Made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic, orange sauce is a combination of sweet, tangy, and addictive.

You’ll want to drown or dip EVERYTHING in it. Trust me when I say that orange sauce is life. Its sweet-tanginess pairs perfectly with chicken, beef, pork, fish, and vegetables. Heck, it even tastes good on its own.

orange sauce |

What is orange sauce?

Orange sauce is a thick and glossy sauce that is usually used in American Chinese food to sauce bite sized pieces of crispy chicken, shrimp, pork, beef, or vegetables.

What does it taste like?

It’s sweet and tangy, glossy and orange. It kind of tastes like sweet and sour sauce but with more of an orange forward flavor. If you’ve had Panda Express orange chicken, you know how delicious this sauce is.

What is orange sauce made of?

Orange sauce is make up of a fresh orange and simple pantry ingredients: soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, ginger powder, and cornstarch.

making orange sauce |

How to make orange sauce

Forget buying bottles of sauce at the store, making this sauce at home is incredibly easy.  All you need to do is:

  1. Add orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and ginger power to a small sauce pan. Bring it to a simmer, whisking occasionally, over medium-high heat, until the sugar dissolves.
  2. While the sugar dissolves, whisk 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce and bring everything up to a simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce heats, bubbles, thickens, and turns glossy.
  3. That’s it! Remove the pan from the heat and you’re ready to sauce/glaze your favorite protein.

finished orange sauce |


  • orange – a fresh orange gives you juice and zest, so it’s what we like to use at home. If you happen to have orange juice in your fridge, you can use that too, just be sure to adjust the amount of sugar since store-bought orange juice tends to be sweetened.
  • soy sauce – this is going to give our sauce some  saltiness and umami.
  • rice vinegar – rice vinegar is what gives orange sauce it’s tanginess. You’ll find rice vinegar in the Asian aisle, it comes both seasoned and unseasoned, you can use either here. We tend to buy unseasoned, which typically comes with a green cap. If you only have white vinegar on hand you can use that too, but your sauce will be more tangy than if you use rice vinegar.
  • brown sugar – sugar is going to give our orange sauce sweetness and a shiny glaze. We like brown sugar, but we also use white, go with whatever you have/like!
  • garlic powder and ginger powder – I love using garlic powder and ginger power in sauces because they dissolve completely. Garlic powder and ginger powder (when fresh) add so much flavor and intensity without any work. Be sure to get garlic powder NOT garlic salt. Garlic powder simply contains pulverized, dehydrated garlic. Same with powdered ginger – you get the pure flavor of ginger because all it is is dried and powdered.
  • cornstarch – cornstarch is a not-so-secret sauce hero. It gives sauces body, thickness, and glossiness. It undergoes a magical scientific transformation called starch gelatinization with liquid and heat. The starch molecules swell, absorb water, and thicken. Cornstarch is essential to making Chinese sauces.

orange sauce |

Vs duck sauce vs sweet and sour sauce

Are you wondering: is this the same as duck sauce or the same as sweet and sour sauce? The answer is yes and no. All of them are Chinese sauces that are sweet and tangy, but they have clear differences.

Orange sauce

Orange sauce is a glaze for tossing with deep fried chicken. Its main flavor is from the oranges. The sauce is an American-Chinese food invention, the most likely inspiration is General Tso’s chicken. Its popularity is due to Panda Express.

Duck sauce

Almost the same as orange sauce but used more as a dipping sauce as opposed to a glaze. The main difference is the fruit used. Duck sauce is typically apricot or peaches instead of oranges. Read more about duck sauce here.

Sweet and sour sauce

A glaze for proteins made with sugar, ketchup, vinegar, and soy sauce. Usually sweet and sour sauce doesn’t have a fruit component in the sauce. More on sweet and sour sauce here.

How to use

Now that you’ve got the sauce, maybe you’re wondering what to use it with? You can totally make a batch, go and grab some nuggies and use it as a dipping sauce OR you can use it as a glaze with these recipes:

orange chicken |

Happy saucing!
xoxo steph

orange sauce |

Orange Sauce

Orange sauce is a combination of sweet, tangy, and addictive.
Serves 4
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes


  • 1 large orange zest and juice, about 1/2 cup juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


  • Add the orange juice, zest, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and ginger powder to a small sauce pan.
    orange sauce ingredients |
  • Whisk over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves and the sauce starts to bubble.
    making orange sauce |
  • Whisk the tbsp of cornstarch with 1 tbsp water then whisk it in to the sauce. Bring the sauce up to medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it starts to bubble, thicken, and turn glossy.
    finished orange sauce |
  • Remove from the heat and enjoy immediately on your desired dish.
    orange chicken |


For super easy orange chicken, grab a bag of frozen nuggets from the store, bake or air fry them and toss them in this sauce. OR, simply cut up boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 1 inch pieces, season with salt and pepper, toss in corn starch, and pan-fry in hot oil until crispy and cooked through. Toss in the sauce and boom: orange chicken.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Orange Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 82 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0.01g0%
Cholesterol 0.01mg0%
Sodium 452mg20%
Potassium 93mg3%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Sugar 15.4g17%
Protein 0.9g2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    ha, great, have always wanted to know how to make a good orange sauce but never found a recipe or one that I could trust, but know yours work well for me so thank you!

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