Pretty much everyone knows and loves orange chicken, the dish upon which a panda empire was started. While the Panda Express orange chicken isn’t all that authentic these days, a lot of people don’t know that it’s based on an actual Chinese dish. Orange chicken seems like it shouldn’t be terrible for you, but it’s pretty terrible: deep fried chicken and a high sugar sauce. This easy healthy version tastes every bit as good as the deep fried version and it’s not only way better for you, it’s more authentic too.

What is Chinese orange chicken?

This is a healthy, not-quite-copycat, more authentic version that you can feel good about eating every night if you want. It’s not deep fried, oily, or difficult, and it’s utterly, utterly delicious. A tangy, bright, and slightly sweet sauce comes together with lightly crispy chicken and forms something that’s far more than the sum of its 6 ingredients worth of parts.

Cooking notes

You may need to adjust the sugar content to suit you because it’s not possible to predict the sweetness of the orange you end up with.

What do you need to make orange chicken?

A non stick skillet and a baking sheet with a rack that fits. Cooking spray is highly recommended. It puts less oil on the rack than brushing (and you need the oil or you’ll tear your chicken).

How do you make baked orange chicken?

  1. Coat the chicken. Season it with salt and pepper, then toss it in corn starch. I like to use a plastic bag as I find the corn starch is finer and fluffier than using a bowl, but it’s not important.
  2. Bake your chicken. Place your chicken on an oiled rack (optional) and bake your chicken at 450ºF for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through for even browning.
  3. Make your sauce. While your chicken is cooking, now is the time to make your sauce. Add cornstarch to a little bit of water and mix well, then combine along with the other sauce ingredients in a nonstick saucepan until a glossy sauce forms. Taste and adjust as needed.
  4. Toss to coat. Once your chicken is done, remove from the rack and toss it in the sauce until it’s well coated.
  5. Serve. Serve with rice and little pieces of orange if you would like. I think they add a lot to the final dish.

What do you serve orange chicken with?

Serve with fluffy white rice, fried noodles, and maybe a healthy side salad. Check out our better than takeout section for even more ideas.


An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |

Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe

This healthy oven baked orange chicken comes together faster than delivery or running to the nearest strip mall, and is way better for you.
Serves 4
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs 1" cubed
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup orange juice about half an orange
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar


  • Preheat your oven to 450ºF and season your chicken with salt and pepper.
    An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |
  • Transfer your chicken to a ziplock/plastic bag along with 2 tablespoons of corn starch and shake well. Arrange the chicken onto an oiled tray on a foil lined baking sheet.
    An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |
  • Bake your chicken for 30 minutes at 450ºF, flipping once after 20 minutes.
    An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |
  • While the chicken is baking, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water in a cup and stir into a smooth slurry.
    An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |
  • Make your sauce by combining orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Add the corn starch slurry to it and bring to a boil, then take off the heat and stir until a smooth and glossy sauce forms. Set aside and relax with a glass of wine until the chicken is done.
    An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |
  • When your chicken is crispy and brown, toss it in the sauce until everything is evenly coated. Top with sesame seeds and chopped green onions with a side of rice, and enjoy!
    An Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe |

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy & Healthy Oven Baked Orange Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 314 Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value*
Fat 8.4g13%
Saturated Fat 2.3g14%
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 996mg43%
Potassium 341mg10%
Carbohydrates 22.1g7%
Fiber 0.2g1%
Sugar 14.1g16%
Protein 33.9g68%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.


  1. Carol Adams says:


  2. Kathrina Redekop says:

    This was so good! The only thing is that the sauce is too strong to have more than a little dribble on the rice. But it was so delicious! Will definitely make this again. And I baked the chicken in the barbeque, putting it on the rack on the baking sheet like the recipe said to do, but had the barbecue heat on medium. It took about 20 minutes to cook. I also sprayed the chicken with oil during the last half of cooking so it wouldn’t dry out. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Bryn says:

      When you say “too strong” in what way was it strong? Too sweet, too citrusy? Just wondering before I make. Thanks!

      1. Mike says:

        if you find it too strong one thing you can do is add more water and cornstarch

  3. Jenny says:

    Husband and 6 yr/old approved! Thank you.

  4. J Martin says:

    I see pieces of cut orange in the picture but not in the recipe. I know that slivers of orange with peel would be very delicious and yet- not in the recipe……. planning to put it in anyway!!

    1. Mike says:

      it’s definitely a highly recommended part! i try to keep the dinner&chill recipes as simple as possible but good point, i should add the garnish section back in

  5. Jacob Crim says:

    I used chicken breast, and forgot to oil my tinfoil that I put under the wire rack. But my chicken didn’t really brown they kind of stayed white. Could this have been from not using the oil?

    Not that it mattered the finished product was delicious with the sauce, I think I just wanted the chicken to be a bit crunchier.

  6. Annie says:

    Thank you for sharing! This was delicious and much easier than other baked options I’ve tried. My 3 year old even ate some!

  7. Betty says:

    Loved the recipe. It was really good. I used orange zest in the sauce.

  8. Krista Palmer says:

    I made this last night, it was very simple to make and delicious!

  9. Grey says:

    5 stars
    I made this dish last week and we really enjoyed it! We all know that frying up the chicken a little bit makes it so incredibly tasty, but this was absolutely the best BAKED orange chicken I’ve tried. This gets a full 5/5 from me!

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike