crispy orange chicken with rice

How to Make Crispy Orange Chicken at Home—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

Not long ago I got a desperate message from C. J. Coffman who lives in Michigan. He and his family were crazy about a certain item that mysteriously disappeared from Applebee’s® menu.

Just disappeared

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 comeback.”

But not the same

In the intervening years, and perhaps prompted by current events creating a new kind of eating out—curbside pickup—the popular dish made a brief return, but with a different name. Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl offered a much smaller portion size, and as we might have guessed, an even higher price. And that was short-lived. As of this update, my research reveals no more orange chicken by any name on any Applebee’s menu.

Flattery goes a long way

Coffman closed his letter by telling me what a big fan he is of Everyday Cheapskate, 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 Crispy Orange Chicken fans too, here’s a fabulous (more than reasonable) facsimile of their favorite dish. Enjoy!

crispy orange chicken with rice
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5 from 4 votes

Crispy Orange Chicken

For many, Applebee’s® Crispy Orange Skillet and Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl had become a favorite. But it was so pricey—and now appears to have become extinct. Will it come back someday? Who knows, but who cares! You can make this version—a dead ringer for the Applebee's version.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Asian
Servings: 6
Calories: 331kcal



  • 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



  • 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.


Hoison sauce is available in a bottle or jar in the Asian foods aisle of most supermarkets, near the soy sauce. Also called Peking sauce, this thick, reddish-brown sauce is sweet and somewhat 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 hoisin sauce and it will keep indefinitely.


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

Updated: 7-4-22


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7 replies
  1. Gina Stevens says:

    5 stars
    Five Stars, Mary! This recipe is so easy to follow and it’s packed full of flavor. It will be added to my electronic recipe file folder. THANKS!

  2. Pat says:

    That recipe really looks good. Mary, would you be willing to scare up another? This was on the 2/20 menu. It was the chicken, quinoa, rice dish. I think there was a slight citrus touch and possibly cranberries. Oh it was nummy!

    • cheryl says:

      it was called cedar grilled lemon chicken I think. Here’s a pic:


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