Healthy Orange Chicken

With this lightened up version of a restaurant classic you’ll get that sweet, sticky sauce you crave without all the processed ingredients and MSG. Skip the takeout line and make this easy Paleo + Whole30 healthy orange chicken today!

Healthy orange chicken in pan with orange slices and spoon horizontal image.

Such a tasty orange chicken recipe

When cooking with natural ingredients, it really doesn’t take much to pack in the flavor. The secret to getting that extra orange flavor punch in this recipe is adding in the zest of one orange to the sauce. You’ll love how the healthy orange sauce coats the chicken and delivers with each bite.

Healthy orange chicken in pan with orange slices close up vertical image

Getting that sticky orange chicken

Let’s be honest, the reason you order orange chicken at a restaurant is for that sweet, sticky sauce. To re-create this sauce in a healthy form, we used a few tricks:

  • Coating the chicken in arrowroot starch before pan-frying. This gives the chicken that “breaded” texture you’re familiar with.
  • Using fresh orange juice + zest gives the chicken extra orange flavor and sweetness without any added sugar.
  • Adding a little arrowroot starch to the sauce helps the sauce thicken up and coat the chicken with that sticky sauce you want your orange chicken to have.
Healthy orange chicken in a bowl over rice angled vertical image

An easy and healthy chicken recipe with few ingredients

You’ll love that this healthy chicken recipe can be cooked from scratch with around 10 ingredients. Plus, if you’re quick on the prep or have someone helping you, you can get it on the table in about 30 minutes! Serve it over cauliflower rice or white rice for the classic takeout experience.

Healthy orange chicken in pan with orange slices and spoon vertical image.

Some other healthy takeout remakes

Your turn to try this healthy orange chicken

Get this easy and healthy chicken recipe on your meal plan for next week! The whole family will love the healthy takeout remake and the sweet, sticky orange sauce.

Healthy orange chicken in a bowl over rice with spoon overhead vertical image

If you try the recipe, be sure to add a comment and rating below to let us know how it goes. Also, take a pic to share on Instagram and tag us @realsimplegood. We love to see it when you make our recipes!


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Image with text in middle. Close up of orange chicken pieces on top and chicken pieces in the pan with orange wedges bottom

Healthy Orange Chicken

4.3 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Justin Winn
Get that sweet, sticky sauce you crave with this healthy orange chicken. Without all the processed ingredients and MSG, this easy recipe is Paleo + Whole30!
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Ingredients

For the chicken:

For the orange sauce:

For topping:

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

Instructions 

  • To make the sauce, add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl or jar and mix well.
  • Cut chicken into cubes and set aside.
  • Place arrowroot starch, sea salt and pepper on a plate and mix to combine. Working in batches, add the chicken pieces to the plate and toss to coat. Repeat until all of the chicken pieces are coated with the starch mixture.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat and add sesame oil. Once hot, add the chicken cubes.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Remove and place on a plate.
  • While the chicken is cooking, gather any optional topping ingredients you'll use.
  • After removing the chicken, turn the heat on the pan down to low. Give the orange juice sauce another quick stir to make sure the starch is mixed in well. Pour the sauce into the pan and deglaze, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir frequently to keep the sauce from sticking. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Add the chicken back in with the sauce and toss to coat. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes. If desired, continue to simmer for longer to further cook down the sauce.
  • Once the chicken is finished, remove from heat. Serve with any optional toppings.

Notes

  • Tapioca or corn starch can be used in place of arrowroot starch in this recipe. Corn starch is not considered Paleo or Whole30.
  • If you don’t have fish sauce or don’t like fish sauce you can omit this ingredient. 
Tried this recipe?Take a picture and tag @realsimplegood so we can see it!

6 thoughts on “Healthy Orange Chicken

  • Made this last night for dinner! While it tasted really good….I could not get my chicken to brown. It just turned into a gloopy mess. I used a large enamel oven like the one in the pictures. I’ve never cooked using sesame oil. I think maybe next time I would use a different oil and cook the chicken in batches to see if that helps with the gloopy issue. Then later add the sesame oil when cooking down the sauce.

    Also, I cubed and tossed in some orange pieces and let them cook for a few minutes.

    • The chicken doesn’t totally brown, but it should get brown in places and cook through. You could try patting the chicken dry before putting it in the flour mixture. Glad you enjoyed the taste and hope it works for you again!

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