Instant Pot Orange Chicken – a delicious and healthier Chinese takeout favorite made in the pressure cooker. Only 30 minutes to make for the perfect easy weeknight meal. Gluten free, Whole30, Paleo, low carb and Ketogenic friendly.
WHAT IS ORANGE CHICKEN?
Orange Chicken is easily one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes in North America. This restaurant favorite is typically made with crispy chicken nuggets coated in a deliciously sweet, tangy and flavorful sauce. It’s kid-friendly and very similar to Asian Lemon Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken which are both equally as delicious.
Since our Slow Cooker Orange Chicken recipe has been a long-time reader favorite, I thought it was time to share an Instant Pot Orange Chicken for those of you that have been requesting a pressure cooker version.
The Instant Pot is an absolute lifesaver for getting dinner on the table quickly. This Instant Pot Orange Chicken takes about 30 minutes to make and is so much better for you than the local greasy restaurant.
It’s also gluten free, paleo, keto-friendly, low carb and Whole30 compliant. My son loves P.F. Chang’s Orange Chicken and I love that I can make a healthier homemade version for my family without any weird ingredients.
REASONS YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THIS INSTANT POT ORANGE CHICKEN:
- Easier and healthier than heading out to the greasy takeout restaurant
- Includes easy swaps: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb and Diabetic friendly
- Made with real ingredients that are full of amazing flavors and protein
- Quick one pot recipe to get dinner on the table in around 30 minutes
- Practically no clean-up with less dishes to wash
- Works great for meal-prep and you can bring leftovers to work or school
HOW TO MAKE ORANGE SAUCE:
In an authentic tasting Chinese Orange Dish, you’ll usually find the sauce is made with:
- soy sauce
- orange juice
- orange zest
- salt & black pepper
- rice wine vinegar
- sesame oil
- corn starch
For our paleo orange chicken, we are going to be using:
- coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
- fish sauce for that umami taste
Coconut aminos combined with fish sauce is a great substitute for soy sauce for those that are following a paleo / Whole30 / low carb or keto diet.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT ORANGE CHICKEN:
- MAKE THE SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
- SEAR THE CHICKEN: You’re going to start by pressing the SAUTE button. Add the oil and allow the pot to heat up for a few minutes. Sear chicken in batches, about 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. They do not have to be fully cooked – you just want them to get that crispy coating. Place brown chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- PRESSURE COOK THE CHICKEN: Once all the chicken is browned, add everything back to the Instant Pot and pour sauce over top. Close and seal Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing. Press MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK (high) and set for 3 minutes. Once the 3 minutes is up and the Instant Pot beeps, allow to naturally release for 15-20 minutes.
- THICKEN THE SAUCE: Open the lid and press the SAUTE button. Combine the xanthan gum (OR arrowroot starch for non low-carb) with water and stir into the Instant Pot. Cook and allow the sauce to bubble and thicken up.
- SERVE: Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over cauliflower rice, zoodles OR your favorite non-low carb sides (Jasmine rice / brown rice / rice noodles).
HELPFUL TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST ORANGE CHICKEN:
- Feel free to skip the step for searing the chicken if you are in a pinch
- For a non Whole30 Orange Chicken / Paleo Orange Chicken – feel free to use low sodium soy sauce or Gluten Free Tamari instead of coconut aminos
- Use your favorite sweetener / sugar if you prefer a sweeter Orange Chicken
- Spice up this Easy Orange Chicken recipe with 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
WHAT INGREDIENTS CAN I SUBSTITUTE IN THIS PALEO ORANGE CHICKEN?
- If you’re not a fan of chicken, substitute with shrimp, beef, pork or even tofu.
- Want to add some vegetables? Broccoli or green beans would be a delicious option.
- If you’re not following a keto, low carb or paleo diet, you can use another sweetener like honey or sugar instead. And instead of xanthan gum to thicken the sauce – a cornstarch / arowroot starch slurry works great.
- Serve with brown or Jasmine rice if not Whole30 or low carb
MEAL-PREP TIPS FOR THIS EASY INSTANT POT ORANGE CHICKEN:
- Keto Orange Chicken works great for leftovers or you can make a batch on Sunday meal prep and pack for your weekly school or work lunch bowls
- For easier weekly meal prep for Keto Orange Chicken – slice and marinate the chicken the night before and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Serve with your favorite Whole30 side like cauliflower rice or spiralized zucchini noodles. For your friends and family that are not Whole30 or Low Carb, you can make a batch of Jasmine rice, brown rice or quinoa instead.
- Make Easy Orange Chicken for lunch the day before and store in an air-tight container – These are the ones I use —-> lunch container
More Instant Pot recipes you might like:
Instant Pot Orange Chicken - a delicious and healthier Chinese takeout favorite made in the pressure cooker. Only 30 minutes to make for the perfect easy weeknight meal.
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into 1" cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (1 medium orange)
- 1/2 tablespoon orange zest (1 medium orange)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoons freshly grated or minced ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes , optional or to taste
- salt and black pepper to taste
- INSTANT POT
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum OR arrowroot starch for Whole30
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- Sesame seeds
- Green onion thinly sliced
Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Make the sauce In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, set aside.
Turn Instant Pot to SAUTE. Add the oil and allow the Instant Pot to heat up. Sear the chicken in batches (placing the browned chicken on a paper-towel lined plate) about 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Once all the chicken is browned, add everything back to the Instant Pot and pour sauce over top.
Close and seal Instant Pot. Set on MANUAL for 3 minutes, let naturally release for 10 minutes.
Open lid then press the OFF button and then press the SAUTE button.
Combine the xanthan gum (or arrowroot starch for Whole30) with water and stir into the Instant Pot. Allow the sauce to bubble and thicken up.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve chicken over cauliflower rice, zoodles or Jasmine / brown rice for non Whole30 / Paleo / Keto.
The sauce doubles easily if you need to make a larger batch.
***If your slow cooker runs hot, be sure to check on chicken earlier as it may cook faster than the suggested cooking times.
***This dish can easily be made with cubed extra firm tofu (roasted or unroasted) and cauliflower florets. Just cook for an hour less than you would the chicken. Mine were done cooked on HIGH at an hour and 2 hours on low.