Orange Glazed Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken

Orange Glazed Chicken is pan-seared chicken breasts, tender and juicy on the inside, simmered in a sweet and spicy orange sauce. Serve with a side of rice.

If I’m ranking cuts of chicken, chicken breasts are probably at the bottom for me. I find them generally to be pretty bland and tasteless and most of the time they are dry due to overcooking. Plus, they are expensive! But, my family tends to prefer them and they do work well in this Orange-Glazed Chicken recipe. 

This recipe had sort of a Chinese food feel to it (Orange chicken) but it is a bit different in that the chicken isn’t fried and the sauce is really fresh and brighter than most you’ll find in takeout Chinese places.

Bonus: No frying required! 

Is this like Chinese Orange Chicken?

In short, not really. Chinese Orange Chicken is usually breaded and fried and then tossed in a thick cornstarch-based sauce with orange juice and orange zest. It’s one of my favorite things to order for Chinese Take-out but is a bit involved to make at home.

This orange glazed chicken recipe has no frying at all and instead allows time to do the work for the glaze. While the chicken bakes, the sauce thickens into a rich glaze all in the same skillet!

What pieces of chicken work well?

I would stick to either breasts or bone-in thighs for this recipe. If you go the thighs route, make sure you crisp up the skin slowly in the skillet (like these honey sriracha chicken thighs). For ease though, chicken breasts work really well for this recipe. Just make sure to buy the whole chicken breasts, not the cutlets or strips as those will cook too fast and the you’ll end up with dry chicken. 

Making the Orange Glaze

First thing first, let’s get our glaze ready. Basically, combine the orange juice, corn syrup, honey, mustard, vinegar, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl and whisk them together really well. The corn syrup and honey will not want to play nice, but if you whisk for a few minutes they will combine alright.

Orange Glaze mixed up

Some people are anti-corn syrup, but there isn’t a lot in this recipe and it does give the glaze a really nice consistency in the final product. It also isn’t as sweet as you might think. It is almost more of a thickener than a sweetener. Regardless, you want it.

Cooking the Chicken

Next let’s prepare the chicken. Take your breasts and give them a liberal dose of salt and pepper. If your chicken breasts have the skin on, you can leave it on if you want. After some salt and pepper, dredge the breasts very lightly in flour. Dust them off afterward. You want a light coating of flour that will basically help the glaze adhere to the chicken later on.

Heat up your two teaspoons of olive oil in an oven-safe pan. In this case, I used a cast iron skillet. If you haven’t noticed, I use my cast iron skillet more than any piece of equipment in the kitchen. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend them. Lodge makes a pretty good one.

Searing chicken in skillet.

Once your pan is hot, sear your chicken for 4-5 minutes per side.

Once both sides are seared, take your chicken out of the pan. It is medium-rare at this point which is not where you want chicken. Don’t worry. We’ll get back to it in a minute.

Next, pour out all of the fat and oil from the pan besides about a Teaspoon. Then pour all of your glaze into the hot pan. Scrape up any bits of chicken and let that simmer away.

Finishing the Orange Glazed Chicken

This will need about 10 minutes to reduce down. 

Eventually, that orange glaze will reduce down to a syrupy sauce. It should easily coat the back of a spoon or spatula.

Simmering the glaze.

Take your chicken breasts and turn them over in the sauce, making sure to coat them well. Then put the entire pan in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, you can transfer the whole deal to a baking pan. Just make sure the chicken is coated well in the glaze. In fact, I took my pan out after 10 minutes and turned the breasts around again in the glaze to coat them a second time.

Starting to simmer glaze and chicken.

After they come out of the oven, the chicken will be glazed nicely and the sauce will be reduced substantially.

Take the chicken out and let it rest for five minutes. Return the glaze to the stovetop and stir it well. If you were not using an oven-safe pan, then scrape whatever glaze is left in your baking dish back into an sautee pan. Put this on medium-high heat and let it reduce even further.

Add your final 3 Tablespoons of orange juice to the pan. It will give the final glaze a nice orange flavor and color. After it reduces for a few more minutes, pour it right on top of your chicken.

Sweet and Spicy Orange Glaze Chicken

What to serve with this orange glazed chicken

I like to serve orange glazed chicken with rice and a vegetable side. For the rice, I would keep it simple and just use either white or brown rice depending on your preference. For the vegetables, broccoli is a great option and goes well with the other flavors. These Sesame Chili Broccoli Steaks would be a great side dish. 

Orange Chicken

My Sweet and Spicy Orange Chicken Recipe

Orange Glazed Chicken

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Serves 4
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Cook Time:
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Orange Glazed Chicken
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Helpful Equipment:

cast iron skillet

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Orange Glazed Chicken is pan-seared chicken breasts, tender and juicy on the inside, simmered in a sweet and spicy orange sauce. Serve with a side of rice.

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen 2009.

Ingredients

Glaze:

1 1/2 Cups Orange Juice + 3 Tablespoons
1/3 Cups light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/8 Teaspoon red pepper flakes

Other stuff:

1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
4 medium Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot or 3 Tablespoons onion, minced

Instructions

1) To start glaze, combine all of the above glaze ingredients together in a bowl and whisk them together really well.

2) Take your breasts and give them a liberal dose of salt and pepper. Then dredge the breasts in flour. Dust them off afterward. You want a light coating of flour that will basically help the glaze adhere to the chicken later on.

3) Heat up your two teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat in an oven-safe pan, in this case I used a cast iron skillet.

4) Once your pan is hot, sear your chicken for 4-5 minutes a side.

5) Take your chicken out of the pan once they are seared. Pour out all of the fat and oil from the pan besides about a Teaspoon. Then pour all of your glaze into the hot pan. Scrape up any bits of chicken and let that simmer away.

6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Simmer glaze for 10-15 minutes to reduce down. Eventually that orange glaze will reduce down to a syrupy sauce. It should easily coat the back of a spoon or spatula.

7) Add chicken breasts back to pan and turn them over in the sauce, making sure to coat them well. Then put the entire pan in the oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

8) After they come out of the oven, the chicken will be glazed nicely and the sauce will be reduced substantially.

9) Take the chicken out and let it rest for five minutes. Return the glaze to the stove top. If you were not using an oven-safe pan, then scrape whatever glaze is left in your baking dish back into an sautee pan. Put this on medium-high heat and let it reduce even further.

10) Add your final 3 Tablespoons of orange juice to the pan. It will give the final glaze a nice orange flavor and color. After it reduces for a few more minutes, pour it right on top of your chicken.

Nutrition Info

Orange Chicken Recipe VIDEO

Here are a few other delicious chicken recipes!

First, I’d recommend just going ahead and bookmarking my best Weeknight Chicken Pasta recipes! Lots of good stuff there. Since it is grilling season, this Grilled Citrus Chicken will be on my menu once or twice. Also, this Greek Yogurt Chicken is always great on a hot day. I also like the looks of this Marry Me Chicken from Little Sunny Kitchen, even though I’m already married!

16 Responses to “Sweet and Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken” Leave a comment

  1. "the glaze is much better than anything I’ve ever had in a Chinese dish."

    Congratulations on the gross generalization of the week. I am now sad that I didn't push harder to make you try some decent Chinese food.

    Not that this doesn't look good.

  2. Ha! True. I'm not saying that there are not better orange chicken dishes. This was just better than the ones I've tried which I'll admit are probably all mediocre although still good.

    I have absolutely no doubt that orange chicken exists that is better than my version ;)

  3. Hi Nick,

    Wanted to let you know that I made this tonight for dinner and it was totally delicious. The glaze is awesome, I actually used dark meat chicken and served it with some vegetable orzo. I also wanted to point out that I think you missed noting where you added your shallots in the post. I added them to the glaze during the first reduction, it looks like that is what you did.

    Thanks for a great recipe :)

  4. The recipe was easy and tasted great !

    I also used dark meat and added a bit more heat with a bit more red pepper flakes.

    With a little of the glaze and water I saute celery and carrots . I served it over the chicken.

    It really brought out the Asian Flair to this dish..

  5. This was so amazing that it sent me to the hospital! OMG The man's a murderer! Plus, he added the cat to the dish! WE ALL KNOW IT!!!

  6. Dijon mustard in chinese food? Dijon = french? This doesn’t look too good; it doesn’t even call for deep-frying the chicken!

    1. It’s not chinese food… it just has a chinese feel to it. That’s just what the flavors reminded me of… not what it was supposed to actually be.

      You’re right though… traditionally the chinese dish is deep fried or wok fried and then tossed with the reduced sauce.

      1. I personally LOVE that it is not fried. I admire when there are healthier options to Chinese food. Not to mention, I think experience in cooking comes when one is able to mix ingredients that are not traditional to the norm and still make it work so congrats!

  7. 1. Hey, since you have the book, can you email me the recipe for orange chicken (chinese)?? Also, can you send me the recipe for french onion soup?

    2. BTW, Have you EVER boiled your wings before frying them (breadless)?? Gotta be careful not to break the skin, but when you do it this way, but when you boil the chicken (in salt and poultry seasoning — almost like a brine) the cartilage gets released into the water, and the juice inside the chicken is thick!! Then, just make some hot sauce with Frank’s Hot Sauce + Butter + salt. What!?

  8. Hubby has a sweet tooth but hates chicken so I thought this might be a hit (it was!). I made a few minor changes ( used half orange juice and half marmalade) and doubled the glaze so there would be extra for rice . The recipe was easy to follow, the only thing I found confusing were the shallots – I had to come back and see if they were a garnish or to be added in the glaze at the end. Although listed – there is no mention of when and where (or perhaps I missed this). I will def use this recipe again but I would like to try adding garlic and also sesame seeds at the end. Really a nice glaze – thank you so much!

  9. This was delightful!! We just made it for dinner and it came out perfectly! Was well worth the time and effort. Although, the glaze wasn’t quite as dark as yours (we didn’t cook it at a high enough heat for the first 10-15 min), but it was still amazing. :)

  10. I am a an amateur cook. I like decadent foods but we have invested home cooking now instead of eating out. And this was so simple and awesome to make. I worried it was not looking right but I did it anyway. I forgot the scallions and added a teaspoon of minced raw garlic. My husband is the chef of the house and he actually before me asking commented it was great. I like it was not fried. The wak intimidates me. We used 2 extra large breast. And it worked out great. Thank you for a simple and tasty meal. We had steamed broccoli as the side.

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