Better-Than-Panda Homemade Orange Chicken

Better Than Panda Homemade Orange Chicken: BrownThumbMama.com

You know how sometimes a brand name becomes synonymous with the product it makes? Think Kleenex or Xerox. We love Panda Express, and it automatically means “Orange Chicken” when we hear it. The conversation has become shorthand: “Wanna Panda?” is all that needs to be said.

Recently, I wanted some Orange Chicken but didn’t want to: load the kids in the car in the rain, drive to Panda, unload kids, wait in line (juggling Little Peanut saying, “Down!” the whole time), load kids in car, load food in car, return home.

Can ya blame me?

Besides, why pay for something you can make? Let’s do this.

Homemade Orange Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces. I prefer to do this while the chicken is partially thawed, since that makes it easier to cut.

Heat the butter/oil in a large pan until shimmering. Add half of the chicken (it’s OK if they’re still partly frozen when you put them in!) and cook until nicely browned.

Don’t put all the chicken in at once because the pan will get crowded, it won’t stay hot enough, and you won’t end up with the tasty browned bits of chicken deliciousness.

Better Than Panda Homemade Orange Chicken: BrownThumbMama.com

Take the first half out and set it on a towel while you cook up the second half. I put the chicken on a towel instead of a plate because the towel will absorb any condensation, preventing sogginess.

While the chicken is cooking, prep the sauce. Mix the orange juice, orange zest, oyster sauce, honey, ginger, and red pepper flakes, if using, in a measuring cup. The honey will probably stay in a big lump in the measuring cup, but it’ll melt in the pan.

Take out the second batch of chicken and blot the excess oil out of the pan with a paper towel. Leave the crunchy browned bits in.

Better Than Panda Homemade Orange Chicken: BrownThumbMama.com

Pour the sauce into the pan, making sure the honey comes along for the ride, and scrape up all those yummy browned bits.

Better Than Panda Homemade Orange Chicken: BrownThumbMama.com

You’ll know the sauce is just the right thickness when your spatula leaves a little blank trail behind it.

Better Than Panda Homemade Orange Chicken: BrownThumbMama.com

Toss in your chicken and heat it through. Serve with loaded fried rice!

Better Than Panda Homemade Orange Chicken: BrownThumbMama.com

Better Than A BoxThis article was shared on Nourishing Joy, A Pinch of Joy, Your Great Idea, Butter Believer, Clever Chicks, Make Your Own Monday, Party Wave Wednesday, Small Footprint Friday, Your Green Resource, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Pennywise Platter, The Thrifty Home and Wildcrafting Wednesday.

100 thoughts on “Better-Than-Panda Homemade Orange Chicken

  1. Bill Bird

    As for certain words and meanings, when my older sister said “Do You Want to go to Africa,” it meant a trip to 7-11 and a delicious, old fashioned, cola slurpee. This was back in the day when there was only one drink called a slurpee, and the slurpee machine at your local 7-11 had but two choices: Cherry or Coke.

    Reply
  2. Miz Helen

    Just love your Orange Chicken, we will really enjoy it! Hope you have a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    Reply
  3. Barb

    Just so you know – I pinned this twice! I have to try this. I tried another orange chicken recipe which turned out to be a lot of work. This looks so much easier.

    Thanks for sharing your yummy recipe at Fabulously Frugal Thursday!

    Reply
      1. Pam Post author

        You could probably sub hoisin sauce, but fish sauce is a very different flavor. If you try it, let us know how it tastes!

        Reply
        1. Kathy

          Does oyster sauce smell/taste oysterie? The sound of oyster sauce sounds gross. I think I will try the hoisin sauce instead. :)

          Reply
      2. Sierra

        I would NOT substitute fish sauce. It has an extremely strong flavor that is completely different from Oyster Sauce. A very small amount goes a long way and 3TBS of it in this dish would ruin it. Hoisin will work!

        Reply
  4. Kristi

    Oh wow, that looks so delicious! We love Panda Express too, so I’m especially happy to find this recipe. I pinned it and can’t wait to try it!

    I’d like to invite you to share this post and up to two others at our From the Farm Blog Hop, which is live right now. Your style of blog posts would fit right in with the wonderful posts that are shared!

    From the Farm Blog Hop

    Hope to see you there!
    ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

    Reply
  5. Cathy Compeau

    OH WOW!

    I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven’t already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday’s at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/. I would be honored if you join us! Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

    Reply
  6. D Stepp

    I’ve been wanting to make a homemade version of Orange Chicken and your recipe sure makes it looks easy. Thanks for sharing it. Blessings, D@TheShadyPorch

    Reply
  7. Britney Mills

    This looks really good! I love recipes from restaurants that I can make at home! I would love to have you stop by and link it up to our party!

    Britney @ The Princess & Her Cowboys {dot} com

    Reply
  8. Fran

    I found you through I Made It! Monday…and I’m making this tonight! Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to try it! :) –Fran

    Reply
    1. Ali

      I must have done something wrong because my orange chicken was not very good. I tasted too “orangey.” I followed the steps exactly so I’m not sure where my mistake was.

      Reply
      1. Casey

        I made this the other day and mine wasn’t too orangey, but mine was super, super liquidy and never thickened like real Panda Express Orange Chicken. I think if I ever wanted to make orange chicken again I would find a different recipe.

        Reply
  9. The Tumbleweed Contessa

    Great share. Not only did you save the trip but you probably made it a lot healthier too. I am pinning this one for dinner one night. I am not sure about Oyster Sauce. Is it in with the other Asian ingredients usually? Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend.

    Reply
  10. sue

    Yes! I’ve been waiting for this recipe! THANK YOU! & thanks for linking with us this weekend at One Sharendipity Place. Have a great weekend !

    Sue @ TheT2women.com

    Reply
  11. Michelle Hargreaves

    I am so going to have to make this for my husband. He will ONLY eat Orange Chicken at Panda, but it always makes me worry about the contents of it, health-wise. Thanks for the recipe!
    xoxo
    Michelle @ Ya Gotta Have a Hobby

    Reply
  12. sue

    Mmm… This looks and sounds soo good, that I’m sure we’ll be trying it before the week is out!! Thank you so much for linking up with us at One Sharendipity Place!!

    Sue @ thet2women.com

    Reply
  13. Claire @ A Little Claireification

    Ohhhh this looks so yummy!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at our “Best Of The Weekend party”! I have pinned this to our party board and another big board too. We hope to see you again when the party kicks off Friday eve at 8PM EST.
    Have a great week!
    Xoxo

    Reply
  14. Theresa

    Looks so good! Thanks so much for sharing at the party!! Do drop by again for another or anytime you like. Have a great weekend. Theresa @DearCreatives

    Reply
  15. Evelyn Osborn

    Just pinned and shared on Facebook as one of this weeks Freedom Fridays Features!!! Thanks so much for sharing at Freedom Fridays!!!

    Hugs

    PS Also shared on google+

    Reply
  16. Cottage By The Sea

    Found you through SITS. I was sure that Orange Chicken was made with a ton of sugar. Good to know that the ingredients are what you have here. Not only will I cook it at home (because my family loves it) but, I will let them have it at Panda. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
    1. Elisa

      I am sure that the Panda version is full of sugar and all manner of low-quality ingredients – but this homemade version is definitely healthier.

      Reply
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  18. allie

    I live in Eastern Europe…and my little store doesn’t carry oyster or hoisin or fish sauce. (If it does, it is written in Russian or Georgian, and I cannot read either! :) Can substitute something for those sauces? Thank you!

    Reply
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  21. Cindy

    Love your recipes. Would you consider adding a print option for those of us still addicted to having a piece of paper in our hands to read and follow while we cook? :)

    Reply
    1. Pam Post author

      Good idea, Cindy! I know there’s some software that can do this…will research it and add that option.

      Reply
  22. Xanthina

    I made this last night with grapefruit juice… it was so good! As my 7 year old said “I want to eat this forever!”

    Reply
  23. Jasmine Ward

    Can you leave the oyster sauce out, can you replace it with something else? The ingredients in that include MSG, sugar, modified corn starch and wheat flour.. unless I’m looking at the wrong brands.

    Reply
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  25. N2Fitness

    I’m kind of late to the party here, but I made this with my 7 year old tonight and she said it’s AWESOME. ;) Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply
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  29. Daphne

    Pam, this sauce is so good! I used it on some greens sauteed with onions and garlic today (with a little Sriracha, of course), and it was perfect.

    Reply
  30. London

    This isn’t very helpful, it doesn’t say how long the sauce should be on or at the very least what temp to prepare it at. Mine won’t thinken and I followed the recipe as closely as it allowed

    Reply
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  32. Bartini Bollinger

    This looks so good but has anyone tried this with lemon juice for lemon chicken? I don’t always have orange juice in the house but lemon juice is usually available because I use it in my baking and jam-making.

    Reply
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  35. Beth Anne

    Just made this for dinner tonight. My husband says it taste good but my sauce didn’t get think. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  36. Lisa Taylor

    I made this tonight! It had a VERY strong orange flavor. Other wise it was delicious and very easy to make.

    Reply
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  38. Eizabeth

    Made this tonight. Very tasty…but, my sauce didn’t thicken. Should I use cornstarch or arrowroot next time? :-)

    Reply
  39. Littlewolf

    I just tried this recipe and it was wonderful. I used imported soy sauce instead of oyster sauce, added much more zest, and some chopped shitaki mushrooms to the mix. Over steamed rice with a side of dumpling boiled in shitaki broth. It was a big hit in my household!

    Reply

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