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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.

Spicy Orange Sesame Chicken |

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!

sliced orange halves before juicing

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.

fresh orange juice in measuring cup


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!

photo of juiced oranges

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!

zoom in photo of orange chicken cooking in skillet


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!

zoomed in photo of orange chicken in serving plate

Looking for other takeout-style recipes? Here are a few to try:

Garlic Butter Shrimp Pad Thai

Dan Dan Noodles

Thai Drunken Noodles

25 Minute Chili Oil Egg Ramen

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

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 425 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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Orange Sauce


  • 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.
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horizontal photo of orange chicken with rice on a side plate

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time tonight was blown away! Perfect recipe for juicy chicken in a sticky, sweet, spicy sauce. So good!

    1. Hey Kimberly,
      Happy Friday!! I appreciate you making this recipe and your comment, so glad to hear it was delish! xx

  2. 5 stars
    LOVED this recipe! So delicious and still manageable in my college kitchen. Obsessed with all your recipes and videos !!

    1. Hey Eliza,
      Happy Monday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xT

    1. Hey Peggy,
      Happy Wednesday! ❄️ I appreciate you making this recipe so often and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it always turns out well for you! xT

  3. 3 stars
    Thanks for this. A bit too involved for a week night meal. And the ginger was overpowering. I see now that others halved the ginger.
    I will try this again on a weekend-

  4. 4 stars
    Flavors are spot on and I love having a homemade version of orange chicken. Next time, I will thicken the sauce more before tossing in the chicken, so I get a crisper nugget. Great with a veggie medley.

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is such a winner. I have made it twice to perfection both times. I used 1 teaspoon ground ginger instead, and it still tasted fantastic. The 2nd time I made it, I didn’t have orange juice or zest so I substituted ginger ale for the sauce and 2 tablespoons orange extract. Still tasted better than restaurant quality.

    1. Hey Natalie,
      Happy Friday!!⛄️ Thanks so much for making this dish and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was a hit! xx

  6. 4 stars
    Made this last night. I will make in a ditch oven next time bc the oil splatter was real. Sauce didn’t thicken much and wasn’t quite balanced. Next time I’ll cut the acid in the sauce and add more honey. But overall, this was a good dish served with garlic broccoli and rice.

  7. 3 stars
    Sauce was salty. Next time I would halve the soy sauce in the sauce. I added extra honey to sweeten it. The chicken was yummy, but, so labor intensive and oil splattered everywhere. This was a one time try for me unfortunately.

    1. Hey Kyra,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear you didn’t love it! Please let me know if there is anything that I can help with! xx

  8. 5 stars
    Outstanding! Beats takeout by a long shot. A but labor intensive but worth it. Definitely adding to our regular rotation. I doubled the garlic and ginger because we like those flavors. Everything else was followed as written

    1. Hey Francesca,
      Amazing!! I appreciate you making this dish and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was a winner! xT

        1. Hi! I found this online for air frying chicken coated with cornstarch. I am attempting this tonight:

          “ Transfer chicken to air-fryer oven racks
          (or fryer basket, in batches), leaving a
          little space between pieces. Preheat air-
          fryer at 400°F for 3 minutes. Add the
          battered chicken; cook for 12 to 16
          minutes, giving things a shake midway.
          Let dry 3 to 5 minutes. If chicken is still
          damp on one side, cook for 1 to 2
          minutes more.”

        2. Hey Sam,
          I’ve never tested this recipe in the air fryer, but I bet it would work well for you! Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

    1. Hi Sarah,
      You could use buttermilk in place of the egg white, that should work well for you! Let me know if you have any other questions! xT

  9. 5 stars
    Made this to compare to Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken and this is 100% better!! Chicken was tender and delicious!! My kids thought it was a little too orangey so next time might only do 1 tbsp or 1 tsp instead of 2tbsp of orange zest in the sauce. Served with TH’s potstickers, rice, and green beans sautéed with garlic. So much better, healthier, and cheaper than take out!

    1. Hey Ellie,
      Happy Monday!!☃️ Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was a winner! xx

  10. 5 stars
    This turned out even better than I had hoped — absolutely delicious. Just wish I would’ve doubled the recipe! Planning to make it again tomorrow, ha.

    1. Hey Celeste,
      Thank you so much for giving this dish a try, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Have a great Thursday:)