Try this Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe if you’re looking for an easy one pot dinner. It's so simple to make at home that you’ll stop ordering Chinese orange chicken takeout.
Why this recipe works
Orange chicken made in the Instant Pot is an easy weeknight meal your whole family will love.
It’s a one pot chicken recipe, making for easy cleanup
It’s versatile since you can use chicken breasts or thighs. Use whatever’s on sale or you have in the freezer.
You can double the recipe to make plenty of leftovers. That way you’ll have something to warm up for lunch or dinner the next day.
How to make instant pot orange chicken
Cooking the chicken: You sauté the chicken right in the Instant Pot until it’s golden brown – 2 to 3 minutes.
When you’re sautéing the chicken, make sure to stir the chicken so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. (The olive oil and preheating the Instant Pot will help prevent sticking as well.)
Doing it this way makes sure that the chicken is nice and tender and the juices don't escape.
Make the orange sauce: Make the sauce separately (directions below). Add it to the chicken in the Instant Pot and stir.
Cook the chicken in the sauce. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Use a 10 minute Natural Release, a Quick Release to vent any remaining pressure.
Then turn off the heat. Then use the sauté function on Low.
Make the slurry: A slurry is the combination of cornstarch and a liquid (in this case, orange juice). It’s used as a thickening agent when making sauces.
(If you add just the cornstarch, you’d end up with a lumpy sauce!)
Add the slurry and cook: Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring once in a while.
How to serve orange chicken made in your Instant Pot
Serve this easy instant pot orange chicken with rice, vegetables or noodles.
Rice: You can serve the orange chicken on any type of rice (white, brown or instant rice) or quinoa. Whatever you have in the pantry!
Veggies: Serve it with your favorite stir fry or sautéed vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, asparagus, sliced bell peppers, or snow pea pods (Chinese pea pods).
Noodles: Use what you have in the pantry – wide noodles, skinny noodles, gluten free, whole wheat – up to you!
Tips for making the best pressure cooker orange chicken
Low carb or Keto? If you’re on a keto or low carb diet, you can substitute Swerve Sweetener, Brown for the brown sugar.
You can also use a lower carb orange juice like Tropicana Trop50.
Grating the ginger and zesting the orange: I like using a citrus grater/zester tool to grate ginger and zest oranges.
I’ve used my Zesty Citrus Lemon Zester & Cheese Grater for over five years and love it.
Garlic: Use jarred minced garlic from the store to save time. I won’t tell if you don’t!
Gluten free? To make this orange chicken instant pot recipe gluten free, use tamari sauce instead of regular soy sauce.
Pressure cooking tips
Avoid a burn warning: Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot when adding the orange sauce to the chicken.
If browned bits are stuck to the bottom of the pot during pressure cooking, it could cause a burn warning.
So does food stuck to the rim, which prevents a good seal.
If you do get a burn warning and can’t figure out why, read this Instant Pot Burn Message article from Paint the Kitchen Red for lots of great tips!
Timing: Remember that an Instant Pot needs to come to pressure before the cooking countdown begins.
How long this takes depends on a number of factors, like the size of your pressure cooker.
I haven’t added pressurizing to the cook time since everyone’s pressure cooker if different.
So keep this in mind when starting dinner. (Give yourself another 30 to 45 minutes more time than the recipe calls for, just in case.)
Looking for more Instant Pot recipes?
Need to make a bunch of hard boiled eggs? Try this Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs recipe!
My family also loves Instant Pot Chili with Pumpkin. It’s a terrific way to use up leftover pumpkin from holiday recipes.
- 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or Swerve Sweetener, Brown
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- Zest of 1 orange
- Salt and pepper to taste
Orange Sauce Slurry
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Heat Instant pot to Sauté, add olive oil and heat
- Add the chicken, and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
- In a small bowl combine the orange juice, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, orange zest, and sriracha sauce.
- Add sauce to chicken and stir together until well combined
- Close lid and select Manual. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Use a 10-minute natural release and turn off the heat.
- Select the Sauté function on low.
- In a small bowl combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons orange juice to make the slurry. Whisk together until there are no lumps.
- Add slurry to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook orange chicken for 2-3 minutes until it begins to thicken.
- Allow orange chicken to sit for about 5-7 minutes while the sauce thickens more.
- Serve Instant Pot Orange Chicken with rice or vegetables of your choice.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 732mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 40g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.