This orange chicken sauce is sweet, tangy, and citrusy. It’s easy to make homemade, and contains fresh, healthy ingredients. Use it as a stir fry sauce, or toss it with chicken, beef, shrimp, or roasted cauliflower!
A solid stir fry sauce is a must when it comes to cooking meals at home. While this orange chicken sauce recipe goes perfectly with my Healthy Baked Orange Chicken, it can be used with a variety of proteins and vegetables, and gives new flavor and definition regular meals.
In fact, this my favorite stir fry sauce because it’s the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and savory. The ingredients are simple and healthy, and you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge to use throughout the week. It’s also easy to double if you’ve got a bigger family!
What is Orange Chicken Sauce Made Of?
Traditionally, orange sauce is made with fresh orange juice, and includes a little sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar for tang, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. It also includes a thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot. It’s a sauce that is associated with orange chicken, which is and Chinese-American dish created by Panda Express. While Americans love it, it’s a dish rarely found in Chinese restaurants in China.
In this recipe, I’ve made a few simple swaps to make it a healthier recipe. The sauce is sweetened with a little coconut sugar, and soy sauce is swapped for coconut aminos. This orange sauce fits a variety of needs, so it’s great for everyone at the table. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make it:
- Coconut aminos or soy sauce
- Coconut sugar
- Unseasoned rice vinegar
- Garlic powder
- Ground ginger
- Red pepper flakes (optional for kick)
- Arrowroot flour
How to Make Easy Orange Chicken Sauce
I love how easy this recipe is! Just throw all of the ingredients into the pan, simmer, and let it cool! Here’s how to make it in four easy steps:
- Combine. In a medium saucepan, add the orange juice, water, coconut aminos, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined.
- Simmer. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 2 minutes.
- Thicken. In a separate small bowl, whisk the arrowroot and water together. Add the arrowroot mixture to the sauce and stir well. Simmer the sauce until it starts to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
- Toss and Serve. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool. Toss immediately with cooked chicken, beef, or roasted vegetables, or store it in a sealable glass container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Is Orange Sauce Spicy?
Nope! It’s a little sweet and tangy with a hint of savory. It’s my favorite stir fry sauce because the flavors work with so many different foods. If you want to make it more spicy, start with the ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and add a pinch more at a time to taste.
Cooking Tips + Tricks
- While I love using fresh oranges for the juice, you can purchase freshly squeezed bottled orange juice for this recipe.
- This recipe can be cooked up in a small 1.5 quart saucepan.
- Want to make this recipe more spicy? Start with the ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and add a pinch more at a time to taste.
- This recipe is easy to double! When doubling the recipe, you’ll get 1 ½ cups of sauce.
- When using this sauce, you can use sesame seeds or diced green onion as a garnish.
Can I Make Substitutions?
Sure can! However, this is where I make that special note that you won’t get the same consistent results if you vary from the original recipe. But, if you find yourself short, here’s a few swaps you can make:
- Coconut aminos: The best coconut aminos substitute is soy sauce! Coconut aminos is a delicious alternative to soy sauce that is gluten free and soy free. It’s made from the sap of the coconut palm. If you swap this for soy sauce, using 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon filtered water in place of the ¼ cup coconut aminos since soy sauce has more sodium.
- Coconut sugar: Use brown sugar or any other granulated sugar.
- Arrowroot flour: As a thickener, this can be swapped easily for corn starch.
The best part about this recipe? You can make it ahead of time and use it for weeks! If you’re not using the sauce immediately, transfer it to an airtight glass container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
To freeze, place the sauce in a freezer-safe airtight container and store it in freezer for up to three months.
Uses For Orange Chicken Sauce
You can toss it with cooked chicken, beef, shrimp, or roasted cauliflower, or drizzle it on top of rice or cooked vegetables. You can also use it as a stir fry sauce! Here’s how to use it in a stir fry:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 pound of protein (thinly sliced beef, cubed chicken breast or thighs, or peeled and deveined shrimp) and cook until browned and just cooked through. Remove the protein from the pan and transfer to a clean plate.
- Add 1 more tablespoon of oil and 4-5 cups of raw cut up vegetables to the pan. I like to do freshly diced onion, broccoli florets, sliced bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, chopped asparagus, or snow peas. Stir fry until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Return the protein back to the pan and add the sauce (about ¾ to 1 cup). Stir until everything is evenly coated and continue to cook until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.
Stocking the Pantry
I personally use Thrive Market for most of my pantry needs because it saves me some cash—especially when it comes to commonly used items like coconut sugar and coconut aminos. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my Baking and Cooking Resources Page.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Healthy Orange Chicken
- Egg Roll in A Bowl
- Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- Sheet Pan Chicken, Broccoli, and Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Herb Aioli
- Paleo Chicken Tenders
- ¾ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional for kick)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour + 2 tablespoon water
- Combine: In a medium saucepan, add the orange juice, water, coconut aminos, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined.
- Simmer: Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 2 minutes.
- Thicken: In a separate small bowl, whisk the arrowroot and water together. Add the arrowroot mixture to the sauce and stir well. Simmer the sauce until it starts to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
- Toss and Serve: Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Toss with cooked chicken, beef, shrimp, or roasted cauliflower. If not using immediately, store it in the refrigerator in a sealable glass container for up to two weeks.
What did you think about this orange chicken sauce recipe? Please come back and let me know below—I’d love to hear from you!
Recipe by: Noelle Tarr / Coconuts and Kettlebells | Photography by: Casey Colodny / The Mindful Hapa