PF Chang’s Orange Chicken is a delicious Chinese meal with bright citrus flavor and a little kick of heat. This dish of crispy chicken bites tossed with a sweet chili orange peel sauce served with orange slices is sure to be a favorite.
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Why This Is the Recipe You Should Try for Orange Peel Chicken
PF Chang’s is known for great Chinese American food, and the chain’s orange chicken is the go-to menu item for many guests. While this recipe is quite involved, and the ingredient list is a little long, you definitely can’t argue with the results.
Once you experience the freshness and flavor you get by making orange chicken with tangy sauce yourself at home, you may be slightly disappointed with the restaurant version! This copycat recipe is a real winner.
What Makes Orange Peel Chicken Have So Much More Flavor Than Orange Chicken
Regular orange chicken is sweeter and less tart than orange peel chicken. Although both dishes share some ingredients and cooking techniques, orange chicken recipes usually contain brown sugar and hoisin sauce.
These cloyingly sweet elements are missing from PF Chang’s Orange Chicken, allowing the rest of the flavors to come through. Using fresh orange peel further intensifies the dish’s taste by releasing fragrant essential oils missing from other recipes.
Ingredients for Orange Peel Chicken
To make PF Chang Orange Chicken, you’ll need:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Orange juice
- Canola oil
- Chili garlic sauce
- Tomato paste
- Hot chile oil
- Soy sauce
- Garlic, minced
- Black pepper
- Scallions, sliced on a diagonal
- Sesame seeds
Some of these ingredients are not available in every supermarket. If you can’t find mirin, you can use an equal amount of marsala or dry sherry and a pinch of sugar as a replacement.
Instead of using hot chili oil, add a bit of crushed dried red pepper flakes to the chili garlic sauce for a little more heat. You could also add other hot sauces like Gochujang or chili paste.
You could add a few carrots to the dish. Coarsely grated or fine julienne cut would be best. Likewise with fresh ginger. Water chestnuts would add some extra crunch.
Choose a thin-skinned orange like a Bahianinha or a Hamlin for this dish. Try cutting away some of the white pith of thicker-skinned oranges before adding the peel to the pan to reduce some of the bitterness. You want the best notes of orange flavor in the dish.
How To Make PF Chang’s Orange Chicken
To prepare PF Chang’s Orange Peel Chicken recipe:
- Dice the boneless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, about 1-inch chunks.
- Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and add enough orange juice to cover. Place in the fridge to marinate for half an hour.
- After 30 minutes, drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
- Toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch to coat and lay the meat on a wire rack over a rimmed baking tray until needed.
- Heat about two inches of canola oil in a deep fryer or a wide, deep pan to 350 degrees. A wok is ideal. Bringing the oil to the correct temperature and keeping it there is the key to getting a crispy chicken that is not greasy, so use a thermometer if you have one.
- Fry the chicken in batches for about five minutes until golden. You may need to gently move the chicken around from time to time to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
- Use a spider to remove the cooked chicken pieces and drain them on a paper towel-lined wire rack over a rimmed baking tray.
- Heat a clean large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
- While the pan is heating, whisk together the chili garlic sauce, tomato paste, mirin, the juice from one orange, soy sauce, and black pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Slice peel of the orange into thin pieces.
- Carefully add the chili oil, minced garlic, and orange strips to the heated pan. It is best to add the ingredients while the pan is off the heat to avoid splattering.
- Simmer for 3 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, prepare a cornstarch slurry by mixing a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of water.
- Carefully pour the chili garlic sauce mixture into the pan.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce it to a simmer.
- Stir in the cornstarch and stir well.
- Cook until the sauce thickens, about five minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and add the chicken to the pan. Mix to coat well.
- Serve immediately.
- Garnish with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, and sliced oranges.
What To Serve With Orange Chicken
A bowl of steamed Jasmine or brown rice is a wonderful way to soak up all the spicy orange sauce. Fried rice is also an option. Edamame or crispy green beans are a nice and light side dish. A PF Chang’s Mai Tai is a nice fruity cocktail to enjoy with the dish.
How To Store Leftover Orange Chicken
Cool any extra chicken, and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Or, you can freeze it in a freezer bag for up to three months.
How To Best Reheat Orange Chicken
To reheat on the stovetop:
- Thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator.
- Heat a pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add a tablespoon of the same type of oil you used to cook the chicken and a tablespoon or two of water.
- Add the chicken and heat while stirring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you choose to eat the orange peels used in this dish is up to you, but it is an option. In fact, orange peels offer several vitamins and nutrients your body needs. However, orange peels may contain pesticides, so you have to scrub the peel carefully and use organic fruit, if possible. Eating a large amount of orange peel may also upset sensitive stomachs.
There are very few similarities between General Tso’s Chicken and Orange Peel Chicken other than both are boneless, battered, and fried chicken. The foundation of General Tso’s Chicken sauce is rice wine, hoisin sauce, and dried chilies, while Orange Peel Chicken uses chili garlic sauce, tomato paste, and oranges.
No, they are not the same sauce. While many of the ingredients are the same for both sauces, swapping pineapples for oranges and ketchup for chili garlic sauce completely transforms the finished dishes.
Love Asian Food? Try These Recipes!
No need to go to a Chinese restaurant when you can easily make these dishes at home:
- Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp
- Beef Chow Fun
- Cheese Wonton
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe
- Chinese Spare Ribs
- Chow Mein Recipe
- Egg Foo Young Recipe
- Firecracker Chicken
- Mongolian Beef
- Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
Popular Orange Recipes
If you love the flavor of orange, here’s a cocktail and a couple of desserts to try:
PF Chang’s Orange Chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons canola oil for frying
- ¼ cup cornstarch
Orange Chicken Sauce
- ⅓ cup chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons hot chile oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 5 tablespoons orange juice (juice from 1 orange)
- 1 orange peel sliced into thin strips
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon water
- 3 tablespoons chopped scallions
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- ¼ cup diced oranges
- Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and place them in a bowl.
- Pour in the orange juice and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes
- Heat oil in a wok to 350°F.
- Remove chicken from the marinade and toss chicken in cornstarch to coat. Discard marinade.
- Carefully add some chicken to the wok and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Do not overcrowd the wok to prevent the chicken will from sticking together if so. Cook the chicken in batches.
- Place the cooked chicken on a wire rack lined baking sheet.
- Clean the wok and return it to the stove over medium-high heat.
Orange Chicken Sauce
- Combine chili garlic sauce, tomato paste, juice from 1 orange, soy sauce, mirin, and black pepper in a bowl and whisk well.
- Add chile oil, orange peel strips, and minced garlic to the wok. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Pour in the orange mixture and bring it to a boil.
- Use the remaining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to make a slurry by combining it with 1 teaspoon of water.
- Once the sauce starts boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the cornstarch slurry.
- Cook for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Add the chicken to the sauce and toss to coat.
- Serve garnished with scallions, sesame seeds and diced orange.