This PF Chang’s orange chicken recipe is made with crispy bites of chicken coated in a sweet and tangy orange sauce with the perfect amount of spice! All the favorite flavors of the classic Chinese restaurant but made at home!
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Copycat PF Chang’s Orange Chicken
No need to run out to a restaurant because this PF Chang’s orange chicken is so much better made at home. The entire dish is prepped in just 15 minutes and ready to serve in 1 hour.
I’ve made Instant Pot orange chicken before which is super convenient, however, it doesn’t quite have the same texture because it lacks the coating. On days when I have a little extra time, this is my go-to copycat recipe!
This orange chicken recipe with a tangy sauce is made with chicken coated in cornstarch, dipped in egg and then pan-fried. Baked until golden, it’s then smothered in an orange sauce perfect for serving over white rice.
Why This Recipe Works
- Better than takeout. This budget-friendly restaurant version of P.F. Chang’s orange chicken uses ingredients found in your kitchen or pantry and no added preservatives.
- Easy to make. There are a few prep steps involved, but nothing complicated and on the table within an hour!
- Irresistible orange chicken sauce. This addicting sauce has layers of flavor from sweet, to savory, to tangy, citrusy, and even spicy if you’d like!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces.
- Cornstarch: Corn starch coats the pieces of chicken to absorb excess moisture for crisp results. Try arrowroot powder for a gluten free substitute.
- Seasoning: Garlic salt, kosher salt, and pepper.
- Oil: I used canola oil to cook the chicken in batches. Vegetable oil works, too.
- Eggs: Whisked eggs are used to coat the chicken on the outside for the best crisp coating.
- Orange sauce: Orange juice, rice vinegar, granulated sugar, ground ginger, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Cornstarch is used for a thickener and orange zest for bold flavor.
Substitutions and Variations
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work as well.
- Orange juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice or store bought orange juice works.
- Orange peel chicken: For more intense orange flavor, instead of zesting the whole orange, cut 1/2 of the orange peel into thin pieces. Saute the thin orange strips in oil before adding the remaining orange peel sauce ingredients.
- Sugar: Instead of granulated sugar, brown sugar works just as well. As does honey!
- Soy sauce: A splash of low sodium soy sauce can be added to the sauce for additional flavor.
- Milder sauce: Adjust amount of zest added or for spicy orange sauce add additional red chili flakes. For sweeter taste, add sweet citrus chili sauce.
How to Make Orange Chicken
- Combine sauce ingredients. In a small saucepan, whisk all of sauce ingredients (minus the cornstarch) together and simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
- Thicken the sauce. Add cornstarch slurry, by pouring it in saucepan and whisking it into the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and add orange zest.
- Coat the chicken and fry. Place chicken nugget sized pieces into a large zip-top bag along with the cornstarch and seasonings. Shake to coat. Whisk egg in a shallow bowl, coat each piece then fry in skillet or work until golden. Work in batches and drain on paper towels!
- Bake and flip. Arrange the chicken pieces onto the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 20 minutes in a preheated 325°F oven.
- Bake some more. Flip them and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy. Garnish PF Chang’s orange chicken with green onion and fresh orange slices then serve with white rice or brown rice and a side of vegetables.
- Always make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a soggy coating.
- To test whether the oil is hot enough, splash a little water on the oil. If it pops and sizzles, it’s good to go.
- Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry chicken in batches so that the outside sears nicely without steaming.
- Wipe the pan clean between each batch so that you’re not transferring the flavor of burnt bits.
- Double the amount of P.F. Chang’s orange chicken sauce if you want to set some extra aside for dipping.
They are quite similar, especially the way I make mine, however, General Tso isn’t made with any orange flavor at all and has more of a tangy, savory, and slightly spicy flavor profile.
It sure is! At least in my homemade version, it is. We use orange juice as well as orange zest. Of course, you can serve it with slices of orange too!
As for what you’d find in most restaurants, it’s likely orange artificial flavors in the sauce. Perhaps made with oranges, perhaps not.
No, all it needs is a shallow pan-fry! That’s why it’s crucial to cook in batches so that the outside gets a crispy coating without any deep frying.
No, it’s not at all. It’s a spinoff of another non-authentic Chinese takeout favorite, General Tso chicken! While we’re at it, let’s throw sweet and sour chicken in the mix too.
These are American-made and Asian-inspired.
Yes, it’s easy to make air fryer PF Chang’s orange chicken. Instead of frying the chicken in step 3, add chicken pieces in a single layer to a 400°F preheated air fryer. Air fryer 10-12 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through until chicken is golden brown and done. Prepare sauce as directed then toss chicken with sauce and serve.
Keep any leftovers stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in a skillet in a little bit of oil until crispy and heated through. Freeze orange chicken in a freezer safe container up to a month. Thaw and enjoy by reheating with some freshly made orange sauce.
Orange Chicken Serving Suggestions
Serving PF Chang’s orange chicken with white or brown rice, fried rice or lo mein noodles is a whole family favorite!
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PF Chang’s Orange Chicken Recipe
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar , distilled or apple cider vinegar will work too
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder , or 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Crushed red pepper flakes , optional
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 orange , zested
- 1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts , cut into bite-sized pieces
- ¾ cup corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup canola oil , divided
- 2 large eggs , whisked
For serving: Sliced green onions, Cooked rice and broccoli and/or carrots
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together orange juice, sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, if using, over medium heat. Simmer 3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water to form a paste. Whisk into the sauce and simmer 5 minutes more, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a large zip-top bag, shake the chicken, cornstarch, garlic salt, salt, and pepper until the chicken is evenly coated. In a shallow bowl, add the egg.
- In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Using a fork, dip 1/2 of the chicken pieces in egg and place in the frying pan. Fry each side 2 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to baking sheet. Dispose of the burnt oil and heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil. Repeat process with the remaining chicken.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat. Bake 20 minutes. Flip the chicken to evenly coat in sauce. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle with green onions and serve with steamed rice and vegetables. Enjoy!
- To test if the oil is hot enough, splash a little water on the oil. If it pops, it’s ready.
- Double the sauce if you’d like extra for dipping the chicken in.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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