This sticky sweet and spicy orange chicken sauce with ginger and garlic dresses up juicy chicken thighs for a fast and easy dinner.
Easy Orange Glazed Chicken
In the world of family cooking, unless you’re a vege/pesca/non-chicken-eating/atarian, you can never have too many easy chicken recipes in your recipe rolodex.
Do they even make rolodexes anymore? Apparently, yes!
This family favorite chicken dinner recipe combines the classic Asian ying and yang of spicy and sweet.
Spicy and sweet, just like me. Or maybe that’s just how I see myself in my own mind? It’s quite possible. I’ll ask my husband. Wait. Scratch that. I’ll just keep the visions to myself.
Orange chicken. The thought of it brings childhood memories of takeout boxes filled with chunks of chicken glazed in a sweet orange sauce that left me craving more. A memory to be dashed by my adult realization that those chicken particles were most often barely distinguishable mini poultry pieces overtaken by clumpy, fried nuggets in a too sweet, what’s-in-the-mystery sauce?
In fact, Smudge ordered orange chicken the other day at lunch. I was eager with anticipation for her lunch to arrive so I could per usual steal a bite of hers before even tasting my own. I know, it’s a terrible habit I have.
Then it arrived. And my excitement flip-flopped to disappointment with the first taste. No ying. No yang. Just hard, crusty clumps of over-fried chicken in an odd-ly orange-ish (was it even made with real ingredients?) sauce.
No more, I declared. From now on, we stick to our homemade, baked rather than fried version.
What’s in This Asian Orange Chicken?
Today’s landscape is all about eating seasonal and with winter soon to arrive we’re moving into the months that bear the best that citrus has to offer. This recipe calls for juice squeezed from fresh oranges for ultimate citrus flavor. If you must, use a pre-made juice in the interest of time or patience, but please choose a high-quality juice rather than a frozen concentrate.
I make this recipe with skinless, boneless chicken thighs. They’re juicy, tender and pair well with the sauce. I skip the skin because while some recipes benefit from chicken with the skin’s crispy texture, the chicken in this recipe is cooked in the orange chicken sauce. So if you used chicken with the skin it has a tendency to turn into a mushy liner and isn’t really needed in my opinion.
I prefer to use a garlic press for my garlic and a grater for my ginger rather than mincing. I feel it spreads the flavors through the sauce better this way, but if you prefer to mince (like my husband did this time for the photos), go for it.
A little chicken broth, fresh ginger, brown sugar, and hoisin sauce round out this dish to ensure it’s packed with flavor.
How to Make Orange Chicken
Working in batches, sear the chicken thighs on both sides in an oiled skillet, then transfer to a plate. Whisk together the orange chicken sauce and pour it into the skillet. Let the sauce reduce a bit before adding the chicken back to the skillet.
Pop the chicken into the oven and let it bake for around 20 minutes, or until it’s cooked through.
Once the glazed orange chicken comes out of the oven, remove the chicken from the fry pan and transfer to a serving platter, reserving the glaze in the pan. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil to keep it warm, then continue cooking the orange chicken sauce until it’s reduced.
Can I Use Chicken Breasts Instead of Thighs?
Technically, yes. But in this instance I highly recommend using thighs as they cook a little faster and they’re much juicier than chicken breasts.
Do I Have to Use Brown Sugar?
I’ve only made the orange chicken sauce as written, so I can’t speak to how this dish would taste if you used a sugar substitute like honey in the sauce. If you use something else in place of the brown sugar, please leave me a comment letting me know how it turned out!
Tips for Making Orange Glazed Chicken
To keep this a one-skillet meal, make sure to use an oven-safe skillet for this easy orange chicken recipe. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, simply transfer the chicken from the skillet to a baking dish when it’s time to pop the meat into the oven.
In case you were curious, I used a zester like this one for making the skinny orange pieces for garnish. It’s great for cocktails too.
This orange glazed chicken pairs nicely with white or brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. To keep things super simple, serve with peas or steamed broccoli.
More Asian Chicken Recipes to Try
- 7 Spice Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls
- Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
- Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Asian Glazed Orange Chicken
- 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground balck pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 3-4 oranges)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 4 cloves garlic , minced or pressed
- 2 heaping tablespoons orange zest
- 1- inch knob fresh ginger , peeled and grated (about 1 teaspoon total)
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- Cilantro leaves and additional sliced orange , for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Season the chicken thighs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Place half of the chicken thighs in the pan and sear both sides of the chicken until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining thighs.
In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour into the same pan and cook the sauce over medium heat and cook until reduced by a third.
Add the chicken back to the pan and and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the fry pan and transfer to a serving platter, reserving the glaze in the pan. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Cook the glaze over medium heat until the sauce is reduced by another third. Drizzle over the chicken and garnish with cilantro and sliced oranges if desired.
Even More Easy Asian Recipes
- Grilled Shrimp Vietnamese Spring Rolls
- Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe
- Thai Quinoa Salad
- How to Make an Easy Asian Hot Pot
- Healthier Sweet and Sour Pork
- Beef with Broccoli
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