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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Even my normally picky husband likes this! We do serve it with rice but everything is as written! Thank you for a great recipe I can add into my rotation!

    1. Yay, Sydney! I am so happy you and your hubby enjoy the recipe so much. Thanks so much for your comment and rating!

  2. This recipe looks great! I have a ton of lemons I needs to use though. What do you think about subbing the orange ingredients for lemon? I found a couple other Chinese lemon chicken but none with these yummy ingredients so I wanted to try this but with lemon?

    1. Hi Jenna!! LOVE the idea to use up what ingredients you have on hand. And yes! I think lemon juice would be spectacular in this, but I would reduce the amount of juice to 2/3 cup and increase the maple syrup to 1/3 cup to balance out the lemon’s tart flavor. Would love to hear how this turns out for you!

  3. 5 stars
    This was EXCELLENT! I do think the number of servings is a little under estimated. I swapped out boneless, skinless, chicken thighs and doubled the recipe. I made my own garlic pepper paste and used fresh squeezed/zested oranges. It was more involved than I had expected – largely because I took extra steps – but regardless, until you are familiar with the process, I recommend considering the prep time when putting this in the dinner rotation. So happy with this recipe, it gets a place of honor in our family favorites cookbook. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Oh wow, Marie!! So honored to be in the family favorites cookbook! And I bet it tasted SO good by using fresh oranges. Definitely worth the extra step. Thanks for your comment and rating 🙂

  4. Hey there!
    I was wondering if instead of maple syrup you can use honey or would that not give it the same flavor?

    1. You absolutely can, Abby! And I often encourage making swaps of honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar according to what you have in your pantry 🙂

    1. Hi Angela!! I’m so happy you and your fam have enjoyed it so much! Thanks so much for your comment and rating 🙂

    1. Yay, Michelle!! I am so happy you and your family enjoyed it so much. Thanks so much for letting me know and for leaving a comment/rating!

  5. 5 stars
    We love this recipe! It has become one of our family’s favorites – thank you! One question – we are wanting to make bigger batches than our InstantPot can handle, so we were thinking of doing a big batch in our dutch oven. Do u know what the conversion time/temp would be for that? I was thinking about 1 hour at 325 f? Would you put more liquid? THanks!

    1. Hi Morgan!! I am SO happy you all enjoy the recipe so much. I think doing a big batch in your oven would be a great idea. I would try 325 degrees for about 30-45 minutes (or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees). I don’t think you will need additional liquid, but do make sure it is covered with aluminum foil! Would love to know how this turns out for you!

  6. 5 stars
    So yummy!! I doubled the recipe and used cornstarch because my grocery store didn’t have tapioca starch. It came out perfectly cooked and I was skeptical of the sauté then 5 minute only cook time. This is only the 2nd thing I’ve made in the Instant Pot, but it is magical! The flavors are great in this. I added some steamed broccoli and served over cauliflower rice. Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Oh I love your idea to add the steamed broccoli and serve it over cauli rice. So happy you enjoyed the recipe, Marla! Thanks for the comment and rating!!

  7. 5 stars
    Oh em gee! Just finished eating this and it’s DELICIOUS. Instead of cauliflower I roasted broccoli florets and tossed them with the chicken when it was done. SO GOOD! Will make again for sure!