Orange chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish that features crispy fried chicken tossed in a sweet, tangy orange sauce. This homemade orange chicken is easy to make and better than your favorite chinese take-out!
Gluten-free Orange Chicken
This is a great recipe for a quick and easy dinner. It uses cornstarch instead of flour for the breading so it’s also a great gluten free dinner.
Now we love chinese food at our house and this recipe uses simple ingredients I always have at home so it’s a go-to last min meal as well.
Orange chicken is said to be a variation of General Tso’s chicken, another popular Chinese-American dish. Some believe that the dish was inspired by the Chinese dish “Chen Pi Ji,” which is made with dried orange peel and chicken.
Just take me to the Orange Chicken Recipe already!
If you’d rather skip my tips and tricks for making a healthy orange chicken recipe, along with links to other Chinese food recipes and get straight to this delicious orange chicken– simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
How to make the perfect battered fried chicken bites
A lot of breaded chicken recipes call for dipping the chicken in egg and then in corn starch or flour but I learned a different way to do it from my friend Alyssa – The Recipe Critic
You do the opposite – dip the chicken in the cornstarch FIRST, then the egg, and then fry. It seems counterintuitive but it WORKS. Seriously it’s easy and amazing.
Cut the chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) into bite-sized pieces and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Then add the corn starch and chicken into a bag and shake to cover the chicken.
Heat up a thin layer of oil in an electric skillet or a wide pan on the stove. Whisk the eggs together, shake off off the excess corn starch, and dip them into the egg.
Add the chicken to the skillet. Flip and continue to cook until it becomes golden brown on all sides. I use an instant-read thermometer so I know the moment the chicken is cooked through (165°F (74°C)) so it doesn’t overcook and get dry.
Place the finished chicken on a cooling rack over paper towels on a baking sheet while you finish cooking all the chicken.
To make this gluten free orange chicken you’ll need
- Electric Skillet
- Instant read thermometer – I like Thermopen
- Jelly roll pan/baking sheet, cooling rack, and paper towels (paper towels go inside the jelly pan, cooling rack on top. This is to catch the dripping oil from the fried chicken)
- Bag and/or bowls for the egg and cornstarch
How to make frying as healthy as possible
Frying is a cooking method that involves submerging food in hot oil. While this technique can result in delicious and crispy food, it’s often associated with being unhealthy due to the high amount of oil and calories involved. However, there are some tips and tricks to make frying as healthy as possible:
- Choose the Right Oil: Certain oils, such as vegetable oil, can withstand high temperatures and are ideal for frying. However, other oils, such as olive oil, have a lower smoke point and can become harmful when heated too high. Choose an oil with a higher smoke point, such as peanut oil or canola oil, to minimize the production of harmful compounds.
- Use a Thermometer: Proper temperature control is essential for safe and healthy frying. When oil is heated to the right temperature (between 350°F and 375°F (175°C to 190°C) for chicken), it creates a barrier between the food and the oil, preventing excess oil from being absorbed. Use a thermometer to make sure the oil is at the correct temperature before adding the food.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding the frying pan or pot can cause the temperature of the oil to drop, resulting in greasy and soggy food. It can also increase the cooking time, which can lead to more oil absorption. Cook in small batches to ensure that the oil stays at the right temperature and the food cooks evenly.
- Drain Excess Oil: After frying, place the food on a paper towel-lined plate or rack to remove any excess oil. This step can significantly reduce the amount of oil that is consumed and help make the dish healthier.
- Experiment with Alternative Cooking Methods: Instead of deep-frying, consider alternative cooking methods such as an air-fryer or baking. These methods use significantly less oil, resulting in a healthier dish without sacrificing the crispy texture.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make frying as healthy as possible while still enjoying the delicious crispy and fried texture of your favorite foods.
How to reheat fried chicken for leftovers
First if I know I made more than I need for one night I keep the chicken and sauce separate. Then heat them individually and mix and serve. But you can easily reheat it with the sauce already mixed it too, it will caramelize a little and won’t be as “goopy” but still delicious.
Fried chicken dishes can be a delicious leftover meal, but reheating them can be a bit tricky because the chicken can become dry or lose its crispy texture. Here are a few methods for reheating fried chicken dishes while still retaining their flavor and texture:
- Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the fried chicken on a baking sheet. Cover the chicken with foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Remove the foil for the last few minutes to help restore the crispy texture.
- Air Fryer Method: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place the fried chicken in the air fryer basket and cook for 3-5 minutes or until heated through and crispy.
- Skillet Method: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil and wait for it to heat up. Place the fried chicken in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until heated through and crispy.
- Microwave Method: Place the fried chicken on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat the chicken in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, checking every 30 seconds until heated through. This method will not retain the crispy texture as well as the other methods.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to make sure the chicken is heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat. Additionally, avoid reheating fried chicken dishes multiple times as it can affect the quality and safety of the dish.
Spicy Orange Chicken
If you love these chicken dishes as much as I do, I’d love a 5 star review. Be sure to share on social media and tag me if you make it @ashleemariecakes! If you want to stay updated on new recipes sign up for my newsletter and join my Facebook Group!
If you love this Crispy Orange Chicken you’ll love these other Asian recipes!
To watch me make this orange chicken sauce in a cooking show play the video in the recipe card.
Chinese Orange Chicken (Gluten Free)
BREADED CHICKEN BITES
- 2 lbs skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 C cornstarch
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1/2 C oil
ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 2 Tbsp fresh garlic minced
- 1 C fresh orange juice
- 1/4 C regular soy sauce
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional for spice)
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 C water
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
BREADED CRISPY CHICKEN BITES
- heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan on medium-high heat
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper
- sprinkle half the cornstarch into a bag and add the chicken, sprinkle the rest of the corn starch over and shake the bag, completely coating the chicken
- shake off the excess cornstarch and dip into the egg, then add to the skillet, fry and flip, cooking all sides to a nice golden brown, about 8-10 mins
- let drain on a cooling rack over paper towels on a baking sheet.
ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE
- in a saucepan heat the oil and add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant
- add everything but the water and cornstarch and bring to a simmer
- in a small bowl whisk together the water and cornstarch to create a slurry
- add the slurry to the saucepan and cook until the sauce has thickened
- add the chicken and stir to coat
- serve over rice, top with Green onions and/or sesame seeds