Orange Chicken. Quick, easy and baked, not fried. A very flavourful version of this Chinese style take-out dish that uses economical frozen orange juice concentrate as the base of the tangy sauce.
This Chinese take-out style of orange chicken seems to be everywhere on Pinterest and food sites these days. I am constantly seeing some version of it in my newsfeed on Facebook too.
As a kid, I first began cooking even before my teens. I was known to be a pretty big experimenter with common ingredients at our house.
This recipe came from one of those early experiments and was probably even simpler back in the day. My brilliant idea at the time to get intense orange flavour into the sauce was to use frozen orange juice concentrate.
Coming from a family of 8, this was also the most economical choice as well.
I like to debone my own chicken breasts so that I can roast the bones and skins for stock later. I freeze them until I have enough to cover a baking sheet then use the instructions in my post on making Chicken Stock here.
That first sauce was modelled after a sweet and sour chicken recipe. We used to make that recipe from common ingredients too, and it turned out pretty well.
These days I add a few more flavour elements to it like a little toasted sesame oil and Chinese Five Spice powder.
That spice blend has become an indispensable addition to many Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes on this blog. Five Spice Ginger Beef or Five Spice Teriyaki Salmon are great examples.
Orange Chicken. No need to fry.
Many of the recipes you will find for this dish, fry the small nuggets of chicken. In my version I’ve borrowed the idea from our very popular recipe for another Chinese take-out classic, General Tso Chicken.
That method quickly bakes the chicken using a minimum amount of oil. I’ve also used a smaller amount of natural honey in this recipe which adds a lot to the flavour of the dish.
The honey is used rather than refined sugar which would be used in may restaurant versions.
We served the orange chicken over some thin Chinese Noodles but plain steamed rice would be equally as good. We all enjoyed my little flashback to my early cooking days.
It goes to show that you can always keep improving on your favourite recipes, even 40 years later.
Looking for more chicken dinner ideas. Be sure to check out this collection of our Most Popular Chicken Recipes of the last decade.
Originally published March 2016. Updated April 2020.
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Orange Chicken - quick, easy and baked, not fried.
Orange Chicken - quick, easy and baked, not fried; a very flavourful version of this Chinese style take out dish that uses economical frozen orange juice concentrate as the base of the tangy sauce.
For the chicken
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 8 boneless skinless, well-trimmed chicken thighs)
- tbsp a few peanut or canola oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 1 egg + 2 Tbsp water
For the sauce
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp peanut oil or canola oil
- 1 1/4 cups frozen orange juice concentrate, Approximately. I used a 295 ml container
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 2 tsp crushed chili paste, or chili flakes to taste
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- Heat a cookie sheet in the oven at 425 degrees F. This speeds up the cooking time later.
- Cut the chicken into about 2-bite pieces and season them lightly with salt and pepper
- Sift together the flour, salt, pepper, powdered ginger and five spice powder.
- Whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.
- Dredge the chicken pieces into the flour dredge to coat them, then dip the pieces into the egg wash and back into the flour and spice dredge again.
- Working quickly, retrieve the cookie sheet from the oven and lightly brush the entire bottom with the oil. Add the coated chicken pieces to the pan but don't crowd them together. They should not be touching. Lightly drizzle a little more oil over the chicken pieces. A spray bottle works well for this too.
- Pop the chicken into the oven for 8 minutes. Take the pan out and turn the chicken pieces over before putting them back into the oven for another 7-8 minutes. Cut one open to see that they are fully cooked. This should be plenty of time at that temperature.
- Toss the cooked chicken pieces wight he sauce and serve over steamed rice or Chinese noodles.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions if you like.
To prepare the sauce
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, quickly sauté the garlic in the peanut oil for only a minute or so.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, except the cornstarch and water.
- Bring the sauce to a slow simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir the cornstarch into the water and immediately add it to the sauce stirring constantly. Simmer for only another minute, stirring constantly before serving.
We most often serve steamed vegetables on the side with this dish but if you like, you can also toss in red peppers, cooked green beans or snow peas, water chestnuts, or steamed broccoli with the chicken when adding the sauce. Use any combination of vegetables you like to make this a complete meal.
Serving Size6 servings
Amount Per Serving Calories 458Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 99mgSodium 425mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 2gSugar 33gProtein 31g
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.
Wednesday 16th of November 2022
What is five spice powder also Chinese five spice powder and where would I find that?
Thursday 7th of July 2022
Hi Barry - love your recipes!
I am not able to find rice wine vinegar. Is there something else that can be substituted?
Wednesday 22nd of June 2022
Barry I cannot print this recipe. When I try to print, it sends me to the top of the article. If I try the jump feature and click on print, the same thing happens. Whenever the print tab is smaller than the save tab, this seems to happen. Love your recipes but this issue is very frustrating to me. Thanks
Tuesday 24th of May 2022
Thank you for all the recipes,I enjoy trying new things,this is one of the few E mails I open every day to see what's cooking.
Thursday 5th of May 2022
How do you make Chinese five spice? Not available in our grocery store. I assume I have at least some of the ingredients. I really enjoy seeing your recipies and will look to buy your book this summer as a take home souvenir