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Learn how to make THE BEST Chinese Orange Sauce with this easy recipe! I’ve been using this orange sauce in my Gluten Free Orange Chicken recipe for years and it always gets rave reviews! This sauce is sticky sweet and delicious, with a tangy zest of citrus. It’s better than Panda Express and perfect on everything from chicken, to steamed vegetables, to fish!
Table of contents
While I originally made this orange sauce for chicken, I now use it to glaze salmon and meatballs, drizzle it over steamed veggies and spoon it over cooked rice. It’s so delicious, I seriously want to put it on everything!
The combination of sweetness, acidity, saltiness, citrus and just a hint of spice, makes this THE BEST orange sauce recipe out there. Don’t just take my word for it, check out all of the rave reviews for this sauce.
What people are saying
- “Yes. Yes. And more yes!!! My boyfriend didn’t stop raving the entire time we were eating this.” – Samantha
- “Made this tonight and my husband told me this is now his favorite sauce. Said it is better than Panda Express.” – Anne
- “This is so good, we actual triple the sauce because it’s so good. Can’t go wrong with this. Seems like we’ve been eating it every week for dinner.” – Ana
- “Excellent. We did it the first time as the recipe calls. The next time we made it, we quadrupled the sauce. AMAZING. Thank you!”
- “This orange sauce was fabulous!” – Chester
- “I’ve made it twice now and we LOVE it.” – Jeanette
You can easily mix up a double, triple, or quadruple batch of this sauce, as many readers have mentioned doing. The sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. So you can make a big batch and use it in different recipes throughout the two weeks!
- Orange – to make the best orange sauce, you’ll want to use both the zest and the juice from a fresh orange. This gives it a nice tang and that bright, orange flavor. Since we’ll be zesting the outside of the orange, you want to find a bright orange, without any blemishes on the outside skin.
- White wine vinegar – in a pinch, you could also use rice vinegar.
- Soy sauce – to make this recipe gluten free, use gluten-free soy sauce, also known as tamari.
- Sriracha – this helps balance out the sweetness in the sauce. We like things on the spicier side at our house, so we always double the amount of sriracha in the orange sauce. Feel free to do the same for a nice balance of sweet and spicy!
- Garlic – fresh crushed cloves are always preferred for the best flavor.
- Ginger – I use ground ginger in the sauce, but if you happen to have fresh ginger on hand, feel free to grate that right into the sauce.
- Brown sugar – this will sweeten the sauce for a wonderful balance of sweet, citrus and a hint of spice.
- Zest the outside of the orange using a microplane zester, or the smallest holes on a box grater. Add this to a bowl, or mason jar, then juice the oranges into the bowl with the zest.
- Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine them.
You can cover the sauce and store it in the fridge, or use it immediately.
If using this sauce to make orange chicken, follow the instructions below for how to make orange chicken.
If using this sauce to drizzle over vegetables or rice, you can use it as it’s made here, or follow these instructions to thicken the sauce to make more of a glaze.
To thicken the sauce, pour it into a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water to make a cornstarch slurry. Once the sauce starts to bubble in the pan on the stovetop, add the cornstarch slurry and stir to combine. Let the sauce simmer for 3-5 minutes, then remove it from the stove and spoon it over steamed broccoli, stir fry vegetables, or cooked rice.
How to make orange chicken
Use this sauce to make my famous healthier gluten free orange chicken recipe, or follow the instructions below to make an easy orange chicken recipe, that’s even better than takeout at Panda Express!
- Heat the orange sauce in a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Let it cook and reduce down for 6-8 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and set the sauce aside.
- Cut 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, combine 1/3 cup all-purpose flour with 1/3 cup cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- In another shallow bowl, whisk 2 large eggs together.
- Dip the pieces of chicken in the egg mixture, then cover them in the cornstarch and flour mixture. Set the breaded pieces of chicken aside on a cutting board, or plate.
- Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet, or pot, over medium-high heat on the stove for frying the chicken.
- Once the oil is hot, cook the breaded chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet. It will probably take 4-5 batches to cook all of the chicken, depending on the size of the pot you’re using. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces of chicken from the pot, and place them on a wire rack, with paper towels underneath, to drain any excess oil.
- Once all of the chicken is fried, add it to the skillet of sauce and toss the chicken until it’s completely coated in the sauce, then serve immediately. Optionally garnish with diced green onions and sesame seeds.
Other ways to use the sauce
This is a great orange sauce for chicken, but it’s also delicious served over side dishes, vegetables or other proteins. Try using it in a variety of different ways!
- Orange Glazed Salmon – follow this recipe. You’ll only need half of the sauce, as this recipe makes enough to coat 2 pounds of protein, and this recipe only calls for 1 pound of salmon. You can save the sauce for another recipe, or double the amount of salmon in this recipe to use all of the sauce.
- Chinese Orange Glazed Meatballs – delicious as a main dish, or appetizer, this sauce is so scrumptious glazed on top of these oven-baked meatballs.
- Orange Glazed Fried Cauliflower – follow this recipe for Korean Fried Cauliflower, but instead of using Korean BBQ sauce, use this tasty Chinese orange sauce.
- Stir Fry Vegetables – instead of using the stir fry sauce in this recipe, substitute in 1/2 cup of orange sauce to make bright, flavorful orange sauce stir fried vegetables.
- Zest the outside of 1-2 fresh oranges using a microplane zester, or the smallest holes on a box grater, until you have 2 teaspoons of orange zest. Add this to a bowl, or mason jar.
- Cut the oranges in half and juice them until you have 1/2 cup juice. Add it the bowl with the zest.
- Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine them.
- Cover the sauce and store it in the fridge, or use it immediately.
- If using this sauce to make orange chicken, follow the instructions in the blog post above for how to make orange chicken.
- If using this sauce to drizzle over vegetables or rice, you can use it as it’s made here, or follow the instructions below to thicken the sauce to make more of a glaze.
- To thicken the sauce, pour it into a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water to make a cornstarch slurry. Once the sauce starts to bubble in the pan on the stovetop, add the cornstarch slurry and stir to combine. Let the sauce simmer for 3-5 minutes, then remove it from the stove and use it immediately.
- This recipe makes enough sauce for 2 pounds of chicken.
- Use gluten free soy sauce, also called tamari, to make this recipe gluten free.
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