Lightly spicy, extra saucy and full of orange flavor! This spicy orange chicken and broccoli is sautéed instead of deep fried, making it healthier, easier and quicker. All made in one skillet and ready in 30 minutes. Serve over rice for a delicious take-out fake-out.
I've always loved Chinese take-out, and I crave it all the time. When ordering take-out, orange chicken has always been my go-to, at least until Nate came along because he prefers sesame chicken. Because it's my favorite, I knew I had to make an at-home take-out fake-out. But, one thing I don't enjoy is deep frying food. It's such a mess and takes a bit to fry up all the chicken. So, I opted to just sauté the chicken, making this recipe healthier, easier, and quicker! And guess what? The chicken is still so delicious!
I like a little spice when it comes to my Chinese chicken, so I added a little sriracha to the sauce. If spicy isn't your thing, then just simply skip the sriracha - the sauce will still taste great! And to make this a well rounded meal, I added broccoli to the mix. To keep with the simplicity of this recipe, I cooked the broccoli in the same skillet that I cooked the chicken in. And one thing I really dislike is over cooked, mushy broccoli. I like my broccoli to have a little crunch. So, the broccoli is only lightly steamed before it's added to the sauce with the chicken. Serve this tasty Spicy Orange Chicken and Broccoli over white rice, and you have an easy, delicious dinner!
Spicy Orange Chicken and Broccoli Ingredients.
Chicken. I like to use chicken breast, but you can also use chicken thighs if you prefer.
Broccoli. I recommend using fresh broccoli over frozen. I'm not a fan of over cooked, mushy broccoli. I like my broccoli to have a little crunch to add texture to the dish. Frozen broccoli gets mushy fast, especially when mixed with sauce.
Orange juice. You can use bottled orange juice or fresh. Either works great! Pulp, no pulp - the choice is yours.
Orange zest. I like to add a little orange zest to add extra orange flavor, but it won't make or break the recipe. Your sauce will still taste great without it. Because, honestly, sometimes zesting is a pain.
Soy sauce. Low sodium or regular soy sauce both work great.
Rice vinegar. Rice vinegar adds a little bite to the sauce. If you don't have rice vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar.
Brown sugar. Because all orange chicken sauce needs to be lightly sweetened. I think 3 tablespoons is just right, but you can add or subtract a tablespoon based on personal preference.
Sriracha. I add 1 teaspoon of sriracha to make it lightly spicy, but if you're someone who really likes heat, then I suggest 2 teaspoons. When mixing up the sauce, you can always do a taste test.
Ginger. I like to use about a one inch knob of fresh ginger, but you can substitute ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger if you don't have fresh. A little tip for peeling ginger is to use the edge of a small spoon. To grate the ginger, I just use a standard box grater.
Garlic. Two garlic cloves comes out to about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. If need be, you can use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
Corn starch. This is a must to thicken the sauce!
Tips & Tricks.
How to peel and grate fresh ginger. The best and easiest way to peel fresh ginger is with a small spoon! Use the edge of the spoon to scrape the peel off. It's super easy! Once peeled, I use a standard box grater to grate the ginger. My box grater has 3 grating options: fine, medium or coarse. I like to use the medium one for grating ginger.
How to toast sesame seeds. Add sesame seeds to a small, dry fry pan (no oil) and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until lightly brown, shaking the pan occasionally. Once brown, remove and set aside to cool.
Fresh vs. frozen broccoli. I highly recommend using fresh broccoli, but if you're in a pinch frozen will work. The reason I prefer fresh broccoli is because I dislike over-cooked, mushy broccoli, and when frozen broccoli is mixed with sauce it often becomes mushy. I like to cook my fresh broccoli so that it still has a little crunch, adding much needed texture to the dish.
How much sriracha should I add? One teaspoon of sriracha makes the sauce lightly spicy, in my opinion. If you really like spicy food, then I would increase it to 2 teaspoons, possibly even 3. If you're not a spicy food fan then simply leave out the sriracha. The sauce is still great without it!
Is there a substitution for rice vinegar? I always have rice vinegar in my pantry because I love to cook Asian inspired meals. But, if you're in a pinch, you can use apple cider vinegar instead.
How sweet is the sauce? I feel that 3 tablespoons of brown sugar is just the right amount of sweetness. Not overly sweet, but still sweet enough to be called orange chicken. You can taste test the sauce and add or subtract a tablespoon of brown sugar based on personal preference. But I would let the sauce cook briefly to dissolve the sugar before making that decision.
More easy week night dinners!
Spicy Orange Chicken and Broccoli
Chicken and broccoli
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
- ⅓ cup water
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Garnishes: Sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds*, and crushed red pepper (optional)
Spicy orange sauce
- ¾ cup orange juice (bottled or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (about half an orange)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until browned and mostly cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside. While the chicken cooks, make your spicy orange sauce.
- Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet. Sauté the broccoli over medium-high heat for one minute then add ⅓ cup of water, cover, and let steam until the water is cooked off, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and spicy orange sauce to the skillet with the broccoli. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked.
- Serve over rice and garnish with green onion, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, if desired.