Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Instant Pot Orange Chicken {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Keto}

You’re going to love this tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful Instant Pot Orange Chicken! This easy and healthy orange chicken recipe involves no frying, nothing sketchy – just real food ingredients that beats takeout every time. If you’re looking to make skinny orange chicken in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, this is the recipe for you!  This real food orange chicken sauce recipe is family-friendly and picky-kid approved!

A bowl of healthy orange chicken and cauliflower rice with green onion

You’re going to loooove this Healthy Orange Chicken recipe! Why? Cause I said so.

Can you tell I have little kids? Don’t make me turn this blog around.

Did you know you can tenderize chicken without standing there and pounding it with a mallet as long as you use a secret ingredient? And did you guess that the secret ingredient is baking soda? You did? Smarty pants.

Um, Sarah, What’s the Deal With You And Baking Soda?

It seems like any time I talk about having a “secret ingredient” for a recipe, it always ends up being baking soda. Remember my Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe, Homemade Pizza Sauce, and Whole30 Tomato Soup? Baking soda all up in their business.

When it comes to velvety smooth chicken for stir fry you can’t beat the texture of chicken thighs. Tossing your chicken in a few teaspoons of baking soda and letting it rest for 10-15 minutes prior to cooking will give you the most tender chicken you’ve ever had. 

Why is mouthfeel the grossest word ever? Let’s back that truck up. I’m sorry I ever said that. Can we still be friends?

What Ingredients Are In Instant Pot Orange Chicken?

This recipe is rocking:

  • Chicken breast
  • Orange zest and juice
  • Liquids – olive oil, coconut aminos, sesame oil, rice vinegar
  • Flavor town squad – fresh garlic and ginger
  • Baking soda & arrowroot powder
chicken, a dish of ginger, orange zest, garlic, and liquid seasonings or making skinny orange chicken

Sorry about showing you raw chicken. Blech.

Want a vegetarian version of this recipe? Check out Air Fryer Tofu!

How to Make Instant Pot Orange Chicken – Step by Step

If you are new to pressure cooking and the Instant Pot, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

  1. Cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Toss with baking soda, stirring to distribute. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Chop the ginger, garlic, zest and juice the oranges.
  3. Rinse the chicken thoroughly. I place it in a small strainer and rinse until it runs clear. Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Set the Instant Pot to Saute and allow to heat up for two minutes. Add olive and sesame oil. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Push the chicken to the sides of the Instant Pot, add another tiny drizzle of olive oil, then add ginger and garlic. Stir for 1 minute. Turn Instant Pot to off.
  6. Add a splash of the orange juice to the pot and use a wooden spoon to deglaze (fancy way of saying “scrape”) any stuck on residue off the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients through the arrowroot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, press Manual>High Pressure>5 minutes.  Mix the arrowroot and water until smooth and set aside.
  8. When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, use a clean kitchen towel to flip the vent to “venting” for a quick release.
  9. Open the lid and press Saute. Add the arrowroot slurry to the chicken and mix. Allow it to come to a boil, stirring often until the sauce begins to thicken – about 5 minutes. Top with sliced green onion and sesame seeds.
Four process shots of making homemade Whole30 Orange chicken

More uncooked chicken. Yay!

Recipe Notes on Paleo Orange Chicken

  • You do not need to use the baking soda trick for this dish to turn out great. It will still be absolutely delicious if you skip this step. That being said, I highly encourage you to give it a try at some point because it is pure magic. Magic chicken. Chicken magic. A poultry sorcerer.
  • Don’t skip the deglazing step (step 6). Any stuck on residue on the bottom of the pot could impact the ability for it to properly come to pressure. Deglazing only adds about 30 seconds of work to the overall recipe. Do it.
  • Want a vegetarian version of this recipe? You got it!
  • No Instant Pot? Use a large frying pan or wok and cook the chicken throughout until no pink remains. Follow instructions in the recipe card below for more details.

What Goes Well With Whole30 Orange Chicken?

We served ours with cauliflower fried rice, but you could use plain rice, homemade fried rice, or stir-fried veggies.

an overhead photo of a bowl of whole30 orange chicken and cauliflower rice

More RECIPES LIKE THIS

Save this Healthy Orange Chicken recipe to your “Instant Pot” Pinterest board.

Let’s be friends on Pinterest. I’ll help you find loads of other recipes like this one!

Instant Pot Orange Chicken WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

One serving of Instant Pot Orange Chicken has 2 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

Print
5 from 15 votes
Instant Pot Orange Chicken {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Keto}
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Pressuring/depressurizing time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

You're going to love this tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful Healthy Orange Chicken! This is the best recipe for family-friendly Whole30 orange chicken or paleo orange chicken.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: asian chicken dinner, instant pot chicken, instant pot orange chicken
Servings: 6
Calories: 231 kcal
Ingredients
Slurry
Instructions
Instant Pot Instructions
  1. Cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Toss with baking soda, stirring to distribute. Set aside.

  2. Chop the ginger, garlic, zest and juice the oranges. 

  3. Rinse the chicken thoroughly. I place it in a small strainer and rinse until it runs clear. Pat dry with paper towels.

  4. Set the Instant Pot to Saute and allow to heat up for two minutes. Add olive and sesame oil. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Push the chicken to the sides of the Instant Pot, add another tiny drizzle of olive oil, then add ginger and garlic. Stir for 1 minute. Turn Instant Pot to off.

  6. Add a splash of the orange juice to the pot and use a wooden spoon to deglaze (fancy way of saying "scrape") any stuck on residue off the bottom of the Instant Pot.

  7. Add the rest of the ingredients through the arrowroot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, press Manual>High Pressure>5 minutes.  Mix the arrowroot and water until smooth and set aside.

  8. When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, use a clean kitchen towel to flip the vent to "venting" for a quick release. 

  9. Open the lid and press Saute. Add the arrowroot slurry to the chicken and mix. Allow it to come to a boil, stirring often until the sauce begins to thicken - about 5 minutes. Top with sliced green onion and sesame seeds.

Frying Pan/Wok Instructions
  1. Follow steps 1-3 above. Make the arrowroot slurry and set aside.

  2. Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and sesame oil to the pan. Swirl to coat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

  3. Push the chicken to the sides of the pan and add the rest of the ingredients including the arrowroot slurry to the pan. Cook thoroughly until the chicken is completely white when a test piece is cut.

Recipe Notes

If you're not Whole30/Paleo, you can use cornstarch instead of arrowroot and soy sauce instead of coconut aminos.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Orange Chicken {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Keto}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 96mg32%
Sodium 468mg20%
Potassium 657mg19%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 105IU2%
Vitamin C 19.6mg24%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

New photos were added to this post in February 2019. for reference an old photo is below:

two bowls of healthy orange chicken with green onions

Shop this Post:

(may include affiliate links)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

38 comments on “Instant Pot Orange Chicken {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Keto}”

  1. What is this chicken voodoo magic and how come I never knew about this trick before? Wow! Thanks for teaching me something new!

  2. We just finished having this for dinner and it was so good! Ours was a little on the salty side as I didn’t realize until AFTER I poured it in that my soy sauce is not low-sodium. Oh well, live and learn.

    • Soooooo glad you liked it Bernie! Yeah, soy sauce gets me every time.

      • I was wondering how far in advance I could do the baking soda/chicken thing. I was lucky to have the day off work when I made this so I ended up starting dinner early. It ended up taking me a lot more time to cut that up than I thought and would definitely be something to prep in advance if I were to do it on a work night.

  3. Fabulous Orange Chicken!
    This recipe was great for a quick dinner on a busy night!

  4. I’m lazy and didn’t measure my orange zest but used the zest and juice from one orange 🙂 did it in the wok and it was amazing! The flavors of orange chicken without all the fat and breading 🙂 thanks for this, Sarah!!

    • I saw the photos on Instagram and it looked awesome! You did such a nice job, and I’m so happy you loved this recipe. It’s definitely one of our favorites.

  5. Holy yum, y’all! I make teriyaki/hibachi style chicken often. My family (especially the kids) love that delicious, umami flavor. But the orange and loads of ginger bring a brightness to the dish that I find other recipes often lack. It’s a great, quick weeknight meal, whether you choose the instant pot or stove top method. Full disclosure, I just did this in a skillet.  I have an instant pot (her name is Stella), but I have limited counter space. This was easy enough to do the old fashioned way. And don’t even think about skipping the baking soda step. It gives a similar texture to the chicken as a brine would, but with far less added sodium. 

    • So glad you and the kiddos enjoyed it, Danielle! Hopefully, Stella can give it a try someday soon too.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  6. My sister and I tried out this recipe for our family this week. It was a hit with everyone, including a picky 4 year old! Quick and easy to make, subtle orange flavor is so natural and didn’t have that sickly sweet taste that cheap take out  sometimes has. Will definitely become a regular dinner on our rotation!

    • I’m so glad you all enjoyed it Sara (awesome name btw!)! And I feel you on the picky kiddos thing, so I’m thrilled this one worked for your family.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to review it.

  7. I have looked at this recipe longingly, awaiting the day I had an IP…. fast forward to today and the unboxing of my Christmas gift.
     I showed my husband and told him this is what we were having for supper. Holy Cow!! It was delicious! The chicken was tender and the sauce was incredible. This has definitely made it into our dinner rotation. 

  8. This looks delicious and sounds so easy too! I really have to get myself an instant pot (have never had one).

  9. Making this recipe is worth it just so that you try the baking soda. Sounded far fetched but the chicken came out nicely tender. I loved the seasoning and made it a little spicier. It smells super sweet but doesn’t taste too sweet. I added some veggies that were precut stir fry assortment from the grocery store. Adding them at the time the sauce was thickened left them tender-crisp. 

    • So glad you enjoyed it Molly, and I agree the baking soda is worth the extra step!

      I love that you added veg to it. I’m totally going to try it next time!

      • I’m finally trying this tonight! I’ve used the baking soda in other recipes and I agree it’s “magic”. I’ll try veggies tonight too – sliced carrots and broccoli cuz that’s what I have on hand. I have another question and maybe there’s a better place to ask this – I am adding stuff to my gift exchange wishlist and wondered what you consider the go to essentials for instantpot accessories? I already have the egg bite cooker thingys.

      • It’s amazing what a little baking soda can do, huh sis?

        I have a few Instant Pot add-ons listed in this post: https://www.sustainablecooks.com/beginner-instant-pot-recipes/ but honestly, I don’t use/have many gadgets to go with it.

  10. This was really a fantastic meal! I couldn’t believe the flavor with no sugar or salt in it. It was so great to know that everything I was eating was healthy for us, and tasted so good.

  11. Tried this tonight….never did the baking soda on chicken….amazing. chicken tastes so juicy and tender. So good. Thank you for this recipe.

    • It’s pretty fricking awesome, right Heather? Who knew that baking soda could do that to chicken! So glad you enjoyed it. It’s even better the next day so hopefully you have leftovers for tomorrow.

  12. I made this tonight & it was family approved! I had no where near 4 tbsp of orange zest but there was plenty of orange flavor. I had run out of rice vinegar (thanks to a recent obsession with making my own salad dressings) so I used apple cider vinegar, don’t know how that impacted the flavor. I saw another comment that someone added sweetener. Was it supposed to have a bit of a sweet taste?

    • Hi Izzy, I don’t add sweetener to mine but it’s really up to you. I dump so much hot sauce on mine that it doesn’t make any sense to sweeten it. lol

      So glad the family enjoyed it!

  13. I loved this meal! It’s even better the next day. My kids are picky eaters and they gobbled it right up. The sauce is sweet but not too sweet like you would find in restaurants. I didn’t have an orange to zest so I added a little extra OJ after cooking it. Super easy and super delish. I will absolutely make this again!

  14. Just made this tonight. We practically licked the skillet clean! Our oranges weren’t very sweet, so I added a little sweetener. I really like how the baking soda helped the texture of the chicken too! Who knew? Served it with riced cauliflower. Thank you so much, Sarah!! I’ve already forwarded the recipe to my sisters. 

    • Yahoo! So glad you liked it Paulette! We recently discovered riced cauliflower as well and love it as a base for this chicken.

      Isn’t it amazing with a little baking soda can do to chicken? It’s magic.

  15. Greetings,

     Know that I appreciate your swift reply to my comments on the hot pot orange chicken.

    Yes, I did gloss over the part of the recipe( shell shock from the sodium content ?) which offered a more conventional method of cooking this dish. 
    Thanks for pointing this out to me . 
    Recently, I have, by necessity ,meandered over to 85% plant based dietary plan, and only eat Chicken maybe 3 times/ month, in small portions. No red meat. Yes on Alaska wild Sockeye Salmon & Alaska Cod plus wild Argentina red Shrimp from the Deep South Pacific.
    As you know, it is necessary on a More limited diet, it’s important to find provacative new dishes to avoid crashing back into pasta/ white bread/ ready meals with some bad ingredients.
     
    Thanks so much for your gifts of your website and the work it takes to maintain.

    Be Well,

    Bonnie

    • I’m not sure if you’re near a Trader Joes, but they have wild caught Argentinan shrimp in their freezer section! Also, have you tried canned wild salmon? I buy it at Costco for our salmon cakes. I’m glad you said salmon because I knew I needed something to add to our Costco list since this morning and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was!

      Anyhoo, the canned salmon is delicious for the salmon cakes. The recipe makes a bunch so I cook them all up at once and then freeze leftovers. If you like roasted veggies (my fav), simply throw a few in during the last 10 minutes of cooking and the cakes will heat up. Bonus: use cast iron to roast those veggies and salmon cakes and you don’t have to do dishes! Re: roasted veggies: did you see my post two weeks ago with the tip on roasting frozen veg? It has been a game changer for my weekly meal prep.

      If all goes well I’ll have a new sweet potato recipe out for you in a few weeks. I always make things multiple times before posting so there is always the potential for disaster.

      Have a great weekend!

  16. Your orange chicken recipe has shockingly high levels of SODIUM! 1111 mg per serving? Are you serious? Does this have anything to with baking soda used to tenderize?
    Also would appreciate versions for NON Hot pot cooking , as I have other dietary financial priorities at the moment, such as more Organic ingredients.

    • Hi Bonnie,

      I use a third party nutritional label program and while I don’t agree with the sodium content in this nutritional label, I can’t edit it. Baking soda does contain sodium but since it is rinsed off it shouldn’t impact the counts too much but of course the program can’t interpret that. 1/3 cup of reduced sodium soy sauce has 2805 mg of sodium in it. As this serves 6 it would be 467.5 mg per serving. I’ll add a note to the recipe notes. Thanks!

      Additionally, there ARE non-Instant Pot cooking directions in the post. Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. There is a heading that says “FRYING PAN/WOK INSTRUCTIONS”. 99.99% of my Instant Pot recipes have conventional/stovetop instructions included as I want anyone to be able to enjoy my recipes regardless of what special cooking equipment they may have.

      It is also mentioned in the main post under the “recipe notes” heading: No Instant Pot? Use a large frying pan or wok and cook the chicken throughout until no pink remains. Follow instructions in the recipe card below for more details.

      Please do take a close look at my IP recipes as the two-part instructions are always included because I want you guys to be happy! Let me know if you’re unable to find them and I can shoot you an email with the details or even send the recipe card as an attachment.

      Sarah

      ETA: I did some googling and turns out I could update the sodium. Doh! It has been updated to reflect the accurate amounts.

  17. Oh man, another recipe that sounds amazing! My husband loves orange chicken but I rarely eat it since MSG gives me migraines. I’m definitely going to try this. I’m so intrigued by the secret ingredient!