Get ready for this mouth watering, sweet and tangy, easy Gluten Free Orange Chicken from scratch. Make your favorite Chinese Take-Out with this easy to follow, quick, homemade recipe. Using cornstarch and orange juice, this sticky glaze sauce is made to perfection and pairs perfect with our crispy chicken.
This is a perfect dairy free, and egg free back to school meal for busy week days or lazy weekends. Serve on a bed of rice or quinoa! Make your favorite Panda Express copycat meal at home with this easy recipe.
This is a family favorite meal. I wanted to make a homemade version of a childhood favorite meal but I needed to make it for a gluten free guest. I tried using the cornmeal for the coating and loved the crispy texture that it had. It paired great with the Orange Sauce.
Why We Love This Recipe
- A Family Favorite- My family loves making this meal. My kids request it all the time and I love that it uses fresh ingredients.
- Better Than Take-Out- It's always nice to know what we're putting in our bodies. This is better than going out to Panda Express and you can enjoy it from home.
- Quick and Easy- From start to finish this meal only takes 30 minutes to make. It's a game changer.
- Fun to make- It's fun to make this copycat meal. You feel like your making a high quality meal but it's quick and simple.
- Yellow Cornmeal- This is the coating for the chicken which is usual a bread based coating. The cornmeal makes this meal gluten free.
- Chicken- Use skinless, boneless chicken for easy handling.
- Table Salt- Standard table salt is mixed with the cornmeal to give it a tasty flavor.
- Ground Pepper- Optional, but delicious way to add flavor to the crispy outside.
- Gluten Free Soy sauce-Mixed with the orange juice to make a sweet and salt flavor.
- Orange juice- Make sure to get pulp free. Soy sauce is not usually gluten free so make sure to get Gluten free soy sauce. Tamari Sauce is another word for gluten free soy sauce.
- White vinegar, or rice vinegar- Rice vinegar is the preferred vinegar because of the added taste, but white vinegar works just as well.
- Brown sugar- Use this sugar instead of white sugar to give it a better consistency.
- Cornstarch- A thickening agent for the sauce.
- Minced Garlic, Ground Ginger- The perfect seasoning for this Asian inspired dish.
- Red pepper flakes- Optional but a great way to add a little extra kick to the seasoning.
- Olive Oil- Use this oil to initially cook the chicken. You can also use avocado oil.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper in a dish. Mix.
2. Coat each piece of chicken completely.
3. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet on medium heat. Add chicken in a single layer. That can touch be do not overlap.
4. After 3-4 minutes, or when the side is golden brown, flip each piece of chicken and cook until done.
5. While the chicken is cooking combine the orange juice, gluten free soy sauce, white vinegar, ginger, brown sugar, cornstarch, minced garlic, ground ginger, and red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until liquid is smooth.
6.Keeping the stovetop at medium heat, pour the orange sauce over the chicken, in the skillet, when the chicken is cooked all the way through.
7. Stir constantly until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken to a glaze. Remove from heat.
8. Serve over rice, quinoa or eat plain.
Hint: Make sure to keep stirring while the sauce bubbles so it gets the desired thickness and doesn't burn. This keeps the chicken from burning as well.
- Almond Flour - instead of cornmeal, use almond flour at 1:1. The coating may vary from the original recipe.
- Vegetarian - to make this vegetarian, use zucchini chunks instead of chicken and cook as directed.
- Spicy - add extra red pepper flakes to give it a stronger kick.
- Zesty- Add orange zest to give it a zestier flavor.
- Thaw the chicken the night before: If using a frozen chicken breast make sure to thaw the chicken the night before in an air tight container in the refrigerator. For health and safety, don't thaw on the counter.
- Remove from heat- I had trouble with the sauce becoming too gelatinous when I left it on the heat too long. Make sure To watch as the sauce begins to thicken and then remove from the heat as soon as it's the desired thickness.
- Air Fryer-Cook the cornmeal coated chicken in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, or until all the way cooked through.
- Baked- On a parchment paper lined baking sheet bake the cornmeal chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
Store gluten free orange chicken in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days. To reheat, heat in a microwave safe dish in the microwave.
This meal does not freeze well when combined. You can freeze the sauce to make with an extra meal later on.
Don't forget to keep stirring when you pour the orange sauce onto the chicken so it doesn't burn and the chicken doesn't stick to the skillet and you loose the coating!
No their recipe is not gluten free but if make a homemade version and bread the chicken in cornmeal it makes for a gluten free meal. This recipe makes a gluten free chicken nugget in a gluten free orange sauce.
It depends on the brand and type of soy sauce. Traditional soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, wheat, and salt, making it not gluten-free. However, there are also gluten-free soy sauce options available that are made with alternative grains like rice or quinoa instead of wheat. Always check the label and ingredient list to determine if a specific soy sauce is gluten-free.
Easy Gluten Free Orange Chicken
Gluten Free Coated Chicken
- 1 pound chicken
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Sweet and Tangy Orange Sauce
- ¼ cup Gluten Free Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup Orange juice
- ¼ cup white vinegar or rice vinegar
- ¼ cup Brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Mix cornmeal, ground pepper, and table salt in a small dish. Coat the chicken pieces in the cornmeal mixture.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the coated chicken and cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until all the way cooked through and golden brown on each side. You may need to flip the chicken more than once.
- While the chicken is cooking, mix together the gluten free soy sauce, orange juice, white vinegar (or rice vinegar), brown sugar, cornstarch, minced garlic, ground ginger and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix until the liquid is smooth.
- Once the chicken is cooked all the way through, pour the orange sauce mixture on top of the chicken, staying at medium heat. Stir and cook until sauce begins to boil and thicken about five minutes. Stir so the sauce and chicken doesn't burn. See photos above for a great visual on these steps.
- Once sauce is desired thickness, serve over rice, quinoa or plain.
- Make sure to remove from the heat quickly when the sauce begins to thicken. You don't want the sauce to get too thick.
- Soy Sauce is not naturally gluten free, you need to purchase gluten free soy sauce called Tamari.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds