Orange Chicken From Panda Express

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Panda Express Launches Plant

The Original Orange Chicken by Panda Express

For the first time, American Chinese restaurant Panda Express is offering a plant-based Beyond Meat version of its Orange Chicken entrée in all 2,300 locations across the U.S.

The trademarked dish, officially known as Beyond The Original Orange Chicken, combines the irresistibly crunchy texture and flavor of the classic Panda Express favorite and Beyond Meats best-in-class plant-based protein capabilities, according to a news release.

Panda Express and Beyond Meat first introduced the dish in Southern California and New York City in July 2021, with chefs wok-frying more than 1,300 pounds of plant-based chicken on the first day alone. After such a successful pilot, the dish debuted in 70 locations in 10 markets in October.

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Now, Beyond The Original Orange Chicken is available for a limited time nationwide. In celebration of the launch, customers who purchase a bowl via the Panda Express app or website using the code BEYOND” beginning Sept. 26 will receive another free entrée of their choice.

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Can You Freeze Orange Chicken

You bet. Simply place portions of cooked chicken and sauce in freezer-safe containers, then freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw leftovers overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a skillet. Plan to add a little extra water or orange juice as the dish heats. Serve with fresh rice. Learn more about how to freeze chicken.

Recipe Tips And Tricks

  • Choose the right oil. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all great options for frying. When making this easy orange chicken recipe, we typically use liquid vegetable shortening.
  • Adjust the spice level. The spice in this dish comes from chili pepper paste and ginger. As written, the recipe is mildly spicy like the restaurant version, but you can adjust the amounts to make this dish spicier if youd like.
  • Watch the oil temperature. It needs to stay consistent, between 350°F and 375°F. Too low, and the battered meat will absorb too much oil and take longer to cook. If the oil is too hot, the batter will burn before the center has a chance to cook through.
  • Or use a deep fryer! If you happen to have one, nows the time to use it. You can set the exact oil temperature you need, and the appliance will keep it consistent throughout frying.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Medium saucepan Heats evenly and is easy to clean too.
  • Candy thermometer Makes it easy to see when your oil is at the correct temperature.
  • Shallow Bowls or plates, for dredging

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How To Make Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe:

  • First, make the sauce.
  • Next, make the chicken by dipping pieces of chicken into the prepared egg mixture, and then into the flour.
  • Then, fry the chicken in oil in small batches. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • Finally, add the fried chicken into the sauce and stir until completely coated in the sauce and serve.
  • How Is Panda Express’ Orange Chicken Made

    Panda Express, the American Chinese food chain, to launch in India this ...

    In a video with Tasty, director of product development Jimmy Wang shares the ins and outs of how Panda Express employees makes its famous orange chicken every day . The dish begins with 1-inch pieces of chicken thighs that are coated with “just the right amount” of batter. Salt, white pepper, cornstarch, and flour make up the dry ingredients in the simple coating, and they’re whisked together with oil, egg, and water until smooth. The chicken chills in the batter for 30 minutes and is then deep-fried in small batches for six minutes until golden.

    The beloved orange sauce is made in a hot wok of sautéed fresh ginger, garlic, and chili flakes. Once these ingredients are fragrant, cooks add white and brown sugar, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and a cornstarch slurry, allowing the mixture to simmer and reduce until it reaches a maple syrup consistency. Finally, the chicken is tossed in the tangy sauce along with a tablespoon of sesame oil for shine and nuttiness until thoroughly coated and ready to be enjoyed.

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    To Cook The Orange Chicken

  • In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Set aside.
  • Add oil, ginger root, and garlic to a large wok or skillet and stir fry for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in chili peppers and green onions.
  • Add rice wine and stir to combine for less than a minute.
  • Add orange sauce to wok and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Add fried chicken pieces and stir until coated in sauce.
  • Stir in the small bowl of water/corn starch mixture and continue stirring until sauce thickens.
  • Add sesame oil and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated and chicken is coated in a rich, thick orange sauce.
  • Best enjoyed warm.

    We love to serve our orange chicken on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice with a side of broccoli. Try our tasty Broccoli with Garlic sauce recipe!

    Copycat Panda Orange Chicken Recipe Tips:

    • Using chicken tights has the best results as they are more tender.
    • You can use breast as well, for a healthier version.
    • Do not skip the orange zest, it adds that beautiful aroma to the whole dish.
    • Also, feel free to use the sauce to BAKE the chicken into it, for a healthier alternative.
    • Use white sugar if you do not have brown sugar on hand.
    • If you fry the chicken, it is best to place it on a wire rack first. Then, use a paper towel, if desired.

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    Panda Express’ Orange Chicken Is The Perfect Definition Of The Fifth Taste

    Umami is also known as the “fifth taste.” It comes after sour, sweet, bitter or salty, and roughly translates to “yummy deliciousness” from the Japanese. It’s basically just another flavor, but it’s almost ethereal in how to describe it. If you’ve ever eaten some wonderfully aged Parmesan cheese, it’s the same sort of feeling that hits the back of your throat and makes you crave more. It’s not entirely sweet or salty or bitter or sour, it’s all of the above. Just like orange chicken.

    Umami was discovered by two people on opposite sides of the globe, Escoffier, a Parisian chef in the 1800s who invented veal stock, and the Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda who experimented in his lab to figure out what made dashi so delicious. The answer was glutamic acid, which breaks down to become L-glutamate, and that’s when delicious umami happens. Ginger, garlic, and chicken are all rich in umami, and are all ingredients in our beloved orange chicken.

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    Orange Chicken – Just Like Panda Express!

    If you are making this Panda Express Chow Mein and you want to recreate more of your favorites but want to take a bit of an easier route, you can look in the grocery store near the soy sauce for pre-packaged Panda Express sauces. I havent tried them but I mean they come straight from Panda Express so I would imagine they would be an easy way to have an authentic Panda Chicken dish with these delicious noodles. Just an idea. I would still make my Mushroom Chicken instead though!

    In case youve read down this far, here is an original shot of this dish from when it was first pictured on the blog ah memories!

    About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

    Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

    Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

    She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

    She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

    Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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    Panda Express’ Orange Chicken Contains Ginger

    One of the key ingredients in the orange chicken from Panda Express is likely ginger. Panda Express hasn’t released their ingredients in the dish, but almost every copycat recipe of the dish utilizes ginger, meaning that, more than likely, it’s in the original, too.

    Ginger has a spiciness and an aroma which can’t be compared to anything else. It’s also high in umami, especially combined with the other ingredients in orange chicken. Not only is ginger amazingly delicious but it also can help with many ailments, including indigestion, muscle pain, and it may even help in reducing cholesterol. The University Of Maryland Medicine Center also suggests that ginger may help in reducing blood clots. These are all good reasons to increase your daily intake of ginger, and if one of these ways is by enjoying some orange chicken so be it.

    Granted, the fact that the chicken is deep fried isn’t great for your health, but it’s not like we’ll be eating orange chicken for every meal of every day. Even though that does sound truly amazing!

    Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe Variations:

    • Instant Pot version: You can make it in the Instant Pot, check our recipe for Instant Pot Orange Chicken.
    • Veggies: Make it healthier by stir-frying some veggies BEFORE adding the sauce back into the pan. Some suggestions that would be delicious include: sliced bell peppers, sliced red onion, broccoli, bok choy, sugar snap peas.
    • Make it Spicier: If you prefer your Chinese food to have a spicy kick, make sure to add more red pepper flakes, even some hot sauce or cayenne pepper into the sauce.
    • Make it healthier: For a healthier version, substitute sugars with honey or maple syrup. You can also lightly fry the chicken or bake it and chop it into pieces.
    • Other Meats: This recipe can be done with pork and beef as well.
    • Vegetarian: Make it vegetarian by using tofu. You can fry some firm tofu or bake it until crispy, and after that use in this recipe.
    • Play with the toppings: Top it with crushed peanuts, red pepper flakes, chopped scallions, and sesame seeds.

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    How Do You Make Easily Make Orange Chicken With Panda Express Sauce

    This is one of those meals you can have ready on the table in about 30 minutes. It goes together really fast.

    First, add about an inch of oil to a frying pan and turn it on HIGH, so it can get hot while youre getting the chicken ready. You can use any vegetable oil. Ive done this with canola oil, vegetable oil, and olive oil.

    Cut the boneless chicken thighs into pieces. I usually cut them into about 2-inch pieces.

    Toss the chickens thigh pieces in the corn starch until its well coated.

    When the oil is hot, transfer the coated chicken to the frying pan. Do this in batches, so you dont crowd the chicken.

    After about a minute, gently turn the chicken over.

    It will typically cook very quickly, in just a couple minutes. I always check the temperature of the chicken to make sure it gets above 165 F degrees.

    When its ready, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate covered in paper towels.

    Once you have cooked all the chicken, clean the skillet.

    Then, add enough oil to cover just the bottom of the pan and place it back on the fire set at about Medium High.

    Add a tablespoon of minced garlic and about a tablespoon of soy sauce .

    Mix it all up and when its hot, transfer about half the chicken into the pan.

    Add about half a cup of the orange sauce to the pan and then gently stir everything up to toss the chicken in the sauce. Let it bubble for a minute and remove the chicken to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

    Panda Express Welcomes Plant

    Panda Express Orange Chicken

    Panda Expressnew Beyond The Original Orange Chicken

    Panda Express’ Beyond The Original Orange Chicken features battered and deep-fried Beyond plant-based protein wok-tossed with the chain’s signature sweet, spicy, and tangy orange sauce. Basically, it’s their Orange Chicken but made with Beyond plant-based protein.

    The new plant-based protein costs an additional $1.25 over the price of regular entrees, which is in line with the chain’s other premium offerings of Black Pepper Angus Steak and Honey Walnut Shrimp.

    Starting September 26, 2022 for a limited time, if you buy a Beyond The Original Orange Chicken bowl online using the code “BEYONDOC”, you’ll get an additional free bowl with the entree of your choice at participating locations.

    Beyond The Original Orange Chicken was first introduced in 2021 in a limited-time test in Southern California and New York City. After the successful initial test, Panda Express tested the plant-based entree at 70 locations across ten markets, which brings us to the current national launch.

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    Beyond The Original Orange Chicken

    Tasting Notes

    Right off the bat, before I start talking about what I love about this plant-based chicken, we need to talk about this stupid f*cking name. Im not an expert in marketing, Im merely a fast food consumer, but I fear fast food brands are over-complicating naming this stuff. Taco Bell calls their new plant-based chicken chalupa a Naked Chicken Chalupa with a Crispy Plant-Based Shell which is just as bad if not worse than Beyond The Original Orange Chicken. I cant believe Im saying this, but fast food brands should look to Burger King for inspiration. What do they call their plant-based Whopper? The Impossible Whopper. Nice and simple. Why not call this, I dont know, Plant-based Orange Chicken, or hell, Id even take Orange Chicken over Beyond The Original Orange Chicken.

    Okay, rant finished. As I said earlier, Pandas new plant-based orange chicken is pretty damn tasty. Theyre able to achieve this the same way chain restaurants have turned Cauliflower Wings into an appetizer staple, by smothering the plant-based chicken in sauce. Aside from the protein, Pandas plant-based chicken is identical in taste and texture to the OG Orange Chicken. The sauce has a highly sweet and tangy flavor, with hints of red pepper that supply a nice lingering heat on the palate. With the light and crispy corn-starch-like texture of the batter, Pandas Orange Chicken as appetizing audibly as it is visually. This dish plays on all of your senses.

    The Bottom Line

    How To Get The Kids Involved With This Recipe:

    • Ages 2-3: Let them help you measure out the ingredients for the sauce.
    • Ages 4-5: Let them help you measure and mix the ingredients for the egg and flour mixtures. They can also help line the baking sheet with paper towels.
    • Ages 6-8: Teach your kiddo to dip the chicken in the egg and flour mixtures. Have them help you take the temperature of the oil with an instant-read thermometer. Teach them safety when frying food in oil.
    • Ages 9-11: Supervise them while they prepare the entire recipe. Remember to have them read it twice before beginning the recipe.
    • Ages 12+: Let them prepare the entire recipe, unsupervised, while you do the happy dance in the corner!

    Discover why we love getting the kids involved in the kitchen and more tips in our How to Get Kids Involved In Cooking article.

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    Orange Chicken Recipe For Crockpot/slow Cooker

    I used to actually make this recipe in the slow cooker when Tyson made raw chicken tenders. Id just put the tenders in the slow cooker with the sauce, cook on low for 3 hours, then add in a bit of cornstarch/water slurry and cook an additional hour. Now, I make small nuggets, bread them in panko then freeze them and cook them the same way. This recipe is coming soon on the blog.

    How Long Is This Good For:

    Making Panda Express Orange Chicken At Home | But Better
    • Serve: You can keep this recipe at room temperature for up to 2 hours before you need to refrigerate it.
    • Store: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
    • Freeze: Its best to freeze the fried chicken and sauce separately in freezer-safe bags. Frozen this way they will keep for 3 months. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan until warmed through. For the chicken, place it in a 400 degrees F oven for 15 minutes or until crisp and heated through.

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    Panda Express Offers Bogo On New Vegan Option

    To celebrate the national launch of the new vegan orange chicken, Panda Express is offering a BOGO deal to customers. Beginning September 26, customers who purchase a Beyond The Original Orange Chicken bowl will receive another free bowl of their choice. This deal is available for online and Panda Express app purchases only. Use the code BEYOND to purchase.

    For more information about the launch of the Beyond The Original Orange Chicken, visit

    The Fresh Orange Taste In Panda Express’ Orange Chicken Comes From Orange Peels

    The secret to Panda Express’ orange chicken is the citrus-y tang of the orange sauce, which comes from using the oil from orange peels.

    Orange peels contain a substantial amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene. A version of orange chicken from the 1800s had a vaguely citrus component to it, from boiling lemon and orange peels along with soy sauce and garlic. It was vastly different from the orange chicken we know today because the chicken wasn’t breaded or fried, and orange citrus oil has a stronger fragrance and taste than orange peel.

    Most of the Panda Express orange chicken copycat recipes you find online call for using orange juice, orange juice concentrate, or a bit of orange zest. Even though most of these recipes yield pretty delicious results, it’s just not the same as ordering it in-house. This may be because recreating it at home is a bit more time consuming of a process than simply deciding if you want rice or chow mein noodles in your to-go order. But it also might be because at Panda Express, they use the real stuff.

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