What I love most about Panda Express is that it combines the charm of Asian cuisine with the juiciness of the fast-food cooking style. Their food is authentic and original, wrapped in a layer of flavor perfectly adjusted to the US palate. Now, add some of their delicious sauces to that equation, and you get an experience you will definitely never forget. So, what sauces does Panda Express have?
Panda Express has seven sauces: teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, chili sauce, soy sauce, potsticker sauce, hot mustard sauce, and plum sauce.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Panda Express sauces, what to pair them with, and how to make them at home. There’s also a table summary so you can see everything in one place. Let’s go!
List od Panda Express Sauces & What They Taste Like
I love how Panda Express takes you on a journey with the signature Chinese dishes, yet it is so satisfying and palatable for those who grew up on wholesome American food. I experimented with their dishes and sauces, and here I am to tell you everything about them.
The Panda Express Teriyaki Sauce is a classic teriyaki enhanced with the Panda Express magic. Yes, it may resemble the regular store-bought teriyaki, but that resemblance vanishes after it hits your tongue. It is sweet, savory, and slightly tangy with a recognizable umami flavor.
I usually pair this sauce with dishes that traditionally go with teriyaki, but since the sauce is very versatile, you are welcome to experiment. Combine it with Panda Express stir-fried dishes, plates, and rice bowls, or as a dipping sauce for their signature orange chicken or vegetables.
To make it at home, you’ll need soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, ginger, garlic, and a bit of cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Go easy on the cornstarch because the sauce’s consistency needs to be thin.
You can even replicate their chicken teriyaki dish at home — and look at how easy it is!
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Even if you aren’t a Panda Express expert, you surely must have heard of their sweet and sour sauce. This sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine and a huge part of Panda Express’s identity. It is tangy, sweet, and slightly fruity with a hint of vinegar.
The sweet and sour sauce is a must with the sweet and sour chicken, but it’s not a part of the Panda Express regular menu, and you can get it on demand, depending on the location. Still, there are plenty more dishes to pair your sweet and sour sauce with. Fried rice, egg rolls, or as a dipping sauce for appetizers.
Mix pineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch for a homemade version. There’s no precise measurement, so adjust the flavors and consistency to your liking. Or, you can buy the exact same one — even easier!
Chinese cuisine is known for its expressive flavors, especially spiciness and heat. So, there’s chili sauce, and then there is Panda Express chili sauce. Spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet with a very noticeable kick of heat, Panda Express chili sauce delivers an authentic Szechuan flavor.
You can either pair the chili sauce with spicy dishes or with mild, depending on your preferences. I can’t handle spicy dishes with chili sauce, so I pair it with stir-fried rice, chicken, or shrimp.
I like to mix red chili paste, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and soy sauce for a homemade chili sauce. It’s delicious!
As a staple in Asian cuisine, soy sauce is an inseparable part of the Panda Express experience, and it isn’t your average soy sauce you buy at the store. The Panda Express soy sauce is saltier and more savory than regular soy sauce, with very pronounced umami notes.
What are ketchup and mayo for the Western cuisine, soy sauce is for the Asian. So, you can pair the Panda Express soy sauce with absolutely any of their dishes. It is versatile and fits great in any combo.
Making your own soy sauce is complex, and it takes time and skill. Unless you are into fermenting soybeans and wheat, I suggest you buy soy sauce from the store. It won’t be like the Panda Express one, but it will still do its job properly.
This sauce is vibrant, lively, and very expressive, with pronounced savory and umami notes. It is slightly sweet and tangy with hints of ginger and garlic, which add tons of flavor to the dish you combine it with.
The potsticker sauce is an excellent pair for the Panda Express chicken potstickers and deep-fried dumplings.
The added bonus of this sauce is that it is so easy to make it at home. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil, adjust the flavors to your preference, and you’re done.
Hot Mustard Sauce
The Panda Express hot mustard flavor is definitely one of the most intense sauces they offer. So, if you are not into strong flavors, you may want to skip this one because it is really out there. Nevertheless, it is delicious, spicy, tangy, and sharp, with a strong mustard flavor and a slight but noticeable umami note.
To enjoy it to the fullest, pair it with eggrolls or chicken, but not the orange chicken because the flavors don’t match well.
Mix the mustard powder, water, vinegar, sugar, and turmeric for a DIY version. I found that it tastes amazing in a hot dog, along with some ketchup!
This is definitely a unique sauce. Combining tart notes, fruity tones, a slightly sweet dimension, and a delightful tang, it will definitely capture your heart.
Even though it sounds like it’s restrictive, it is actually a very versatile sauce. You can pair it with your favorite Panda Express dish.
Whenever I make it at home, I usually mix plum jam, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic. It makes for the best results because, this way, you make it to your individual taste.
|Sauce||Taste||Best Pairings||DIY at Home|
|Teriyaki Sauce||Sweet, savory, tangy, with a hint of umami||Stir-fried dishes, grilled meats, rice bowls||Soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, ginger, garlic, cornstarch|
|Sweet and Sour Sauce||Tangy, sweet, slightly fruity||Sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, egg rolls||Pineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch|
|Chili Sauce||Spicy, tangy, slightly sweet with heat||Spicy and mild dishes||Red chili paste, vinegar, sugar, garlic, soy sauce|
|Soy Sauce||Salty, savory, rich with umami flavors||Asian dishes, rice, noodles, sushi||Purchase high-quality soy sauce from a reputable brand|
|Potsticker Sauce||Savory, slightly sweet, and tangy with ginger||Potstickers, dumplings||Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil|
|Hot Mustard Sauce||Spicy, tangy, sharp with a strong mustard flavor||Egg rolls, chicken||Mustard powder, water, vinegar, sugar, turmeric|
|Plum Sauce||Sweet, tangy, and fruity with a hint of tartness||Take your pick from the Panda Express menu||Plum jam, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic|
What Are the Sauces in Panda Express Orange Chicken?
As one of the staples on the Panda Express menu, the orange chicken has become synonymous with the restaurant for a good reason. It is perfectly tailored to the American palate, but it has masterfully kept its authenticity. It comes with a sweet and spicy orange sauce.
What Is the Best Panda Express Sauce for Fried Rice?
Panda Express fried rice comes with soy sauce, which is also the one I recommend to have with this dish. You can also try it with the spicy mustard sauce or the chili sauce.
How Long Do Panda Express Sauces Last?
Unopened Panda Express sauces can last for up to two years, but it depends on the sauce. For example, the sweet and sour sauce is suitable for a few months, so read the “best by” date on the packet.
Which is your favorite Panda Express sauce-dish combination? Excited to hear from you in the comments below!