Instant Pot Orange Chicken—tender bites of chicken in a flavorful orange sauce. And it’s made fast and easy in your Instant Pot.
Related: SLOW COOKER orange chicken recipe
Instant Pot Orange Chicken
Orange chicken is so tasty and it’s a popular option at Chinese takeout restaurants. Why not make it at home instead? My version is probably much healthier than most restaurants since the chicken is not breaded and fried. The sauce tastes amazing and the little secret is that there’s not only orange juice in the recipe but lemon juice. This gives a great citrus taste but believe me the chicken doesn’t taste lemon-y at all!
How do I zest an orange?
The other secret to orange chicken is using fresh orange zest. It just bring so much orange flavor. Don’t skip this ingredient!
- Wash the orange.
- Use a microplane* or the smallest holes of an ordinary grater.
- Gently grate the skin off of the orange part only. Avoid grating off the white pith of the orange. It’s very bitter! Rotate the orange until all the orange part is grated off.
- Scrape the grated orange peel off of the grater/microplane and use in your recipe.
Can I use chicken breasts instead?
I know that many of you will be asking if you can use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs. You can. I’ve made it both ways. By far I prefer the chicken thighs because the meat is much more tender and it has a lot more flavor. If you use chicken breasts use a 3 minute pressure cooking time instead of 4 minutes.
What should I serve with orange chicken?
White, basmati or jasmine rice are all good options to serve with orange chicken. I haven’t tried the pot in pot method with this recipe but I think that it would work! If your rice isn’t quite done when you open the pot then cover the rice and allow the rice to steam, while you are tending to your chicken. I like to use my stainless steel pan* to cook my rice in. Sometimes I use a Fat Daddios cake pan*.
Some other good options to serve with Instant Pot orange chicken are stir fry vegetables, steamed broccoli, riced cauliflower, fried rice or lo mein noodles. I really liked having the rice to soak up some of the delicious sauce.
Here is a Instant Pot rice cooking chart that may be a good resource for you:
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What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?
To make Instant Pot Orange Chicken I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
Tender bites of chicken in a flavorful orange sauce. And it’s made fast and easy in your Instant Pot.
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, see note)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- Zest from one large orange
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp diced green onions
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 cup brown sugar (see note)
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch + 3 Tbsp cold water
- Prepare your chicken. Blot it dry with a paper towel. Then trim off excess fat. I like to use kitchen shears. Then cut the chicken into bite size chunks.
- Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. When the display says HOT add in the oil and swirl it around. Add in the chicken, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Then turn off the Instant Pot.
- In a bowl stir together the orange juice, zest, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onions and sriracha. Pour the mixture into the Instant Pot.
- Cover and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 4 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit for 5 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Turn the Instant Pot to the saute setting. Stir in the brown sugar. In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and water. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the Instant Pot and let the sauce thicken for a couple minutes. Turn off the pot.
- Serve the orange chicken with extra green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve the chicken over rice, if desired.
If you use chicken breasts use a 3 minute pressure cooking time instead of 4 minutes.
There is lots of sauce for this chicken. You can increase the amount of chicken by 1 pound and not increase the amount of sauce.
Brown sugar: I use 1 cup of brown sugar in this recipe. Many people have made it with half that much or even less.
For the 3 quart pot: Keep the recipe the same, no changes. For the 8 quart pot: Increase the sauce 1 1/2 times so that the pot can come to pressure. Alternately you can make it pot in pot and keep the same ratios as above.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Asian
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.