Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken is a moist, tender chicken breast that is marinated, baked, then topped with an orange sauce. The orange juice adds lots of flavor to the chicken.
The chicken is first marinated in an orange juice and spice blend for at least six hours or up to 24 hours. Next, bake the chicken, then top it with a sauce made from orange juice. Delicious!
When making this dish, I pound the chicken to about 1/2-inch thick before marinating it. The pounding helps to get a more even thickness and to tenderize the meat. The thinner chicken breast will also cook faster.
I place the chicken breast in a gallon size zipper close bag then fold the end under so that there isn't an opening for any juices to squirt out while I am pounding the chicken. You can zip close the bag, too, but leave a little opening so air can escape. Otherwise, the bag might rip.
I use a mallet to pound the chicken. I've seen people use iron skillets or rolling pins to pound the chicken breasts. However, I have never used those items. If you are marinating the chicken, you can add the marinade to the same bag you used to pound the chicken.
If you want more orange flavor with your meal, check out Orange Quinoa. It is a light and refreshing side dish with a mild orange flavor.
I found a recipe for Chinese Orange Chicken on the Modern Honey site that had a sauce made from orange juice that I wanted to try with my orange juice marinated chicken. The orange juice marinated chicken and orange juice sauce go well together.
I hope you enjoy the Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken!
Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon orange peel You can use orange zest, if you prefer.
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 cup orange juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons orange peel You can use orange zest, if you prefer.
Thickener for Orange Sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Pound the chicken to about 1/2-inch thick. You can skip this step, if you prefer.
- Place the orange juice, cayenne pepper, minced garlic, orange peel, sugar and chili powder in a zipper close bag. Mix together.
- Place the chicken in the bag, squeeze out excess air then zip close the bag.
- With your hands outside the bag, massage and turn the chicken so that it is coated with the marinade.
- With the chicken and marinade at the bottom of the bag, fold the bag over tightly around the chicken so that it stays in the marinade.
- Refrigerate for at least six hours or up to 24 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and place it in a lightly spray baking dish.
- Place in a 350F preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through. Chicken internal temperature should reach 165F before serving.
- While the chicken is baking, heat the orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and red chili flakes in a medium pan over medium-heat.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to make a paste.
- Bring the orange juice mixture to a boil, then add the cornstarch paste.
- Reduce heat and stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Once the sauce is thickened, remove from the heat then add the orange peel.