Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken 

This Healthy One-Skillet Chinese Orange Chicken recipe has a homemade citrus sauce that is so simple, and yet so incredibly flavorful. A healthy Asian inspired chicken dinner that tastes great served on a bed of rice and some of your favorite greens.

overhead shot of one skillet Chinese style orange chicken served with snow peas and rice

I can’t exactly explain it, but I’m always a little bit intimidated whenever I’m trying to cook Asian food – I always assume that I’ll never quite get it right. All those mysteries of the Far East have always been so much more easily accessible by ringing up my favorite Chinese takeout place and having it show up at my door. All hot and restaurant-style “authentic”, just 30-45 minutes later.

Chinese restaurant style sticky orange chicken served over a bed of rice with a side of snow peas

But if the year 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that those takeout bills add up! Not only that, but some of us have messy kids at home who are going to grow up and start enjoying takeout rather than Picasso-ing the table with it, and that’s going to get even more expensive! What’s a girl to do?

sticky one skillet orange chicken served over rice with a side of snow peas

Well I will tell you – make your favorite Sticky Chinese Orange Chicken at home!

one skillet Chinese orange chicken served with rice and greens

Enter my Healthy One Skillet Orange Chicken recipe. One of my all-time favorite takeout dishes that I’ve done my best to recreate with a minimum of fuss. Is it westernized? Without a doubt – just as most of the takeout menu items we’re familiar with are – but the focus here was on making this Orange Chicken recipe accessible, and as stress-free as possible while trying to stay true to the flavors I so often crave.

How to make One Skillet Chinese Orange Chicken:

chicken and snow peas being sauteed in a a skillet

Step 1 – Sprinkle the chicken with plenty of salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet or a big wok over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken chunks and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned and nearly cooked through. To make sure they brown nicely, move the chicken pieces around as little as possible. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan into a separate bowl.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients except cornstarch (orange juice, rice vinegar, chicken broth, coconut aminos, maple syrup, anise or fennel seeds, orange zest and pepper). Set aside.

Tip: Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through. Make sure to remove smaller chunks from the pan if you think they are done already. 

Step 2 –  Heat the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the snow peas (or veggies of choice) and stir fry until cooked through but still a bit crunchy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside too.

picture collage demonstrating how to make sticky orange glaze for Chinese orange chicken

Step 3 – If needed, add a tsp more oil. Quickly cook the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds then pour the orange sauce in. Bring to a boil and cook (still boiling) for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce reduces a lot and thickens. You will know it has thickened when you scrape the pan and it pulls away from the pan.

Step 4 – Mix the cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup water and stir into the pan whisking vigorously. Let simmer a minute or two. The sauce should now be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When the sauce has thickened to your liking, turn off the heat and add the cooked chicken with all its juices back into the pan. Stir to coat the chicken chunks with the orange sauce. You may also add the veggies back to the skillet if you want them covered with sauce too.

overhead shot of Chinese orange chicken served over rice with a side of snow peas

Serve orange chicken over rice (or cauliflower rice), sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions, alongside the sauteed veggies.

Tips:

  • Feel free to use other citrus fruits than the ones I’ve used here. Even the quantities used can be tinkered with since you’re reducing it anyways, just take it to whichever consistency you’re happy with.
  • This makes for a great make-ahead meal, whether the rice is stored separately or along with the chicken and sauce. This sauce is so delicious that soaking your rice in it doesn’t hurt a bit!
  • Serve atop cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative.
  • Any sort of Asian greens (bok-choy, snow pea greens, mustard greens etc) goes great in this recipe, whether you’re subbing them for the snow peas or just adding them in. So does charred asparagus.
5 from 6 votes
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Healthy One Skillet Chinese Orange Chicken 

This Healthy One-Skillet Chinese Orange Chicken recipe has a homemade citrus sauce that is so simple, and yet so incredibly flavorful. A healthy Asian inspired chicken dinner that tastes best served on a bed of rice and some green beans.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Chinese orange chicken, orange chicken recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 565 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks (about 4 breasts)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cups snow peas or asparagus, broccoli florets or your favorite stir fry veggies
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup scallions chopped

Orange Sauce

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth you can use white wine or 1/4 cup water and ½ tsp broth powder instead
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp ground anise or ground fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with plenty of salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet or a big wok over medium high heat. Add the seasoned chicken chunks and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned and nearly cooked through. To make sure they brown nicely, move the chicken pieces around as little as possible. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan into a separate bowl.

  2. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Chicken should be about 90% cooked through. Make sure to remove smaller chunks from the pan if you think they are done already.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients except cornstarch (orange juice, rice vinegar, chicken broth, coconut aminos, maple syrup, anise or fennel seeds, orange zest and pepper). Set aside.

  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil in the same skillet over medium high heat, add the snow peas (or veggies of choice) and stir fry until cooked through but still a bit crunchy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside too.

  5. If needed, add a tsp more oil. Quickly cook the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds then pour the orange sauce in.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook (still boiling) for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce reduces a lot and thickens. You will know it has thickened when you scrape the pan and it pulls away from the pan.

  7. Mix the cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup water and stir into the pan whisking vigorously. Let simmer a minute or two. The sauce should now be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  8. When the sauce has thickened to your liking, turn off the heat and add the cooked chicken with all its juices back into the pan. Stir to coat the chicken chunks with the orange sauce. You may also add the veggies back to the skillet if you want them covered with sauce too.

  9. Serve orange chicken over rice (or cauliflower rice), sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions, alongside the sauteed veggies.

Recipe Notes

  • Feel free to use other citrus fruits than the ones I've used here. Even the quantities used can be tinkered with since you're reducing it anyways, just take it to whichever consistency you're happy with.
  • This makes for a great make-ahead meal, whether the rice is stored separately or along with the chicken and sauce. This sauce is so delicious that soaking your rice in it doesn't hurt a bit!
  • Serve atop cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative.
  • Any sort of Asian greens (bok-choy, snow pea greens, mustard greens etc) goes great in this recipe, whether you're subbing them for the snow peas or just adding them in. So does charred asparagus.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy One Skillet Chinese Orange Chicken 
Amount Per Serving (1 /4)
Calories 565 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 143mg48%
Sodium 753mg33%
Potassium 1339mg38%
Carbohydrates 36g12%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 23g26%
Protein 55g110%
Vitamin A 1109IU22%
Vitamin C 111mg135%
Calcium 106mg11%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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11 Comments
  1. This sounds like a dish packed full of flavour! I love orange chicken, especially when it is homemade and healthy like this!

  2. I love how quick and easy this is. And I love that it’s gluten and dairy free, but not vegan. That combo has been really hard for me to find for some reason.

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