March 23, 2022

Healthy Orange Chicken

This healthy orange chicken recipe is so easy to make and full of delicious orange flavor. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Why I Love This Healthy Orange Chicken

  • It’s easy! – just mix a few things together, place the chicken on a sheet pan, simmer the sauce, and you’re done!
  • It’s customizable – make the orange sauce as sweet or as spicy as you like!
  • It’s gluten, grain, and dairy free – which makes it a great recipe for everyone, even those with common allergies.
  • It’s crispy and delicious – the chicken in this recipe gets pretty crispy right in the oven and the combination of crisp chicken with sweet sauce is PERFECT.

Watch How to Make This Recipe

healthy orange chicken ingredients

What You’ll Need to Make Orange Chicken

Egg: you’ll need one large egg for this recipe.

Coconut Aminos: these are common gluten free substitute for soy sauce. They tend to be less salty than soy sauce and have a bit of sweetness.

Sesame Oil: we’re using a little bit of sesame oil in the chicken marinade and sauce for just the right flavor.

Chicken Thighs: boneless skinless chicken thighs are my protein of choice for this recipe because they’re full of flavor, get crispy, and don’t dry out as quickly as chicken breast.

Tapioca Starch and Cassava Flour: this recipe combines both tapioca starch and cassava flour to create a light yet crispy coating on the chicken.

Orange Juice and Zest: the base of the orange sauce is orange juice and orange zest for an extra punch of orange flavor.

Arrowroot Starch: this is used to thicken the orange sauce a bit so that it evenly coats each piece of chicken.

Rice Vinegar: this subtly sweet vinegar helps to perfectly balance the orange sauce.

Honey: we’ll use just a bit of honey to help sweeten the sauce.

Garlic and Ginger: for the best results I recommend using both fresh garlic and ginger. They’ll give this recipe the best flavor.

Red Pepper Flakes: adds a little heat to the orange sauce.

chicken thigh pieces in marinade

Ingredient Substitutions and Notes

  • Egg – if you have an egg allergy, you can swap the egg for one tablespoon of almond or coconut milk.
  • Tapioca starch – while I prefer tapioca starch in this recipe you could sub it for arrowroot starch if that is all you have.
  • Honey – you can swap the honey for maple syrup if you prefer.
  • Coconut aminos – I highly recommend using coconut aminos in this recipe and not soy sauce or liquid aminos. Replacing the coconut aminos 1:1 with soy sauce will make the dish too salty.
  • Chicken thighs – usually boneless skinless chicken breast and chicken thighs can be used interchangeably in recipes but I highly recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe for the best results. Chicken thighs can cook longer before drying out which gives them the ability to get nice and crispy in the oven.

Helpful Kitchen Tools You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

mixing bowls

measuring cups

measuring spoons

shallow pan

large sheet pan

parchment paper

small sauce pan

whisk

baked chicken thigh pieces on sheet pan

How to Make Healthy Orange Chicken

Step One: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and brush the parchment with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.

Step Two: Add the egg, coconut aminos, and sesame oil, to a mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined and then add the chicken to the bowl. Stir until the chicken is well coated in the egg mixture.

Step Three: To another mixing bowl add the tapioca starch, cassava flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk together until well combined.

Step Four: Use your fingers to dredge the chicken, a few pieces at a time, in the cassava flour and tapioca mixture until well coated. Shake off any excess and then transfer the chicken pieces to the parchment lined and oiled sheet pan. Give the tops of the chicken pieces a liberal spray of avocado oil spray.

Step Five: Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until it is deep golden brown and crispy.

Step Six: While the chicken is cooking make the sauce. Add the orange juice, arrowroot starch, rice vinegar, sesame oil, coconut aminos, honey, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to a small sauce pot. Whisk together until everything is well combined. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for 2-4 minutes, or until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in orange zest.

Step Seven: Add the cooked chicken to a large mixing bowl and then add the sauce. Toss gently until well coated. Serve the chicken over rice and garnish with sliced scallion and sesame seeds.

How to Serve

My favorite way to serve the orange chicken is over rice and with steamed or roasted broccoli or green beans!

orange sauce in saucepan

Make Ahead Tips

  • Marinate the chicken the day before – you can prep the chicken thighs and marinade (egg, coconut aminos, sesame oil) and place it in the fridge the day before you are ready to cook.
  • Prep the orange sauce – whisk together the orange sauce ingredients and then store in the fridge until you are ready to cook. When you’re ready you can transfer the sauce to your saucepan and cook.
  • Make the rice – serving the chicken with rice? go ahead and cook the rice a few days before. When you’re ready you can simply reheat in the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my chicken not browning?

If your chicken is still not browning after spending 15 minutes or so in the oven, you likely need to add a bit more oil. You can use an avocado oil spray to spray the chicken pieces with a bit more oil to help them brown a bit better.

Why is my sauce not thickening?

Be sure to give the sauce a bit of time to simmer to ensure it thickens. The arrowroot starch in the sauce should help give the sauce the right consistency and it will also thicken a bit more as it cools. If the sauce is still too thin, you can stir together 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot starch and a bit of water then whisk that mixture into the sauce to thicken it up.

Do I have to use all of the orange sauce?

I like to pour all of the orange sauce over my chicken but feel free to start with half the sauce, toss the chicken, and then add more as needed.

healthy orange pieces in sauce

What if my sauce is too thick?

If your sauce is too thick, whisk in 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Can I make the sauce less spicy?

Yes! just add less red pepper flakes or leave them out altogether.

Can I make the sauce less sweet?

Yes! you can add half the amount of honey to the sauce to keep it on the less sweet side if you prefer.

How to Store and Reheat

  • Store: store the orange chicken in an air-tight storage container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • Reheat: I’ve found that the best way to reheat the orange chicken is in an oven or air fryer. To reheat in the oven, transfer the orange chicken to a sheet pan lined with parchment and bake at 375 for a few minutes until warmed through and crisp. In the air fryer – line the air fryer with a sheet of parchment and reheat at 350 for a few minutes until warmed through and crisp.

healthy orange chicken over rice with green onion

More Delicious Take-Out Inspired Recipes

Healthy Beef and Broccoli

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Asian Inspired Chicken Stir Fry

Pepper Steak Stir Fry

Thai-Inspired Green Curry with Chicken and Vegetables

I hope you give this Healthy Orange Chicken recipe a try! It’s so good, easy to make, and the perfect weeknight dinner.

If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.

Print

Healthy Orange Chicken

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven/Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese-Inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven/Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese-Inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup cassava flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • avocado oil spray
  • scallion, for serving
  • rice, for serving

For the Orange Sauce:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 11 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and brush the parchment with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  2. Add the egg, coconut aminos, and sesame oil, to a mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined and then add the chicken to the bowl. Stir until the chicken is well coated in the egg mixture.
  3. To another mixing bowl add the tapioca starch, cassava flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk together until well combined.
  4. Use your fingers to dredge the chicken, a few pieces at a time, in the cassava and tapioca mixture until well coated. Shake off any excess and then transfer the chicken pieces to the parchment lined and oiled sheet pan. Give the tops of the chicken pieces a liberal spray of avocado oil spray.
  5. Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until it is deep golden brown and crispy.
  6. While the chicken is cooking make the sauce. Add the orange juice, arrowroot starch, rice vinegar, sesame oil, coconut aminos, honey, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to a small sauce pot. Whisk together until everything is well combined. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for 2-4 minutes, or until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in orange zest.
  7. Add the cooked chicken to a large mixing bowl and then add the sauce. Toss gently until well coated.
  8. Serve over rice and garnish with sliced scallion and sesame seeds.

Keywords: healthy orange chicken, healthy orange chicken recipe, how to make healthy orange chicken

Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: THE MINDFUL HAPA

This post contains affiliate links.

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Recipe rating

    21 comments
  1. Soooooo great! We loved this!I followed instructions and this came out perfect! The sauce is just right and chicken so crunchy! Another perfect recipe from Ashlea! Thank you for perfecting this recipe b/c we will enjoy it for a long time to come.

    • Hi, Julia! all of that information is there in the recipe card. You might need to scroll down a bit in the recipe card if you’re on mobile. hope that helps!

  2. Made this last night and it was a hit with the whole family! Decreased the amount of red pepper for our one kiddo and just sprinkled it on top for us adults. Of all the orange chicken recipes I’ve tried, this one is the keeper!

  3. I just have to tell you, this is the best orange chicken recipe that I’ve tried thus far, and I’ve tried a lot! Excellent flavor and I love that I can bake the chicken so no more long drawn out frying mess!! I’ve loved every recipe of yours I’ve made! Thank you for all you do!

    • love hearing this, Phoebe! thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review. I’m so happy you loved it!

  4. This was delicious! I really enjoyed it and so did my family!!! Feeding picky kids is impossible some days but they liked this chicken and said they would eat it again! Thank you!

  5. Very nice, we really enjoyed this recipe. Thank you so much for creating it and sharing it with us. Will make this one again

  6. I am making this today, question- on number 3, do you mean the cassava flour instead of the arrowroot?
    Thanks

    • Hi, Debbie! yes that should say cassava flour. Thanks for letting me know, I’ve updated the post!

  7. This is the BEST made at home “take out” recipe I’ve ever made! The sauce was sweet and savory, thickened just as you’d want it to, and baking the chicken rather than pan frying was a game changer!! Thank you for this recipe!

  8. So good! Definitely better than takeout. Made some substitutes based on what I already had at home like using whole wheat flour and corn starch but it still turned out delicious!

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