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This recipe for Easy Orange Chicken cooks in one skillet pan on the stove top! A 30 minute quick dinner idea with tender chunks of chicken that simmer in an easy homemade tangy orange sauce. Serve over rice for a family favorite dinner. 

For a variation on this recipe try my Baked Orange Chicken – crispy chicken that’s been pan fried and then baked in the oven, with a homemade orange sauce that glazes the crispy chicken pieces. This one is more reminiscent of those Chinese restaurants.

Close up of the chicken in the skillet pan with some on a serving spoon.

Easy Orange Chicken Recipe (One Pan Orange Chicken)

I am always looking for easy dinners that are quick to make in just one pan! This easy recipe for orange chicken, in a skillet pan, is bursting with fresh orange flavor thanks to the freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh orange zest. 

It’s a sweet and savory dinner ideas that the whole family will love. And I love that it’s easy to make with a handful of ingredients that I keep in my pantry, one skillet pan, and some chunks of tender chicken breast that simmer in a homemade sweet and citrusy orange sauce. 

Sweet glazed orange chicken on top of a bed of white rice.

Ingredients Needed

This easy one pan recipe includes a homemade orange sauce! The sauce ingredients might look like a long list, but it comes together really quickly, and the best part is that there is no frying the chicken. Everything cooks in one pan together – including the chicken and the orange chicken sauce. 

  1. Olive Oil
  2. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  3. Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
  4. Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice : For the best taste use fresh orange juice that has been squeezed from an orange. In a pinch, you could try using a good-quality, freshly squeezed orange juice like Tropicana or Simply Orange brand. 
  5. Light Brown Sugar
  6. Soy Sauce : I use reduced-sodium soy sauce but if you prefer that saltier flavor then use regular soy sauce. 
  7. Garlic : Use fresh garlic cloves that have been minced or pressed, use garlic paste, or use chopped garlic from a jar. 
  8. Rice Vinegar : Sometimes also labeled as rice wine vinegar, it’s the same thing. 
  9. Fresh Orange Zest : Use a citrus zester, or microplane, to zest the orange before squeezing it. 
  10. Cornstarch
  11. Ginger : Use fresh ginger that has been finely minced or use ginger paste from the tube. I love using the ginger paste because it’s easy to and ready-to-use. You can find it in the refrigerated area of the produce section at the grocery store, alongside the fresh herbs. 
  12. Sesame Oil
  13. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes : This is optional. I never add it but it does add a nice contrast to the sweet orange sauce. These are the dried crushed red pepper chili flakes that can be found by the other dried seasonings at the store. 
Ingredients

How To Make The Easiest Orange Chicken Recipe In One Skillet Pan (Printable Recipe Card)

Prep : Cut the chicken into uniform bite-sized pieces. Season the pieces of chicken with the kosher salt and black pepper. 

In a large nonstick skillet pan, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Once hot, add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is almost all the way cooked through and lightly golden brown. Drain the excess oil/moisture from the pan, or you can soak it up with paper towels. 

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While the chicken is cooking, whisk together all the orange sauce ingredients in a small bowl. 

Pour the orange sauce over the chicken and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F. 

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Serve the orange chicken warm, over a scoop of white rice, and garnish with sliced green onions and/or sesame seeds if wanted. 

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Serving Suggestions For Orange Chicken

My family’s favorite way to eat this easy meal is served over white rice and then garnished with sliced green onions. Drizzle some extra sauce over top for the perfect bite each time! You could also serve it with brown rice or cauliflower rice depending on dietary needs and preferences. 

Some good side dish ideas are egg rolls, or steamed or roasted vegetables – like green beans, broccoli, or stir-fried veggies. 

chicken being held inside chopsticks

How To Store Leftovers

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until heated through, or heat in a small saucepan over medium heat, on the stove top until heated through. 

If needed, add a splash of orange juice or chicken broth when reheating leftovers to thin the sauce out and moisten things back up. 

To freeze, let the orange chicken cool to room temperature, and then store it inside a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen chicken in the fridge overnight, and then heat through on the stove top. 

close up picture of chicken inside chopsticks

Recipe FAQ’s

Why Is My Sauce Not Thickening?

If the sauce does not seem to be thickening, I recommend letting it cook for a few additional minutes. It probably needs a slightly longer cook time in order for the cornstarch to work it’s magic and thicken the sauce If it’s still not thickening you can make a cornstarch slurry – mix 1 tablespoon water + 1 tablespoon cornstarch together and stir it into the skillet pan. I have never had to do this so this is like a final effort to thicken the sauce. The recipe is, should produce a thickened sauce. 

Can I Make It Sweeter?

Yes, increase the amount of brown sugar by 1-2 tablespoons or try adding 1 tablespoon of honey into the orange sauce mixture. 

Can I Make It Spicy?

Yes, of course! Add additional red pepper chili flakes, add cayenne red pepper, or try adding some hot sauce and/or garnish the orange chicken with some jalapeños. 

Close up shot of the finished chicken inside the orange sauce.

Tips For Making This Homemade Orange Chicken Recipe

  • Cut the chicken into uniform pieces so that they will all cook in about the same amount of time. If you prefer larger chunks of chicken, then cut them into larger bite-sized pieces, but just know that they make take an extra few minutes to cook through. 
  • If the sauce thickens too much once it has simmered in the skillet pan, simply add a splash of orange juice to thin it out to you preference. 
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken breasts, however, chicken thighs do take longer to cook through so you will need to add a few extra minutes to the cook time in the skillet pan. 
  • The chicken is cooked properly once it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees using an instant read thermometer. 
  • If you want a little extra sauce for drizzling, or if you just prefer a really saucy orange chicken, then try doubling the sauce ingredients or 1.5x the sauce ingredients.
Overhead pic of the chicken over rice and ingredients to the side of it.
Finished orange chicken dish served over rice and garnished with green onions.

More One Skillet Pan Dinner Ideas

Sweet glazed orange chicken on top of a bed of white rice.
Together As Family Logo

Easy Orange Chicken


Author Jessica – Together as Family
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5
This recipe for Easy Orange Chicken cooks in one skillet pan on the stove top! A 30 minute quick dinner idea with tender chunks of chicken that simmer in an easy homemade tangy orange sauce. Serve over rice for a family favorite dinner. 

Ingredients
  

Chicken

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ lbs)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • tablespoons olive oil

Orange Sauce

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger OR ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  • Prep : Cut the chicken into uniform bite-sized pieces. Season the pieces of chicken with the kosher salt and black pepper. 
    3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • In a large nonstick skillet pan, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil.
    1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Once hot, add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is almost all the way cooked through and lightly golden brown.
    * Drain the excess oil/moisture from the pan, or you can soak it up with paper towels.
  • While the chicken is cooking, whisk together all the orange sauce ingredients in a small bowl. 
    * Remember to zest the orange before juicing it!
    1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 1½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger OR ginger paste, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pour the orange sauce over the chicken in the skillet pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F. 
    * If the sauce is too thick, reduce the heat and/or add a splash of orange juice into the skillet pan or chicken broth to thin it out.
  • Serve the orange chicken warm, over a scoop of white rice, and garnish with sliced green onions and/or sesame seeds if wanted. 

Notes

Soy Sauce Note : I use reduced-sodium soy sauce but if you love that salt flavor then go ahead and use regular soy sauce. If using regular salted soy sauce, you may want to reduce the salt on the chicken to 1/2 teaspoon. 
Nutrition : Information listed is just for one serving of the orange chicken with some sauce and does not include the white rice. 
Chicken : Use 2-3 chicken breasts in the recipe. If they are larger then you will probably only need 2, but smaller chicken breasts use 3. 
Garlic : Use fresh garlic cloves that have been minced or pressed, use chopped garlic from the jar, or use garlic paste. 
Ginger : I use the ginger paste which comes in a tube. It is so easy to use instead of peeling and mincing fresh ginger. You will find it in the refrigerated area of the produce section at the grocery store by the other fresh herbs. 

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1278mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 126IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

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