This Instant Pot Orange Chicken is tastier and healthier than Chinese take-out! This recipe is kid approved and couldn’t be easier.
Can I be real with you for a second? I usually don’t like take-out orange chicken…I know…don’t hate me.
This instant pot orange chicken is the perfect takeout fake-out. It’s healthier, there’s no soggy, thick breading, and it’s SUPER quick and easy.
Don’t have an instant pot? Try my crockpot orange chicken instead!
Freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest are my secret ingredients to making this orange chicken really pop!
- Chicken Broth – moistens and flavors the chicken and acts as the base for the sauce.
- Orange Juice – adds a citrusy sweet tang. Use freshly squeezed for the best results!
- Seasoned Rice Vinegar – gives a tangy flavor. Don’t substitute with another vinegar! It’s not as potent as other vinegars.
- Soy Sauce – provides a salty, Asian-inspired flavor. Gluten free? Replace with equal parts tamari or coconut aminos.
- Honey – adds sweetness to cut the tang and spice. Feel free to add more if the dish ends up spicier than you like.
- Garlic – rounds out the citrus and tangy flavors with a subtle nutty taste.
- Grated Orange Zest – provides an extra citrus kick.
- Red Pepper Flakes – adds some heat.
- Ground Ginger and Black Pepper – gives the dish the perfect amount of spice and flavor.
- Chicken Breast – or chicken thigh, if preferred. Whatever you use, be sure you’re using boneless, skinless chicken.
- Cornstarch – thickens the sauce.
- Green Onion, Cilantro, Sesame Seeds, and Rice (optional) – for serving.
How to make
The instant pot is the crockpot for people who don’t plan ahead. GENIUS! 😉
- Whisk together broth, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, orange zest, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and black pepper together in a bowl.
- Pour half the liquid mixture into your instant pot. Place chicken breasts into pot and pour remaining sauce on top.
- Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes then remove chicken and set aside.
- Whisk together cornstarch and additional orange juice in a small bowl and pour that mixture into the instant pot. Add chicken back in and sauté then simmer until sauce is thickened.
- Shred chicken with two forks then serve and enjoy!
What chicken to use
I use boneless and skinless chicken breasts, because that’s what I always have on hand. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs which tend to be cheaper and more tender.
Keep in mind, using chicken thighs may affect the cook time so be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F before serving.
Can you use frozen chicken?
I always use fresh chicken but you can also use frozen chicken if that’s all you have available. Simply follow the directions, as listed, but set your instant pot to 25 minutes at high pressure instead of 12. (*not tested)
How to make orange zest
Zesting an orange couldn’t be easier. Clean and dry the orange thoroughly first, then use a microplane to shave off the outer orange layer of the peel.
Is orange chicken gluten-free?
This orange chicken recipe can easily be made gluten free. Just sub the soy sauce for a gluten-free variety such as tamari or coconut aminos.
As always, verify that all the ingredients you use are certified gluten-free.
What to serve with orange chicken
I served this over cauliflower rice but brown or white rice or even quinoa would also be absolutely delicious.
I also love to whip up a couple of Asian-inspired side dishes to bulk up my meal!
How to store
After the chicken has completely cooled, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, just pop it in the microwave or warm it in a pan on the stove!
Fresh orange flavor and tender chicken—exactly how great orange chicken should be! Who’s ready for some instant pot orange chicken?!
Instant Pot Orange Chicken
Equipment for this recipe
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce or gluten free alternative
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest about 1 orange worth
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts I use 3 (8 oz) chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- Green onion sliced for garnish
- Cilantro chopped for garnish
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Cauliflower rice, brown rice, etc for serving
- Grease Instant Pot with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Whisk together broth, 1/4 cup orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, orange zest, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and black pepper.
- Pour half into Instant Pot.
- Place in chicken breasts.
- Pour remaining sauce over chicken breasts.
- Cover and lock lid (ensure steam releasing handle is pointing to “sealing").
- Cook using the manual button (set to high pressure) and adjust timer on the Instant Pot to 12 minutes.*
- The Instant Pot will beep when it's finished. Flip the valve to "venting" for a quick release.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with 2-4 tablespoons of orange juice.***
- Whisk that mixture into the Instant Pot.
- Press the saute button on the Instant Pot and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Add chicken back in and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Shred the chicken directly in the pot as the sauce is thickening.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary and serve!
- Take 5 seconds to rate this recipe below. We greatly appreciate it!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published February 20, 2018 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.