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Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe

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I’m SO excited to share this orange chicken recipe with you because it’s a delicious and nutritious meal that the whole family will love. It’s ready in just 30 minutes, made with everyday ingredients, and contains all the components I look for in a healthy meal – protein, produce, carbs, and flavor! This healthy orange chicken is perfect for weeknight dinners, just add a veggie on the side and dinner is ready.

And if you love stir fry meals as much as we do, be sure to try my moo shu shrimp, shrimp teriyaki, steak stir fry, chicken teriyaki, ground beef and broccoli, or udon noodle stir fry with veggies next time!

Healthy orange chicken stir fry

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

What is Orange Chicken Stir Fry?

Orange glazed chicken is a Chinese American dish consisting of deep fried chicken tossed in a sweet and savory orange sauce. We’re making this popular copycat recipe at home with juicy chicken and a sticky homemade sauce that you’re going to love.

What You’ll Love About Orange Chicken Recipe

  • Delicious, fresh flavor
  • Family friendly
  • Easy to make this popular dish at home
  • Ready in 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights
  • Made with simple ingredients
  • Balanced and healthy meal
Close up of orange sauce chicken with rice and green beans

Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs – Buy skinless boneless chicken thighs for best flavor. You can use chicken breasts, but the higher fat content in thighs works best. You could also use popcorn chicken bites for a quick shortcut. Bake as directed and
  • Cornstarch – This helps thicken the orange sauce for chicken and give it a rich and glossy texture. You can also use arrowroot powder or potato starch if you prefer.
  • Orange marmalade – This is the base of the orange glaze and helps give it deep flavor. Buy a high-quality marmalade for best results.
  • Orange juice – Use freshly squeezed or your favorite orange juice brand. You could also use orange juice concentrate.
  • Soy sauce – You can use low sodium soy sauce, but may need to adjust salt to taste. Swap tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
  • Rice wine vinegar – This helps balance out the sweet and savory flavors of this sauce. You could also use an apple cider vinegar.
  • Sesame oil – Look for a toasted sesame oil for best flavor.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic for best flavor or frozen for an easy shortcut.
  • Ginger – Use fresh or frozen ginger. Fresh is superior but since I don’t use ginger on a daily basis, I like to keep the frozen cubes in the freezer for when I need them.
  • Vegetable oil – Use canola oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, or anything with a high smoke point.
  • Rice – I like to serve the chicken with white rice, but you can use whatever you prefer – brown rice or cauliflower rice are also great options.
  • Garnish – Finish the easy orange chicken recipe with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions.
Ingredients to make orange chicken recipe

How to Make Orange Chicken

This is an overview on how to make orange marmalade chicken, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Make rice. Make rice according to package instructions or use a rice maker.
Prep chicken. Cut chicken (you can use a knife or kitchen shears) and toss with corn starch.
Mix orange chicken sauce. In a small bowl, mix together orange marmalade, soy sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil, part of the garlic, and ginger.
Orange sauce for stir fry in a bowl
Make crispy chicken. Heat oil over medium high heat in a nonstick large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken pieces in small batches until golden brown. Set aside first batch of chicken on a plate lined with paper towels and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
Crispy chicken for orange chicken in skillet

TIP: Let the chicken cook undisturbed for a few minutes per side to get it browned and crispy.

Serve. Add first batch of chicken back to pan and pour in the orange sauce mixture. Cook until sauce is thick and glossy. Garnish with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions if desired.
Chicken and orange sauce in a skillet

FAQs

Does orange chicken taste like orange?

Well, yes! In my orange glazed chicken, we’ve got two forms of orange flavor: orange marmalade and orange juice. The marmalade gives it a sweet, orange flavor and the orange juice adds a bright, fresh flavor. Like a honey orange sauce, it’s sweet and juicy! The combination of the two makes this the best orange chicken!

Is orange chicken sweet?

Because this healthy orange chicken recipe is made with orange marmalade, it does have a citrus and sweet orange sauce, which is one of the reasons why everyone loves it! The rest of the ingredients in the sauce balance out the sweetness, so I don’t think this version is too sweet.

Is homemade orange chicken healthy?

Well I say everything is healthy. 🙂 Some foods are more nutritious than others, but all food serves a purpose. This healthy orange chicken recipe has protein, carbs, produce, and fats. OH, and FLAVOR. So I would say, yes, it’s incredibly delicious AND nutritious.

What’s the difference between orange chicken and general Tso’s?

Orange chicken and general Tso’s chicken are very similar in that they are both American Chinese Restaurant chicken dishes that consist of deep-fried chicken tossed in a sweet and salty sauce.

Besides the commonalities of the soy, garlic, ginger flavors in both sauces, the big difference is that orange chicken is made with orange juice and general Tso’s is made with spicy red pepper flakes. General Tso’s is spicy and sweet; orange chicken is sweet, but not at all spicy.

Bowl of orange chicken with rice and green beans

Storage Instructions

Store any leftover orange chicken stir fry in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can store the components separately or mixed together for an easy leftover meal that just needs to be reheated.

How to reheat

Reheat leftovers in the microwave or a nonstick skillet until heated through.

What to Serve with Orange Glazed Chicken

All this recipe for orange chicken needs is a simple veggie side! Here are a few favorites:

How to Feed Orange Chicken Recipe to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in.

I would recommend serving the orange chicken in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s a new or learning-to-like it food. Serve the meal with a few items you know your kids will eat, like fruit, milk, and/or bread and butter if they don’t do rice.

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Bowl of healthy orange chicken with green beans

More Easy Stir Fry Recipes

If you like this simple orange chicken stir fry recipe, you might also like some of these other stir fry recipes:

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Bowl of orange chicken stir fry

Healthy Orange Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

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Description

The whole family will love this sweet and savory healthy orange chicken recipe! Easy, made with basic ingredients, and ready in 30 minutes!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs (skinless, boneless)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • rice for serving
  • veggie side
  • sesame seed garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and place into a large bowl. Toss chicken with cornstarch to coat. (Start with 1/4 cup.)
  3. Mix up orange sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange marmalade, orange juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Make chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of chicken to the skillet (in order to not over-crowd it) and let cook, undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Flip pieces over and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set onto a plate lined with paper towel. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and cook the rest of the chicken.
  5. When the second batch is done cooking, drain oil from the pan if necessary and add the first batch back to the skillet. Stir in orange sauce and stir to coat the chicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce is thick and glossy.
  6. Serve over rice with a veggie side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Notes

Keywords: orange chicken stir fry, healthy orange chicken recipe, orange glazed chicken

Food styling and photography by Loren Runion.

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Comments

  1. Joline

    Easy and delicious! Only had apricot jam on hand (instead of orange marmalade) and it was very tasty! Looking forward to trying with orange marmalade soon!






    • Emily

      Thanks so much, Joline! Appreciate you leaving a review and also the apricot jam substitution so that others can try it, too. 🙂

  2. Kathryn

    Really great orange flavor. When we do chicken stir-fry type of dishes it never tastes like the flavors the recipe creator is getting at, but not this one. It’s tasty orange chicken that taste like orange, yum!!

  3. Lisa

    This will be as staple in our household. My husband even asked for seconds, which rarely happens. I ended up using left over Costco rotisserie chicken, and just heated it up on the stove top with the sauce. Turned out delicious.






Trackbacks

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