Instant Pot Orange Chicken

5 from 4 votes
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This juicy, tender chicken is served in a scrumptious, fruity sauce. Served on steamed rice, every bite is bursting with flavor. Because of the magic of the Instant Pot, the dish contains way less oil and sugar than the restaurant version but retains the great taste. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Saucy Instant Pot orange chicken

If you’re intimidated by Chinese cooking, you’re not alone! Even though I was born in and grew up in China, I couldn’t do a proper stir fry for years, and sometimes I still screw things up at home. Getting familiar with a new cuisine and learning to cook with a wok can be very challenging.

That’s why I’ve been focusing on easier approaches when it comes to cooking Chinese takeout. I’ve developed many recipes that don’t use a wok, but still give you that restaurant-style taste. Examples include Cashew Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Crispy Sesame Chicken, and Beef Chow Fun.

Today I want to share how to make orange chicken in your Instant Pot. There are several reasons why you’d want to use an Instant Pot to make this dish.

Saucy Instant Pot orange chicken garnished with green onion and orange zest

Why Instant Pot orange chicken?

1. Much healthier results

Chinese restaurants use a few cups oil to fry the chicken. I’ve developed a home cooked stovetop version that requires less oil, about 1/3 cup. But this recipe further reduces the oil to 2 tablespoons. Plus, while this recipe requires way less oil, the flavor remains great.

2. Easy cooking process

You simply need to brown the chicken in the Instant pot, mix it with the sauce, then set the timer. The process is so much easier and you can leave most of the work to your Instant Pot.

3. Restaurant-style sauce made easy

The secret to making the most fragrant sauce is to use plenty of fresh aromatics and fold some orange zest into the dish at the end. The ginger, garlic, and wine add tons of flavor to the sauce. Different from most recipes, I add the rice vinegar with the orange zest at the end of the cooking. Pressure cooking tends to weaken the tangy taste of vinegar. Adding it at the end of the cooking will make your sauce brighter and richer.

That’s it! The cooking is super easy. In the end you will be able to create restaurant-style tender, juicy chicken with a scrumptious sauce. Only it’s healthier! Serve it on top of steamed rice as a main, and enjoy 🙂

Instant Pot orange chicken served with white rice

More Instant Pot recipes

Instant Pot orange chicken close up

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Easy Instant Pot Orange Chicken - Juicy, tender chicken is served in a scrumptious, fruity sauce. This healthy version contains way less oil and sugar than the restaurant version but retains the great taste. {Gluten-Free adaptable} #pressurecooker #recipes #asian #chinese

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

5 from 4 votes
This juicy, tender chicken is served in a scrumptious, fruity sauce. Served on steamed rice, every bite is bursting with flavor. Because of the magic of the Instant Pot, the dish contains way less oil and sugar than the restaurant version but retains the great taste. {Gluten-Free adaptable}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: instant pot, pressure cooker
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (1.5 lbs / 680 g), cut into 1” (2 cm) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (from 1 orange) (*Footnote 1) (Optional)

MARINADE

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

THICKENER

  • 2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) rice vinegar

Instructions

  • Combine the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil into the Instant Pot. Swirl to coat the bottom. Turn on the Saute function of the Instant Pot and wait until it shows as hot.
  • Spread half of the chicken in a single layer. Let cook without touching, until the bottom turns golden, 1 to 2 minutes. (*Footnote 2) Turn to cook the other side for 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Cook the rest of the chicken in the same way.
  • Add the chicken back into the pot. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the sauce and use a wooden spatula to scrape the bottom, to release any stuck bits.
  • Close and seal the lid. Use Manual mode on high pressure for 5 minutes. Use fast pressure release when done.
  • Turn on Saute mode. (*Footnote 3)
  • Mix the cornstarch with the rice vinegar and whisk until the cornstarch dissolves completely. Pour into the Instant Pot. Add the orange zest, if using. Stir and cook until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the Instant Pot and immediately transfer everything to a serving plate.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice.

Notes

  1. To make the dish gluten free, use tamari or coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce, and use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.
  2. Orange zest will add a refreshing, strong citrus taste to the dish. If you are in a hurry, you can skip this ingredient and still get a very tasty result.
  3. When browning the chicken in your Instant Pot, not moving the chicken will make it much easier to release the chicken and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. If you want to add some veggies to your meal, dice some bell peppers and throw them in before adding the cornstarch. Cook them for 1 minute before adding the cornstarch slurry.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g, Calories: 477kcal, Carbohydrates: 34.4g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 17.4g, Saturated Fat: 4.1g, Cholesterol: 126mg, Sodium: 938mg, Potassium: 445mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 23.5g, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 2.3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
Easy Instant Pot Orange Chicken - Juicy, tender chicken is served in a scrumptious, fruity sauce. This healthy version contains way less oil and sugar than the restaurant version but retains the great taste. {Gluten-Free adaptable} #pressurecooker #recipes #asian #chinese

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Pansy says:

    5 stars
    Grreat recipe Awesome food

  2. Erica says:

    5 stars
    can we use any other oil instead of peanut oil?

    • Maggie says:

      Yes, vegetable oil or other types work too. Happy cooking!

  3. Heather says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe and well balanced flavors! It was a family-pleaser and very fresh tasting with the orange peel! I doubled the whole recipe, and there was plenty of sauce to cover the quick-steamed broccoli and bell peppers I added to make it a well rounded, colorful meal. It may be quicker to just make it in a large skillet next time, and possibly add a little crushed red pepper for heat. Not sure what the point of using the IP was, when you still have to pre-cook the chicken, and then thicken the sauce afterward, unless you don’t have a stove top available, or you’re making a large quantity. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  4. Joyce says:

    5 stars
    This is a terrific recipe! Such an amazing orange flavour! When I make it again, I will cut the chicken into bigger pieces because 1 inch cubes “shrunk” a lot. And maybe half the cornstarch in the thickener cuz it was REALLY thick. Otherwise as written. We ate it on rice, with your Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, and Lumpia Shanghai as an appetizer. Great dinner with yummy leftovers for lunch today! Thanks so much!

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