Close up on a spoon behind hold by a hand showing a sweet and spicy orange sauce falling from the spoon into a bowl containing g more of the sauce.
Sauces, Dips and Condiments

Sweet and spicy orange sauce

This sweet and spicy orange sauce comes together within 15 minutes and can complement so many meals! You will love the zesty flavors coming from the fresh orange and its ability to coat the ingredients with a beautiful shiny and sticky texture. Also easy to adjust the spicy level to your taste.

Chinese food to me is the Asian version of American comfort food. All the steamy hot saucy and savory dishes, with crispy but still tender veggies. All of this on a carb loaded bed of rice or noodles. Not even to mention the deep fried doughy cabbage and noodle rolls. You now see what I mean by comfort food, right?

And one of these comfort meal is the classic Chinese orange chicken, which I never get since, well, it’s chicken. Soooooo, I thought I would make my own orange sauce!

Close up on chop sticks holding a coconut covered cube of tofu. In the background: In a small white bowl, there are many coconut covered cubes of tofu piled.

What you will need to make this sweet and spicy orange sauce:

  • Fresh Navel orange
  • Chili sauce
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Fresh garlic
  • Rice vinegar
  • Corn starch
In a white bowl, you can see an orange sauce. The bowl is on a white plate. Also on the side, there is a small spoon covered in the sauce.

A few notes when making this recipe

– Use freshly pressed orange juice. This will make a huge difference in the taste of the sauce. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this, simply slice the orange in quarter in squeeze it with your hands!

– Choose a Navel orange. They are sweeter, larger and juicier than some other oranges, which is what you want for this sauce.

– You will need chili sauce to get the spicy kick. Try to get a sauce that keeps the chili flakes intact for added texture and look.

Toasted sesame oil gives the sauce a deeper flavor, so try not to omit it. If you only have regular sesame oil (untoasted), use this one!

In a white bowl, you can see a close up of a sweet and spicy orange sauce. On the side, there is a spoon covered with the sauce.

How to eat this sweet and spicy orange sauce

This sauce is more versatile than you think!

As a base for a saucy dish: Simply roast cubes of tofu and combine them with this sauce. Or, pour the sauce over steamed veggies, like broccoli, baby bok choy or cauliflower.

As a dipping sauce: Serve this sauce in a bowl, so people can dip sticks of roasted tofu, cauliflower wings, asian style spring rolls or even vegan sushi!

As a sandwich sauce: This sauce would be great for an asian style sandwich: use a roll type of bread, then add wilted but still crisp cabbage with cilantro and roasted tofu, then drizzle this sauce over. It would be a perfect way to use any leftovers.

And so much more! My sister told me she made a delicious cauliflower pizza with this sauce: the sky is the limit!

In a white bowl, there are a few cubes of crispy coconut tofu topping creamy coconut pineapple rice and on the side in a small white bowl, there is some orange sauce. Also on the side, you can see a few lime wedges.
Crispy coconut tofu combined with coconut pineapple rice and sweet and spicy orange sauce.

I hope you will love this sauce as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate this recipe to let me know how it was.

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Close up on a spoon behind hold by a hand showing a sweet and spicy orange sauce falling from the spoon into a bowl containing g more of the sauce.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Sweet and spicy orange sauce

Try to pair this versatile sweet and tangy sauce with tofu, vegetables, asian noodles or simple brown rice and you will get a simple delicious meal complex in flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: asian-inspired
Keyword: Low in fat, Vegan
Servings: 4
Author: plantbasedjess


  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice about 1 large orange
  • 1 large clove of garlic about 1 tsp, crushed
  • 1 tsp chili sauce or sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Combine the corn starch and the water in a medium bowl. Mix well with a fork.
  • In a small sauce pan, add the rest of the ingredients and warm on medium-high heat whisking frequently until you reach a gentle boil (about 3 minutes).
  • Then, add the corn starch mixture to the pot (you will need to mix very well the cornstarch mixture before transferring) and whisk well for about 30-60 seconds, still at medium-high heat, until the sauce thickens.
  • Let the sauce cool down in the fridge for about 20 minutes before eating, if possible. I find the flavors to be deeper after resting in the fridge for a little bit. The sauce will stay good in the fridge for 4 days. Serve with brown rice, roasted tofu and veggies.

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