If you’re looking for a healthy orange chicken recipe, you’ve come to the right place! Satisfy that deep-fried takeout craving with a meal you’ll feel good about putting on the table! Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t exactly “health food”, but it’s a much more wholesome version of this classic meal, and easy to throw together!
Chunks of chicken breast are coated in panko bread crumbs and baked in the oven until crispy. The chicken is coated in an orange sauce made with fresh oranges and sweetened with honey! Toss with some broccoli and serve with white rice for a meal even picky eaters are sure to love. Give it a little kick with some sriracha, or let everyone add their own spice with crushed red peppers at the end!
Key Tips – Easy Baked Orange Chicken
Try to keep the chicken pieces all about the same size.
- Chicken pieces about the same side will cook more evenly, avoiding overcooked small pieces or undercooked big pieces.
Buy pre-cut broccoli florets for easy prep.
- Picking up a bag of pre-washed, trimmed broccoli florets will help save some time as opposed to buying a whole head of broccoli. I don’t, however, recommend using frozen broccoli florets.
The sauce can be mixed ahead of time.
- If you’re looking to prep portions of the meal in advance, mixing the sauce ahead of time is an easy way to speed up the process when you go to make the meal.
Juice and zest the oranges before you start other prep.
- This step may take longer than you think, so make sure you start it before the chicken is in the oven. You only need to zest one of the oranges, using the zest from both may be over-powering.
Control the spice level with the sauce or with toppings.
- You can add sriracha directly to the sauce to give this dish some kick. I recommend 1 tsp for mild, 2 tsp for medium, and 3+ tsp for hot, but give the sauce a taste and adjust to your liking. Everyone can add crushed red pepper flakes to their portion after serving to dial in the spice to their preference.
You may not need all the sauce.
- This recipe has a little extra sauce (at least in my opinion) so add it a little at a time until the chicken is coated to your liking.
Allow eggs to come to room temp.
- Room temp eggs will be a little bit runnier than cold eggs from the fridge, which makes the coating step easier. Set your eggs out on the counter 30 mins before using them for best results.
Variations – Easy Baked Orange Chicken
Make up to 1.5 lbs of chicken.
- The sauce for this recipe is more than you need for 1 lb of chicken, and should be enough to cover about 1.5 lbs of prepared chicken pieces. If you use more chicken, you’ll need a bit more panko, but that should be it!
Baked vs. stir-fried broccoli.
- It’s not exactly a variation, but you can choose to prepare the broccoli for this dish by either roasting in the oven or stir-frying in a skillet. I think the baked option is a little easier, however I really prefer the flavor of stir-fried broccoli, so I typically prepare it that way.
Sub orange juice for a faster meal.
- If you want to save some time, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups of orange juice and skip juicing the oranges yourself. The only downside here is you’ll also be missing the orange zest, so the sauce will not be quite as flavorful.
Dietary Restrictions – Easy Baked Orange Chicken
This dish is naturally Dairy-Free.
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. While this is listed as 4 servings, many people would prefer to have more than one serving. I typically serve this dish as 2-3 large dinner servings or 4 small lunch servings. Pictured here are two servings per bowl.
Easy Baked Orange Chicken
- Begin preheating the oven to 425° F and spray a large rimmed baking sheet with oil.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and pour the panko out onto a wide plate. Working in batches, coat the chicken in the beaten egg then press into the panko to coat. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet as spaced out as possible.
- Spray the tops of the chicken pieces with oil. Place the chicken into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip each piece and rotate the pan when you place it back into the oven. Bake for another 7-10 minutes until the chicken is crispy and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, toss the broccoli with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, tossing halfway through, until crisp and charred in a few spots. OR, pan fry broccoli in a swirl of olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- While the chicken cooks, make the sauce. Combine the soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until fully combined. Pour into a small saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until a thick sauce forms, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked chicken into a large mixing bowl, drizzle the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat (you may not want to use all of the sauce, so add it in steps until the chicken is coated to your liking). Add in the broccoli and toss to combine. Serve immediately topped with green onion, sesame seeds, and crushed red pepper. Great on a bed of white rice!
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