Inspired by a popular takeout dish, this tangy Mandarin chicken recipe is so simple, but so delicious. Bite-sized pieces of juicy chicken glazed in a mixture of orange juice, ginger, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice for a perfect meal.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Mandarin chicken is one of my favorite takeout meals. Between the tender chicken and the sweet & savory sauce, it’s hard to get enough of it! This easy at-home version gives you that same delicious dish but lets you control the ingredients so it always comes out just the way you like it.
- This recipe really couldn’t be easier. The glaze comes together quickly – just whisk the ingredients together! Spend a few minutes browning the chicken, then pour the glaze over it and let the heat work its magic.
- You don’t need any fancy sides to compliment the Mandarin chicken. I prefer it over a bed of white rice, but you could also use cauliflower rice. Broccoli would also go with it really well!
Orange Juice – OJ gives the recipe a little sweetness and an amazing hint of orange flavor. It’s not too strong that it overpowers the other flavors in the sauce, though. If you’re watching your sugar intake, you can use a reduced or no sugar added orange juice.
Chicken Breasts – You could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
Ginger – A small, 1-inch piece of ginger is all you need to bring another layer of incredible flavor to this Mandarin chicken.
Cornstarch – Just a little, to help the sauce thicken.
- Feel free to play around with the ingredient quantities in the Mandarin chicken sauce to get your perfect blend of flavors. If your orange juice is very sweet, you might not need as much brown sugar. If you like a more savory flavor overall, you might add a touch more soy sauce.
- Don’t overcook the sauce. You want it to thicken but not burn. As soon as you see it begin to bubble, turn the heat down to low and let everything simmer. Stir periodically to keep the chicken and sauce from sticking to the pan.
- On that same note, don’t overcook the chicken, either. Because you’ll be adding it back to the pan and cooking it more with the sauce, you only want to brown it at first. I mean, 1 to 2 minutes or so per side. The exact cooking times will vary based on your stove, your skillet, and the thickness of your chicken.
- If you really like orange flavor, try adding actual Mandarin orange pieces to your Mandarin chicken! You can use a drained can of Mandarin oranges, stirred in with the chicken and the sauce in step 4 of the instructions below.
More Asian-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love
- Whole30 Sushi – Spicy Salmon Roll (Low Carb, Paleo, Keto Friendly)
- 15 Minute Spicy Ramen
- Udon Soup
- Hibachi Chicken with Fried Rice and Vegetables
- Chicken Chashu
- Egg Roll in a Bowl with Creamy Chili Sauce (Keto, Whole30, Paleo)
- Pork Stir Fry
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar or Brown Swerve
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1-inch long piece ginger grated
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 3-4 chicken breasts depending on size
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- green onions optional, for topping
- sesame seeds optional, for topping
- white rice or cauliflower rice optional, for serving
- Small bowl
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Large skillet
- In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch until combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- In large skillet, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken to skillet, being careful not to overcrowd. Work in batches as needed. Cook chicken until browned on both sides, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. If working in batches, remove browned chicken and repeat until all chicken has been browned.
- Return all chicken to skillet and pour sauce over. Stir to distribute. When sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to low. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens.
- Serve over white rice (or cauliflower rice) with green onions and sesame seeds (optional).
- Make it Gluten Free: Use a gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos.
- Make it Reduce Sugar: Use an orange juice with reduced or no added sugar. Swap the brown sugar out for Brown Swerve.
- Storage: Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, until heated through.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.