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Chinese orange sauce glazing fried pieces of chicken over rice and bok choy with more dollops of the sauce around the gray plate.

Chinese Orange Sauce Recipe

Sweet, salty, spicy, and sour, and brimming with umami! This simple, tangy orange sauce is the perfect glaze or dipping medium for any stir-fry dish, cooked meat, wontons, spring rolls, or egg rolls. And way more wholesome than a processed, bottled sauce or one from your average Chinese takeout restaurant.

All you need are a couple of oranges and basic Asian condiments. Many of which are typical pantry staples if you enjoy cooking at home. The sauce is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. And as always here at Edible Times, dietary accommodations for the most popular diets are included.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 1½ cups of sauce 1x


  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, optional
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch (or arrowroot/tapioca)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 scallions (green onions), sliced, keeping the white and green pieces separated
  • ½ cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar or Mirin
  • ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar, coconut sugar or ¼ raw honey (omit for keto/low-carb)
  • 2 large oranges, juiced and zested (the rind grated with a microplane or the tiny holes of a box grater)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Serving Ideas

  • stir-fried vegetables like snow peas, Napa cabbage, bok choy, and water chestnets
  • cooked whole-grain rice or cauliflower rice
  • sautéed shrimp
  • cooked or fried meats
  • tofu dusted with cornstarch and fried in sesame oil


Gather your ingredients, equipment, and tools. Measure and prep your ingredients as they will be used in the sauce. If the garlic needs to be minced, mince it. If the orange rind needs to be grated, grate it. This is a professional chef's mise en place, which means everything is in place. And the practice is just as helpful when cooking at home.

  1. Mix the cornstarch with water a little at a time until you reach the consistency of heavy cream. Set it next to the stove.
  2. Optional: In a small sauté pan, toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat. Shake the pan gently and fairly often, until the seeds turn a golden brown. Remove the seeds immediately from the pan and set them aside.
  3. In a medium pot over medium heat, heat two tablespoons of sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger, and the white parts of the sliced scallions and sauté until the vegetables begin to brown.
  4. Gently pour in the remaining ingredients, whisk gently to combine, and bring the sauce to a boil.
  5. Add the cornstarch slurry and whisk to incorporate. Bring the sauce back to a boil, this will gelatinize the cornstarch and the sauce will thicken.
  6. Once the sauce is thick, remove it from the heat and mix in the toasted sesame seeds and green slices of scallions. You can also save the seeds to garnish your final dish.
  7. Toss the sauce in with your stir-fry dish or noodles, or use it as a dipping sauce for deep-fried pieces of chicken, wontons, or spring rolls.
  8. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or freeze. 


On orange marmalade... If you don't have orange juice or oranges, you can replace them with orange marmalade. Use the measurement for orange juice - so a half of a cup for the recipe as written. You may want to reduce or cut out the sugar entirely if adding marmalade. 

On sauce thickness... You can adjust the consistency of the sauce by how much cornstarch slurry you add. As written, the sauce is on the thicker side, and perfect for dipping and glazing meat and vegetables. For a thinner sauce, use ½ to 1 tablespoon less cornstarch.

One-Pot Stir-Fry

If you stir-fry meat and vegetables in a pan or wok, you can cook the sauce in the same pot. Cook the garlic, ginger, and scallions with the meat and vegetables. Then add the sauce liquids, orange zest, red chili flakes, and cornstarch slurry at the end. Bring it all to boil while stirring constantly to thicken the sauce.

Dietary Variations

For Paleo or GAPS Diet. Serve the sauce over sliced, sautéed lean meats, shrimp, or a plateful of traditional Chinese vegetables like water chestnuts, bok choy, and snow peas. Swap out the brown sugar for coconut sugar, or half the amount in honey. And replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos.

For Keto, Low-Carb. If you follow a strict keto or grain-free diet, skip sugar in the sauce. While you will lose the sweetness factor, the tangy orange sauce without sugar is still delicious. And less guilt-inducing. Serve the orange sauce over fattier cuts of cooked beef, chicken, salmon, or shellfish. Riced cauliflower instead of rice is a great low-carb substitute for a copycat takeout dish.

On Nutrition Information

The amounts below are based on the sauce as prepared with the full ingredient list. If you omit the cornstarch and sugar for a low-carb or ketogenic diet or use honey, the carbohydrate amount will be much less.

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
  • Calories: 79
  • Sugar: 9.6 g
  • Sodium: 282.4 mg
  • Fat: 2.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Chinese orange sauce recipe, cornstarch slurry, stir-fry sauce, copycat Panda Express orange sauce