crispy orange chicken with rice

This is How to Make (Awesome!) Crispy Orange Chicken

Not long ago I got a desperate message from C. J. Coffman who lives in Michigan. It seems that he and his family are crazy about a certain item that mysteriously disappeared from the Applebee’s® menu a couple of years ago—Crispy Orange Skillet.

Coffman is not the first reader I’ve heard from about this turn of events. Early on, readers wanted to know how to make this entree at home, as it could become pricey to eat out as often as their cravings dictated. And then a couple of years ago, this hugely popular dish just up and disappeared from the menu! Applebee’s response to my inquiry explained that they appreciate customers’ feedback, but that they make changes to their menus from time to time and “We never know when customer favorites will make a come back.”

In the intervening years, and perhaps prompted by current events creating a new kind of eating out—curbside pickup—the popular dish has made a return, but with a different name. Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl offers a much smaller portion size, and as we might have guessed, an even higher price.

Coffman closed his letter by telling me what a big fan he is of this column, which was a good move on his part. I’m not above a little flattery from time to time.

So, for the C.J. Coffman family and all other Applebee’s fans too, here’s a fabulous (more than reasonable) facsimile of their favorite dish. Enjoy!

 

Crispy Orange Chicken

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken pieces, skinned
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/4 tspn pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tbpn vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Oil (for frying)
  1. Cut chicken pieces into 2-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Slightly beat egg, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl
  3. Pour egg mixture over chicken. Mix well and set aside.
  4. In another large bowl stir cornstarch and flour together and mix well.  
  5. Add chicken pieces to the flour mixture, stirring to coat each piece well.
  6. Pour enough oil to be 1/2-inch deep in a wok or heavy skillet and heat over high heat to 375 F (hot!).
  7. Carefully add chicken pieces in small batches and fry for 3 to 4 minutes turning until golden and crisp. Do not overcook or chicken will be tough and dry.
  8. Remove chicken from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or similar. Continue frying the chicken in small batches until all pieces are nicely browned and crisp. Set aside.

Sweet ‘n Spicy Orange Glaze

  • 2 tbsp oil from skillet
  • 1 tspn minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tspn grated orange zest
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce*
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cool the oil in the skillet slightly, then remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil and set over medium heat.
  2. Sauté garlic in oil for 1 minute (if the oil is too hot the garlic will burn and become bitter).
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil. Allow boiling for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens to your liking, stirring frequently.
  5. Pour glaze over chicken.
  6. To serve: Place chicken on a bed of cooked white rice. Garnish with slivered almonds, crispy noodles and stir-fry vegetables like broccoli, snow peas and red peppers (optional). Serves 4 to 6.

*Hoison sauce is available in a can or jar in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, close to the soy sauce. Also called Peking sauce, this thick, reddish-brown sauce is sweet and spicy and widely used in Chinese cooking. It’s a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chili peppers, and various spices. Hoisin sauce is mainly used as a table condiment and as a flavoring agent for many meats, poultry and shellfish dishes. Once opened, refrigerate bottled hoisin and it will keep indefinitely.

crispy orange chicken with rice

Crispy Orange Chicken

For many, Applebee’s® Crispy Orange Skillet has become a favorite. But it's pricey! You can make this version—a dead ringer for the Applebee's version—at home spending only a fraction of the cost.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Asian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 331kcal
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • deep skillet

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces breast, thigh, leg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 ½ tspn salt
  • ¼ tspn pepper or to taste
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsn cornstarch
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • oil for frying

Sweet 'n Spicy Orange Glaze

  • 2 tbsp Oil from skillet
  • 1 tspn minced garlic
  • 1 ½ tspn grated orange rind (zest) only the orange part, NONE of the white pith
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup Hoison sauce see NOTE
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper optional
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • salt, pepper to taste

Instructions

Chicken

  • Cut chicken pieces into small pieces (about 1 ½ to 2-inches) and place in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg, oil, salt, pepper with a fork. Pour egg mixture over chicken pieces, mix well, and set aside.
  • Stir cornstarch and flour together in another large bowl and mix well.
  • Add chicken pieces to the flour mixture, stirring to coat each piece well.
  • Pour enough oil to be 1/2-inch deep in a wok or heavy skillet and heat over high heat to 375 F (hot!).
  • Carefully add chicken pieces in small batches and fry for 3 to 4 minutes turning until golden and crisp. Do not overcook or chicken will be tough.
  • Remove chicken from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue frying the chicken in small batches until all pieces are nicely browned and crisp. Set aside.

Sweet 'n Spicy Orange Glaze

  • Cool the oil in the skillet slightly, then remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil and set over medium heat.
  • Sauté garlic in oil for 1 minute (if the oil is too hot the garlic will burn and become bitter).
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Allow boiling for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens to your liking, stirring frequently. 
  • Pour glaze over chicken and toss lightly to make sure all pieces are well glazed.
  • To serve, place chicken on a bed of cooked white rice. Garnish with slivered almonds, crispy noodles, sesame seeds, and stir-fry vegetables like broccoli, snow peas, and red peppers (optional). Serves 4 to 6.

Notes

Hoison sauce is available in a can or jar in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, close to the soy sauce. Also called Peking sauce, this thick, reddish-brown sauce is sweet and spicy, and widely used in Chinese cooking. It's a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chili peppers and various spices. Hoisin sauce is mainly used as a table condiment and as a flavoring agent for many meat, poultry and shellfish dishes. Once opened, refrigerate bottled hoisin and it will keep indefinitely.

Nutrition

Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 716mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 147IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

More from Everyday Cheapskate

copycat collage 1
red slow cooker
peach collage
A sandwich sitting on top of a table
salad wedge
In-n-Out Burger with fries in the background


Please keep your comments positive, encouraging, helpful, brief,

and on-topic in keeping with EC Posting Guidelines



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How was it?