Trader Joes Orange Chicken: Why It Should Be On Your Shopping List

Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken has been voted the best product from the grocery store for a couple of years now. Fans do not seem to get enough of it, as it is constantly restocked.

For a store that stocks many things, including cookie butter, and burgers, you may wonder why frozen chicken in orange sauce is everyone’s favorite. 

The guide below will cover everything you need to know about the Mandarin Orange Chicken and why you need to get your hands on it as soon as possible.


Trader Joe’s describes its Mandarin Orange Chicken as “tender chunks of juicy chicken in a crispy breading with a sweet and spicy orange sauce.”

It is a freezer meal coated with a house-made sauce of fresh California orange peels, fresh garlic, fresh green onions, fresh ginger, and soy sauce. 

The Mandarin Orange Chicken first hit the shelves in 2004 and has since been a fan favorite. You can find it in all Trader Joe’s stores for $4.99.

Is the Mandarin Orange Chicken Fully Cooked?

Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is already precooked. You can reheat the pieces and have them ready to eat in 15 minutes!

The manufacturer states that you should microwave the sauce and not the chicken. However, if you follow the proper technique, you can still do that for the chicken.

We recommend you reheat it at 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit for safety reasons.

The steps are as follows:

  • Open the package and pour the sauce into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Let the sauce heat for around 2 minutes and stir to remove any cold spots.
  • Once it is ready, set it aside.
  • Defrost the chicken pieces in the microwave.
  • Place the defrosted orange chicken on a microwave-safe plate, adding a teaspoon of water.
  • Next, cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to keep the chicken juicy.
  • Use a microwave crisper pan instead and flip the chicken halfway if you want a crunchy texture.
  • Let the chicken microwave for two minutes. Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the chicken pieces have reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add 30 seconds if it has not reached the desired temperature.
  • Remove the chicken and add the hot orange sauce.

We recommend that you store it in a covered container. The leftover chicken will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition & Ingredients Information

Below are Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken’s nutritional facts.



  • Battered chicken dark meat chunks( corn starch, flour, dark chicken meat, whole eggs, salt, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, green onion, and white pepper),
  • Sauce(water, sugar, vinegar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, modified food starch, garlic, green onions, Mandarin orange peel, ginger, sake, orange juice, white pepper, and red chile.
  • Soybean oil.

Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is not healthy as it is battered chicken covered in sweet sugary sauce. However, it is high in protein and better than regular takeout.

Ways to Heat Mandarin Orange Chicken

There are numerous cooking methods to prepare your Mandarin Orange Chicken. They include:

…How to Cook the Chicken

Conventional Oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F for ten minutes.
  • Place the chicken on a baking sheet.
  • Let it bake for 20 minutes until it is crisp and golden.

Air Fryer:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • Evenly distribute the chicken pieces into the air fryer.
  • Let it cook for 10 minutes.
  • Coat the chicken with the warmed sauce.
  • Toss the chicken halfway through cooking for it to cook evenly.
  • Serve.


  • In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of cooking oil.
  • Add the chicken pieces.
  • Let it cook for ten minutes, turning regularly until they cook evenly.
  • Once they are crisp and golden, serve.

… How to Prepare Sauce


  • Pour the sauce into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Let it microwave for two minutes.
  • Serve.

Sauce Pan:

  • Pour the sauce into a saucepan.
  • Let it heat on low heat until it is warm.

Below are side dishes that go well with the Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken.

  • Fried Rice.
  • Roasted Green Beans.
  • Stir-fry Vegetables
  • Quinoa
  • Air Fryer Pot Stickers
  • Roasted Broccoli.
  • Mashed Potatoes.
  • Baked Potatoes.
  • Roasted Snow Peas.

3 Ways To Serve Mandarin Orange Chicken 


Imagine enjoying your chicken on a salad on a slow day? It will cheer you up.


      • Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken
      • Trader Joe’s Mandarins
      • 1 Red Bell Pepper
      • Trader Joe’s Champs Elysees Salad


      • Cook the Mandarin Orange Chicken in the oven as per the packaging instructions.
      • Once done, mix the cooked chicken with the sauce in a bowl.
      • Cut the red bell pepper into thin slices.
      • Pull apart a few pieces of the mandarin oranges.
      • Add a cup of chicken, mandarin orange slices, bell pepper slices, and a handful of greens to a bowl.
      • Serve.

You can enjoy your Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken as a sandwich. 


  • Trader Joe’s Brioche Buns
  • Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken
  • Trader joe’s Bread & Butter Pickles
  • Trader Joe’s Shredded Green & Red Cabbage


  • Cook the chicken according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Mix the cooked orange chicken with the sauce.
  • During the last 2 minutes of cooking, put the brioche buns in the oven to toast.
  • Add the orange chicken with sauce, red cabbage mix, and bread to make the sandwich. You can also add in a few butter pickles to make it tasty.

These are perfect for lunch or dinner.


  • Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Jalapenos
  • Cabbage
  • Corn Tortillas


  • Fry the corn tortillas to make crispy taco shells.
  • Cook the orange chicken as per the instructions on the packaging.
  • Add the toppings on the chicken tacos and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to ass some sourness to it.

Is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Good?

There are numerous great online reviews of Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Via thekitchn

The Mandarin Orange Chicken is perfect, and the only recommendation is that they should add more chicken pieces per packaging as it’s too good!


Is Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken dairy-free?

Yes! Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is dairy-free, hence perfect for dairy-intolerant people.

Is Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken gluten-free?

The Mandarin Orange Chicken at Trader Joe’s is not gluten-free as it is battered in wheat flour, and the sauce contains wheat and soy.

Is Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken vegan?

If you are vegan, it is best to steer clear of Trader Joe’s Mandarin chicken since it is not vegan-friendly and contains animal products.

However, trader Joe’s has come up with Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels that are just as good and vegan!

Is Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken all white meat?

No, Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken uses dark meat chicken.

Does Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken have MSG?

No, Trader Joe’s orange chicken does not have added monosodium glutamate(MSG).

However, a small amount of naturally occurring MSG may or may not be present, which is nothing to worry about.

Who makes Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken?

The Mandarin Orange Chicken is a Trader Joe’s unique product. However, the store is tight-lipped on who manufacturers the chicken.


Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken has dominated the Customer Choice Awards since 2017, and it is no surprise. Its flavor, mouth-watering house sauce, and easy-to-prepare chicken pieces have won the hearts of fans. Most people prefer it to take-outs, hence why you should try it.

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