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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. 

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

This Healthy Orange Chicken recipe is about to be your new favorite dinner! It’s so easy, absolutely delicious, and will make the most tender chicken you’ve ever had!

What Ingredients Are In Instant Pot Orange Chicken?

This recipe is rocking:

  • Chicken breast
  • Orange zest and juice
  • Liquids – olive oil, coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you eat it), sesame oil, rice vinegar
  • Flavor town squad – fresh garlic and ginger (meal prep hacks: How to Freeze Garlic and How to Freeze 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.

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

Want a vegetarian/vegan version of this recipe? Check out Air Fryer Tofu! And if you are new to pressure cooking and the Instant Pot, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

Four process shots of making homemade Whole30 Orange chicken

More uncooked chicken. Yay!

Recipe Notes/Pro Tips

  • 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. You’ll be a poultry sorcerer.
  • Don’t skip the deglazing step. 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.
  • No Instant Pot? Use a large frying pan or wok and cook the chicken throughout until no pink remains. Follow the instructions in the recipe card below for more details.
  • Need help getting started with the Whole30? You’ll love my free printable Trader Joe’s Whole30 shopping list and my Whole30 Costco shopping list.

What Goes Well With This Dish?

We often serve ours with cauliflower fried rice, but you could use plain rice, homemade fried rice, stir-fried veggies, salad, roasted vegetables. For a time and money-saving hack check out this post on how to roast frozen vegetables.

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

More Fast Dinner RECIPES LIKE THIS

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

One serving has 2 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

Print Recipe
5 from 22 votes

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

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Pressuring/depressurizing time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
You're going to love this tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful homemade Orange Chicken!

Ingredients

Slurry

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Toss with baking soda, stirring to distribute. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  • Chop the ginger, garlic, zest and juice the oranges. 
  • Rinse the chicken thoroughly. I place it in a small strainer and rinse until it runs clear. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients through the arrowroot.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>5 minutes. 
  • Mix the arrowroot and water until smooth and set aside.
  • When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, carefully flip the vent to "venting" for a quick release. 
  • 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.

Frying Pan/Wok Instructions

  • Follow steps 1-3 above. Make the arrowroot slurry and set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

If you're not Whole30/Paleo, you can use cornstarch instead of arrowroot and soy sauce instead of coconut aminos.
 
You MUST rinse all the baking soda from the chicken prior to cooking.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Orange Chicken {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Keto}
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
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.

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

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

  2. 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. 5 stars

    • 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.5 stars

      • 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.

  3. 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.5 stars

  4. Tried this tonight….never did the baking soda on chicken….amazing. chicken tastes so juicy and tender. So good. Thank you for this recipe.5 stars

    • 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.

  5. 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?5 stars

    • 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!

  6. 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!5 stars

  7. 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. 5 stars

    • 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!5 stars