Low-FODMAP ‘Copycat’ Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe; Gluten-free, Dairy-free
January 24, 2019Printer Friendly Version
Oh how I miss the Orange Chicken at Panda Express! Last month I was traveling to Arizona with my family and we ate at Panda Express no less than 4 times that trip. I am used to packing low-FODMAP snacks (check out my low-FODMAP travel tips blog for the inside scoop) and was not complaining about having steamed rice with my Happy Jerky. But I did wish I could have a huge plate of that orange chicken instead of a tiny taste.
I turned that loss into gain for us all.
Once home, I worked on creating this amazing low-FODMAP Copycat Orange Chicken Recipe. It is healthier than fast food, with a fresh home cooked flavor, but maintains that crispy, sweet, orange flavored goodness that Panda’s version has.
But to be fair- this is not, by definition, a ‘healthy’ meal choice. If you are looking for a lighter chicken dinner for your family, then check out my low-FODMAP Grilled Lime Chicken, or my low-FODMAP One Pan Italian Chicken and Vegetables.
This low-FODMAP Orange Chicken is fried in oil to be crisp outside and tender inside. It is coated with orange flavored sauce, sweetened with sugars. It tastes like chicken candy. I love it.
Save it for special occasions, but don’t deny yourself this amazing low-FODMAP Orange Chicken, if like me, you were feeling deprived!
You may also love my low-FODMAP General Tso’s Chicken and low-FODMAP Sweet and Sour Chicken. Or check out over 400 more low-FODMAP recipes on the blog.
Be healthy and happy,
Rachel Pauls, MD
Low-FODMAP ‘Copycat’ Panda Express Orange Chicken; Gluten-free, Dairy-free
Although this recipe has not been lab tested, a single serving should be low-FODMAP based on the ingredients (*using FODMAP data at time of posting)
Prep time 15 min
Cook time 30 min
Total time 45 min
For low-FODMAP breaded chicken pieces:
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (about 1.5 lbs); chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup cornstarch or potato starch
- Canola or other preferred oil for frying
- Chives or scallion tips, optional for garnish
For low-FODMAP Orange Sauce: (makes about 1.5 cups sauce)
- 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (for tips on shopping for infused oils see my low-FODMAP recipe swap blog)
- Infused oils with onion and garlic are safe to eat on the low-FODMAP diet, as the FODMAPs will not absorb into the oil. This is not true for water based products and these spices!
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on desired spice level)
- 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce, gluten-free if necessary (I use low-sodium)
- **I prefer to use 1/4 cup soy sauce for a less salty taste
- 1/2 cup vinegar (white vinegar, apple cider or rice vinegar); confirm gluten-free if necessary
- 2 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 tbsp light corn syrup
- 4 tbsp brown sugar (if you like a very sweet sauce, increase to 6 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp orange zest (about 1 medium orange)
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from the same orange)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
For low-FODMAP Fried Chicken Pieces:
- In a medium bowl, mix eggs, salt, and pepper
- In a second medium bowl, add 1 cup cornstarch (or potato starch)
- Heat canola or olive oil (for frying) in a wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Working in small batches, dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then the cornstarch mixture and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining chicken. Do a few pieces at a time for maximum crispness
- Discard oil and clean wok
For the low-FODMAP Orange Sauce
- Place your wok back over high heat and add 1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil and ginger and stir fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds
- Add red pepper flakes then stir fry for a few seconds
- Add soy sauce and stir again
- Add vinegar and continue to stir to combine ingredients well
- Place 1/4 cup water and 2 tbsp cornstarch in a cup and stir to combine well (creates a ‘slurry’)
- Add the cornstarch/water slurry to the pan and stir
- Heat until the sauce has thickened on medium low heat
- Add corn syrup and brown sugar
- Add orange zest and orange juice
- Allow to thicken to desired consistency
- Stir in sesame oil
Assemble the low-FODMAP Orange Chicken
- Add the chicken pieces to coat
- Garnish with chopped green chives if desired
- Serve with low-FODMAP Steamed Rice and low-FODMAP Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry
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Not a copycat
Meh. This recipe was very salty and orange-y, but not very sweet for me. I even tried to sweeten it extra but I couldn’t get it to the point where it tasted like my beloved Panda Express. It did taste much like other at-home orange sauces I’ve had, but not brand name.
Thanks for letting us know Casey! You may find that lowering the soy sauce and increasing the brown sugar would make it sweeter and less salty. We thought it was exactly like Panda, but appreciate the feedback. Hope its better next time 🙂
So I can’t really speak to how much of a “copycat” it is because I can’t remember the last time I ate at Panda Express. BUT I absolutely love orange chicken and this recipe was absolutely amazing! It did take me longer than expected to make. Probably because I shallow fried instead of deep fried, and I made kind of a ridiculous amount of chicken. But I would do again any day!
Melissa, That is so good to hear! Glad you loved the recipe and thank you for the feedback 🙂
What brand of light corn syrup do you recommend? Is there a substitute for light corn syrup?
Great question! We use Karo brand which contains: Corn Syrup, Salt, Vanilla Extract (vanilla Beans, Water, Ethyl Alcohol). However, other brands are likely fine too. Please note that while high fructose corn syrup is high in FODMAPs, regular corn syrup is OK to consume. If you prefer to avoid this ingredient then maple syrup may be a close alternative. Good luck!
This may not be an exact Panda Express copycat, but this is a fantastic recipe, which we have made a good few times now. And who knew it was so easy to make! Love it!
Thank you for your comments! We are so pleased you are enjoying the Orange Chicken. Have a great day 🙂
Made this for my son since he’s on low FODMAP diet I added a little more corn syrup to sweeten it a bit more but delicious! Thank you for this recipe will definitely use again!
Thank you for your comments! This is wonderful. We think your son may also enjoy our low-FODMAP Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. It is deliciously sweet and Dr. Rachel’s son’s favorite dinner. Have a great day 🙂
This turned out so good! I love the fresh orange zest and juice. Maybe I’ll actually be able to get through the low FODMAP diet after all haha!
Thank you so much for commenting! We are thrilled you enjoyed the recipe. The low-FODMAP diet CAN be delicious!
Made this tonight and enjoyed the outcome. I will be making this again but I think with less soy sauce, less red pepper and extra orange zest. Who would know this low FODMAP recipe was so good!
Glad you enjoyed the recipe and we always think low-FODMAP food tastes amazing. Check out all our best low-FODMAP chicken recipes here!
The recipe calls for about 6lb of chicken for 6 servings. This is a typo right? The 6 pieces of chicken should be around 1.5lb totally with .25lb of chicken per serving?
We have not seen that error, but you are absolutely correct. It should be approximately 1.5 pounds.
We will update the recipe. Thank you so much 😊
This was delicious! I made it for my family and they loved it. It was a bit too spicy for me, so next time I make this, I’m not gonna add so much red pepper.
Wonderful! Glad to hear your family enjoyed it, and you will be able to enjoy it more the next time too. Much appreciated 🙂
Absolutely loved it. I think it was absolutely as good as I had hoped.
Lynn, what great feedback!
We are ecstatic to hear that.
Please stay in touch 🙂
I tried this recipe last week and it tasted so good that I was afriad that it would trigger an IBS attack haha (or course it didn’t)! I’m going to make this again following the frying instructions in oil because I’m interested in the difference, but I put the chicken in my airfryer on 400 for about 20 minutes and it was delicious!
We are so jealous that we don’t have an air fryer! We bet you will love it the traditional method as well. Thank you so much for the feedback😊
The sauce ingredients lists 1/4 cup water twice. Is it supposed to be 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup
Thanks for noticing this! It should only be listed once. We will fix that 🙂 Have a great day!!
This was sooooo tasty. Thank youuuuu
What wonderful feedback! We are super happy to hear from you, let us know how our other recipes work out in the future😊😊
Hits the spot!
I’ve missed ordering out and foods that just hit the spot. This recipe did that for me. Tangy, sweet, spicy – this recipe checks all those boxes. All the oranges during my shopping trip were in bad shape so I ended up using 1/2 a cup of pure OJ and let it simmer down a bit, worked great! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch!
Tip: I used the “Saute” setting on the Instant Pot to fry the chicken. The Instant Pot maintains the temperature so I don’t need to constantly check and adjust the stove or even babysit the batch that is currently frying.
Thanks so much for sharing and your AWESOME tips!! We love feedback like this 🙂
You may be interested in hearing about a cookbook we are launching this October, 2020. The Low-FODMAP IBS Solution Plan and Cookbook contains more than 100 low-FODMAP Recipes that can be easily prepared in 30 minutes or less! Check out our Products page for ways to order and get a BONUS FREE PDF with your purchase!
I made this today and I am OBSESSED! I did 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (substitute for corn syrup), and only a tablespoon of sugar (substitute for brown sugar). I’m not a big sweets fan (more of a dark-chocolate-semi-sweet, kinda gal) and these adjustments made it perfect for me!! This has seriously opened my eyes to delicious, low-fodmap recipes. Thank you so much, Rachel!
THAT IS AWESOME! What a wonderful comment to read, it warms our hearts!!
We hope you find other great low-FODMAP inspiration on our blog, since delicious is the best part of eating, isn’t it?
We also wanted to share that we have a cookbook coming out October 6,2020!
The Low-FODMAP IBS Solution Plan and Cookbook contains more than 100 low-FODMAP Recipes that can be easily prepared in 30 minutes or less! Check out our Products page for ways to order and get a BONUS FREE PDF with your purchase.
Please stay in touch and have a beautiful day 🙂
My whole family loved it
I am following Low FODMAP diet. The rest of my family is not. I was afraid that I would have a really hard time getting them to try my food. I will be making this again.
THANK you for sharing. We have the same situation at our house (only one with IBS) and everything is gobbled up by our 3 kiddos too!! We agree that low-FODMAP can still taste AWESOME. So glad you enjoyed the chicken and please stay in touch.
I didn’t use corn syrup, I did add a little maple syrup and it was so good! I will be making again!
Thats wonderful! We love hearing about great substitutions for other readers. Have a beautiful day and please stay in touch with us!!
I’m not on the Low FODMAP diet but I made this recipe for my wife who is and we both loved this so much! Hands down, one of the best low FODMAP recipes we’ve ever tried — and it honestly feels like we’ve tried every one out there!
AMAZING to hear this feedback. You made our day!!
Enjoy this with your family and please stay in touch with us 🙂
My daughter (12) was put in a low FODMAP diet and she really wanted Chinese. This hit the spot! Thank you so much!
You may also want to try the low-FODMAP Sweet and Sour Chicken. Our kids love it. Have a great day.
Looks like a great receipe! I just received an air fryer. Any guesses for how to use it with your receipe?
Fun! We don’t have one, but this recipe may be helpful to you for the chicken pieces. Good luck 🙂
Will make it again
Very tasty and liked by all in the family. Thank you for sharing these delicous recipes, it has been hard living without onion and garlic. I’m learning to cook again without 🙂
Thank you Thora!
We love hearing feedback like this 🙂
Delicious Family Meal
I made this for my family and everyone enjoyed it! I’m the only one with fodmap concerns however I wanted to prove to myself that we can still enjoy family meals together on this diet and the point was made. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
You MADE our day! How awesome to read this. Thank you so much for commenting 🙂
This is delicious, and I don’t get immediate stomach pain after eating it!!
I’ve made it at least 4 times for separate people, and it’s been a huge success every time! Big fan of this website and all the meals here, it’s been a lifesaver after being put on a low FODMAP diet, thank you! 🙂
Easiest Best Recipe Ever
This was the easiest most delicious recipe I have made in a long time.
We are new to FODMAP eating because of my son.
What a wonderfully delicious way to enjoy the food we love !!!
I will recommend this recipe to everybody I know.
Colette! Welcome to our site!
You may want to check out our low-FODMAP Family Meals Collection for great ideas, and we just posted a low-FODMAP Honey Walnut Shrimp recipe, similar to Panda Express as well!
Also, don’t forget our amazing cookbook, with over 100 original low-FODMAP recipes that prep in 30 minutes, a low-FODMAP meal plan and many tips and tricks 🙂
Stay in touch with us, please!!
I added a blended cup of pineapple chunks with juice and the flavor was fantastic. I’ll make this again with a lot less chili flakes and ginger since the amounts in the recipe made our noses run.
Thanks for commenting and we love hearing ways to make this recipe your own 🙂
Stay in touch!!
Harder to make than I thought
I think I accidentally carmelized the sauce… it definitely didn’t look like the picture so I was a little but sad haha but it was definitely my fault! It still tasted alright but probably not the way it was supposed to lol :/ I want to try again but may need to study the recipe before another attempt haha
Ah too bad. Better luck next time!
Loved this Orange Chicken
Made this tonight after my son’s hockey practice. It was delicious and had three out of four of us going back for seconds. Used maple syrup for corn syrup and did 1/4 cup soy sauce. Used our instant pot to fry the chicken and contain the canola oil a bit. While frying took longer than anticipated, the chicken was crispy and the sauce was orangy and the best. Served over jasmine rice. Yum…
Love hearing tips on making the recipe your own 🙂
Another stellar recipe! I did reduce the amount of red pepper flakes and used 1/4 cup of soy sauce. The green onion tops really complimented the dish. Cannot wait to make this for the hubby. Thanks!
We are so happy to read this kind review and comment! We love hearing feedback like yours!!
Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and stay in touch 🙂
To my surprise, this was one of the best chicken recipes I’ve made since my husband has been following a low FODMAP diet. It was a perfect balance of sweet and salty for us. We don’t like things too sweet and we love Asian food but I’ve not found many recipes I can make at home that rival restaurant versions. This one does, and I’d serve it to guests!
Thank you so much for sharing your comments and review. Please stay in touch with us!!
The sauce recipe for this is so good you can just skip the chicken and have it with rice!!
Awesome! Thank you for posting!!
I really loved it! Panda triggers my stomach issues and I’ve missed it terribly. I’ll probably add more brown sugar next time to sweeten it up, but still enjoyed it as is
she loved it
I’ll make this again..I didn’t have corn syurp so I used maple syurp & used braggs amino’s vs soy sauce and I won’t change that next time as it was delishous!
Not on the healthy side like you said but much healthier than Panda Express
Love hearing from you! Thank you so much for your review 🙂
Hi, is it supposed to be 1 cup vinegar? I used 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and it is overwhelming.
We apologize, but we saw the blog printing had been corrupted on the site. As you probably noticed, the font was not accurate and what looked like 1, was actually 1/2. We have fixed it, but unfortunately you used a lot more vinegar than the recipe. So sorry about this website blip!!
That would explain it. Thanks for answering!
Is there a way to leave out the corn syrup or substitute it?
We have not tried to substitute, but maple syrup would be reasonable as it is also low in FODMAPs. Good luck!