Crispy orange chicken is made from tender chunks of chicken thighs, coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs and oven baked for extra crunch. Team with a bowl of chinese fried rice or noodles, smother in tangy orange sauce, and you have a quick and easy Chinese inspired meal that you’ll want to make again and again.
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Crispy orange chicken
Crispy orange chicken is made from tender chunks of boneless chicken thighs, covered in panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch, and oven-baked for crispness. It is covered in tangy orange sauce which provides a delicious citrus flavour that goes so well with chicken.
I’ve called my recipe crispy orange chicken, but you could substitute the orange for lemon and make it with a crispy lemon chicken instead – it will taste just as good!
The secret to extra crispy chicken is to coat the chicken in panko breadcrumbs and then bake it in the oven until the crumbs are golden brown and crunchy. The chicken stays wonderfully juicy inside the crumbs, and at the same time, the crumbs provide a satisfying crunch as you bite into the chicken.
This is one of my favourite quick and easy supper recipes – the orange sauce comes together in 5 minutes and the crispy chicken only takes 15 minutes in the oven. And with a preparation time of only 15 minutes you can have this crispy orange chicken on the table in just over half an hour.
Serve the crispy orange chicken on a bed of chinese egg fried rice or noodles, and pour the orange sauce over the top.
If this isn’t quite what you are looking for, why not try my Sticky Orange Chicken Traybake made with juicy chicken thighs oven baked with mandarin oranges.
What you will need
You will need some baking trays for baking the chicken, and baking parchment to line the baking trays. You can get away without lining the baking trays, but then you will have to spend more time cleaning them afterwards.
For coating the chicken you will need three shallow dishes to hold the coating ingredients.
To make the orange sauce you will need a small saucepan.
And of course, you will need a sharp knife and a chopping board for cutting up the chicken.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make this crispy orange chicken on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Chicken and coating
- 600g – 800g boneless chicken thighs – this depends entirely on your family’s appetite. I find that 600g is sufficient for 4 adults, which equates to 150g (5 ounces) each. You could substitute the thighs with chicken breasts if you prefer.
- Salt – to sprinkle over the chicken before coating.
- Cornflour – the exact amount will depend on how many pieces of chicken you have. I normally start by adding half a cup and then add extra if I need it.
- Large eggs – lightly beaten.
- Panko breadcrumbs – once again, this is approximate, depending on the amount of chicken. Start with a cupful and add more if you need it.
- Juice of 2 oranges – this is approximately 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon orange zest – grate the outer zest from the orange before you squeeze the juice out. Make sure you don’t grate the white part as this is quite bitter. This is optional.
- 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar – you can use light or dark brown sugar. The actual amount will depend on how sweet the oranges are.
- 2 cloves garlic – very finely minced. If you don’t have fresh garlic you can substitute with your favourite garlic paste.
- Ginger paste – not pictured. This is optional, but does add an extra zing to the sauce.
- 2 Teaspoons cornflour – mixed to a paste with 2 tablespoons water and used to thicken the sauce.
- 1 teaspoon groundnut oil – this is optional. I like to use it because it gives the sauce a nice shiny finish. If you don’t have groundnut oil you could use any neutral flavour oil, such as sunflower oil.
What to do
Prepare the chicken
- I like to buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but if you have them on the bone you can remove the bone with a sharp knife before cutting the chicken.
- Remove any pieces of skin, and cut away any visible fat.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and sprinkle with salt to taste.
I find that I can cut each thigh into 4 – 6 pieces depending on the size of the thighs.
Coat the chicken
- Prepare a baking-sheet by covering it with non-stick tin-foil or a layer of baking parchment.
- Take 3 flat dishes or plates. Put the cornflour in the first one. Add the beaten egg to the second one. Pour the Panko breadcrumbs into the third one.
Note – the quantities given above are approximate only. You can always add more cornflour or breadcrumbs if you run out half-way through coating the chicken. It’s better than having to throw it away if you put too much on the plate.
Coat each piece of chicken, first with cornflour, then dip it into the beaten egg.
Let any excess egg drip away then press the chicken into the breadcrumbs so that it is well coated.
Place each piece of chicken onto a lined baking tray.
Repeat until all the chicken has been coated.
Make sure the chicken pieces are in a single layer on the baking trays, and not touching each other.
Bake the chicken in a preheated oven (200C / 400F) for 10 to 12 minutes, swapping the trays over half-way through the cooking time.
The breadcrumbs should be crispy and golden. If the underside of the chicken hasn’t crisped sufficiently, you can turn the chicken over and leave it for another minute or two.
After 10 minutes check the chicken by cutting one piece in half – there should be no pink inside. If it is still pink, leave it in the oven for another minute or two.
If you are adding orange zest, zest the orange on the smallest blade of your grater, or use an orange zester.
Cut the orange in half and squeeze all the juice into a bowl.
Place all the ingredients for the orange sauce (except the cornflour and water) in a saucepan and bring it to the boil.
Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
To thicken the sauce, mix the cornflour and water to a smooth paste and drizzle slowly into the sauce, stirring all the time, until it thickens.
You may not need all the cornflour. The orange sauce should be a nice runny consistency, a bit like a thick gravy. You want to be able to pour it over the crispy chicken.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of orange sauce.
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Orange chicken FAQ
I wouldn’t freeze the cooked chicken as it will lose its crispiness once defrosted.
You can freeze the chicken pieces once they have been coated in breadcrumbs.
To freeze, place the chicken pieces on the baking sheet and open-freeze in the freezer until they are well frozen. Once the chicken is frozen, transfer the pieces to a Ziploc bag and leave it in the freezer.
To cook – place the frozen chicken pieces on a baking sheet in a preheated oven (200C / 400F) and bake for 15 minutes until the crumbs are golden and crispy. Cut a piece of chicken in half and check that the chicken is not pink on the inside. If it is still pink allow it to cook for one or two minutes longer.
You can freeze the cooled orange sauce in a plastic container.
To use, tip the frozen sauce into a saucepan and heat gently until the sauce defrosts and starts to boil.
To make a larger quantity you can double all the ingredients with the exception of the garlic and ginger. I would stick to the original quantities so as not to overpower the dish.
Save for later
If you would like to try this crispy orange chicken yourself, why not pin the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily. Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
You may also like these other Asian-inspired meals:
- Garlic chicken stirfry
- Pad Thai noodles with chicken and prawns
- Oven-baked cashew chicken
- Garlic prawn stirfry
- Thai meatballs with satay sauce
- Sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein
And of course, no Chinese meal is complete without a bowl of fluffy rice. If you are looking for easy ways to cook rice, you’ll find step-by-step instructions in these posts:
Recipe – Crispy Orange Chicken
Crispy Orange Chicken
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
For the chicken
- 21 ounce 600 grams boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Salt to taste
For the chicken coating
- 1/2 cup cornflour approximately
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs approximatey
For the orange sauce
- 1 cup / 240 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon groundnut oil or equivalent neutral flavoured oil
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 2 tablespoons water
Prepare and coat the chicken
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks21 ounce 600 grams boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Sprnikle with salt to tasteSalt
- Dip each chicken piece in cornflour then dip in egg and finally into panko breadcrumbs1/2 cup cornflour, 2 large eggs, 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Arrange the chicken pieces on a foil or baking parchment-lined baking tray
- Place into preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the crumbs are golden
For the orange sauce
- Place all ingredients except cornflour and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.1 cup / 240 ml freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon ginger paste, 1 teaspoon groundnut oil
- Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes
- Mix the cornflour and water to a smooth paste and drizzle slowly into the sauce to thicken. Stir continuously and allow to simmer for another minute.2 teaspoons cornflour, 2 tablespoons water
- Serve with rice or noodles
- Coat all the chicken with cornflour first – then rinse and dry your hands.
- Now take one hand and take a piece of cornflour-coated chicken, and dip it in the egg. Place into the breadcrumbs.
- Take the other hand and coat the chicken in breadcrumbs and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat until all the chicken has been coated with egg and breadcrumbs.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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