Homemade Orange Chicken Recipe – A Step-by-Step Guide

by Ella

Orange chicken, with its tantalizing blend of sweet and savory flavors, has become a beloved staple of Chinese-American cuisine. While it’s readily available at many restaurants and takeout joints, there’s something truly special about preparing this dish from scratch in the comfort of your own kitchen. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the art of making homemade orange chicken, exploring traditional techniques, key ingredients, and essential tips for achieving culinary perfection.

Orange Chicken: A Brief Overview

Originating in Hunan province, China, orange chicken has evolved over time to become a popular dish in Westernized Chinese cuisine. The dish typically consists of bite-sized pieces of chicken that are coated in a sticky, tangy orange sauce and served over rice. While variations exist, the key components of orange chicken include tender chicken, a flavorful sauce made with orange zest and juice, and a crispy coating.


Part 1: Essential Ingredients and Equipment

Before diving into the process of making orange chicken, it’s essential to gather all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:


Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces for easy cooking and serving.


Orange Zest and Juice: Freshly grated orange zest and juice provide the signature citrus flavor that sets orange chicken apart.


Soy Sauce: Adds depth of flavor and saltiness to the sauce.

Rice Vinegar: Provides a tangy acidity that balances the sweetness of the sauce.

Sugar: Use granulated sugar or brown sugar to sweeten the sauce.

Cornstarch: For coating the chicken and thickening the sauce.

Egg: Helps bind the cornstarch coating to the chicken.

Garlic and Ginger: Adds aromatic flavor to the sauce.

Optional Ingredients: Customize your orange chicken with additional ingredients like chili flakes for heat or green onions for garnish.

As for equipment, you’ll need:

Large Bowl: For marinating the chicken.

Whisk or Fork: For mixing the sauce ingredients.

Skillet or Wok: To cook the chicken and sauce.

Tongs or Spatula: For stirring and flipping the chicken pieces.

Thermometer: To ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature for consumption.

Rice Cooker or Pot: For cooking rice to serve with the orange chicken.
With these ingredients and equipment in hand, you’re ready to embark on your orange chicken culinary adventure.

Part 2: Preparing the Chicken

The first step in making orange chicken is preparing the chicken itself. Follow these steps for tender, flavorful chicken every time:

Marinating: In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a splash of orange juice. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to infuse it with flavor and ensure tenderness.

Coating: In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch with a beaten egg until it forms a thick, paste-like consistency. Dip each marinated chicken piece into the cornstarch mixture, ensuring it’s fully coated on all sides.

Frying: Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, carefully add the coated chicken pieces in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Part 3: Making the Orange Sauce

The hallmark of orange chicken is its sticky, tangy sauce that coats each piece of chicken. Here’s how to make it from scratch:

Aromatics: In the same skillet or wok used to fry the chicken, add minced garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.

Sauce Base: To the aromatics, add orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, and a splash of rice vinegar. Stir well to combine, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Thickening: In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the sauce mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens to your desired consistency.

Adjusting Flavor: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more sugar for sweetness, soy sauce for saltiness, or orange juice for acidity, according to your preference.

Part 4: Combining Chicken and Sauce

Once the chicken is fried to crispy perfection and the sauce is thick and flavorful, it’s time to bring the two together:

Coating: Return the cooked chicken pieces to the skillet or wok with the prepared orange sauce. Toss the chicken gently in the sauce until each piece is evenly coated.

Simmering: Allow the chicken and sauce to simmer together for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, to ensure the flavors meld together and the chicken is heated through.

Garnishing: For a finishing touch, garnish the orange chicken with thinly sliced green onions and additional orange zest for brightness and freshness.

Part 5: Serving Suggestions and Tips for Success

Now that your homemade orange chicken is ready, it’s time to plate and serve it alongside your favorite accompaniments. Here are some serving suggestions and tips for success:

Rice: Serve the orange chicken over a bed of steamed white or brown rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

Vegetables: Pair the orange chicken with stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas for added color, texture, and nutrition.

Garnishes: Enhance the presentation and flavor of the dish with garnishes like sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, or sliced red chilies.

Storage: If you have leftovers, store the orange chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or skillet before serving.

Customization: Feel free to customize the recipe to suit your taste preferences. Adjust the sweetness, acidity, or spice level of the sauce according to your liking.

See Also: Cooking Chinese Noodles


Making homemade orange chicken is a rewarding culinary endeavor that allows you to recreate the flavors of your favorite Chinese takeout dish with fresh, high-quality ingredients. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide and incorporating your own creativity and flair, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of orange chicken. So roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and prepare to impress your family and friends with a delicious homemade meal that’s sure to become a new favorite. Bon appétit!



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023