Tender baked chicken with a sweet and tangy citrus orange flavor just like Panda Express Orange Chicken. Pair with steamed white rice and top with sesame seeds and green onions for added flavor. Skip the deep fryer and try this easy to make restaurant favorite!
I’ve been craving Asian food dishes lately and I keep going back to my favorite Garlic Sesame Chicken dish which is truly a family favorite. After making that dish a few times a week, I decided that I NEEDED to figure out how to make good Orange Chicken because we needed more variety to add to our meal rotation.
I tried my hands at a few recipes online and adapted them after they didn’t turn out. Those recipes were too sweet or had too much orange flavor and nothing compared to Panda Express Orange Chicken and so I started from scratch.
Then, one day, I stared to adapt a family recipe for sweet and sour chicken. Now, Sweet and Sour chicken can be made so many different ways but I’ve always used the same recipe because of the pineapple flavor. After mixing up 2 batches of Sweet and Sour Chicken sauce by accident, I experimented with the leftover half. All I did to that sweet and sour recipe is add a little fresh orange juice and orange zest and it came out delicious but needed a little more tweaking.
Once the chicken is done baking in the sauce, it’s important to finish the recipe to balance the flavors out. The chicken fresh out of the oven won’t taste like Panda Express until you add in extra soy sauce and more fresh orange juice as noted in the recipe below.
You won’t believe how this extra step truly brings out the flavor that we all know and love!
The key to making really good orange chicken starts with vinegar and a combination of sugar. The citrus flavor comes from pineapple juice with just a hint of fresh orange. Too much orange juice as seen in other recipes will result in an overly orange flavor.
If you love Panda Express Orange Chicken, you’ll want to try this recipe! Perhaps the best part is being able to toss everything together in a casserole dish to bake in the oven. This homemade Asian recipe couldn’t be any easier to make for the family!
Panda Express Baked Orange Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
Sauce Mixture for Baking
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 5 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (squeezed from an orange)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice (squeezed from an orange)
- sesame seeds, to garnish
- 4 green onion stalks, chopped, to garnish
- 2 servings cooked white rice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.Dice chicken breasts into pieces then add to a 9x9 or larger baking dish.To make the sauce, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, white vinegar, 1/4 cup water, pineapple juice, honey, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, ketchup, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, orange zest, and fresh squeezed orange juice.In a small dish, make a paste of 3 tablespoons cornstarch to 3 tablespoons cold water. Stir until smooth. Add slurry to sauce mixture then stir sauce mixture well.Pour sauce mixture over chicken.Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.To the chicken dish, stir in 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice. This is an important step, it cannot be skipped or the dish won't taste like orange chicken! It brings the orange flavors out and removes some of the sweetness.Serve with cooked rice, green onions, and sesame seeds. Additional red pepper flakes can be added for heat.