Healthy Orange Chicken is the answer to all your Chinese takeout cravings. It’s loaded with classic flavors of sweet and sticky orange sauce, easy to make and comes together in 30 minutes!
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If orange chicken is one of your go-to takeout recipes, then you’re going to love this healthier Asian-inspired recipe!
Ready in 30 minutes, this super delicious homemade orange chicken is easy to make when you’re craving Chinese food but would rather save money and make it yourself.
You may also love to browse these 65 clean eating chicken recipes!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Tastes like takeout: Even with the healthy changes, this orange chicken recipe still tastes exactly like our favorite take-out item. Maybe even better!
- Low sodium: No MSG, no added salt, and only low sodium ingredients. Using liquid aminos or coconut aminos helps to keep it gluten-free.
- Quick and easy: This 30-minute dish couldn’t be easier. Cook the chicken, make the sauce, simmer, and serve.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Chicken: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” pieces. It’s lean, juicy, and biting into plump chicken coated in a sweet and sticky orange sauce is the best.
- Liquids for the sauce: Fresh orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, honey or maple syrup, and toasted sesame oil.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, ground ginger, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and orange zest.
- Cornstarch: This is what takes the orange chicken sauce from a thin runny sauce to a thick, velvety glaze.
- Oil: Needed for frying up the chicken pieces. Olive oil is healthy and neutral in taste.
- Garnishes: Topping off the dish with green onion and sesame adds a fresh pop of color and a nutty element just like they do at restaurants!
How to Make Healthy Orange Chicken
Combine ingredients for the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper, red pepper flakes, orange zest, and cornstarch. Set it aside.
Cook the chicken: To brown the chicken, you’re going to want to use a cast-iron skillet if you have one. If not, any large skillet will do.
Preheat it on high heat and add a bit of oil to coat. Add pieces of chicken to the hot skillet and cook uncovered for 7 minutes.
Stir a few times to make sure all sides are evenly browned.
Add sauce to chicken: Grab your sauce that you have set aside and give it a good whisk. Pour it on top of the chicken and reduce the heat to medium-high.
Cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir a few times throughout.
Tips for Best Results
- Cut chicken into uniform sizes: So it all cooks and gets done at the same time.
- It’s not a stir fry: So there’s no need to move as quickly, however, once it’s done, serve it up. Don’t let it sit around for too long.
- No toasted sesame oil? No problem! Just skip it. It’s the toasted sesame oil that gives us the delicious flavour. Regular sesame oil won’t do much.
How to Serve Orange Chicken
- The classic way is on top of steamed white rice, which you can absolutely do. It’s great!
- Whole grain: Try Instant Pot brown rice.
- A delicious low carb alternative would be cauliflower rice or cauliflower fried rice.
- Side veggies: Air fryer broccoli or air fryer cauliflower would all make a great side dish.
How to Store Leftovers
Make ahead: Store the uncooked chicken and combined sauce in separate containers for up to 24 hours in advance. Cook as directed when you’re ready.
To store: Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To freeze: Transfer to the freezer in an airtight container. Keep frozen for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw in the fridge overnight. Simmer on the stove on low heat until warmed through.
You may need to add a splash of water or broth to thin it out as it cooks.
Yes, you can use chicken thighs if you’d prefer. Dark meat might come out more tender and more forgiving if you overcook it by accident.
Make sure to whisk the sauce very well right before adding to the hot pan with cooked chicken. Cornstarch could have settled at the bottom and stayed there.
Keep in mind, you will want to bring sauce to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes and that’s when it starts to thicken as it cooks. It will also thicken as it cooks and cools.
Add a splash of orange juice or broth to get it back to the correct consistency.
Yes. As an alternative to cornstarch, you can also use arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
- Baked honey garlic chicken breast
- Teriyaki chicken and cauliflower
- Healthy chicken lettuce wraps
- Instant Pot teriyaki chicken
- Chicken asparagus stir fry
Healthy Orange Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 3 tbsp soy sauce I use Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp oil for frying
- Green onion and sesame seeds for serving
- In a medium bowl, add orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper, red pepper flakes, orange zest and cornstarch. Whisk very well.
- Preheat large skillet (cast iron skillet is the best for browning) on high heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add chicken and cook uncovered for 7 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Whisk the sauce in a bowl once again and add to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-high, cook for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring a few times.
- Make ahead: Refrigerate uncooked chicken and whisked sauce in separate covered bowls for up to 24 hours.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: In an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a pot with a splash of water or broth, simmering on low while covered. Stir a few times.
- Fresh ginger and garlic: Feel free to use 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 tsp grated fresh ginger instead of powders.
- No toasted sesame oil? Just skip it. Regular sesame oil won’t do much. It’s the toasted sesame oil that adds that oriental flavor.