This Orange Tofu is a Panda Express copycat recipe with a vegan twist! Instead of crispy chicken, we’re using tofu that is tossed in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. My version tastes just as good as the restaurant version and is so convenient to make at home! You’re sure to love this quick and easy orange tofu recipe that’s perfect for make-ahead lunches or busy weeknight dinners.

orange tofu served over rice with orange wedges

Some of my go-to dishes are the copycat recipes that I’ve developed and experimented cooking at home. My Chipotle sofritas recipe is a major favorite and this Panda Express orange chicken definitely makes it to the top of the list as one of the most delicious meals to make. It’s a pretty easy dish, great for meal prep and totally family-friendly!

tofu marinated in orange sauce and served with orange wedges

Making Vegan Orange “Chicken”

To make a plant-based orange chicken recipe that’s completely vegan, we’re using tofu instead of chicken. Don’t worry, this orange tofu recipe still includes the classic orange chicken sauce, but is made much more nutritious. The sauce is made of fresh orange juice and zest with just a touch of maple syrup to naturally sweeten the sauce. You’re going to love this homemade version even more than the original orange chicken!

You could actually use chicken in this recipe, but it’s so good with crispy pieces of tofu. Sprinkling cornstarch over the tofu ensures that it will get nice and crispy without having to fry it in a ton of oil.

I think you’ll find this lightened up, vegan version just as delicious as traditional orange chicken and so easy too! I love to serve it over over rice to soak up all the saucy goodness!

orange tofu garnished with green onion

Key Ingredients

  • Tofu. You will want to use firm or extra firm tofu because anything softer will fall apart.
  • Cornstarch. Gives the tofu a nice crispy outside layer and helps the sauce thicken as the tofu cooks.
  • Orange juice + zest. For that classic orange chicken flavor!
  • Rice wine vinegar. Adds acidity to the sauce and gives it a lovely sweet-tart flavor.
  • Maple syrup. A small amount of natural sugar to sweeten the orange sauce.
  • Garlic + ginger. Adds delicious aromatic flavor to the orange chicken.
  • Sesame oil. Gives the marinade a rich, nutty taste that’s totally delicious.
  • Red pepper flakes. Optional, but I love that extra bit of heat!

How to Make Orange Tofu

Making orange tofu at home is not only healthier than takeout, it’s also way, way faster than waiting for delivery. This easy orange tofu comes together super fast!

  1. Prep the tofu. Start this recipe by preparing the tofu. You can use this guide for tips on pressing the liquid out of the tofu. Once pressed, tear the tofu into large bite-sized chunks. Mine were all roughly an inch long and varied in size a little. Don’t worry too much about the size and shape – we want it to be like chicken with the rough edges. It will give the tofu a little more texture and help it hold onto the flavors of the sauce a little better.
  2. Make the sauce. Whisk together the orange juice, zest, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a bowl or large measuring cup.
  3. Coat the tofu in cornstarch. Place the tofu chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle on the cornstarch, a good pinch of fine sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to combine so that the tofu is mostly covered.
  4. Cook tofu. Add the tofu to a large heated skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, tossing often so that it gets browned on all sides. Once done, remove tofu from the skillet and set aside. If you’d rather bake the tofu, follow these directions and then add the sauce on.
  5. Cook the sauce. To the same skillet, add in the orange juice mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, add the tofu pieces back into the skillet and cook for 1 more minute.
  6. Enjoy! Serve with rice or your favorite side dish and dig in!

cooking marinated tofu in a skillet

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

  • Make-ahead. Orange tofu is the perfect recipe to meal prep for daily lunches or make in advance for dinner. It becomes even more flavorful the next day! You could also just prep the tofu a day or so in advance.
  • Leftovers. Orange tofu stores beautifully! Place any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep fresh for about 5 days.
  • To reheat. Rewarm in a pot or skillet on the stovetop or pop it in the microwave to reheat. Reheating in a skillet will yield the best results.

What to Serve With Orange Tofu

We love orange tofu served over a bed of steamed rice. You can use any rice you have available. You could even use cauliflower rice for a lower carb option. This dish is also delicious served over noodles, on a bed of steamed broccoli, or with stir-fry veggies. The options are endless!

orange tofu served with rice on a small plate

More tofu recipes you’ll love:

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this recipe and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment and/or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

See how to make the Orange Tofu:

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orange tofu served over rice with orange wedges

Orange Tofu


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This orange tofu is a Panda Express copycat recipe with a vegan twist! Instead of crispy chicken, we’re using tofu that is tossed in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. My version tastes just as good as the restaurant version and is so convenient to make at home! You’re sure to love this quick and easy orange tofu recipe that’s perfect for make-ahead lunches or busy weeknight dinners.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1415 oz block of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1” piece ginger, peeled, and grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Prepare the tofu by pressing the liquid out. HERE is my full guide on pressing tofu with AND without a tofu press. Once pressed, tear the tofu into large bite-sized chunks. Mine were all roughly an inch long and varied in size a little. Don’t worry too much about the size and shape. The idea is for it to have rough edges to give the tofu a little more texture and to hold onto flavors a little better.
  2. Make the sauce by combining the orange juice, zest, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to a bowl or large measuring cup. Whisk to combine.
  3. Place the tofu chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle on the cornstarch, a good pinch of fine sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to combine so that the tofu is mostly covered.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, tossing often so that it gets browned on all sides.* Once done, remove tofu from the skillet and set aside.
  5. To the same skillet, add in the orange juice mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, add the tofu pieces back into the skillet and cook for 1 more minute.
  6. Serve with rice or your favorite side and ENJOY!

Notes

Cooking the tofu: you can also bake the tofu following these directions and then add the sauce on.

 

  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese, American

Keywords: orange tofu, tofu recipe, healthy tofu recipe