This slow cooker orange chicken recipe is better (and healthier!) than any take-out! Meet the perfect, easy weeknight dinner!
Looking for more weeknight meals? Try this 30 minute instant pot butter chicken!
Orange chicken is one of those guilty, take-out pleasures for me. I’m not gonna lie, there was a time when Panda Express orange chicken was a go-to on nights I was too tired to cook. This recipe is the perfect go between for this unhealthy habit. Not only is it super easy (spoiler alert, the slow cooker does all the work!), but it also is gluten free and dairy free! Say goodbye to sore stomachs and bloating!
Making this slow cooker orange chicken
This orange chicken recipe follows all of my requirements for an easy weeknight dinner. It requires very little prep. And afterwards, you just throw it into the slow cooker, and let it do its thing!
For this recipe, I do brown my chicken before I put it in the slow cooker. This is just because I find it easier and quicker than cooking the chicken inside the crockpot. I also like the browning/breading that happens when I fry it before. I first mix cornstarch and salt and pepper in a reusable plastic bag or a container. Then I add my sliced raw chicken and toss them in the mix until they are thoroughly coated. Then I fry my chicken on medium-high heat in the olive oil. After the chicken is browned, I add it to the slow cooker pot. Pro tip: Make sure you grease the inside of the slow cooker. You will thank me when you go to wash your pot. Then I mix the rest of the ingredients and pour it over.
You can cook the chicken for 2 hours on low or 1 hour on high. Just make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165º. Eat it with a hot bowl of rice and garnish with chopped green onions!
- 2 to 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Prepare the slow cooker liner with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a gallon-sized reusable freezer bag, shake together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and brown the chicken in batches until browned on both sides. Move the chicken to the slow cooker liner.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour it over the chicken in the slow cooker.
5. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 2 hours on low or 1 hour on high, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
6. Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onions. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 576Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 221mgSodium: 647mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 76g