Healthy Orange Chicken

A delicious orange chicken

Have you ever wished that you could recreate certain fares and make them lightened so that you can gorge on them without feeling guilty? Then here comes the healthier version of the Chinese American staple; Orange chicken for you which is totally irresistible in all ways!

Made with minimal ingredients, this healthy chicken dish is full of flavor as the original sugar-laden one but without the extra fat and calories while being ridiculously tender.

Orange chicken plate on tabletop

Usually, people buy this super popular classic dish as Chinese takeout.  But then, you can easily create a healthier and lighter version at home. Made from scratch, the homemade version tastes oh so delicious and is better in flavor and texture than the greasy takeout version. 

On top, this healthy spin of the orange chicken comes with a bright sticky sauce that tastes divine exactly like the original and which is spicy, tangy, tart, savory and sweet all at the same time.

The fare is also known as orange peel chicken. In this succulent chicken pieces are smothered in the flavorful sauce which is brimming with fresh orange flavor without any preservatives and refined sugar.

Alongside, the fresh orange makes the chicken taste citrusy and sweet which gives it an out of the world taste. What’s more, it comes together easily and can be made without much effort. It is a fuss-free version which you can easily make even for weekday dinner.

So don’t waste any more time and try making this super scrumptious orange chicken asap which the whole family will love especially the kids.

How to Make Healthy Orange Chicken 


  • 4 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 2 lb chicken breast, skinless & boneless, cubed into 1-inch or bite-sized portions
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, toasted

For the sauce

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • ½ tbsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar

Method of Preparation

Begin by heating a large-sized skillet over medium-high heat.

Once the skillet becomes hot, spoon in the sesame oil.

Then, stir in the chicken cubes into it and cook for 13 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through with the edges browned and crispy. Tip: If you prefer you can season it with salt, pepper, and chili flakes.

cutting chicken by knife

In the meantime, mix all the ingredients needed to make the sauce in a medium-sized bowl until it is well incorporated.

Now, remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and place it on a tissue towel-lined plate. Set it aside.

Next, pour the sauce into the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil.

Allow it to simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened while stirring it frequently. Tip: At this point, when you scrape the sauce back, the sauce should pull away from the pan.

When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked chicken pieces to it.

Toss it well until the sauce coats the chicken.

Finally, transfer to the serving plate and serve it along with the steamed broccoli.

Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Information per calories

  • Calories: 362Kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 39g
  • Proteins: 28g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Sodium: 610 mg

Storage: The chicken stays good for up to four days in the refrigerator when placed in air-tight containers. You can freeze them also for about 2 to 3 months in freezer-safe containers.

For reheating, thaw in the refrigerator the day before you are serving. You can reheat by heating in the microwave for 50 seconds on low heat. It can be warmed up in the oven by baking at 350 ◦ F until warmed through.

Orange Chicken Tips

  • If you prefer crunchy toppings, you can garnish it with sesame seeds. Or else you can garnish it with green onion.
  • Pair it with quinoa or cauliflower rice or zoodles or brown rice for a complete meal.
  • For more orangy flavor, you can even garnish it with orange zest at the end.
  • To spice it up, you can add sriracha sauce at the end and then top it with chili flakes.
Chili flakes and chili
  • You can make this orange chicken dish in the instant pot as well as in the slow cooker.
  • The recipe is a highly customizable one and you can even add your choice of veggies into it like carrot, edamame, or broccoli.
  • Though you can use canned orange juice, the usage of freshly squeezed orange juice and zest can up the flavor like anything.

Orange Chicken FAQ 

For best results, follow the recipe as it is.

However, some common substitutes would work well in this recipe. They are:

  • Instead of chicken breasts, you can use boneless chicken thighs or chicken tender.
  • Instead of ginger, you can use ½ tbsp. of ginger powder.
  • Instead of coconut aminos, you can use soya sauce provided you are not following the paleo diet.
  • Instead of steamed broccoli, you can use steamed green beans or cauliflower.
  • Instead of sesame oil, you can use vegetable oil.
  • Instead of honey, you can use sugar or maple syrup.
Maple syrup in glass bottle

What can you do to thicken the recipe?

If you added too much broth or water, then to thicken the dish, you can simmer for a bit more time with the lid off.

What to do if the color doesn’t seem to be orange?

Due to the ingredients used in the sauce, the color may change but the taste will be more or less the same.

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Tammy Kennedy
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