The Secret Recipe: Making Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken at Home

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Have you ever wondered if you could recreate the deliciousness of Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken in the comfort of your own kitchen?

Well, get ready to uncover the secret recipe and surprise your taste buds!

In this guide, we will explore step-by-step instructions on how to make this iconic dish at home.

From gathering the necessary ingredients to perfecting the orange sauce, and cooking the chicken to golden perfection, you’ll soon be savoring a plateful of homemade goodness.

So, put on your apron and let’s get cooking!

Get ready to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills as you indulge in the mouthwatering flavors of homemade Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken.

Key Takeaways

  • Alternative cooking methods such as baking or air-frying can be used to achieve a crispy texture without deep frying.
  • Healthier ingredient substitutions like using natural sweeteners and low-sodium soy sauce can be made without sacrificing flavor.
  • Preparing the chicken by trimming excess fat, marinating it in a flavorful mixture, and coating it in a crispy breading is key to making delicious homemade orange chicken.
  • The orange sauce can be customized by adjusting the amount of orange zest and adding spices like hot sauce or red pepper flakes for a tangy and spicy flavor.

Ingredients Needed

To make Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken at home, you’ll need the following ingredients. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Making this delicious dish is easier than you think. Let’s dive in!

First, let’s talk about alternative cooking methods. If you don’t have a deep fryer, don’t fret! You can still achieve that crispy texture by baking the chicken instead. Simply coat the chicken in a light layer of oil and bake it in a preheated oven at 400°F for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. It may not be exactly the same as the original, but it’s a healthier option without sacrificing flavor.

Now, let’s discuss some healthier ingredient substitutions. Instead of using regular white sugar, try using a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. They add a touch of sweetness without the guilt. Additionally, you can opt for low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium content. Finally, for a gluten-free version, use tamari sauce or coconut aminos instead of traditional soy sauce.

With these alternative cooking methods and healthier ingredient substitutions, you can recreate the mouthwatering Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken in the comfort of your own kitchen. Get ready to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills!

Preparing the Chicken

Now let’s get down to business and start prepping the chicken for your homemade Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken. Follow these steps to ensure your chicken is perfectly seasoned and coated with a crispy breading:

  1. Trim and Cut: Begin by trimming any excess fat from the chicken thighs. Then, cut them into bite-sized pieces. This will ensure even cooking and easy eating.

  2. Marinating Process: To infuse the chicken with flavor, create a marinade using orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a touch of honey. Place the chicken pieces in the marinade and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. This will tenderize the meat and add a delicious tangy taste.

  3. Breading Technique: Create a breading station by setting up three shallow bowls. Fill the first one with flour, the second one with beaten eggs, and the third one with panko breadcrumbs. Take each marinated chicken piece and coat it in flour, then dip it into the beaten eggs, and finally press it into the panko breadcrumbs, ensuring an even and generous coating.

  4. Set Aside: Once breaded, set the chicken pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes. This will help the breading adhere better and result in a crispier texture when cooked.

Making the Orange Sauce

Start by whisking together orange juice, soy sauce, orange zest, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan. This combination of ingredients will give your orange sauce its signature tangy and sweet flavor. Once everything is well combined, place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir continuously to prevent any lumps from forming.

If you’re looking to switch things up, there are alternative sauce options you can try. For a spicier version, you can add a dash of hot sauce or red pepper flakes to give your orange chicken a kick. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of orange zest or even omit it altogether.

To adjust the level of spiciness, start by adding a small amount of hot sauce or red pepper flakes, taste the sauce, and then gradually add more until you reach your desired level of heat. Remember, it’s always easier to add more spice than to take it away, so start with caution.

Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, remove it from the heat and set it aside. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Now, you’re ready to pour this delicious orange sauce over your crispy chicken and enjoy the homemade version of Trader Joe’s famous Orange Chicken!

Cooking the Chicken

After preparing the flavorful orange sauce, it’s time for you to cook the chicken. Follow these steps to achieve that crispy, tender goodness that Trader Joe’s is famous for:

  1. Marinating Techniques:
    To infuse the chicken with flavor, marinating is key. Combine soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, ginger, and a touch of honey in a ziplock bag. Add the chicken pieces and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes, but overnight for maximum flavor.

  2. Pan-Frying:
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off, and place it in the hot skillet. Cook each side for about 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

  3. Baking:
    For a healthier alternative, preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is crispy and cooked.

  4. Air-Frying:
    If you have an air fryer, this method will give you that satisfying crunch with less oil. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Place the marinated chicken in the basket and cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and crispy.

Now that you know the different cooking methods, choose the one that suits your preference and enjoy your homemade Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken!

Serving and Enjoying Your Homemade Orange Chicken

To fully savor the deliciousness of your homemade Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken, try garnishing it with fresh green onions. The vibrant green color and mild onion flavor of the green onions will complement the tangy and sweet orange sauce, adding a pop of freshness to each bite. Simply chop the green onions into thin slices and sprinkle them over the orange chicken just before serving.

As for serving suggestions, you can enjoy your homemade orange chicken in various ways. Serve it over a bed of steamed white rice for a classic combination that will satisfy your taste buds. If you’re looking for a healthier option, try serving the orange chicken with cauliflower rice or quinoa. The bright flavors of the orange sauce will beautifully complement the nuttiness of the cauliflower or quinoa.

If you want to switch things up and add some extra texture to your dish, consider adding some crunchy cashews or sesame seeds as a topping. These additions will provide a delightful contrast to the tender chicken and velvety orange sauce.

For those with dietary restrictions or preferences, there are also some variations and substitutions you can make. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can replace the chicken with tofu or tempeh and use a plant-based alternative for the honey in the sauce. Additionally, if you prefer a spicier kick, you can add some red pepper flakes or Sriracha sauce to the orange sauce.

Now that you know how to serve and enjoy your homemade orange chicken, it’s time to gather your loved ones and indulge in this flavorful and satisfying dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Different Type of Meat Instead of Chicken?

Sure, you can definitely switch up the meat in your Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken recipe! Consider alternative protein options like tofu, seitan, or even shrimp. Just make sure to adjust cooking times and temperatures accordingly.

Can I Make the Orange Sauce Ahead of Time and Store It in the Fridge?

Sure, you can definitely make the orange sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge. It’s a great way to save time when preparing your meal! Just make sure to store it in an airtight container for the best results.

Can I Freeze the Cooked Orange Chicken for Later Use?

Yes, you can freeze the cooked orange chicken for later use. It’s a great way to have a quick and delicious meal ready when you need it. If you’re not a fan of chicken, you can also try using tofu or shrimp in the recipe.

Can I Use Bottled Orange Juice Instead of Fresh Oranges for the Sauce?

Sure, you can use bottled orange juice instead of fresh oranges for the sauce. The pros are convenience and longer shelf life, but the taste may differ slightly. It’s up to you, but fresh oranges add a natural and vibrant flavor.

Can I Make the Orange Sauce Without Using Soy Sauce or Any Other Soy-Based Products?

You can definitely make a soy-free orange sauce by using alternative sauce options. There are various recipes available that replace soy sauce with ingredients like coconut aminos or tamari for a delicious twist.


In just a few simple steps, you can recreate the famous Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken right in your own kitchen. With a perfectly crispy exterior and a tangy orange sauce, this homemade version is sure to impress your taste buds.

Whether you’re craving a quick and delicious weeknight dinner or looking to impress guests at a dinner party, this secret recipe is a must-try.

So grab your apron and get ready to enjoy a mouthwatering feast of homemade Orange Chicken!

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