Crispy Orange Chicken Bites | Panda Express Copycat Recipe


Sticky, sweet, and utterly satisfying, this recipe for Easy Orange Chicken Bites will make your mouth happy! Bite-sized chunks of white meat chicken are lightly sauteed and coated in a sticky Asian-inspired orange sauce, with sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Bites

Do you love Panda Express? Judging by the popularity of my Zucchini Mushroom Chicken Stir Fry, I am pretty sure you do!

Also? There’s nothing quite like their Orange Chicken 😋 BUT, this recipe might just be
 dare I say it? Better! Maybeee? Well, it’s certainly healthier for you.

For my homemade Orange Chicken Bites, I’m using lean, white meat chicken smothered in a sweet and savory sauce. I don’t bread the chicken before cooking it, and I do a simple saute in a skillet, rather than deep frying. All of this makes the dish lower in calories and carbs when compared to the takeout version.

This dish is also really nice to make on a weeknight, because it’s very quick to cook and you don’t need a lot of technique, time, or equipment. Just one saucepan for the sauce, and a skillet for the chicken! I like to serve mine with cauliflower rice and steamed broccoli, which you can cook at the same time, but you can really make this dish and serve it with just about anything, from salad to noodles.

up close shot of chicken bites in orange sauce and topped with sesame seeds and green onions

Recipe Ingredients

The great thing about this recipe is that you get the wonderful, crave-worthy flavor of take-out, but it’s all simple ingredients that are good for you! Win-win!

  • Orange Juice: You’ll need 3/4-cup of your favorite orange juice. I use Trop50, and that is 50% less sugar and calories.
  • Honey: I used ⅓  cup of honey, but you could add more or less to taste.
  • Soy Sauce: I usually choose low-sodium soy sauce; tamari is also fine, and coconut aminos also work!
  • White Vinegar: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to give the dish an intense flavor.
  • Sesame Oil: This delicious condiment adds a wonderful Asian flavor to the dish.
  • Garlic: Mince or press two cloves of garlic.
  • Ginger: Just Œ  teaspoon of ground ginger makes this sauce so flavorful!
  • Orange Zest: You’ll need the zest of one orange. Make sure to wash the orange well before zesting.
  • Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil: For sauteing the chicken.
  • Chicken: You’ll need one pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cornstarch + Water: To thicken the sauce.
  • Sesame Seeds and Green Onions: For garnish.
cooking chunks of chicken in a skillet

How to Make Orange Chicken Bites

Since you don’t have to bread and fry these tasty little chicken bites, it’s super easy to bring the dish together! You’ll be noshing in no time!

  1. Make the Sauce. In a large saucepan, whisk together the orange juice, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic, and ground ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then decrease the heat to medium high. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes longer, or until the sauce is reduced. Remove from the heat and whisk in the orange zest. Set aside.
  2. Cook the Chicken Bites. While the sauce is cooking, cut the chicken breasts into cubes and season them with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken cubes for 8 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. Add the Sauce to the Chicken. Pour the finished orange sauce over the cooked chicken cubes, and cook for one minute; stir in the slurry and cook until thickened.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve.
cooking orange sauce in a saucepan

Tips for Success

I so hope you’ll enjoy this easy recipe! I love making up a batch to serve on weeknights with some fragrant rice; it’s an easy meal that everyone loves. Here are a few tips and tricks to make it your own!

  • Use Thighs: This recipe works very well with chicken thighs. Just cut them into cubes or chunks, and make sure to cook them through (dark meat may take longer than white meat to cook through, depending on the size of the pieces).
  • Add Breading: If you’d like a little more texture to the dish, you can lightly “bread” the chicken cubes by dredging them with flour or cornstarch before sauteing. 
  • Give It Some Heat: If you’d like a spicy kick to your orange chicken, try adding a little bit of crushed red pepper or a small amount of chopped jalapeno to the sauce, to taste. Always be careful handling hot peppers with care, using gloves if necessary, and washing hands well afterward. Never touch eyes, etc., while handling hot peppers. Been there, done that. NOT fun. đŸ˜©
cooking chicken bites in orange sauce

What Sides go with Orange Chicken

So what should you make to serve with this tasty chicken dish? There are lots of delicious options that go really well with the flavors here! Here are a few ideas that I think work especially well.

  • Egg Drop Soup: This super-simple homemade soup comes together in a snap, and it’s not only tasty, it’s healthy! Try this easy recipe for Egg Drop Soup—it’s sure to be a hit!
  • Jasmine Rice: To make my easy Instant Pot Jasmine Rice, ditch the rice cooker and use the Instant Pot! Jasmine rice is slightly sticky, but not overly mushy or creamy, and it’s very popular in southeast Asian cuisine.
  • Sugar Snap Peas: If you like snow peas with chicken, you’ll love my easy Garlic Parmesan Sugar Snap Peas. They’re a pop of sweet, fresh flavor that really make the flavors of the chicken stand out.

How to Store and Reheat Chicken Leftovers

  • To refrigerate your leftover chicken bites, place the chicken together with any sauce in airtight storage containers. Keep refrigerated for up to three days.
  • To reheat, place chicken bites and sauce into a covered skillet or saucepan over low heat until heated through.

ENJOY!

EASY ORANGE CHICKEN BITES

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time25 mins

Total Time35 mins

Bite-sized tender chicken lightly sauteed and coated in a sticky Asian-inspired orange sauce with sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.

Instructions 

  • In a saucepan, combine orange juice, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha, oil, garlic, and ground ginger.

  • Whisk together; set over high heat and bring to a boil.

  • Decrease to medium-high and continue to boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until sauce is reduced and slightly thickened.

  • Remove from heat; whisk in orange zest and set aside.

  • In the meantime, cut chicken breasts into cubes and season with salt and pepper.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet set over medium heat.

  • Add chicken cubes to the heated oil and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

  • Pour in the orange sauce; bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

  • Prepare slurry by combining cornstarch and water in a small bowl; whisk until completely incorporated.

  • Add slurry to the skillet and continue to cook and stir for 1 minute, or until sauce is thickened. If you’d like a thicker sauce, use 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water.

  • Remove skillet from heat.

  • Transfer chicken bites to a serving plate.

  • Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions; serve over rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, etc


Notes

  • To lower carbs and calories, you can try using Yacon Syrup in place of Honey.

Nutrition Facts

EASY ORANGE CHICKEN BITES

Amount Per Serving

Calories 283
Calories from Fat 99

% Daily Value*

Fat 11g17%

Saturated Fat 2g10%

Trans Fat 1g

Cholesterol 73mg24%

Sodium 619mg26%

Potassium 555mg16%

Carbohydrates 20g7%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 17g19%

Protein 25g50%

Vitamin A 132IU3%

Vitamin C 28mg34%

Calcium 18mg2%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Keywords: boneless skinless chicken thigh recipes, chicken bites, orange chicken recipe, panda express copycat

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