What Happened to Panda Express Beyond Orange Chicken?


Yesterday, while updating our article on the 14 Best Vegan Fast Food Options in 2023, I happened to look on Panda Express’ website to confirm that the Beyond Orange Chicken* was still available. 

On their website, you have to pick a location to “order” from to see their menu. I chose the Panda Express closest to me (of course) and saw NO Beyond Orange Chicken* on the first menu item I looked at, Bowls. 

I click on Plates. No Beyond Orange Chicken*. And then A La Carte. Nope. 

Panda Express’ Beyond Orange Chicken. 2022

Immediately, I reach out to Panda Express asking if the Beyond Orange Chicken is no longer available at all of the locations across the United States. 

I received this response,

Hello. Our Beyond Orange Chicken was here for a limited time while supplies last.

This is sad. We knew it was for a limited time. We even had it written on our Panda Express Vegan Guide that it was here for a limited time.

We just didn’t expect it to come so soon.

The History of Beyond Orange Chicken* at Panda Express

In July 2021, Panda Express began testing Beyond Orange Chicken* in specific locations. They started in NYC and in southern California.

On October 27, 2021, they expanded their testing and ultimately rolled out The Beyond Orange Chicken* to 70 locations across the United States for a limited time. This lasted until January 2022.

On September 7, 2022, Beyond Orange Chicken came back and rolled out to every location across the United States. We were ecstatic. People across the United States were ecstatic. Do you remember when this happened? It was a big deal.

Beyond Orange Chicken rolled out to every location in the United States: September 7, 2022 (limited time)

Yes, you had vegans in a bit of controversy over cross-contamination. Because, while the ingredients of the Beyond Orange Chicken were vegan, they did share cooking space with animal menu items. 

When it comes to veganism, you have a spectrum of people on it. Some lean towards being what is called, “pure vegans.” They choose to not eat any food that has shared a cooking space (grill, fryer or prep area) with animals.

Then you have the other side of the spectrum who says, I choose to not contribute to the cruelty of an animal but I do not mind eating something that has cross-contamination.

Ryan and I fall on these spectrums. I’m usually closer to the pure side and he is on the other. 

Either way is fine, as long as the restaurant has let you know how they prep and cook their food. It’s also why we do our best, on our vegan guides, to notate which items have shared space and a disclaimer on all of our guides that says,

*As with any restaurant that is not 100% vegan or does not offer a designated cooking space for their vegan options, cross contamination can occur and fryers/grills may be shared with animal products. You can choose what your level of comfort is with these potential issues.

Back to The Beyond Orange Chicken…

As of January 2023, the limited time has expired. Your location may still have some available but they will not be replenishing it.

I have reached back out to Panda Express mentioning our disappointment and hoping that it could have stayed. I also asked if there are any plans for a new meatless option to roll out in 2023. 

If I receive good news back, I will absolutely update this article. 

Panda Express Vegan Options
Overhead of Panda Express’ vegan* options: Chow Mein, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Super Greens and Steamed White Rice

Other Vegan Options at Panda Express:

  • Vegetable Spring Rolls*
  • Super Greens*
  • Chow Mein*
  • Super Greens*
  • Chow Fun*
  • Steamed Brown Rice
  • Steamed White Rice

You can find these options along with a Panda Express Vegan FAQ in our Panda Express Vegan Guide

Veggl

VeggL is the passion project of Jen & Ryan. Both vegan (Jen since 2012, Ryan since 2018), they wanted to help other vegans & plant based folks through an incredibly frustrating process--trying to figure out what you can eat & where in the US. Pictured w/ our pups, Mia & Chompers.

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