This Spicy Orange Sesame Chicken is classic, but made at home for a more wholesome approach…and with a little extra sauce. The chicken is pan-fried in a small amount of avocado oil until crispy, then tossed in a yummy sesame orange sauce with fresh orange juice and chili flakes. It’s a little sweet and a little spicy with such great flavor. This is best served over steamed rice with extra green onions on top. A fun homemade take on a popular takeout dish.
One of my favorite things to do is take our favorite takeout dishes and try my best to recreate them at home. There’s just something so fun about homemade takeout, especially when you live in a little town as we do. Our takeout options are more limited, so sometimes the only option is to just make “takeout” at home!
After I made orange cauliflower a few weeks back, my brothers were all over my case to make a more classic crispy orange chicken. They actually loved the cauliflower variation but said that nothing beats the real orange chicken.
I have a hard time saying no to those guys, so I created this recipe pretty much immediately after they requested it. And geez, you guys, this is so good. Just like your favorite takeout, but made at home, and with more wholesome ingredients too!
Traditionally orange chicken is deep-fried and tossed in a spicy, sweet, and tangy orange sauce. The sauce is usually made with a decent amount of sugar, in addition to orange juice and a bit of soy.
To keep this dish and the cooking simple and easy, I made some simple swaps. I used avocado oil for cooking, honey to sweeten, and tamari for the soy (tamari is just gluten-free soy sauce).
But the flavors are ALL there. Lots of orange, a touch of sweetness, and a kick of spice.
I start with the chicken and toss it simply with an egg white, a splash of soy sauce, a pinch of peppers, plus some fresh orange zest. Then dredge the chicken through cornstarch. The cornstarch gives the chicken just the right amount of breading to crisp it up. It also helps the sauce to thicken.
When you’re dredging the chicken through the cornstarch don’t stress if it starts clumping a little on the chicken. Those clumps will get crispy and be delicious in the sweet orange sauce.
Then the sauce…this really is the heart of the recipe. Start with lots of fresh orange zest and juice. Yes, you can use already squeezed orange juice, but with citrus in-season, I would highly recommend fresh juice. Nothing can compare!
So mix the orange zest and juice with tamari or soy sauce, vinegar, and honey. As I mentioned, the honey replaces the sugar usually found in orange chicken. It works perfectly and I love the small amount of flavor it adds to the sauce.
Cook the chicken in avocado oil, which is awesome for high heat cooking. Once the chicken is crispy, pull it out of the skillet and add lots of garlic and ginger, plus some chili flakes (use to your liking, of course).
Pour in the sauce then add the chicken back. Let the sauce bubble around the chicken until it thickens. Simple and quick!
Serve the chicken with steamed rice and toasted sesame seeds for a complete meal. The boys all agreed, this dish is “fire”, which in their language means REALLY GOOD.
That should tell you what you need to know right there…you gotta give this dish a try…plus it’s just fun!
Looking for other takeout-style recipes? Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Spicy Orange Sesame Chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Spicy Orange Sesame Chicken
Calories Per Serving: 332 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh orange juice + 2 tablespoons zest
- 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/2-1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- green onions and sesame seeds, for serving
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- 1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, egg white, tamari/soy sauce, orange zest, and pepper. Toss well to coat. In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch.2. Dredge the chicken through the cornstarch to coat. 3. In a glass jar, whisk together the broth, orange juice, tamari/soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey. 4. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, working in batches, cook until golden all around, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet. 5. To the skillet, add the garlic, ginger, and chili flakes. Cook 1-2 minutes. Pour in the orange sauce. Bring to a boil, boil 3-4 minutes, then add the chicken. Toss with the sauce and cook until the sauce thickens around the chicken, about 5 minutes. 6. Serve the chicken and sauce over steamed rice with sesame seeds and green onions.