Home Made Orange Chicken Everyone Will Love for Weeknight Dinners

Orange chicken is a beloved dish known for its perfect blend of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors that appeal to all ages. When the week gets busy, finding time to prepare a delicious and satisfying dinner can be a challenge. This home made orange chicken recipe is not only quick and easy to make, but it also delivers restaurant-quality taste right in your kitchen. With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, it’s an ideal choice for family-friendly meals that everyone will love. Whether you cook for kids or adults, this recipe will become a staple for delightful weeknight dinners.

Ingredients for Home Made Orange Chicken Recipe

For the Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (substitute with chicken thighs for a juicier option)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (substitute with cornstarch for a gluten-free option)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (vegetable or canola oil recommended)

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice (can substitute with bottled orange juice, but fresh is preferred for better flavor)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar as an alternative)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (substitute with honey or agave syrup for a natural sweetener)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (for thickening)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for a hint of spice)

Suggestions for Possible Substitutions

  • Chicken Thighs: Use boneless, skinless thighs instead of breasts for a juicier texture.
  • Honey or Agave Syrup: Replace sugar with these natural sweeteners for a healthier option.
  • Cornstarch: Use cornstarch instead of flour for a gluten-free coating.
  • White Vinegar: Substitute rice vinegar with white vinegar if needed.

Note on Using Fresh vs. Bottled Orange Juice

  • Fresh Orange Juice: Provides a vibrant and authentic citrus flavor that enhances the dish.
  • Bottled Orange Juice: Can be used in a pinch, but may contain added sugars and preservatives that slightly alter the taste. Fresh is recommended for the best results.

Home Made Orange Chicken Preparation

Marinating the Chicken

Cutting the Chicken

  1. Rinse the chicken breasts or thighs under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they are roughly the same size for even cooking.


  1. In a large bowl, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Beat 2 large eggs in a separate bowl and pour over the chicken pieces, ensuring they are fully coated.
  3. Let the chicken marinate in the egg mixture for 15-20 minutes. For best flavor, marinate for up to 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preparing the Sauce

Ingredients Preparation

  1. Zest 2 oranges to obtain 2 tablespoons of orange zest.
  2. Squeeze the oranges to get 1 cup of fresh orange juice, or measure 1 cup of bottled orange juice if using.
  3. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger.

Cooking the Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, and 1/2 cup of sugar (or honey/agave syrup).
  2. Add the orange zest, garlic, and ginger to the saucepan.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl to create a slurry.
  5. Gradually pour the cornstarch slurry into the simmering sauce, stirring continuously to prevent lumps.
  6. Continue to simmer the sauce until it thickens to your desired consistency, usually about 5-7 minutes.
  7. If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a hint of spice.

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Balance of Sweet and Tangy

Taste as You Go: Regularly taste the sauce during preparation to adjust the sweetness or tanginess. Add more sugar or honey for a sweeter flavor or more vinegar for extra tanginess.

Adjusting Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, add a little more orange juice or water. If it’s too thin, simmer it for a bit longer to thicken.

Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh orange juice and zest for the best, most vibrant citrus flavor. Fresh garlic and ginger also enhance the overall taste of the sauce.

Cooking Home Made Orange Chicken

Frying the Chicken

Coating and Frying

  1. After marinating, remove the chicken pieces from the egg mixture and let any excess egg drip off.
  2. Place 1 cup of all-purpose flour (or cornstarch for a gluten-free option) in a large bowl or zip-top bag.
  3. Dredge each chicken piece in the flour, ensuring it is evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat about 1 inch of vegetable or canola oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C).
  5. Carefully add the coated chicken pieces to the hot oil in batches, avoiding overcrowding the pan.
  6. Fry the chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy. Use a

slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Healthier Alternatives


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange the coated chicken pieces in a single layer on the

baking sheet.

  1. Lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray to help them crisp up.
  2. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through, until the chicken is golden and cooked through.


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Arrange the coated chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, working in batches if necessary.
  3. Lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray.
  4. Air-fry for 10-12 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through until the chicken is crispy and cooked through.

Combining Chicken and Sauce

Properly Combining

  1. Once all the chicken pieces are fried, transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  1. Pour the prepared orange sauce over the chicken pieces.
  2. Gently toss the chicken in the sauce until every piece is evenly coated.
  3. If necessary, use a spatula or large spoon to ensure the sauce covers all the chicken pieces.

Ensuring Even Coating

  • Toss the chicken gently to avoid breaking the crispy coating.
  • Make sure to add the sauce gradually, mixing well to ensure every piece is thoroughly coated.
  • If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a small amount of water or orange juice to thin it out slightly and help with even coating.

With these steps, you’ll achieve perfectly crispy and flavorful homemade orange chicken that’s sure to be a hit for weeknight dinners!

Serving Home Made Orange Chicken

For an inviting presentation, serve the homemade orange chicken on a large platter, ensuring the pieces are evenly spread and glistening with the orange sauce. A bed of steamed jasmine or basmati rice provides a fragrant and fluffy base that complements the rich flavors. Surround the chicken with vibrant steamed broccoli or a mix of stir-fried vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas, and carrots for added color and nutrition.

Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and freshly chopped green onions for a touch of crunch and a pop of green. Adding a bit of orange zest on top enhances the citrus aroma and provides a visually appealing finish. Serve with a side of extra orange sauce for those who like a bit more flavor, and enjoy this delightful, family-friendly meal that’s perfect for busy weeknight dinners.

Tips and Tricks

Making Ahead: Prepare the chicken and sauce separately. Store them in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat the chicken in the oven and warm the sauce before combining.

Storing Leftovers: Store leftover chicken and sauce in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for crispy chicken and on the stovetop for the sauce.

Reheating: Reheat the chicken at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes to maintain crispiness. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.

Dietary Adjustments: Use cornstarch instead of flour for a gluten-free option. Replace sugar with honey or a sugar substitute for a lower-sugar version. Use tamari instead of soy sauce for gluten-free.

This home made orange chicken recipe offers a delightful balance of sweet and tangy flavors with crispy, tender chicken, perfect for busy weeknight dinners. Simple and family-friendly, it’s sure to become a household favorite. Give this recipe a try for a delicious and hassle-free meal that everyone will love. We’d love to hear about your experiences and any variations you make, so please share your feedback and photos in the comments!

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