This easy orange chicken recipe starts with baked chicken chunks and ends with clean plates and happy stomachs. It’s healthier than takeout, easier than making orange chicken from scratch, and more delicious than either.
While this post is sponsored by Perdue Farms, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.
Easy Orange Chicken
When I was in college, I had a pretty awesome group of friends. One of those friends lived nearby and I regularly went with him to his parent’s house to enjoy some of their holiday traditions because well my parents were thousands of miles away and during the holidays, there’s something special about being with family.
I already wrote about one of his family’s traditions when I made this strawberry cream salad. Another one of his family’s traditions was sometime during the holidays to order takeout and watch A Christmas Story.
I only did this with them for one year, but I always loved the idea and wanted to try it with my own family someday.
Problem is? My family doesn’t love takeout. We try to keep things fairly clean when it comes to the food we eat and takeout is typically anything but.
So this year I decided to make a little takeout of our own to try out this fun holiday tradition. This easy orange chicken recipe is not only delicious, it’s one we can enjoy eating while watching a holiday movie without the guilt of eating takeout later.
Orange Chicken Ingredients
The thing that makes this orange chicken so easy is that it starts with my family’s favorite Perdue Simply Smart Organics Chicken Breast Chunks. My son seriously eats these things for lunch at least twice a week.
They’re not just your typical frozen chicken nuggets. They’re organic, the breading is perfection, and the meat inside is just white chicken breast meat so every single bite is delicious.
We also love Perdue Farms because as a brand they are constantly trying to provide the best care for their animals from giving them more light and access to the outdoors to providing them with what chickens want, not just what they need. Plus, their animals are all no-antibiotics ever and eat a veggie and grain diet – no animal byproducts whatsoever.
And I’m so excited to share that now you can get all of the Perdue Farms meats online and shipped directly to your home for the first time ever. These Perdue Simply Smart Organics Chicken Breast Chunks are part of the new organic bundle.
Okay enough about chicken. The other piece of this orange chicken recipe is the sauce. My husband tried out a ton of different sauce options (kind of like he did with this teriyaki chicken recipe), and he tweaked it to perfection.
Orange Chicken Sauce Ingredients
The sauce includes mostly ingredients you likely have on hand at home. I’ve included the ingredients below that we personally used in the sauce as well as substitution options if you don’t happen to have these at home.
Get all the specific measurements and details for each of the ingredients in the actual recipe at the bottom of this post.
- Orange juice – we prefer to use fresh squeezed orange juice but you can totally just use the refrigerated kind too, it’s typically about the amount of juice you can get out of two medium-large oranges
- Fresh orange zest – the zest from one medium-large orange
- Coconut aminos – if you don’t have coconut aminos, you could use soy sauce instead
- Apple cider vinegar – no real substitution for this one
- Brown sugar – make sure it’s brown sugar, this makes a big difference in the consistency of the sauce
- Coconut oil – we prefer the unrefined kind
- Minced garlic – typically 2-3 cloves depending on the size of the garlic
- Grated fresh ginger – it’s much better fresh but if you don’t have fresh you could also use ground ginger
- Red pepper flakes – these add a very minimal amount of heat to the sauce, but it’s barely even noticeable
- Kosher salt –
- Tapioca starch – this helps thicken the sauce; if you don’t have tapioca starch, corn starch will work
- Cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onion – you can use any of these as garnish
How to Make Orange Chicken
This recipe is as easy as 1-2-3. Bake your chicken, make your sauce, and combine.
Here we go!
1 – Bake your chicken breast chunks.
Since we literally cook these for my son at least twice a week for lunch, we’ve tried out a couple of different methods of baking the chicken breast chunks to get them perfectly crispy on the outside while still juicy on the inside.
You can always just follow the directions on the package as well, but we’ve found this baking method preferably for crispy orange chicken.
For the best chicken chunks, place the chicken in one layer on a baking sheet or pizza stone covered with parchment paper.
Place into the oven cold (don’t preheat). Turn the oven on to 425 degrees and once chicken comes to temperature, bake chicken on one side for five minutes. Flip then bake for another five minutes or until it reaches the desired crispiness.
2 – Make the orange chicken sauce.
While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce on the stovetop. The sauce process has a few steps to get the right sauce consistency, but it’s not difficult. Just follow the instructions in the recipe card below.
If you’d like the sauce to be a little thicker, let it sit longer before you toss with the chicken and eat. The starch will thicken the sauce up a bit more the longer it sits off the heat.
3 – Toss the chicken in the sauce.
Once the chicken is fully warmed (it’s already cooked chicken so no need to worry about it being under cooked) and the sauce is made, toss the chicken in the sauce until it’s completely coated.
4 – Serve over rice and garnish.
We like this orange chicken recipe served over rice – I’ll be sharing our favorite Instant Pot rice recipe soon. It’s great with that!
If you don’t want rice, you could also serve it with some delicious Asian noodles, in lettuce wraps, or even just by itself.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, or even some sliced green onions. Onions are not my thing but if they’re yours – go for it!
5 – Keep leftovers in the fridge.
We never have leftovers but if you do, simply store them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Reheat either by placing everything in an oven safe dish and letting everything warm up in an oven at 350 degrees or heat it all up on the stove top.
Easy Orange Chicken Recipe
- 24 oz Perdue Simply Smart Organics Chicken Breast Chunks
- 1 cup orange juice
- zest from one medium-large orange
- 2 TBSP coconut aminos
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic about 2-3 cloves depending on size
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 tsp tapioca starch or 2 if you like stickier sauce
- Line a baking sheet or pizza stone with parchment paper.
- Place chicken breast chunks on the parchment paper in a single layer.
- Place in cold oven. Turn oven on to 425 degrees (convection roast if you have the option).
- Bake for 5 minutes. Flip then bake for 5 more minutes or until they reach the desired crispiness.
- Toss with prepared sauce.
- Serve over rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds, green onions, and/or cilantro.
Orange Chicken Sauce
- Combine the orange juice, orange zest, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar in a large bowl and whisk until fully combined.
- Heat the coconut oil in a sauce pot over medium heat.
- Once hot and the oil has fully melted, add the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of kosher salt to the pot and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring frequently.
- Add the juice mixture to the pot and whisk until combined.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the sauce to boil.
- Add 1 tsp tapioca starch to the bowl that previously had the juice mixture.
- Once the sauce has come to a boil, add three spoonfuls of boiling sauce to the tapioca starch and whisk until you have a smooth paste.
- While still whisking, add the paste to the boiling sauce and and whisk together well. Boil the sauce for another two minutes.
- Pour the sauce into a large bowl and allow to sit to thicken until the chicken is ready.
- Coconut aminos - can use soy sauce instead
- Grated fresh ginger – can use 1/4 tsp ground ginger instead but will change the flavor
- Tapioca starch – corn starch works as well
Other Chicken Recipes
- Greek lemon chicken
- Best white bean chicken chili
- Chicken enchiladas with white sauce
- Almond chicken
- Healthy grilled balsamic chicken