The most perfect better-than-takeout Orange Chicken is coming your way!! You’ll never be more than 15 minutes away from the perf meal!
I think we can all agree that the holidays are looking a little different this year!! But that doesn’t mean that this year can’t be special. Maybe we aren’t having a big festive dinner party later this month, and cookie exchanges are obvi not in the cards… but I’m still determined to make things special for my little family!! And also – I’M HUNGRY!! So bring on the food!
I don’t know about you guys – but we did a LOT of takeout in November. Mostly because we didn’t have a home and were hotel living thanks to the house renovation!! And I overdid it on the ordering. I’m THRILLED to be back in the kitchen and having full control over what goes into my food // yes I am a control freak. So… that brings me to this very important Homemade Orange Chicken recipe that should be added to your weekly line up asap! It’s def not the most traditional holiday recipe — but hello it’s homemade orange chicken and everyone is going to think you’re a rock star!!
You’ll be seeing a ton of Florida’s Natural orange juice inspired recipes here on WGC over the next few months and I couldn’t be more excited!! These guys bring a fresh-from-the-grove taste to your kitchen and their Florida’s Natural orange juice truly elevates this Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken. SO ON BOARD!!!
Florida’s Natural orange juice is made from one simple ingredient — Florida oranges (7 different kinds to be exact) — giving it a straight-from-the-grove taste. We’ve stocked it in the Dalkin fridge for years. My mom and dad have a glass every morning which I am SO WELL AWARE OF these days since we pretty much always start our days with a quick FaceTime to say hello!! There are no artificial flavors or ingredients, and no water, sugar or preservatives which 1: makes it the most delish and 2: makes me feel really good about feeding it to the bebe while I’m pregnant!
Anyways – it’s the star of the show in this Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken!! And spoiler alert – this is legit better than any delivery!! Plus it’s fresh and easy to whip up!!
Let’s talk about a few quick tips for the orange chicken.
1: the chicken is easy to prep and no you cannot skip the cornstarch. It’s a vital element in making it crispy!! Also you need to make sure the chicken is blotted TOTALLY dry before adding into the cornstarch egg white mixture otherwise the coating wont stick. This is crucial, especially if the chicken was previously frozen and defrosted.
2: you need a LARGE pot for frying and it’s best to fry this in small batches. If you overcrowd the pan and fry too many pieces of chicken at once, the coating will come off. Don’t be afraid to cook the chicken in batches for optimum results.
3: the Florida’s Natural orange juice is the perfect way to make that deliciously savory orange sauce that goes on top. It also gets a little zip from some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. If you’re anything like me, it might be worth it to double the sauce portion of the recipe so you can drizzle it on your veggies too!
Okay!! Have at it!! Make this when you need a break from your usual holiday cooking and baking and could use something delicious and quick. I recommend whipping this up for a little family game night! Then watch your family members freak out in front of your eyes!!!
Homemade Orange Chicken
For the Chicken
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 egg whites
- 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces and patted totally dry
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup Florida’s Natural No Pulp Orange Juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- Kosher salt and crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- vegetable oil for frying
- green onion for garnish (or chives!)
For the Chicken
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and egg whites with a fork until almost frothy, about 1 minute. Add the patted dry chicken to the mixture and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
For the Sauce
- Meanwhile, put the Florida’s Natural No Pulp Orange Juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, crushed red pepper and garlic in a small nonstick skillet and whisk. Heat until bubbling and starting to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch slurry to the sauce. Mix in and thicken for 1 minute.
- Heat about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 350 degrees F. In batches, carefully drop the chicken into the oil (I drop 1-2 pieces in at a time and move it around for a second before adding more pieces), flipping gently, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Be very careful not to overcrowd the pan. Let the pieces drain on a plate lined with paper towels for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Repeat the process with the remaining batches. Once all the batches have their initial fry, drop them back into the oil for 1 minute to really solidify the coating. Toss the chicken in the sauce and serve with the green onion garnish
** This post is brought to you by Florida’s Natural. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for What’s Gaby Cooking**
Yum! Question about the cornstarch: Do you divide the 1tsp cornstarch into 1/2 with the egg whites and 1/2 with the water?
Cant wait to make this tonight…Thanks Gaby!
3 tbsp are for the chicken and then the other 1/2 teaspoon is for the sauce!!
Hi Gaby! Love.Everything.
Do you think you could shallow fry these in less oil, instead of having to do a true deep fry?
I havent tested it that way but I’m inclined to say no because i dont think the coating would stick as well
I am allergic to egg white. Can I sub milk of chicken broth? Or, any other suggestions….
I dont think milk or broth would provide the stickiness that you need from the egg white. are you allergic to the yolk? you could use the egg yolk
Will this work in an air fryer instead?
haven’t tested it that way!
Should the boneless chicken thighs be skinless?
Yum!!! Any substitution for eggs ?!
not that I’ve tested!
I have an egg allergy and I used JUST eggs, (you can find them at most natural grocery stores, as well as, Safeway!) which is plant based and it tasted DELICIOUS!
Love, love, love orange chicken!! Now I can do it myself. Perfection!!
Can I use chicken breast? Or the quality will be different?
it wont be quite as flavorful but yes you can use breast
Made this last night with chicken breast. It was delicious. My only issue was the batter would stick to the bottom of my pot immediately. So when I would go to turn it over, the skin would just fall off. I just kept trying to scrape up the bits and put that in with the sauce to get some crunchy pieces. I would make more sauce too! At least with the chicken breasts, it was just enough to coat the chicken.
I had the exact same problem. As soon as the coated chicken hit the oil, it stuck to the bottom of the pan. When I tried to flip the chicken, the “batter” coating remained stuck and the chicken slipped out of the coating. Most of the coating just stuck to the bottom and built up over the course of trying to cook the rest of the chicken. In the end, very few chicken pieces had any coating. Flavor was wonderful but the whole egg white sticking thing was a mess.
added some hot tips to prevent that from happening!! xx
I added a few tips and tricks to the recipe and the write up to make sure that doesnt happen next time you make it 🙂 xx
What happened? None of the coating stuck to my chicken when I dropped it in the oil…too hot? Did i leave it in the egg/cornstarch mixture too long? So sad 🙁
did you blot your chicken dry before coating? or fry all of it in 1 batch?
This was the best orange chicken recipe I have ever made! Cooking chicken with the cornstarch coating is much different than breaded and requires patience. Having read the comments beforehand I was determined not to make the same mistakes and read the recipe 3x over before starting. I did the recommended double sauce, small batches in a cast iron skillet and tested the oil temp. Huge success and enjoyed by the whole family, will definitely be making again. Thanks for including all the helpful tips.
Made this last night. My small batches were not small enough. Lesson learned. Flavors fab! Served it on top of Coconut Rice with Orange instead of lime. I will make this one again. Thanx Gaby
This came out really tasty!! I didn’t have any problems with the breading coming off, but do you have any tips for how you blot the chicken dry and what kind of pot you use to fry them in? I used a Lodge Dutch oven and only did a few pieces at a time for fear of crowding them. Felt like it took me forever to make but maybe I’m just super slow! Haha
blot with a paper towel and then discard the paper towel!
And a dutch oven is great – the wide low ones are great so you can fry more than a few pieces at once.
I might just try this with some wings! Yum!
LOVE THAT IDEA
How much salt and hot pepper flakes should we add? No measurements were given for those two ingredients in the recipe. Thank you!
really it’s just to taste. I do about 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and about the same of salt
Can you season the chicken before putting in the cornstarch mixture? If so what would you recommend?
15 minutes seems a bit of a stretch 😉 I won’t tell you how long it took me to make this meal haha
Gaby, have you used an air fryer? Do you think these would work in the air fryer?
I havent tested them in an air fryer but I would guess they would work!
Could you make this in the air fryer if so would there be any changes to the recipe?
I haven’t tested it but I’m sure you could
Gaby- i don’t have a deep fry thermometer (or a candy one either). Is there a way to eyeball?
once it shimmers, it’s probably warm enough
Love the recipe but how do I stop the oil from boiling over after multiple batches? I think it’s the coating that does it but I don’t know how to prevent it. Any help would be appreciated!
I’ve made this receipt multiple times and it’s always delicious. I double the recipe for the sauce and also add a bit more soy sauce to taste. I’m a fairly efficient cook but even with buying pre-cut chicken and having all the ingredients out ready to go, the fastest I’ve made this start to finish is 50 minutes. Frying the chicken alone for one batch is 10 minutes for me. Either way, it’s VERY delicious and recommend!
Made this for dinner tonight, and it is absolutely better than takeout! Yummm!!!
Um YUM!!! This orange chicken is better than take out!! Took me longer to make then suggested time because of the small batch frying but was totally worth the extra time! I doubled the sauce and may make even more mext time….but minor adjustment to an already delicious dish! Thanks Gsby!
Amazing as always! We doubled the sauce to have extra to pour over the rice. Definitely recommend!