Instant Pot Orange Chicken is a flavor-packed chicken dinner made in less than 30 minutes! Made with tender chunks of chicken and a sweet and savory citrus sauce, this healthier spin on a popular Chinese take-out dish is sure to be a family favorite!
This Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe makes an incredibly simple meal that happens to be kid-friendly and picky eater approved--that sweet sauce gets them every time! Serve over cauliflower rice, over Instant Pot Rice, or Instant Pot Quinoa for a hearty, healthy meal.
Why Use the Instant Pot?
One of my family's favorite meals is Orange Chicken. It is a simple dish to make on the stove, but I wanted to give it a try in the Instant Pot.
The results? Perfection!
The recipe for Instant Pot Orange Chicken results in more of the delicious sauce and requires less hands-on time--which is great for busy weeknights.
- Chicken--You can use either boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless thighs for this recipe. You can even use frozen chicken with a few modifications.
- Oranges--Because this recipe uses orange zest and orange juice, it makes sense to use freshly squeezed orange juice. Use a Microplane to zest your orange first and then slice in half and juice the orange. Of course, you can use prepared orange juice in place of fresh orange juice!
- Soy Sauce--Low sodium soy sauce is best to control the sodium content. Use Tamari for a Gluten-Free Instant Pot Orange Chicken.
- Brown Sugar--Brown Sugar is my sweetener of choice for this recipe, as I love the way it plays off the orange notes. However, honey is more traditional, so feel free to substitute honey for brown sugar in equal amounts. Note: You can also increase honey or brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter Orange Chicken, but I would not increase it to more than ¼ cup.
- Rice Wine Vinegar--Rice wine vinegar is a mild vinegar used often used in Asian dishes. If you don't have rice wine vinegar, white distilled vinegar will work.
- Fresh Ginger--Be sure to use freshly grated ginger root--NOT ground ginger, the flavor can not be compared. A money-saving tip is to peel your ginger root and place it in a freezer-safe bag--it will keep for a month and can be grated fresh right from the freezer.
- Garlic--Freshly minced or jarred garlic works great for this recipe.
- Cornstarch Slurry--Cornstarch Slurry is just cornstarch that has been dissolved in a liquid that helps thicken up a sauce. This is added after pressure cooking.
- Prepare your chicken by slicing it into 1-inch chunks.
- Turn your Instant Pot to saute, add in oil and allow to heat.
- Add in the cubed chicken and saute until JUST browned. About 2 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Mix together the orange zest, orange juice, garlic, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar together.
- Pour over the chicken.
- Pour the prepared orange sauce over the chicken and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the vent knob to the sealed position.
- Hit manual (for more information check out Instant Pot functions) and then adjust the cooking time by using the plus or minus buttons to 5 minutes.
- After cook time has elapsed, let rest 10 minutes and then do a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- Turn Instant Pot back to saute.
- Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until fully combined.
- Whisk in the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened.
- Serve over steamed rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. I love to top with sesame seeds and green onions, but those are totally optional.
Yes, you can absolutely make this recipe with frozen chicken. However, you will need to keep a few things in mind. Instead of searing the chicken, place frozen chicken breasts or thighs in the inner pot. Pour the orange sauce over the chicken and then set the cooking time to 11 minutes. Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Do a quick release and remove chicken breasts to a cutting board and cut into large chunks or shred chicken and thicken the sauce with the cornstarch slurry as directed.
Use Tamari to keep this recipe gluten-free.
Yes. I have used the pot-in-pot cooking method to cook the rice above the chicken. To do this, place rinsed long-rain white rice in a stainless steel bowl with an equal amount of water. Place a trivet above the chicken and set the bowl on the trivet. The rice needs a bit longer to account for the stainless steel bowl, so the cooking time of 5 minutes with at least 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken--You can permanently put down the take-out menu, and enjoy a more wholesome version of this take-out favorite.
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef--This Chinese-American dish is a favorite recipe that is so simple and much healthier to make at home--especially when you use your Instant Pot!
- Instant Pot Spaghetti--One pot, no draining, and the pasta is so much more flavorful!
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese--Creamy, dreamy, and easy!
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff--Comfort food made in one pan! The noodles cook in the sauce absorbing all the flavor.
- Instant Pot Hamburger Helper--A true family favorite!
I would love for you to leave a comment and review below if you enjoyed this recipe for Instant Pot Orange Chicken.
Instant Pot Orange Chicken
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
- ¾ cup orange juice
- zest of 1 orange
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce Tamari for Gluten Free
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbs fresh ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 bunch of green onions chopped (optional)
- Turn your Instant Pot to saute. Allow to heat up for 1 to 2 minutes add in ½ -1 tablespoon oil and let heat for 1 minute.
- Add in chicken and saute until JUST browned--about 2-3 minutes and then turn Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in orange juice and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Add in orange zest, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic to instant pot.
- Close the pot, and set the valve to seal.
- Set the manual button to "high pressure" and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Let naturally release for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release.
- Turn Instant Pot back to saute. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until fully combined. Add cornstarch slurry to the pressure cooker and stir and boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve with steamed rice, cauliflower rice and scallions if desired.
This recipe was originally published in 2017 but updated in 2021 with new pictures and tips.