Orange, Honey and Soy Chicken Recipe

Background and History

Orange, Honey, and Soy Chicken is a delicious fusion dish that combines the sweet, tangy flavors of orange and honey with the savory richness of soy sauce. This dish is inspired by Asian cuisine, particularly Chinese and Japanese cooking, where the balance of sweet and savory flavors is highly prized. The recipe has become popular in Western kitchens for its simplicity and the delightful contrast of flavors it brings to the table. This dish is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a special occasion, offering a gourmet taste with minimal effort.


4 people


Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time

30 minutes


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, for thickening)
  • 2 tablespoons water (optional, for thickening)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish


Prepare the Marinade

  • In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, and minced ginger.

Marinate the Chicken

  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring all pieces are well-coated.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours for more flavor.

Cook the Chicken

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade for later.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • Make the Sauce:

Pour the reserved marinade into the skillet.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing it to reduce slightly.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix the cornstarch with the water to create a slurry and stir it into the sauce. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until thickened.

Combine and Serve

  • Return the cooked chicken to the skillet, turning to coat it with the sauce.
  • Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the chicken is heated through and well-glazed with the sauce.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
  • Serve hot, with rice or vegetables.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 20g
  • Sodium: 800mg


  • For a more intense flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.
  • You can substitute chicken thighs for chicken breasts if preferred.
  • Pair this dish with steamed vegetables or a side salad for a complete meal.

Allergy Warning

  • Contains soy (from soy sauce).
  • Ensure all ingredients are free from cross-contamination if cooking for someone with severe allergies.

Is honey sesame chicken the same as orange chicken?

No, honey sesame chicken and orange chicken are different dishes. Honey sesame chicken is typically coated in a honey-soy sauce with sesame seeds, while orange chicken features a tangy, sweet sauce made with orange juice and zest.

Is orange chicken good for your health?

Orange chicken can be part of a balanced diet if consumed in moderation. However, it is often high in sugar and sodium, especially when made with commercial sauces or deep-fried. Opting for a homemade version with controlled ingredients can make it a healthier choice.

What is orange chicken made of?

Orange chicken is made of bite-sized pieces of chicken, usually battered and fried, then coated in a sauce made with orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, sugar, and sometimes additional ingredients like ginger and garlic.

What’s the difference between orange and sweet and sour chicken?

Orange chicken has a distinct citrus flavor from orange juice and zest, while sweet and sour chicken features a balanced tangy and sweet flavor profile from a combination of vinegar, sugar, and ketchup or tomato sauce. Both dishes may use similar cooking methods but have different flavor bases.

Why does orange chicken taste like orange?

Orange chicken tastes like orange due to the use of fresh orange juice and zest in the sauce. These ingredients provide a natural, vibrant citrus flavor that defines the dish.

Do Chinese eat sweet and sour chicken?

Sweet and sour chicken is popular in Westernized Chinese cuisine and is commonly found in Chinese restaurants abroad. However, traditional Chinese cuisine has its own variations of sweet and sour dishes, which might differ in ingredients and preparation methods.

Is orange chicken really spicy?

Orange chicken is typically not very spicy. It is more known for its sweet and tangy flavor. However, you can add some heat by incorporating chili flakes or a small amount of hot sauce if desired.

Is honey chicken the same as sweet and sour chicken?

No, honey chicken and sweet and sour chicken are different. Honey chicken is coated in a honey-based sauce that is sweet and sometimes slightly savory, while sweet and sour chicken has a sauce that balances sweetness and tanginess with ingredients like vinegar and sugar.

Is orange chicken sugary?

Yes, orange chicken is usually somewhat sugary due to the addition of sugar or honey in the sauce, which contributes to its sweet flavor profile. The exact amount of sugar can vary based on the recipe.

What is orange sauce made of?

Orange sauce is typically made from a combination of fresh orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, sugar, and sometimes vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch for thickening. This sauce is cooked until it thickens and develops a rich, tangy-sweet flavor.

Ignatius Thornfield
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Ignatius Thornfield, the discerning Recipe Connoisseur behind this site, is a culinary aficionado dedicated to transforming pet dining into an art form. With an exquisite taste for flavors and a keen eye for nutritious combinations, Ignatius shares a curated collection of gourmet pet recipes. His site is a sanctuary for pet owners seeking to indulge their furry friends with delectable and health-conscious meals. Ignatius's expertise in the realm of pet cuisine is evident in the sophisticated and thoughtfully crafted content he presents. For those who appreciate the finer culinary experiences for their pets, Ignatius Thornfield's site is a treasure trove of gastronomic delights.