The Secret Behind Panda Express's Famous Orange Chicken

Arguably the best item at Panda Express is its fried chicken pieces smothered in the famous chili-orange sauce. The Chinese Kitchen shared its homemade version of the Panda Express orange chicken recipe with us, which begins by making a "pancake-like batter" to coat the chicken in. Yum! The chicken pieces fry up in six minutes, so this isn't the most labor-intensive recipe. Serve it up with some steamed rice and stir-fried broccoli for the complete Panda experience. Or wrap everything up in a large tortilla, like the newly released Panda Express Orange Chicken Burrito. We won't judge!

Panda Express

Homemade Orange Chicken

YieldServes 4

From Panda Express


    • For chicken preparation:
    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless dark meat chicken
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1 cup cornstarch
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 egg
    • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
    • 1 1/2 cups water, as needed
    • For orange sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup white vinegar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • For cooking:
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
    • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon chili (red pepper flakes)
    • 1 tablespoon cooking wine or sherry
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons water


    1. For chicken preparation: Cut chicken into 1"x1" cubes; set aside and refrigerate.

    2. In a medium-size bowl, mix salt, ground white pepper, cornstarch, and AP flour. Add egg, 2 tablespoons oil, and water until you have achieved a pancake-batter consistency. Mix chicken with batter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    3. For the orange sauce: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and hold to the side.

    4. For cooking: Heat 2 cups oil in a wok or heavy-bottom pan to 350ºF. Gently drop chicken piece by piece in the oil and let cook for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Remove chicken using a spider or a strainer and set aside on paper towels to drain. Safely dispense fry oil when cool.

    5. Bring a separate pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Then quickly add ginger, garlic, chili, and cooking wine. Note: be careful not to burn the garlic. Add orange sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch and water together and add to the pan and stir until sauce thickens. Add chicken and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Add sesame oil at the end.