I could never get enough of this Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat Recipe, it’s just not possible! The only thing I would note as a difference is that the orange zest makes this version seem ‘too fresh’ and not quite as commercial…and that’s a terrible downside that I think I can deal with.
Since we no longer live anywhere near a Panda Express we can now get our ‘fix’ at home whenever we want it.
Here’s a quick overview of the basic steps and then we’ll go over them in more detail. After cleaning your chicken and removing the excess fatty pieces, make a dredging station for the chicken, coat the chicken and fry it up, then make the orange sauce.
To start your dredging station, whisk together the egg, one portion of the oil (peanut or vegetable), salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, combine the second portion of cornstarch and flour. You will use the dredging station to first dip the chicken into the egg mixture followed by coating them in the flour and cornstarch mixture.
We used our fryer to cook the chicken pieces and drained them on a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet, however, you can also heat your cooking oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and cook the chicken in a frying pan or a wok. Depending on your method of cooking the chicken (the fryer may cook a bit faster), it should be about 3-4 minutes cook time on the chicken pieces until they are golden and crispy.
To make the sauce, first combine the soy sauce, water, sesame seed oil, sugar, white vinegar and orange zest.
Then heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add the second portion of oil, ginger and garlic and cook for a few seconds before adding the red pepper flakes and the cut green onions.
Cook for about 20-30 seconds before adding the combined orange sauce, then add the sauce and bring the mixture to a boil.
Make your cornstarch mixture by dissolving the first portion of cornstarch (1/4 c) in the first portion of water (1/8 c). Stir them together until the cornstarch is dissolved while the sauce heats.
Once a rolling boil is reached, add the cornstarch mixture (stir before adding) and cook until the sauce starts to thicken which will only take a few seconds.
Turn off the heat and add fried chicken pieces into the skillet, stirring in the chicken to coat thoroughly with the sauce. Add fresh orange zest, stir again, then serve.
Now enjoy your ‘better than Panda Express’ orange chicken!
Panda Express Recipes
- Panda Express Orange Chicken (this page)
- Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak
- Panda Express Chow Mein
- Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp
- Panda Express SweetFire Chicken Breast
- Easy Fried Rice Better than Panda!
Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat
- 1 lb chicken thighs (boneless, skinless cubed into chunks)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 Tbsp oil (peanut or vegetable - divided into two 1/2 Tbsp portions - plus oil needed for frying)
- 1/4 cup corn starch (plus 1/2 Tbsp for 2nd portion)
- 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ginger (fresh, minced)
- 1 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 green onions (green portion only, chopped)
- 1/8 cup water (plus 1 1/2 Tbsp for 2nd portion)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 Tbsp sugar
- 5 Tbsp white vinegar
- zest from one large orange
- To dissolve the cornstarch, mix with the 1st portion of water and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
- Make your dredging station for coating the cut chicken pieces: in a medium bowl, whisk to combine egg and 1st portion of oil with salt & pepper. In another medium bowl, combine 2nd portion of cornstarch with flour and mix well.
- Heat your fryer, frying pan or wok to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Dredge your chicken pieces by first dipping them in the egg mixture and then moving to the flour and cornstarch mixture and coating them by rolling them through the dry mixture. Transfer to heated oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove from oil and place on a wire cooling rack setting in a baking sheet to allow the chicken pieces to drain excess oil.
- To make the orange sauce combine soy sauce, the second portion of water, sesame oil, sugar, white vinegar, and the orange zest.
- Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat and add oil, ginger and garlic. Cook for a few seconds before adding red pepper flakes and cut green onions. Cook for about 20-30 seconds then add the orange sauce. Bring to a rolling boil and add the cornstarch mixture (stir before adding). Continue to stir as it will only take a few seconds to start thickening.
- Turn off heat and add the fried chicken pieces, stirring them in to coat thoroughly with the sauce.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!