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!

For more Asian inspired recipes try my healthy chicken stir fry and chicken and broccoli stir fry.

Healthy orange chicken garnished with sesame seeds, green onion in bowl with quinoa.

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 breast, orange, orange juice, chicken broth, green onion, maple syrup, cornstarch, oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, spices, quinoa.
  • 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

Cornstarch being stirred into bowl of orange juice and broth.

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.

Cubed chicken breast pieces cooking in cast iron skillet.

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.

Chicken cooking in black skillet with orange sauce.

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

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.

FAQs

Can I use chicken thighs?

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.

Why is my sauce not thickening?

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.

What if my sauce has thickened too fast?

Add a splash of orange juice or broth to get it back to the correct consistency.

Can I use a cornstarch alternative?

Yes. As an alternative to cornstarch, you can also use arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.

Healthy orange chicken garnished with green onion and served on top of quinoa in a bowl.
orange chicken in a bowl with quinoa and sesame seed green onion garnish

Healthy Orange Chicken

Healthy Orange Chicken is loaded with classic flavors of sweet and sticky orange sauce, easy to make and comes together in 30 minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 4
Calories 452
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • Serve hot garnished with green onion and sesame seeds, over a bed of rice or quinoa.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 1041mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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