Marcus Shares His EASY Gluten-Free "Panda" Orange Chicken Recipe!

My wife has recently gone gluten-free because of an intolerance and it's actually breaking her heart. She LOVES baked goods, pizza, and those delicious sweet and sour little nuggets of chicken joy from Panda Express. I've been adjusting my techniques and ingredients in the kitchen and I think I've come up with a pretty good copycat recipe. The girls loved it last night!

Marcus D.'s Gluten Free "Panda" Orange Chicken



  • 3 4-6oz chicken breasts, cut into one-inch cubes
  • 2-4 cups of oil for frying. (shallow fry is ok). Peanut oil is good. I use Avocado oil. Just look for a high smoke point.
  • 1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill).
  • 1/2 cup corn starch (make sure it says gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt


  • 4 tablespoons gluten free tamari
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (gluten free) rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water


  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, and ginger in a gallon plastic bag. You can also combine in a bowl for dredging but the bag is the easiest.
  2. Whisk eggs in medium bowl, add chicken pieces and coat. Place coated chicken in plastic bag, seal and shake to coat with the flour-cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in wok or high-sided fry pan to 350-375. Remember that the temp will go down as you add your chicken so plan accordingly. Be sure to lay the chicken in the pan away from you to avoid splatter. If shallow frying, flip the nuggets after 3-4 minutes (as they brown) and cook for a couple minutes more. You're really looking for that browning. Keep in mind that GF flour and cornstarch will not brown as nicely as regular flour. It won't really matter since these will be covered in the yummy sauce. Remove the nuggets to a paper towel lined baking sheet or rack, pour the hot oil into a heat-safe container(I use a coffee mug) and wipe the pan clean. Return to the heat(medium)
  4. Add a tablespoon of oil and let that get hot. Add the orange juice and stir to combine. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic and stir to combine. Add tamari and rice vinegar and stir to combine
  5. Whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a slurry and add to the pan (make sure it isn't simmering or boiling when you do. If it is, remove from heat) and bring to a boil to thicken the sauce.
  6. Cook/reduce on medium-low/medium until the sauce has a maple-syrup like consistency. Stir occasionally so it doesn't burn. Taste for flavor. Not sweet enough? Add a bit more sugar. Not tangy enough? Add a bit more rice vinegar. Does it need more soy sauce? Don't be afraid to make that decision.
  7. Add chicken nuggets back to pan and stir to coat.
  8. Serve over rice with vegetables or salad. Enjoy!

Photo: Marcus

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