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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: 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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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. This was fantastic!! 5 stars. So much better than any I have tasted out.
    And I had all of the ingredients except the avocado oil. I substituted that was sesame oil.

    1. Hey Tina,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xT

  2. 5 stars
    Literally so so amazing. I feel like this is better than the restaurant orange chicken. I just can’t believe I made something that tastes this great. This is for sure a keeper.

    1. Hi Mariah,
      Awesome!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xx

  3. 5 stars
    This is the first recipe that I made after a friend told me about Half Baked Harvest. Wow! This is amazing! I’ve tried to make other versions but could never get the right thickness/stickiness. My family was blown away and my teenage son uses it as a bargaining chip “if you make orange chicken…”. Love the real food in your recipes and surprising simplicity.

    1. Hey Beth,
      I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for giving it a try and sharing your review:) Thanks so much for your kind message! xxTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing and so so delicious. You’ll never order this from a restaurant again. It’s very straightforward to make and the results are outstanding. I didn’t have rice vinegar and substituted it for just white vinegar and it still turned out fine. This is easily one of the best things that I’ve cooked in years.

    1. Hey Missy,
      Awesome!! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for your comment and sharing your feedback! xxT

  5. 5 stars
    This turned out perfectly! I definitely used about double the amount of cornstarch (I used arrowroot powder) than the recipe called for since I used 2 pounds of chicken instead of 1.5, just to make sure the chicken was evenly coated. I also used fresh orange juice which seems key. The flavors were great – just enough orange without being overpowering. The sauce thickened up perfectly in the large, flat skillet that I used (I think the greater surface area really helps with thickening).

    1. Hey Rita,
      Thanks so much for your feedback! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for making it! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy! Not sure about the comments saying it takes much longer than 40 min – My rice took 40 min, actual prep/cook time for the chicken was maybe 5-10 prep, 15 cooking. I added broccolini for some extra veg and cayenne to the chicken marinade for some more spice and it was great.

    1. Hey Emily,
      Thanks so much for your feedback! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for making it! xTieghan

  7. 4 stars
    Definitely good! Had a little bit of a weird flavor almost like to much orange in it but definitely could have been me adding to much or taste preferences
    Only other thing was cook time was definitely not 40 minutes it took me and hour and half to make everything and I’m a avid cooker, everyone has different speeds but definitely have to consider that when making it unfortunately I started dinner late just thinking this was a quick recipe and didn’t get done with it till 1130.. nothing against the recipe at all but just for reference for anyone that probably has a regular stove and maybe a little less experience.. otherwise great food!

    1. Hey Emma,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it!! Sorry to hear this took you longer than expected. Have a great week:) xxT

  8. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it turned out perfect for me. I used toasted sesame oil instead of avocado oil since that is what I had. I also steamed a bag of broccoli/cauliflower florets and tossed it in at the very end to coat with the sauce. My sauce thickened up perfectly. I did go heavy on the cornstarch coating, so there was probably some leftover in the pan (may have helped the sauce get that perfect consistency). It was impressively delicious like all of your recipes that I’ve made 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hey Sheri,
      That’s great!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks so much for making it! xxT

    2. 2 stars
      I reallly wanted to like this recipe, but I have a lot of qualms with this. First off, with the prep and cooking, this took 2 HOURS to do. NOT 40 mins. I’m not a novice chef, I cook frequently, and this recipe indeed took a full 2 hours to make.

      On a second note, this recipe has WAY too much orange flavor. I legitimately feel like I am drinking orange juice just eating this chicken. I didn’t even use a full cup of orange juice OR the full two tablespoons of zest, and this was orange overkill. It was horrible.

      Lastly, there wasn’t enough of sesame flavor. Basically none, in fact. You really need to use sesame oil with this recipe in order to get the full sesame flavor.

      Despite the negatives, I think this would be
      a good sesame chicken recipe if the ingredients were modified in the measurements.

      1. Hi Ally,
        Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, so sorry to hear it was not enjoyed. Sorry this took you longer than expected, we all move differently in the kitchen and when cooking, I think using the cook times shared should be a guide. Please let me know if there is any way that I can help, but it sounds like you just didn’t enjoy the flavors here. Have a great day! xTieghan

  9. 3 stars
    A bit too salty, not enough orange flavor. I made the full amount, and there was too much sauce. Our rice was drowning in it. The chicken had a nice flavor and texture.

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, sorry to hear it was not enjoyed. Please let me know if I can help in any way! xTieghan

  10. Hi Tieghan! I have been following you on Insta for a while – years I think! You are amazing, creative and super fun to watch! I love how you call us “you guys”! 😂 When we visit my son and his friends at college, we always teach them how to cook something! It is so fun and important for them to feel like they can cook healthy food and easy recipes! Tonight we are teaching them to cook Asian food and this recipe is one of our choices! However, a few friends are vegan! We are going to try making it with chicken of course, but in a separate pan, tofu and cauliflower! I will let you know how it goes! If you see this before tonight, please send pointers! Thank you for always being a delight! Have a great day! All the best, Donna

    1. Hey Donna,
      Thank you so much for your super kind message and following along;) I hope everyone loves the recipe and thanks for making it! Have the best weekend:) xT

    1. Hey Carley,
      So glad you have been enjoying this recipe! Yes, it will be just fine without the ginger! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  11. 4 stars
    Sauce is AMAZING! I wish I could get the chicken to stay a bit crispier in the sauce like the Asain fast food I adore, but I’ll keep playing around with it.

    1. Hey Bailey,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback!! Have a great weekend:) xx

  12. 5 stars
    This dish is awesome will make this a lot when I get my cravings for Chinese take out,I love to top it off with fresh cilantro.

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it. Have the best week:) xx