Finally! Panda Express Is Bringing Back Vegan Orange Chicken Nationwide

Get it while you can!

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Jul. 3 2024, Updated 9:00 a.m. ET

Panda Express vegan orange chicken in red container
Source: Panda Express

When Panda Express comes to mind, many think of meat-centric dishes like beef and broccoli or teriyaki chicken. But the fast casual chain, which is famous for its American Chinese takeout, has made headlines in recent years for its vegan orange chicken, which uses Beyond meat in lieu of animal products.

The menu item has hopped on and off Panda Express' menus since the summer of 2021 — and for summer 2024, the Beyond orange chicken is back.

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Keep reading to learn all about the Beyond Meat-based dish, how to try it, and for the awesome reason why Panda Express is bringing it back.

Panda Express vegan orange chicken in red container on table
Source: Panda Express
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Where to get Panda Express' vegan orange chicken:

Beyond the Original Orange Chicken is returning to Panda Express restaurants across the U.S. on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. The menu item, which was created in partnership with Beyond Meat, will be available at hundreds of Panda Express locations nationwide, so make sure to call your local Panda Express before going in to see if it is participating.

While vegan and vegetarian Panda Express customers have been hoping for a permanent place on the menu for the vegan orange chicken, a rep for the brand tells Green Matters in an email that the product will only be available for a limited time.

Panda Express' saucy Beyond Orange Chicken is tossed in a wok, giving plant-based customers the familiar sweet, spicy, and tangy flavor of Panda Express' original orange chicken.

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Panda Express is bringing vegan orange chicken back due to customer demand.

As the Panda Express rep tells Green Matters, the company decided to bring the plant-based delicacy back to menus in response to consumer demand. Not only is Beyond the Original Orange Chicken is the No. 1 most requested Panda Express dish on social media, but some fans even started a petition asking the chain to bring the product back.

This is an awesome reminder that campaigns like these work, and that you have the power to create change that benefits the planet and the animals!

"We are thrilled to offer Beyond the Original Orange Chicken to consumers nationwide for the very first time,” Beyond Meat's Chief Innovation Officer, Dariush Ajami, stated in January 2023, when Panda Express first expanded to a nationwide rollout.

“By partnering with Panda Express to introduce new and innovative plant-based options that deliver the delicious taste and experience of their iconic menu items, we’re enabling people to enjoy their favorite dishes with the upsides of plant-based meat.”

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Panda Express vegan orange chicken in a bowl
Source: Panda Express

This comes several years after Panda Express first added more plant-based dishes to its menus.

It wasn't until February 2019 that Panda Express first added plant-based dishes to its menus in all 2,000 locations nationwide, which was in response to a petition by nonprofit organization Vegan Outreach.

At the time, the restaurant had zero plant-based meal options — with even its Eggplant Tofu, steamed rice, Super Greens, and signature Vegetable Chow Mein cooked in chicken broth.

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However, the organization's petition convinced the restaurant to veganize each of those veggie-focused dishes, since it wouldn't be a significant change to the taste.

Then, in 2021, Panda Express and Beyond Meat first introduced Beyond the Original Orange Chicken in markets across Southern California and New York City, and it sold out quickly. Because of its success, the chain introduced the staple to 70 locations for a limited time, later followed by a limited rollout. And even though the July 2024 relaunch is only for a limited time, here's hoping Panda Express eventually makes the menu item permanent.

This article, originally published on Sept. 7, 2022, has been updated.

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