Orange chicken is made a little healthier while still retaining its crispy coating through baking. This baked orange chicken is an easy weekday meal.
I’ve been on a quest to make some of Mr. K’s favorite dishes healthier. While I really liked the healthier orange chicken I made last time, Mr. K wasn’t as much of a fan. He missed the crunchy coating and complained that the dish tasted “too much like chicken.”
So I have been working on a baked orange chicken recipe that is crunchy like my crispy baked honey garlic chicken.
So, for this recipe, the chicken is coated in bread crumbs and baked until crispy. Then it is drizzled with the orange glaze right before serving. It tastes as good as take-out! All you need are some fortune cookies for dessert.
I use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts but I think the thighs have more flavor and don’t dry out as much when you bake them.
The chicken pieces are dipped in a whisked large egg and dredged in panko bread crumbs.
The sauce is a combination of orange juice, granulated sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, fresh ginger, and sriracha (or a few pinches of red pepper flakes). It’s also thickened with cornstarch.
How to Make It
Once you’ve breaded the chicken, place the pieces on a prepared baking sheet and bake them it at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the breading is crispy and golden brown.
You can make the sauce while the chicken bakes. Combine all of the sauce ingredients, except for the cornstarch, in a sauce pan. In a separate small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water.
Heat the sauce ingredients to a low boil and then add the cornstarch mixture. Stir and cook the sauce until it thickens.
Once the chicken is done baking, toss it with the sauce and it’s ready to serve.
How to Store It
Baked orange chicken is best when it’s made while the coating is crunchy. After it cools and sits with the sauce, the coating will soften.
You can store the leftovers in the fridge, but the coating won’t have the same texture. It will still be good, though. Keep the leftovers in an airtight container and they will keep for three to four days.
Garnishes and What to Serve With It
You can garnish the orange chicken with fresh cilantro, parsley, or sliced green onions. For extra crunch, you can sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the top. Some orange slices would be good, too.
We like this dish with cooked rice or cauliflower rice. You can do plain rice or try my traditional Chinese fried rice or fried cauliflower rice. If you want a big batch, you might like my sheet pan fried rice.
Or, if you like noodles, you could try lo mein or pan fried noodles.
Some veggies like red bell peppers or broccoli would also work well.
We both liked this version – it’s definitely lighter than Panda Express orange chicken but with the same sweet and tangy orange sauce. I love the orange flavor with the crispy chicken and I like that it’s healthier than take-out.
More Recipes to Try
Baked Orange Chicken
- 1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 extra-large egg whisked
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- 1/8 cup light soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp ginger minced
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 2 tsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Dip chicken pieces in egg and then roll in bread crumbs until fully coated and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all chicken is coated. Bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken coating is a light brown and is crunchy.
- While chicken is cooking, make the sauce on the stove. Add all sauce ingredients except the 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water. Bring to a low boil. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water, then add to the mixture. Stir until sauce boils again and cook until sauce thickens. Toss chicken in sauce right before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro if desired.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.