Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (2024)

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Traditional orange chicken is a takeout food staple, loved for its sweet and tangy orange flavored sauce and crispy chicken. But let’s be honest, it’s not exactly the healthiest option. Often, it’s deep-fried and packed with sugar and sodium.

But what if you could enjoy the flavors of orange chicken without all the guilt? Well, you can! With a few simple tweaks, you can create this healthy orange chicken recipe that’s just as delicious as the takeout version, but a whole lot better for you.

Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (1)

Thishealthy orange chicken recipeis the perfect dinner recipe when you’re craving takeout orange chicken Chinese food but also want to eat a healthy recipe.

Using your pressure cooker, this healthy Orange Chicken recipe is a super easy one pot meal that’s great for busy weeknights and for meal prep! You’ve got tender chicken and a delicious sauce mixture made with fresh orange juice and orange zest.

I love serving healthy orange chicken over rice with a side of vegetables like peppers or steamed broccoli.

Where’s the recipe?

I provide a lot of helpful information in my recipes to best serve all of my readers. Some of this may be more than you need. If you just want to get to the recipe, simply scroll all the way to the bottom, past my tips and diet information, where you’ll find the recipe card for this easy orange chicken recipe.

Table of Contents

HealthyOrange ChickenIngredients

  • Chicken Breast:I use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this easy orange chicken recipe, and I prefer for the chicken breasts to be partially frozen (see recipe tips for more info on that). If you would rather use boneless skinless chicken thighs you can do that as well. Cooked chicken is high in protein and is a good source of key nutrients like niacin, selenium, and phosphorus.
  • Chicken broth:Be sure and grab low sodium chicken stock or broth. If you don’t have any on hand just use water.
  • Soy sauce:Use low sodium soy sauce or a soy sauce substitute like low sodium tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Rice vinegar:Rice vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented rice. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It’s a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes, including pickled vegetables, sushi rice, salad dressings and slaws. You can substitute with white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even lemon juice.
  • Honey:Make sure to grab raw unfiltered honey, not the clover honey.Check your area bee farm, as there are tons of nutrition benefits of using local honey. This recipe uses honey as a natural sweetener for the healthy orange chicken sauce, rather than brown sugar.
  • Ginger:I love using fresh ginger in Chinese food recipes. Fresh ginger tastes amazing and also provides nutrition benefits that you can read about here.
  • Red pepper flakes:NoAsian recipein my house is complete without some spice.Want more heat? Try adding half a teaspoon of chili paste in addition to your crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Garlic:Fresh garlic is low in calories and is a good source of several nutrients like manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium and fiber.
  • Orange Zest:Orange zest is made from grating the top layer of an orange peel using a zester.It contains the fruit’s oils and gives your food a distinct citrus taste.
  • Orange Juice:Freshly squeezed orange juice isloaded with vitamin C and other important nutrients. You can hand squeeze or use a juicer to control the amount of pulp. Fresh orange juice gives an amazing orange flavor to this homemade orange chicken orange sauce mixture.
  • Arrowroot Flour:Arrowroot flour is used as a thickener in gluten free cooking.You can substitute with corn starch, if you’d rather.
Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (2)

How to Make Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe in the Instant Pot

I love that this recipe can be on the table in less than 30 minutes! Your pot will need 10-20 minutes to release pressure.

  1. Cube chicken:
    Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces, about 1 inch.
  2. Sauté:
    Lightly spray your Instant Pot insert with oil and set to sauté.
  3. Make your sauce:
    Mix together the chicken stock or broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, minced fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, orange zest, and orange juice in the pot.
  4. Add chicken:
    Once the sauce is boiling add your diced chicken and stir until all of the chicken is coated with the sauce.
  5. Pressure Cook:
    Close and lock the lid and then turn the valve to sealing. Select Pressure Cook and set the cook time for 7 minutes.
  6. Naturally release pressure:
    When the cook time is complete, let the pressure naturally release and then remove the lid. As with all pressure cooker recipes, the size and fullness of your pot will determine the amount of time it takes to release pressure–typically 10-20 minutes.
  7. Thicken your sauce:
    Scoop out ½ cup of sauce from the pot. Whisk in your arrowroot flour or corn starch, and then add it back to the pot. Stir well and let the orange sauce rest until it thickens. This could take up to 10 minutes. If you’d like it to go faster, use another teaspoon or two of arrowroot powder.
  8. Serve immediately:
    Serve immediately and top with additional minced ginger and red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve over steamed rice like brown or jasmine rice. I love serving this with a vegetable like broccoli as a side. See the Recipe Tips for how to cook a vegetable in the pot with this dish.
Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (3)

Stovetop Directions for this Healthy Orange chicken Recipe

  1. Cube your chicken into bite-size pieces, about 1 inch by 1 inch.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic, orange zest, and orange juice.
  4. Add the orange sauce mixture to your preheated pan and stir occasionally.
  5. Once the sauce is simmering, add your diced chicken. Stir to make sure all of the chicken pieces are coated with the orange sauce.
  6. Cover and simmer over medium/high heat for 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  7. Scoop out ½ cup of the orange sauce mixture, and whisk in the arrowroot powder or corn starch. Return the sauce mixture to the pan and stir well. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to thicken.
  8. Top with additional ginger and red pepper, if desired, and serve over cooked rice, brown rice noodles, or even cauliflower rice.
Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (4)

Recipe Tips

  • Partially frozen chickenis much easier to cut and handle, which is why this recipe calls for partially frozen chicken.
  • I like to use a small handheld grater for my garlic and ginger. This also works great for zesting your orange.
  • If you’d like tocook this recipe with brown rice(pot in pot), don’t cube your chicken and instead cook frozen chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) in an oven safe dish. Place 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water on the bottom of the pot, then add your trivet on top, and place your oven safe dish with the chicken and sauce on top. Cook the chicken (and rice) for 20 minutes with a natural release. Cube your chicken before serving.
  • I wouldn’t be shy aboutdoubling the saucefor this recipe–it’s so delicious!
  • Tosteam a hearty vegetablein the pot, wait for the cook time to end and thenquick releasepressure. Add your vegetable (I prefer broccoli) and replace the lid. Select Pressure Cook and set the time for zero minutes. Once cook time is done, allow steam to release naturally for 5 minutes before quick releasing.
  • Tosteam a soft vegetablelike sliced peppers, wait for the cook time to end and thenquick releasepressure. Add your vegetable and allow it to steam in the pot for 3-5 minutes without setting the cook time again.
  • I love to top this healthy orange chicken recipe with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
  • This recipe freezes well! I typically freeze this in a large storage container – rice on the bottom and chicken on the top. Thaw to fridge temperature and microwave for 5-7 minutes to heat.
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Healthy Eating Plans

You can view the WW version of this recipe here.

21 Day Fix Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe:The entire 21 Day Fix Orange Chicken recipe counts as: 4 Red containers, ¼ Purple container, and 6 sweetener teaspoons. I give you the counts for the entire recipe so it’s easier torecalculate the containersif you change any ingredients.

Per serving: (¾ cup of chicken and ¼ cup sauce) 1 Red container, 1 ½ sweetener tsp and a trace Purple container.

2B Mindset:This orange chicken recipe is great for lunch or dinner. For lunch, add 50% vegetables to your chicken (protein) and brown rice (FFC). For dinner, skip the brown rice and fill your plate with 75% vegetables.

Want more healthy Instant Pot Asian-inspired recipes?

If you like this healthy orange chicken recipe, you’ll love these otherhealthy Instant Pot recipes! Healthier ingredients like whole grain noodles and low sodium sauces make these delicious recipes healthier.

  • Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
  • Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry Bowls
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Chicken Lo Mein
  • Teriyaki Meatballs
  • Mushroom Packed Miso Soup

Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (6)

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Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe

Created by: Becca Ludlum

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 7 minutes mins

Total Time 17 minutes mins

Approximate Serving Size: 3/4 cup chicken

Servings 6

This healthy Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe is a delicious easy dinner! Instant Pot Chinese Recipes are so easy in the pressure cooker–it's truly a one pot meal!

Equipment

  • Instant Pot 6 qt

  • Coconut Aminos

  • Kitchen Knife

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast partially frozen, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth low sodium
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Cube your chicken into bite-sized pieces, about 1 inch. 1.5 lbs chicken breast

  • Lightly spray your Instant Pot insert with oil and set to sauté.

  • Mix together the chicken broth, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, crushed red pepper, garlic, orange zest, and orange juice in the pot. 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup coconut aminos, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tsp crushed red peppers, 2 cloves garlic, 1 orange

  • Once the sauce is boiling add your cubed chicken, stir until all of the chicken is coated with the sauce.

  • Close and lock the lid and turn the valve to sealing. Select Pressure Cook and set the cook time for 7 minutes.

  • When the cook time is complete let the pressure naturally release and remove the lid.

  • Scoop out ½ cup of sauce from the pot. Whisk in your arrowroot powder, and add back to the pot. Stir well and let rest until the sauce thickens. 2 tsp arrowroot powder

  • Top with additional ginger and red pepper, if desired, and serve over brown rice or brown rice noodles.

Stove Top Instructions

  • Cube your chicken into bite-size pieces, about 1 inch. 1.5 lbs chicken breast

  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat

  • Add chicken broth, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, crushed red pepper, garlic, orange zest, and orange juice. 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup coconut aminos, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tsp crushed red peppers, 2 cloves garlic, 1 orange

  • Once the sauce is simmering add your chicken. Stir to make sure all of the chicken is coated with the sauce.

  • Cover and simmer over medium/high heat for 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

  • Scoop out ½ cup of sauce, and whisk in arrowroot powder. Return sauce to the pan and stir well. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to thicken. 2 tsp arrowroot powder

  • Top with additional ginger and red pepper, if desired, and serve over brown rice or brown rice noodles.

Video

Notes

Healthy Eating Plans

21 Day Fix: This 21 Day Fix Orange Chicken is (entire recipe) 4 Red Containers, ¼ Purple Container, and 6 sweetener teaspoons. (per ¾ cups chicken ¼ cup sauce) 1 Red Containers, 1 ½ sweetener tsp and trace Purple Containers.

2B Mindset:This orange chicken recipe is great for lunch or dinner. For lunch, add 50% vegetables to your chicken (protein) and brown rice (FFC). For dinner, skip the brown rice and fill your plate with 75% vegetables.

Tips

  • Partially frozen chicken is much easier to cut and handle.
  • I like to use a small handheld grater for my garlic and ginger. This also works great for zesting your orange.

Note – Nutritional information is calculated with coconut aminos as a substitute for low-sodium soy sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 455mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow on Pinterest @bludlum and on Instagram @beccaludlum

Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (7)

Becca Ludlum

Healthy recipe creator, self-confessed food snob, and certified Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach. I create healthy recipes with minimally processed ingredients, but have never turned down a homemade brownie. ;)

Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe (2024)
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