half of the sugar with honey for another delicious option. I just don’t recommend using all honey or the flavor will be too strong.

How to Reheat Orange Chicken

If you have leftover orange chicken, don’t reheat it in the microwave. The chicken can become rubbery.

Instead, reheat the Chinese orange chicken in a skillet with a drizzle of vegetable oil. You want to warm it over medium heat and stir every once in a while to heat it evenly throughout.

An air fryer can also be used to reheat orange chicken, just toss every few minutes and remove the pieces before they crisp up too much.

Up close photo of Chinese Orange Chicken with chopsticks grabbing one piece of chicken

Tips for the Best Orange Chicken

  • Fry the chicken in batches to prevent the oil temperature from dropping. The oil needs to stay hot enough to fry the chicken properly.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice is key in this recipe. The bottled stuff doesn’t compare!
  • I like to garnish my homemade orange chicken with sesame seeds and chopped green onions. It adds a pop of fresh flavor and nice texture.

More Easy Chinese Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

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Up close photo of Chinese Orange Chicken with chopsticks grabbing one piece of chicken
5 from 16 votes

Chinese Orange Chicken

This is the best Orange Chicken I've ever had! It brimming with fresh orange flavor and it far outdoes the popular Chinese chain restaurants. You get bite size pieces of chicken that are fried to golden brown perfection and they're coated in the most amazing, sweet and sticky orange sauce. Talk about delicious comfort food!
Servings: 5
Prep20 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Marinating time30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 - 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (zest of 1 1/2 fairly large oranges)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger
  • 2 Tbsp grated yellow onion (be sure to get some of the juices when measuring)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 2 large eggs
  • vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
  • Chopped green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)


  • Place chicken pieces in a gallon size resealable bag, set aside.
  •  In a medium saucepan combine chicken broth, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, granulated sugar, ginger, yellow onion, garlic, Sriracha and pepper. 
  • Whisk mixture well, then measure out 2/3 cup of the mixture and pour it over the chicken in resealable bag. 
  • Seal bag while pressing excess air out, and press chicken into marinade.
  • Place bag in a bowl or baking dish and refrigerate 30 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, return remaining sauce mixture over medium heat and bring mixture just to a boil, stirring frequently. 
  • In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water then stir mixture into sauce. 
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 - 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until thickened, remove from heat.
  • Pour vegetable oil into a large cast iron dutch oven, filling pot about 1 1/2 - 2-inches deep and heat oil to 350 degrees. 
  • Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a shallow dish until well blended. 
  • Pour remaining 1 1/4 cups cornstarch into a separate shallow dish. 
  • Remove chicken from refrigerator and drain and discard marinade from chicken.
  • Dip chicken pieces into egg followed by cornstarch and toss pieces to evenly coat in cornstarch, then carefully place 1/3 of the chicken pieces into preheated oil and cook for 5 - 7 minutes until golden, turning once during cooking. 
  • Using skimmer, remove fried chicken from oil and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil. 
  • Repeat process with remaining chicken working in two more batches. Pour drained fried chicken into a bowl and toss with sauce.
  •  Serve warm over white or brown rice garnished with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.


  • Fry the chicken in batches to prevent the oil temperature from dropping. The oil needs to stay hot enough to fry the chicken properly.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Chinese Orange Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 608 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 19g119%
Cholesterol 152mg51%
Sodium 874mg38%
Potassium 642mg18%
Carbohydrates 54g18%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 185IU4%
Vitamin C 17.1mg21%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.