This stuff is seriously the best. I may even take the bold stance and say Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is the best frozen food in existence. But first, in a broader sense, you need to understand how great the frozen food options are at Trader Joe’s.
Frozen food in general is surprisingly expensive. Other than the convenience it really isn’t a great value. It is not as fresh as other food options and the nutrition value is usually suspect. So it may be no surprise that the Off Brand Guy is not at the local grocery store getting the frozen Taco Bell branded this or the CheeseCake Factory branded that. As I have said previously, with these types of purchases you are paying a premium strictly for the fancy marketing.
Trader’s Joes is a whole another story. The frozen food selection is limited, but focused. The prices are reasonable and some of the meal options will push you outside your comfort zone in a good way. And my overall favorite is no doubt the orange chicken. I mean seriously, who does not like orange chicken?
Is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Healthy?
Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is described as a savory dish of battered chicken with mandarin orange ginger sauce.
Is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Healthy?
Let me be frank, no. Battered chicken smothered with sweet sugary sauce is not going to be considered healthy. But in the scheme of frozen food, paired with some vegetables it is not the worst choice from a nutritional perspective. There are 5 servings per container and 190 calories per serving. Being realistic, a bag provides more like 2 or 3 meals for me.
How Do You Make Trader Joe’s Mandarin Chicken?
Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken can be prepared in the oven or the skillet. I go with the skillet every time. I love the texture of the finished product. I put on a pan with some olive oil, and let it heat up. I then let the chicken cook, until there is nice slightly crispy texture. Then I turn the stove down, and add in the mandarin orange ginger sauce. You do not want to add the sauce too early or it will burn.
Can You Microwave Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken?
Yes! The directions do not state that the chicken can be microwaved, only the sauce. But I’ve done it before. For a detailed explanation, check out the following Trader Joe’s cooking tip.
Is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Cooked?
Strangely, it is hard to find an answer on if the chicken is precooked. I looked all over the packaging but could not find an answer. Believe it or not there is even a Reddit thread discussing the topic. Based on how quickly this cooks, my best guess would be that is precooked. But I definitely would not take any risks! Plus, who would want to just defrost it and eat it anyways? So make sure to cook it one way or another.
TJ’s Orange Chicken Recipe
Here is my famous simple and easy Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Meal. First off, gather up the following ingredients:
- Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken
- White or brown rice
- Red and green peppers
- Broccoli (optional)
First, get the rice on the stove as this usually takes the longest. I prefer white rice, but we all know brown rice is healthier. Next, get out the cutting board and wash the mushrooms and both the green and red peppers. Go ahead and cut these up into bite size pieces.
Put a pan on medium and pour in some olive oil. Once this is heated up add in the orange chicken. Once this is starting to cook, add in some fresh garlic (or garlic powder).
Once the chicken is about half way done throw in the mushrooms and peppers. Towards the end, you will add in the mandarin orange ginger sauce.
Serve over rice and enjoy. If you want to be healthy, add on a side of broccoli. Trader Joe’s even has pre cut, bagged broccoli!
Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Ingredients
There is a lot to dive into here, so I am only going to touch on a few things.
I like that Trader Joe’s uses dark chicken meat. I’ve always been a fan of the darker cuts. Because the orange chicken is coated you will not notice this at first glance. But once you bite into it, you will see.
Also, notice that the mandarin orange ginger sauce has a lot going on. No surprise, sugar is the #1 ingredient!
A quick tip to make this meal more tasty. Add in the real version of the some of the flavor ingredients you see listed here:
- Green onion
- Salt & Pepper
- Mandarin Orange Peel?
Trader Joe’s Chickenless Orange Chicken
Because our Orange Chicken is so wildly popular, we’re happy to say our vegan customers will once again have the chance to experience the deliciousness”Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s is always thinking ahead. What if there is a vegetarian in the household? This would certainly ruin Mandarin Orange Chicken dinner nights, right.
Not the case. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s offers Chicken-Less Mandarin Orange Morsels. And the product is vegan as well.
So families with a vegetarian can follow the same recipe above and simply make a separate pan for the Chicken-Less version. In the Off Brand Guy household this is a gamechanger. I don’t know what I would do if my orange chicken nights were ruined.
Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Price
The Trader Joes’s Chickenless Morsels are $3.29 for 9.25 ounces. This breaks down to about $0.35 per ounce
Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is $4.99 for 22 ounces. This breaks down to about $0.23 per ounce.
Vegetarian substitutes always seem to be more expensive!
Vegan Mandarin Orange Morsels
If these were not called “chickenless” you may think they were chicken. It is as close as you can get to the Panda Express taste for a vegetarian.
The Chickenless morsels have a long history. They were introuded, discontinued, and brought back in 2018.
BecomeBetty complains about the new recipe for the morsels. In my opinion, this is as good as it gets for a vegaerian meat subsitute. The sauce makes up for any taste or texture lacking in the morsel.
For best results, these need to be flipped over while cooking
TJ’s Orange Chicken Instructions
Here is how to cook the meal the Trader Joe’s suggested way. Personally, I am too lazy to use the oven. But this stuff will taste good either way.