This easy Orange Chicken with Chicken Nuggets recipe takes 25 minutes from start to finish! We've simplified this recipe by using chicken nuggets and a delicious, tangy homemade orange chicken sauce.
I've also included the ingredients and instructions to make the chicken from scratch - I've got you covered!
Say 'so-long takeout' and enjoy this restaurant-style dinner at home with the family!
This recipe for orange chicken is one of my favorites for busy weeknights. Serve it over a bed of white rice and add this 'go-to meal' to your regular menu!
It's no secret that Chinese orange chicken is one of the most popular take-out dishes that you can order in a Chinese restaurant. If you have a hungry crowd to feed, make up a batch of my Mongolian Beef (20 minutes) and you'll have two crowd-pleasing main dishes to serve.
I've included a version with chicken nuggets and also have the directions for making the breaded chicken from scratch if that's what you prefer!
Why we love this orange chicken recipe
- Quick and easy recipe that takes only 25 minutes to make
- Flavorful sweet and tangy sauce
- No need to order takeout - we love this budget-friendly dish that we can make from home
- It's not an exact copycat or Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe, but .....we think it's even better!
What does Chinese Orange Chicken Taste Like?
A delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors, with crispy, succulent chicken coated in a velvety orange glaze. It's perfect when served with steamed jasmine rice. It's a classic Chinese-American favorite recipe.
What is Orange Chicken Sauce Made Of?
Orange chicken sauce is made by combining fresh orange juice, white sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. A cornstarch slurry of cornstarch and water is added to thicken the sauce to perfection.
Orange Chicken Ingredients
- frozen breaded chicken nuggets
- orange juice, fresh or store-bought
- white granulated sugar
- low-sodium soy sauce
- rice vinegar or white vinegar
- fresh ginger, minced
- garlic cloves, minced,
- red pepper flakes
- Zest from 1 orange, divided
- green onions and orange zest (garnish)
- White rice (optional)
- use fresh chicken breasts or tenderloins (see recipe notes for instructions)
- substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar in a pinch
- if all you have on hand is regular soy sauce, that will work! You can also use teriyaki sauce
- fresh ginger can be substituted with ground ginger
- fresh garlic has the best flavor or you could substitute
Can I make the breaded chicken from scratch?
Yes, you can!
Here's what you'll need to make the breaded chicken from scratch
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sie pieces
- 2 eggs, whisked
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup avocado oil
1 - Whisk the eggs in a small bowl.
2 - In a separate bowl, add the cornsteach, flour and salt.
3 - Dredge the chicken in the eggs, then the dry flour mixture.
4 - Heat avocado oil in skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the chicken.
5 - Cook chicken on each side for 4 to 7 minutes or until the juices run clear and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
How to make Orange Chicken - Step by Step Instructions
STEP ONE - Cook your chicken nuggets according to the package directions.
STEP TWO - While the chicken is cooking mince and chop your ingredients.
STEP THREE - In a large pot over medium heat add the orange juice, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic cloves, red chili flakes, and orange zest. Stir until combined.
STEP FOUR - In a small bowl make a slurry with the cornstarch and water. Add the slurry to the orange sauce. Stir for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat.
STEP FIVE - Add the chicken to the pot and toss until the chicken is fully coated.
STEP SIX - Serve over rice and top with red pepper flakes, green onions, and the remainder of the orange zest. Enjoy!
What to do with Leftover Orange Chicken
Make a stir-fry- This is a quick and easy option. Stir fry some onions, bell peppers and pineapple in a little sesame oil, then add in the leftover orange chicken.
Add to a salad - Enjoy it on top of a fresh green salad with mandarin oranges and slivered almonds.
Add it to a wrap - shred some lettuce and red cabbage and add the chicken to the wrap with some fresh veggies like carrots, peppers and sweet onion. Top with a dollop of siracha mayo.
How to Reheat Orange Chicken
Storage & Freezing Instructions
To Store: Store leftover orange chicken in an airtight container in the fridge. You can reheat the chicken in a saucepan on the stove over low-medium heat, or in the oven to keep the crispness.
To freeze: Freeze orange chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the instructions above.
Add some heat - stir in some siracha or red chili flakes to give this dish a kick!
Change up the flavoring - Stir in a cup of orange marmalade into the sauce to add even more citrus flavor!
What to Serve with Orange Chicken
Serve with a kale salad or any favorite green salad. Orange chicken is delicious served over steamed white or brown rice to soak up the delicious citrusy sauce. Fortune cookies for dessert!
Sandra's Top Tips for Making Orange Chicken
- Make a double-batch! You're going to want leftovers!
- Tired of chicken? Change up the protein. Beef and pork will both work well with this recipe.
- Garnish, garnish garnish! Sliced green onions, sesame seeds, slivered almonds are all great garnishes to level up the presentation and flavor.