Craving Chinese takeout on a gluten-free diet? No need to miss out! You can have this Gluten-Free Orange Chicken ready in under 30 minutes. Crispy skin, fresh orange flavor, and no weird or hard-to-find ingredients needed. Inspired by our favorite General Tso’s Chicken recipe, we’ve perfected the technique for the best results every time.

Chopsticks pick up a single piece of orange chicken from a bowl with rice.

No longer being able to order takeout from my favorite Chinese restaurant was one of THE most difficult parts of eating gluten-free.

Instead of sulking in my misery, I decided to take control of my Chinese food craving destiny and learn the art of making gluten-free versions of takeout favorites at home.

The obsession began with this General Tso’s Chicken, but hasn’t stopped there. There are a few key techniques I learned when perfecting that dish that were carried through in this recipe to give you the absolute BEST results.

Why Is This Orange Chicken So Good?!

  • A unique combination of cornstarch and gluten-free flour is the secret to getting the crispiest chicken.
  • There are no hard-to-find ingredients here. All of the components in the sauce can be found in the Asian food section of your grocery store.
  • Frying up the chicken and making the sauce MUST be done separately. This also ensures you get that ultra crispy bite.
  • It’s flavor-packed, thanks to juicy chicken thighs and a sauce made primarily from freshly squeezed orange juice AND zest.
  • No more questioning the amount of sugar or other unhealthy additives. You see exactly what goes into your food so you can feel good about eating it!
Chicken thighs, cornstarch, flour, and a homemade orange sauce are the main ingredients for this dish.
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Must-Use Ingredients and Healthy Swaps

  • Chicken thighs. If you want the best flavor, you MUST get chicken thighs. Their fat content not only gives the dish more flavor, but also helps the crispy coating to stick more easily to its exterior. Boneless skinless breasts can be subbed, but you’ll be missing out.
  • Cornstarch / flour. The combination of the two helps to get the crispiest texture while also giving it good flavor. A 1-to-1 gluten free blend works great here.
  • Oil. You want a high smoke-point oil for the sake of your eyes and kitchen. Avocado oil is a healthier option, but peanut oil has great flavor. Avoid olive oil as it will burn more easily and will impart too much olive flavor.
  • Oranges. Freshly squeezed is key. To save time, you can look for some freshly squeezed orange juice at your grocery store (Whole Foods and Central Market have this!). Don’t forget to get at least one real orange though for the zest (trust me, it’s a key component in giving the dish a ton of orange flavor!).
  • Other orange sauce ingredients. The list might seem a little long, but it’s so worth it to make it from scratch!! You can use a store-bought bottle, but it won’t taste nearly as good.
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How to Make Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.

1. Prep the Chicken

It’s super important to take a few minutes to ensure the chicken is ready. Trim away any excess fat from the thighs. It’s no fun to bite into a rubbery, fatty piece.

Cut the thighs into bite-sized pieces. Aim for chunks about 1-inch. Keep them as close to the same size as possible so they cook consistently.

Finally, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Carefully add the prepared chicken and toss until all of the pieces are evenly covered.

Crispy Chicken Tip

Try to cut the chicken as close to the same size as possible so they cook up evenly. Avoid larger pieces as these don’t get nearly as crispy!

Chicken pieces are coated in the flour mixture.

2. Cook the Chicken

After the chicken is ready, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to a large stainless steel skillet or wok. Let it get hot over medium-high heat. You want it to sizzle.

Carefully add in half of the coated chicken chunks to the bottom of the pan. You don’t want them overlapping. And be sure to tap off any extra of the starch/flour mixture.

Cook the chicken for 7 to 9 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking. When the first batch is fully cooked, remove them to a plate lined with paper towels. Add more oil and continue with the rest of the chicken.

Coated chicken is seared in a wok.

3. Make the Orange Sauce

Add the sauce ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk well.

When the chicken is done cooking, add the prepared sauce to the skillet and turn the heat to high. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking the entire time.

The sauce should reduce by half while cooking.

This Is Worth the Extra Step!

Avoid making the mistake of thinking you can make the sauce while the chicken is still in the skillet. You MUST remove it or else it will absorb too much of the sauce and not be nearly as crispy.

4. Sauce the Chicken and Serve

After the sauce has reduced, gently add the chicken back into the skillet. Continue cooking over low heat for a few more minutes, just until everything is heated through.

Serve the orange chicken with some white rice along with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds!

The orange sauce is mixed with cooked chicken in a wok.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

This orange chicken is best enjoyed fresh. However, you can make the sauce a day or so ahead of time and just add it to the cooked chicken when you’re ready to serve.

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

If you’re anticipating leftovers, it’s best to store the sauce and chicken separately. Otherwise, the coating will get quite soggy.


Can I use regular soy sauce instead of gluten-free soy sauce?

Yes! You can definitely use whatever soy sauce fits your dietary needs. Just be aware of the sodium level and make adjustments as necessary.

Can I make this recipe spicy?

To make this orange chicken spicy, increase the amount of chili sauce or Sriracha in the sauce to your liking.

Can I freeze orange chicken?

It’s best to freeze the chicken without the sauce. Spread the cooked chicken on a baking tray and flash freeze. Then, transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 to 4 months.

What to Serve with Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Pair this orange chicken with a grain and a veggie and you’re good to go!

Go with White Rice, Basmati Rice, or Jasmine Rice. Or, keep it light with Cauliflower Rice.

Add some greens with Steamed Broccoli, Roasted Asparagus, or Air Fryer Green Beans.

Gluten-free orange chicken is served with white rice on a white plate.

More Gluten-Free Takeout Recipes

Keep your health (and budget) in mind with these delicious take-out-at-home recipes.

Tap stars to rate!

4.75 from 4 votes

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken Recipe

Craving Chinese takeout on a gluten-free diet? No need to miss out! You can have this Gluten-Free Orange Chicken ready in under 30 minutes. Crispy skin, fresh orange flavor, and no weird or hard-to-find ingredients needed.
Chopsticks pick up a single piece of orange chicken from a bowl with rice.
Yield 4 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
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  • 1 ¼ lbs. chicken thighs boneless and skinless
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • Green onions thinly sliced, optional
  • Toasted sesame seeds optional

Orange Sauce:

  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • ½ tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sriracha


  • Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Whisk together ¼ cup cornstarch, flour, ¾ tsp. salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss until all are completely coated.
  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large stainless-steel skillet or wok over medium heat. Once the oil is sizzling, add in half of the coated chicken pieces, making sure to shake off any excess starch/flour coating before adding to the skillet. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels. Once chicken is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Recoat the bottom of the skillet with oil and repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Make the orange sauce. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1 tsp. orange zest, ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, ¼ cup tamari (or soy sauce), 3 Tbsp brown sugar (or honey), 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, 2 garlic cloves, finely minced, ½ tsp. finely minced fresh ginger, 2 tsp. rice vinegar, 1 tsp. sesame oil, ½ tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. sriracha. After chicken is removed from the skillet, pour in sauce, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. The sauce should reduce by almost half during this time.
  • Once reduced, add in the cooked chicken and continue cooking over low heat until the chicken is heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve Orange Chicken over a bed of white rice with green onions and toasted sesame seeds, if using. Enjoy!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

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4.75 from 4 votes



Air Fryer Instructions:
  1. Preheat a 6-quart air fryer to 400 degrees.
  2. Add half of the coated chicken pieces to the air fryer basket and spread out in a single layer. Spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Cook for 8-9 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through cooking to turn the chicken.
  3. Remove the chicken from the basket and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.


Calories: 431kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 135mg, Sodium: 1555mg, Potassium: 501mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 142IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
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Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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  1. This looks so yummy! I have definitely been missing Chinese food, and orange chicken has always been one of my favorites. I can’t wait to try this one!

    1. Thanks so much Heidi!! Chinese food is impossible to find gluten-free in a restaurant so why not just make your own at home 🙂 Hope you like it!