Recipe: Chicken in Orange Sauce

published Sep 9, 2015
Chicken in Orange Sauce
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(Image credit: Todd Coleman)

This is one of those dishes that makes you feel quite pleased with yourself. Fast, easy, healthy, and more delicious than Chinese takeout – a series of winning propositions. You can prep pretty much all the ingredients ahead of time, making this a fantastic last-minute weeknight dinner.

The sweetness in the sauce makes this a dish that normally picky eaters will lean into. There’s plenty of sauce, too, which you’ll be happy about as you spoon it over hot rice or quinoa.

When you are feeding a group with one or more vegetarians in the mix, this kind of recipe makes life so much easier. Essentially you sauté up some chicken in one pan, some tofu in another, then divide up the simple sauce between the two.

Serve this meal with:

Chicken in Orange Sauce

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    finely grated orange zest

  • 3/4 cup

    orange juice, preferably fresh

  • 1/3 cup

    reduced-sodium soy sauce, or 1/4 cup regular soy sauce plus 2 tablespoons water

  • 3 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1 tablespoon

    finely minced peeled fresh ginger

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 pounds

    skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (see Recipe Notes below for a tofu alternative)

  • Kosher or coarse salt

  • 2 tablespoons

    canola or vegetable oil

  • 4

    scallions, white and light green parts, sliced

  • Hot cooked rice (brown or white) or quinoa, for serving

  • Toasted sesame seeds, for serving (optional)


  1. Whisk together the garlic, honey, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, ginger, and pepper in a small bowl. Set the sauce aside.

  2. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large skillet or a wok over high heat. Add the chicken and sauté until it starts to turn white, 3 minutes. Add the sauce and scallions and cook until 
the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.

  3. Serve over hot rice or quinoa, with the sesame seeds sprinkled over if desired.

Recipe Notes

Tofu in orange sauce: Replace the chicken with 2 pounds extra-firm tofu, blotted dry and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. To get the tofu nicely browned, in Step 2, heat the oil in the skillet over high heat, and when very hot, add the cubes, which should sizzle and sear (watch for splattering). Cook the tofu, not moving it for at least 3 minutes, so it has a chance to brown on the bottom. Flip the cubes using a thin metal spatula (knowing some cubes will break) and continue to cook to brown the bottoms, 3 minutes more. Add the sauce and scallions and continue with the recipe.

If you want to make the dish half chicken and half tofu, use a pound of each, sauté them separately in two large skillets with a tablespoon of oil in each, and divide the sauce and scallions evenly between the pans. The cooking times are the same.

What the kids can do: Zest the orange and juice it (if you are using fresh juice). Kids of the right age can cut up the chicken (younger ones can tackle the tofu) with an age-appropriate knife.

Make ahead: The chicken or tofu can be cut up a couple of days ahead of time, and the sauce can be combined a couple of days ahead, and refrigerated, too.

Reprinted with permission from Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes That Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! by Katie Workman, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Workman Publishing Company.

(Image credit: Todd Coleman)

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