Healthy Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Sweet and sticky healthy orange chicken in the Instant Pot! Make it with either breasts or thighs and skip the sugar and soy that’s usually found in this classic takeout meal.

Chunks of orange chicken in a bowl with orange wedges

Making orange chicken in the instant pot

The Instant Pot makes this dish quick and easy, so the hardest part is prepping the chicken and the sauce! Here are a few tips to make this recipe an easy winner:

  • Make sure you have whatever you want to serve your chicken with ready. We like it served over either cauliflower rice, white rice or broccoli.
  • Don’t skip the orange zest. It really adds that extra orange flavor to the chicken. You’ll use the zest of one orange for cooking and the zest of another is sprinkled on before serving.
  • Add on your favorite toppings at the end! Sesame seeds and diced chives or scallions are our favorites.
Two bowls of orange chicken, one with rice and a spoon

How to get that sticky orange sauce

There is a little trick to getting the orange sauce to thicken up in the Instant Pot. Here’s what you do:

  • After the chicken has cooked, do a quick pressure release and remove the lid.
  • Carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of juice/sauce from the Instant Pot and place it in a bowl or jar.
  • Add 1 tbsp of arrowroot starch to the juice and whisk well. Pour it back into the Instant Pot.
  • Press the “Sauté” button and simmer for 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce. The longer you sauté, the more the sauce will reduce and thicken.
Straight on shot of orange chicken in a bowl with orange wedges and a spoon

Can you make orange chicken in the crockpot?

You absolutely can! Here’s how:

  • Follow the instructions for prepping the chicken and the sauce as noted in the recipe.
  • Place everything in the crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.
  • After the time is up, follow step #6 to add the starch to the sauce.
  • Turn the crockpot to high, add the starchy sauce back in and cook for another 20 minutes.
Healthy instant pot orange chicken in a bowl with orange wedges and hand holding bowl

Some other healthy instant pot chicken recipes

Your turn to try this easy instant pot chicken recipe

Whip up a simple sauce, dump everything in your Instant Pot and get ready for a healthy takeout remake. We know you’ll love the sticky orange sauce and in this sweet and savory chicken recipe.

If you try this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how it goes. Also, take a pic to share on Instagram. Tag us @realsimplegood, we love to see what you’re cooking!


Orange chicken in a bowl with orange wedges and text at top

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Split image with text in middle. Orange chicken in a bowl with spoon on top and orange chicken with rice and greens on bottom.

Chunks of orange chicken in a bowl with orange wedges

Healthy Instant Pot Orange Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Justin Winn
Sweet and sticky healthy orange chicken with either breasts or thighs in the Instant Pot! A sugar free and guilt free takeout remake.
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Equipment

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch (see recipe notes)
  • zest of 1 orange

For the orange sauce:

For topping:

  • sesame seeds (optional topping)
  • red chili flakes (optional topping)
  • sliced green onions (optional topping)

Instructions 

  • Zest both oranges and set the zest aside.
  • To make the sauce, add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl or jar and mix well. Pour the sauce into the Instant Pot.
  • Cut chicken into cubes and place it in the Instant Pot.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and close the pressure valve. Press the “manual” button (or “pressure cook” button) and set the time to cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. Once the time is up, quick release the pressure.
  • While the chicken is cooking, gather any optional topping ingredients you'll use.
  • Once the Instant Pot has released all the steam, carefully remove the lid.
  • Spoon out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the sauce from the instant pot into a bowl or small jar. Add 1 tbsp of arrowroot starch to the sauce and whisk well until there are no lumps.
  • Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot. Pour the sauce back into the pot and and stir frequently to keep the sauce from sticking. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
    Note – if the sauce is too thin after this step, you can repeat the step of removing some sauce and adding 1-2 tsp more of starch. Or, simply continue to saute everything until the sauce evaporates and thickens to your desired state.
  • Once the chicken is finished, press the cancel button. Sprinkle remaining orange zest over the chicken and serve with any optional toppings.

Notes

  • Tapioca or cornstarch can be used in place of arrowroot starch in this recipe. Corn starch is not considered Paleo or Whole30.
  • If you don’t have any coconut aminos on hand, you can make your own using our DIY coconut aminos substitute recipe. Or, you can substitute chicken or beef broth.
  • If you don’t have fish sauce or don’t like fish sauce you can omit this ingredient. 
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