Crispy, seasoned fried chicken coated in a tangy homemade Asian inspired orange glaze! This Crispy Orange Chicken recipe is easy to make at home and better than takeout!
I recipe test A LOT. I spend the better part of my day in the kitchen developing all the recipes I share with you all. Time spent grinding over a hot stove is fun but cooking burnout is real. Every home cook knows that breaks are necessary! We’re not super humans and ordering a pizza is straight-up mandatory sometimes.
So, when I do tap out, my takeout of choice is usually Chinese food. We’re talking greasy, sticky, classic American-Chinese cuisine. And y’all, I’m not shy with my order. I want all the beef and broccoli, egg rolls, lo mein, and pounds of orange chicken. Pile that plate high and don’t forget to save me a fortune cookie!
Recently, I found myself craving the best of both worlds: takeout dinner with a homemade twist. Crispy Orange Chicken is my version of an American carry out favorite. Crispy-crunchy, sticky-sweet, and slightly spicy, this chicken is beyond satisfying. Trust me, you might never need to order out ever again!
Perks and Highlights of My Crispy Orange Chicken Recipe
Crispy Chicken Ingredients
I am obsessed with this crispy chicken; it’s not only delicious when smothered in orange sauce but it can also be paired with just about any kind of coating you’d like. Whether you’re a BBQ gal or a Lemon Pepper fanatic, this chicken is MADE for you. Pick your favorite sauce, then dip, dunk, and toss to your own heart’s content.
These are the pantry-staple items you’ll need:
Seasoned Salt & Ground Black Pepper- Occasionally, I like to use a seasoned salt for a sharper, spiced flavor. Kosher salt will also work. Whenever possible, fresh ground pepper is preferred.
Garlic Powder- Garlic powder is sweeter and less assertive than fresh garlic. The subtle, garlicky flavor compliments the chicken perfectly.
Paprika- Smoked or Sweet Paprika can be used here.
Cayenne Pepper- Cayenne pepper has a strong bite so you don’t need much. Feel free to adjust the measurement according to your own taste.
Cornstarch- Starch is what makes for that extra-crispy, golden-brown chicken exterior.
All-Purpose Flour- I recommend sifting the flour to avoid any large lumps.
Eggs- Eggs form the bond between the flour and the chicken. Be sure to use fresh, room temperature eggs for the best result.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts- When picking up chicken breasts, look for flesh that has a pink, fleshy-colored hue. Don’t worry about cutting the chicken into perfectly uniform pieces; as long as they’re relatively the same size you’re good.
Vegetable or Canola Oil- Both oils are great for frying! But, if you don’t have either, peanut oil is also a great option.
Orange Sauce Ingredients
Crispy Orange Chicken is nothing without its sticky-sweet, citrusy, and spicy sauce! My homemade orange glaze gives its takeout cousin a run for its money. Seriously y’all, this sauce is fresh and fantastically flavorful!
Here’s what I used to make it:
Vegetable or Canola Oil- both are high-heat options with neutral flavor. Alternatively, avocado oil or grapeseed oil can be used.
Garlic- Garlic makes all the difference here! For deeper flavor, I’d recommend grating the garlic.
Orange Juice & Zest- Store-bought sauces use imitation orange flavoring, which isn’t always bad but it’s definitely nothing like the real thing. Oranges are zesty, sweet, and floral; their bright flavor lifts up this dish and makes for a whole new takeout dinner experience.
Honey- The best orange chicken always has that sticky-sweet exterior. I want my fingertips clinging together with each delicious bite! Honey’s floral sweetness enhances the flavor of the orange and it’s texture makes for a pleasant, nostalgic adventure.
Red Wine Vinegar- Tangier than balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar offers up a fruity, sour flavor. If you don’t have any on hand, white wine, sherry, or apple cider vinegar will work.
Red Chili Paste- If this isn’t an ingredient you keep in the pantry, it should be. Red Chili Paste is a spicy, fiery-red condiment made using fresh or dried chilies. Just a couple teaspoons adds a smoky kick.
Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper- It’s crucial that you use kosher salt here; sea salt is too salty and a bit unpredictable. Freshly ground pepper is a must; it makes for a brighter, more flavorful addition.
Soy Sauce– I’d recommend using a low-sodium variety. Regular soy sauce will absolutely work, just be careful with how much extra salt is added. Taste as you go!
Ginger- Like garlic, ginger mellows as it cooks so don’t be afraid that you’ll overdo it. Fresh ginger can be used in place of the ground variety for a lighter, fresher flavor.
Chili Powder (optional)- I love spice! Chili powder is a great way to infuse heat, smoky flavor, and a deeper orange color. Smoked Paprika is another good choice. If you prefer a milder chicken, omit the ingredient all together.
Cornstarch- Cornstarch is often used to thicken sauces like this one. All-Purpose Flour can also be used.
Water- Water evaporates as it cooks which allows the sauce to cook for longer without burning or thickening too quickly.
How to Make Orange Chicken! My Way!
The key to making this recipe is preparation. If you take the time to measure your ingredients, set up stations, and read through the instructions, you’re golden. Organization will make for a quicker dinner and easier clean up.
To make things easier, let’s breakdown this recipe into 3 easy steps:
- Setup a Dredging Station and Prepare the Chicken- Before starting, set out all of your pre-measured ingredients and the necessary tools. Set up a step-by-step station and designate one hand for the dry dredge and another for the wet. Working one piece at a time, use tongs and add chicken to the flour mix, and then to the egg mixture – making sure to thoroughly coat it and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Finally, dredge the chicken into the flour mixture then transfer to a plate or wire rack to set.
- Fry the Chicken- As the oil heats, clean up the dredging station and set up a frying one. Fit a wire rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet, then grab a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon. Once heated, drop 4-5 pieces of chicken into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot! Working in batches, fry the chicken for 7-10 minutes or until the skin is golden-brown and the chicken is firm to the touch.
- Make the Orange Glaze and Toss- As the chicken fries, make the sauce. Be sure to whisk vigorously to avoid clumps of cornstarch. If the sauce begins to evaporate too quickly, lower the heat and add a splash of water. Once all of the chicken is fried and the sauce is ready, transfer both to a stainless steel or glass bowl and toss to coat. Serve while fresh and hot!
What to Serve With
Crispy Orange Chicken is best served with a side of white or brown rice. Throw in some steamed vegetables for a well-rounded, nutritious dinner. Alternatively, this recipe can be served with an Asian-inspired salad or all on its own as an appetizer.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Crispy Orange Chicken can be reheated straight out of the refrigerator and tastes just as good the second time around! You’ll want to store your leftover chicken in an airtight container or bag. Be sure that the chicken has cooled fully before storing to prevent excess moisture from building up. If stored properly, this chicken should keep for about 5 days.
To reheat on the stovetop, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add 1-2 teaspoons of oil. Give the oil about 2 minutes to warm up, then add the orange chicken. Heat until it is warmed to your preference, stirring frequently.
To reheat in the oven, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place your orange chicken in an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Heat for 10-12 minutes, opening or removing the foil for the last few minutes. You may need to stir a few times as well.
International Chicken Dishes
If you liked this recipe, try out a few more of my BEST travel-inspired recipes:
Crispy Orange Chicken
For the Chicken
- 4 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour or you can use all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
- vegetable or canola oil for frying
For the Orange Sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups orange juice no pulp
- 1 tbsp fresh orange zest or up to 2 tbsp for more punch
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp red chili paste
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce if not gluten free
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- chopped green onions and orange slices for garnish
For the Chicken
- Add salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, paprika and cornstarch to flour in a storage bag or paper bag and shake to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl then set aside.
- Working with one chicken piece at a time, use tongs and add to flour mix then to egg mixture thoroughly coating and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. Finally, dredge the chicken into the flour mixture then transfer to a plate or wire rack to set.
- Repeat with all chicken pieces then let set for 15-20 minutes while you heat the oil.
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a large deep pot to 350 degrees F.
- When the oil is hot enough that it bubbles around the chicken when the edge of a piece is dripped into it, use tongs to gently and carefully place a few pieces in the oil. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Cook the chicken, turning the pieces every couple minutes and adjusting the heat as needed, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is firm to the touch. This should take about 7-10 minutes. Remove chicken and drain on a wire rack with paper towels beneath.
For the Orange Glaze
- As chicken fries, make the orange glaze.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add minced garlic and stir making sure not to burn. Cook for about 30 seconds then stir in orange juice, zest, honey, vinegar, chili paste, salt, pepper, soy sauce, ginger and chili powder combining.
- Allow this mixture to cook for about 15-20 minutes or until sauce reduces by half.
- Finally whisk in cornstarch and water and allow the sauce to thicken until it appears like a glaze. Allow it to cook for just one additional minute then remove and coat freshly fried chicken pieces and serve with rice and garnish with green onions and orange slices.