Instant Pot Orange Chicken

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This Instant Pot Orange Chicken is the most popular chicken recipe on Corrie Cooks!

It is so easy to make and even if you are new to the Instant Pot,  you can get a delicious meal in only 10 minutes!

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

Yes, you can use frozen chicken for this recipe of chicken in orange sauce

I have received this question for other recipes that incorporate chicken, so I thought it’s best to cover it here as well.

However, the recipe asks for small cubes of chicken breast, so there are two options here. You either chop the chicken and freeze it like this to be used at a later date, or you use the Instant Pot to cook the frozen chicken first.

Can I use chicken thighs?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs for this Instant Pot orange chicken recipe. Keep in mind that it’s best to use chicken breast, but you can replace it with chicken thighs if you’re in a pinch. 

How to Zest an Orange?

In my book, zesting an orange is rather easy. But, if you’ve never done it, I should start by saying that the zest is the colored part of an orange’s peel

It’s important to understand that you don’t need to take the yellow or white part of the peel when you’re zesting – just the orange part!

Now, you can use a grater, a paring knife, or a potato peeler, but if you want the zest to integrate nicely into the food (which is the case now) I recommend using a fine grater. If you want longer strips (like for decoration purposes), a knife or a potato peeler are better choices. 

What can I do if I don’t have oranges?

In the case you don’t have fresh oranges laying around, you can always use some substitutes such as dried zest (from a store or home-made), orange extract, or grated candied peel. 

Do I have do use cornstarch?

As you can see in the recipe, that the sauce should have a nice, smooth, thick texture. To get there, you need to add a thickening agent. This is where the cornstarch comes in. 

But if you don’t have cornstarch or don’t want to use it, it’s fine.

Cornstarch substitute

If you don’t have cornstarch, you can always use flour. You will need to use 2 tbsp of flour instead of 1 tbsp of cornstarch,  as cornstarch is pure starch which has twice the thickening power of flour. 

To make sure there won’t be any lumps, it’s best to mix the flour with a bit of cool liquid before you add it to the sauce. In this case, you can use water or orange juice. 1:1 ratio is enough. So 1 tbsp of liquid for 1 tbsp of flour.

How to add cornstarch?

Can I use store-bought orange juice?

It’s best to use fresh oranges to make the juice, but this recipe also works with store-bought orange juice.

Can I use store-bought orange chicken sauce?

You can buy orange chicken sauce at the store, but I wouldn’t recommend that. The sauce you make at home is ten times more delicious and healthier!

Other tips

  • You also have the option to mix the boiled chicken breast with the sauce (skip the frying step). The result will be less crispy and maybe some of the flavors will be lost, but it’s a way to avoid the frying (for health purposes). 
  • A few minutes before the chicken is fully cooked, it’s best to add all the sauce ingredients (without the thickening agent) in a separate bowl and stir everything together. Then, you should add the mixture to the fried chicken.   

If you like the sweet sauce, check out this Instant Pot orange meatballs recipe.

Serving

This is a colorful dish and the sauce is a wonderful combination of sweet and spicy, so it works great with plain Basmati rice, Jasmine rice or brown rice if you are feeling healthy.  

If you want to add more color and make it a bit more interesting, I recommend adding a few steamed vegetables on the plate. It works extremely well with broccoli, green beans, or cauliflower.  

Also, don’t forget to sprinkle some fresh parsley or chives and some orange zest. The effect will be astonishing! 

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How to make orange chicken in Instant Pot?

Gather your ingredients:

Heat oil in the Instant Pot. Add chicken and saute until browned.

Add orange juice, tomato sauce, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, rice wine, and brown sugar. Stir gently.

Lock lid into place and cook chicken at High pressure for 5 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is done, perform a quick pressure release.

Mix water and cornstarch and pour over the chicken.

Stir and saute for 2 minutes.

Add some extra orange juice if the chicken is dry.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken
4.53 from 133 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: brown sugar, chicken, orange, Orange Chicken, rice wine
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp garlic powder minced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 orange zested
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Instructions
  • Pour oil into the Instant Pot and press “Saute”.
  • Add chicken cubes and cook for 5 minutes on "saute", until they brown on each side.
  • Add orange juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, rice wine, garlic, and orange zest and stir.
  • Close the lid and cook at high pressure for about 5 minutes.
  • Once done, do a quick pressure release.
  • Open the lid and press “Saute” again.
  • Mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 1 tbsp of water, add it to the sauce and stir.
  • If the chicken has dried too much, add some more orange juice.
  • Cook for 2 minutes on "saute", until the sauce has reached the desired texture with no lumps.
  • Enjoy! You can serve it with rice and sprinkle with fresh parsley on top.

Tasty Instant Pot Orange Chicken

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This recipe is part of our 1001 Instant Pot recipes project, a huge collection of free, easy and delicious recipes.

34 thoughts on “Instant Pot Orange Chicken

  1. Recipe looks great, look forward to making it. Definitely one of the healthier Orange Chicken recipes I’ve found on Pinterest. When you say rice wine, do you mean rice wine vinegar or mirin?

    1. I’m using a bottle of “rice wine vinegar”. I guess rice vinegar would get you a similar result. Let me know how it was 🙂

    2. I used rice wine which is also called mirin (a Japanese rice wine). Rice wine vinegar is a completely different ingredient.

      1. I made this stove top and it was fast and rather easy… I coated my chicken chunks in egg then cornstarch to velvet the chicken… And I used ketchup rather than tomato sauce…and finally I used some white wine I had rather than the rice wine…..we LOVED it!!

  2. I’m confused about orange zest. I thought zest was when you take a zester and scrape/grate the orange peel. Then I read at the end of the recipe to “remove the zest”. Did you mean we should have put whole orange PEEL in?

  3. not bad! i followed every ingredient and step except i added 4 to 5 chunky pieces of tangering skin into pot, came out with a perfect orange taste. i also used red wine not vinegar.

  4. This was a very good recipe. The only thing I would change is to use some Orange Juice Frozen Concentrate to bump up the orange flavor.

    This is a keeper, will make it agian.

  5. We enjoyed this meal. Used 2# chicken thighs instead of breasts. Tips: 10 minutes NPR instead of quick release; stir 1 Tblsp water into corn starch to dissolve before adding to pot.

  6. My husband loved it. I didn’t. It wasn’t flavorful enough…maybe add hoisin sauce? It should also have been hot and spicy, since that’s what I’m used to in a Chinese restaurant. I may try it once more, but spicy. Since there are only two of us, I used one pound of chicken but didn’t cut back on the sauce and I’m glad. I also had to add more cornstarch to thicken it more.

  7. Hey Corrie,
    This looks delicious, is there something you can use instead of rice wine vinegar, or can you leave it out completely. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes! I love the flavor of rice wine, but you could use rice wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar. I would not leave it out completely, because the acidity balances the dish.

  8. I have had to omit all citrus from my diet. You mentioned using orange extract. How much would I use of that with this recipe?

    1. If you are able to have orange extract, you can add just 1-2 tsp. for orange flavor. You may need to add more water or stock to make up for the liquid that is lost by not using the orange juice too.

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