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Sometimes I want Chinese food and I want it now. Like, right NOW. So badly I can’t think of anything else.
This is the fastest, easiest way I know to get it right out of my own kitchen. Baked chicken tossed in an easy pan sauce. Skip the frying because that takes too much time.
This is how it works: Start the rice cooking (or use minute rice for a shortcut). Chop up the chicken and toss with salt, pepper and cornstarch. The cornstarch will help the sauce adhere since it won’t have that crispy coating to stick to. Pop it in the oven to bake. It cooks fast so don’t overdo it. It will cook a little bit more in the sauce.
Make the sauce while the chicken is baking. It has a long list of ingredients but is so worth it! Fresh orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cayenne – a quick whisk followed by a few minutes of simmering and it’s ready for the chicken.
Toss to coat well with the sticky sauce and then get out your chopsticks! It’s on. Chinese food. Made with your own two hands. It tastes better that way.
The sauce is more savory than sweet, with a subtle kick of heat and a ton of orange flavor. It’s different than the deep-fried version – it doesn’t have that crunchy exterior but is delicious in it’s own right.
My incessant craving was filled not once but twice.
Leftovers for lunch rule.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe?
Absolutely! Chicken thighs can be more flavorful and juicy than chicken breasts. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time as thighs may take a bit longer to cook thoroughly.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce and replacing any flour with a gluten-free option like almond flour or cornstarch.
What can I serve with this Baked Chinese Orange Chicken?
This dish pairs wonderfully with steamed rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice for a low-carb option. You could also serve it with stir-fried or steamed vegetables.
Can I use bottled orange juice instead of fresh orange juice?
Fresh orange juice is ideal for its bright, natural flavor. However, if you don’t have fresh oranges, you can use bottled orange juice. Try to pick a brand without added sugar to keep the dish as healthy as possible.
I don’t have an oven. Can I still make this recipe?
While this is a baked version of Chinese Orange Chicken, you can adapt it for the stovetop. You can sauté the chicken pieces in a pan until they are cooked through, then add the orange sauce and simmer until it thickens.
Can I make this dish ahead of time and reheat it?
Yes, you can make this dish ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat, or in the microwave, adding a little water if necessary to thin the sauce.Print
- 1 cup uncooked white rice (use instant for a shortcut)
- 1 + ½ pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (zest it first)
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar, preferably dark
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, just the top orange layer not the white pith
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated or finely minced ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- a handful or two of sliced almonds, for serving
- Cook the rice according to package directions.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large, non-stick baking sheet.
- Add the chicken to a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half the cornstarch and toss, sprinkle with the remaining half and toss again.
- Dump the chicken out onto the baking sheet and spread apart so the pieces aren’t touching. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- Meanwhile whisk the broth, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, orange zest, garlic, ginger and cayenne together.
- Pour it into an 8-inch frying pan set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until dissolved. Whisk it into the simmering sauce and cook 2 to 3 minutes until thickened. Turn the heat down to low.
- Scrape the chicken into the sauce and gently toss until all the pieces are well coated.
- Serve over rice with a sprinkle of almonds.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Dinner, Lunch,
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: BAKED CHINESE ORANGE CHICKEN