Get ready to make the BEST Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe with fresh orange juice and easy-to-find Asian ingredients. This Chinese classic is ready in just 30 minutes and makes way less mess than frying in a skillet! It’s a picky eater dinner favorite and can easily be adapted to be gluten-free and dairy-free, if needed.

Chopsticks picking up a cube of orange chicken from a plate.

Easy Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Who doesn’t love an easy take-out dinner? But you’re often left feeling uncomfortable and bloated.

Next time you’re craving Chinese take-out, skip the line, save your money, and make this Orange Chicken recipe in the Instant Pot.

You get all the flavor you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant, but it’s MUCH healthier. Your wallet will thank you, too.

This recipe just might be the perfect weeknight meal! It’s easy to make, the kids will love it, and it takes very little hands-on time.

Why We Love this Orange Chicken Recipe

  • Ready and on the table in 30 minutes.
  • Way fewer dishes and less mess compared to cooking it in a skillet.
  • Picky eaters will love it!
  • Better for you than a restaurant with healthy, natural ingredients, including fresh oranges.
Chicken breasts, oranges, Tamari sauce, and flour as the ingredients needed for a gluten free orange chicken recipe.
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  • Chicken. One pound of chicken breasts is tenderized and then cut into bite-size pieces. You can also opt for thighs if you want even more flavor.
  • Starch or Flour. This gives the chicken a nice coating so it can get crispy in the Instant Pot. Use tapioca starch if on a Paleo or Whole30 diet, or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend if not.
  • Oranges. Fresh orange juice and orange zest really pump up the flavor and natural sweetness in this dish.
  • Garlic & Ginger. It’s best if you use both FRESH garlic cloves and fresh ginger. I like to buy the jars of ginger paste from the produce section so I can easily scoop out what I need.
  • Sweetener. Pure maple syrup is used as the sweetener in this recipe, but coconut sugar, brown sugar, or even honey can be substituted.
  • Chili Garlic Paste. Depending on how spicy you like your orange chicken, you can use anywhere from 1 to 2 teaspoons.
  • Soy Sauce. Regular soy sauce, gluten-free soy or Tamari sauce, or coconut liquid aminos can all be used interchangeably.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Instant Pot Orange Chicken

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

1. Prepare the Chicken

In order to get the most juicy and tender chicken, you’ll want to tenderize the chicken breasts before cooking.

It may seem like an unnecessary additional step, but trust me: you’ll get melt-in-your-mouth chicken if you do this!

After you’ve pounded it to about 1-inch thick, cut the chicken into similarly sized 1-inch cubes. Add the chicken to a bowl and toss with the starch or flour, salt, and pepper until it is completely coated.

Chicken cubes being tossed in a flour mixture.

2. Make the Orange Sauce

The key ingredient to this orange sauce recipe is that you MUST use FRESH orange juice and zest.

Please make sure you DO NOT skimp and buy the orange juice from concentrate. The dish just won’t taste NEARLY as good. Also, make sure you ZEST the oranges before juicing.

Add the orange juice, zest, soy or Tamari sauce, maple syrup, and chili paste to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.

You can store this healthy orange sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days if meal prepping ahead of time.

A healthy orange sauce being whisked together in a clear bowl.

3. Add to the Instant Pot

I have the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6-quart, 9-in-1, and it works for just about any and every use you can imagine!

However, if you think you will be making A LOT of bone broth, or enormous batches of soup, you might want to look into the Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-quart.

Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function, then carefully add the oils, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the cubed chicken and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the orange sauce mixture over the chicken, being sure to get some of the sauce ingredients under the chicken pieces so it doesn’t burn.

One of the most common mistakes people run into when making this recipe is the dreaded burn notice.

To avoid this, make sure you thoroughly scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon before pressure cooking.

If any bits of food are stuck, the Instant Pot will think it’s burning and not allow you to cook your chicken.

Chicken and sauces are stirred in an Instant Pot before cooking.

4. Pressure Cook and Serve

Place the lid on the Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, being sure to set the steam release valve to closed. Set a manual timer to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. When it’s done, allow for a 10-minute natural release of the pressure before opening the pressure valve.

Then, turn off the Instant Pot and open the pressure valve for a quick release of the remaining pressure. Be careful of steam!

Serve the orange chicken over white rice or cauliflower rice with sesame seeds and green onions.

What to Serve with Orange Chicken

When you’re ready to dig into this healthy orange chicken recipe, all you need is rice and maybe some veggies to round it out.

Choose your favorite rice, like White RiceCauliflower RiceJasmine Rice, or Basmati Rice. You can also make your own Chicken Fried Rice.

Green veggies like Steamed BroccoliChinese Green Beans, or Roasted Asparagus are healthy, or opt for Air Fryer Carrots.

More Easy Asian Dinner Favorites

Skip the takeout and whip up any of these Asian favorites next time the craving strikes.

Tap stars to rate!

4.22 from 28 votes

Instant Pot Orange Chicken Recipe

Get ready to make the BEST Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe with fresh orange juice and easy-to-find Asian ingredients. This Chinese classic is ready in just 30 minutes and makes way less mess than frying in a skillet!
Chopsticks picking up a cube of orange chicken from a plate.
Yield 4 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
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  • 1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • cup all purpose flour or gluten-free 1-to-1 blend
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ½ tsp. ginger paste or fresh, finely minced
  • ¾ cup orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce Tamari, or coconut liquid aminos
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tsp. chili garlic paste depending on desired spice level
  • Sesame seeds toasted, optional
  • Green onions optional
  • Basmati rice or cauliflower rice for serving


  • Prepare the Chicken: In a large bowl combine chicken cubes, flour or starch, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat chicken completely.
    1 lb. chicken thighs, ⅓ cup all purpose flour, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Make the Sauce: In a medium-sized bowl combine orange juice, zest, soy sauce, sugar, and chili garlic paste. Whisk to combine. Pour sauce over chicken and be sure to lift it off the bottom of the pan so it does not burn.
    ¾ cup orange juice, 1 Tbsp. orange zest, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1-2 tsp. chili garlic paste
  • Add Everything to the Instant Pot: Add oils, garlic, and ginger to the Instant Pot while it is set to the Sauté function. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken cubes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. After sautéing, scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure any bits are no longer stuck. (This step is VERY important. If you do not scrape the bottom of the pot you'll end up getting that dreaded BURN error.)
    2 Tbsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, 2 cloves garlic, ½ tsp. ginger paste
  • Pressure Cook: Place lid on Instant Pot and close pressure valve. Using the manual pressure cook function turn to High Pressure and set the timer for 5 minutes. Keep the lid on and the valve closed for an additional 10 minutes after the timer goes off. (This is called a 10 minute natural pressure release, or NPR.)
  • Serve the Chicken: Turn the Instant Pot off, and open the pressure valve. Once the lid has unlocked, you can serve your orange chicken over rice with sesame seeds and green onions. Enjoy!  
    Sesame seeds, Green onions, Basmati rice or cauliflower rice
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

4.22 from 28 votes



Storage Directions:
Place this leftover chicken dish in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. To freeze, simply place it in a freezer-safe container with a layer of wax paper on top. Chill until it reaches refrigerator temperature and within 24 hours transfer it to the freezer. You can freeze this chicken for up to 3 to 4 months in a freezer-safe container. Reheat the chicken in a skillet over medium-low heat, just long enough to warm it through. Keep it covered with a lid to help the dish retain heat and moisture.


Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 991mg, Potassium: 552mg, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 145IU, Vitamin C: 30.1mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 0.9mg

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

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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  1. How do you make this without it burning to the bottom of the pan? I did everything as instructed and still got the burn alert.

    1. Hi Stephanie! The biggest thing to do to prevent this is to make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot REALLY good before sealing it. Also, if it keeps happening you can always add a touch of water/broth to give it a little more moisture. Too much of the sauce could have evaporated off before you had the chance to close the lid. This can happen if you forgot to close the pressure valve or if you sauteed the sauce too long. Hope this helps!

      1. I also got the “burn” alert when making this recipe. You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact I was using an 8 qt Instant Pot vs your 6 qt? Despite the burnt bottom of the insert, the chicken came out delicious! Thank you.

        1. Hi Dan! An 8-qt. pot could definitely be the cause of this. Try adding a touch more liquid next time (~1/4 cup) and see if this helps! Also, scraping the bottom of the pot is a must to prevent this error, too. Thanks for your question!

  2. If I wanted to add broccoli to this recipe when would be the best time to add it in? Still getting comfortable with my instant pot and the timings.

    Thank you!!

    1. Oh, broccoli will be great in here, Emily! I would release the pressure once the initial 5 minutes are up (ignoring the 10 minute NPR instructions), turn the Instant Pot to the saute function, and cook your broccoli with the chicken for 4-5 minutes, or until it is done to your liking. Would love to know how it turns out! Thanks for the question!

  3. You still show soy sauce in step 4 so I was a bit confused. I’m assuming hats supposed to be the aminos?

    1. Hi Jess! Yes, you can use soy sauce and coconut aminos interchangeable if you are not Paleo, but definitely want to use the coconut aminos if you are! Thanks for the question 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This dish tasted amazing and was so easy! The chicken was unbelievably tender. Being gf I didn’t think I could eat dishes like this any more and I’m so glad I found this recipe. I am new to cooking/baking and I’ll definitely be making this meal again.

    1. Yay!! That’s so great to hear, Laura! It’s amazing how far gluten-free ingredients have come in the past few years. Thanks so much for your comment and rating!

    1. Yay Janna!! So so happy you enjoyed it and that your new Instant Pot endeavors have been a success! Thanks so much for the rating and review 🙂

  5. Just want you to be aware that both soy sauce and tamari are not paleo. Soybeans are a legume and therefore not allowed. There’s already a lot of misinformation out there regarding what is and is not considered paleo, so thought I’d let you know. I will be trying this tonight (with coconut aminos) and excited to see how it turns out!

    1. Hi Alia! My sincere apologies for the confusion! I have updated the recipe to reflect the correct ingredients (with the other variations in the notes!) Thanks for pointing this out. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  6. The pictures look delicious! Fortunately for me, I’m eating some grains including rice which is in the picture. I endured cauliflower rice for years but I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore. It isn’t Paleo, but I like to base a lot of my cooking off of Paleo concepts to keep it free of other things I don’t eat.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Bonnie! I definitely agree that rice tastes much better than cauli rice 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        I made this tonight and I loved it! My husband said it was done well but he’s not a fan of those flavours. I didn’t realize until now that I automatically used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce as a habit for paleo cooking. I don’t do soy in any shape or form. I would make it again if it was just for me or anybody but my husband. I made a triple batch because I have an 8qt and like to have leftovers. I didn’t have chili garlic paste, but I had some red Thai curry paste which has similar flavours and it went really well. I made it a bit more spicy than planned but it was nice to contrast the sweetness. I cooked it the 5 min as stated but sautéed about 8 minutes because there was so much chicken to cook. Having never eaten or cooked orange chicken before, I’m quite pleased that this turned out so well!

        1. So so happy you enjoyed it, Bonnie! Coconut aminos are a great substitution for soy sauce in Paleo cooking. Thanks so much for the comment and rating 🙂

    1. You should not have to double the time, Hannah, it will just take longer for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. Thanks for the question!