This easy recipe for Easy Instant Pot Orange Chicken features tender chicken in a zesty, tangy sauce made with real orange juice, fresh ginger, soy sauce, and sriracha.
Takeout-Style Chicken Recipe at Home
There’s nothing like picking up takeout on a busy weeknight, right? But, it’s not always practical (or affordable) to get takeout. Plus, if you have dietary needs or are watching your sodium, sugar, etcetera, you might feel more comfortable making that “takeout” at home.
Enter this easy recipe for Orange Chicken in the Instant Pot!
If you are hesitant to make Asian-style recipes, no worries! This one doesn’t use any special or difficult techniques. The ingredients are simple, too. Sriracha, fresh ginger, and orange juice give the sauce most of its kick, with a little help from garlic, tomato sauce, and soy sauce.
You can just cook orange chicken and serve it over rice, noodles, or as a low-carb main course all on its own.
What You’ll Need
Let’s take a closer look at the items you’ll need to make your own orange chicken at home. There’s really nothing to it! (Note: For the full recipe card with amounts and nutrition info, scroll down to the bottom of the post.)
For the Chicken and Sauce
- Chicken: You can use breasts or thighs; cut them into chunks about 1 or 2 inches.
- Tomato Sauce: How useful is tomato sauce? It adds tangy depth to just about anything!
- Orange Juice: I like to use juice with no pulp for this recipe, but you can also use juice with pulp if you prefer or just happen to have it on hand.
- Vegetable Oil: For sauteing the chicken.
- Ginger: Freshly grated is brightest and most flavorful, but you could substitute powdered ginger and it will still taste great!
- Vinegar: I use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Rice vinegar would also be great.
- Garlic: Again, fresh is the most zingy, but garlic powder is fine (and arguably easier/quicker).
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos all work here!
- Sriracha Sauce: This garlicky, spicy condiment kicks the flavor up a notch!
- Orange Zest: A little bit of fresh orange zest adds a lot to the sauce, but if you don’t have fresh oranges to zest, you can omit this.
For the Cornstarch Slurry
- Cornstarch and Water: You’ll need a small amount of cornstarch mixed with water to create a slurry. The slurry thickens the sauce into a shiny, sticky glaze. Yum!
- Rice: I like to serve this dish over jasmine rice or regular long-grain white rice.
- Chives or Green Onions: Chopped chives or green onions make a pretty garnish.
Can I use frozen chicken?
Yes, you can! You will need to add 2 to 4 extra minutes to the cook time. Be sure to test the chicken after cooking with a meat thermometer to make sure it’s done. If it isn’t done, lock the lid back on and set the timer for another 2 minutes at a time until the chicken is fully done.
How to Make Instant Pot Orange Chicken
I love how easy this recipe is! Essentially, you use the Instant Pot as a skillet on the Saute function, then lock the lid on and pressure cook, and then “saute” again to thicken the sauce. Instant Pots are pretty versatile!
- Saute the Chicken, Ginger, and Orange Zest. Select the Saute function on your Instant Pot, and set the temperature to Medium. Add the vegetable oil and allow it to heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, ginger, and orange zest, and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
- Add the Sauce Ingredients and Pressure Cook. Add the rest of the recipe ingredients to the Instant Pot, stirring well to combine. Lock the lid into place, make sure the valve is set to “sealed,” and pressure cook on “High” for 10 minutes.
- Release the Pressure. When the 10 minutes are up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- Thicken the Sauce. Select the Saute function again, this time on low heat. Mix the cornstarch and water to make the slurry, and stir or whisk the slurry into the Instant Pot. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes or so, until thickened.
- Enjoy! Serve your homemade orange chicken over rice, garnished with fresh chives or green onions.
Why is my Instant Pot chicken rubbery?
Dry and chewy chicken is overdone, of course, but if you find that your chicken comes out moist and “rubbery,” it most likely needs to cook a little longer.
Chicken may reach a safe internal temperature, but still benefit from a few extra minutes of cooking. Feel free to allow the chicken and sauce to simmer longer in order to tenderize it a bit.
Tips for Success
Making chicken in the Instant Pot is definitely easy and quick, but there are a few tips I have for this specific recipe! Take a look at these helpful hints for making your Instant Pot Orange Chicken perfect!
- Make It Saucier: If you want this dish to be more saucy, just increase the amounts of the sauce ingredients! You can increase by 50%, or just double the amounts.
- Adjust the Heat: You can reduce or increase the amount of sriracha sauce to your taste, or omit the sriracha entirely and use sweet chili sauce instead for a mild dish.
- Serve with Noodles: Vermicelli noodles or lo mein are tasty options for serving.
Why not make it a meal? Along with your orange chicken, make one of these crave-worthy recipes and serve up a takeout feast!
- Fried Rice: This Shrimp Fried Rice with Pineapple is a colorful homemade fried rice recipe that’s bursting with flavor. Guaranteed to take any meal up to a whole new level!
- Egg Drop Soup: Easy and wholesome, Egg Drop Soup is a restaurant-style favorite that adds a soothing, mild warmth to your meal.
- Honey Sesame Chicken: Serve chicken two ways! This Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken makes the perfect sweet and savory contrast to the tanginess of orange chicken!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To refrigerate leftovers, place the chicken in airtight containers and store in the fridge for 3 – 4 days.
- To freeze, place the chicken and sauce in freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Orange Chicken in the Instant Pot
For Chicken and Sauce:
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 – 2 inch pieces (you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs)
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
For the Cornstarch Slurry:
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- Rice, for serving
- Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish
- Heat the pressure cooker. Choose Saute option on medium heat.
- Add the oil to the Instant Pot. When heated, add the chicken, ginger, and orange zest. Saute for 3 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent sticking.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot. Mix well until combined.
- Close the lid, set the valve to “sealed,” and select High Pressure. Set the time for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Then slide the valve to “vent” to quickly release the remaining pressure.
- Select the Saute function again, this time on low heat.
- In a bowl mix the cornstarch and water to make the slurry.Add the slurry to the chicken inside the Instant Pot and mix well.
- Cook on the Saute function for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Turn off the IP.
- Serve over rice, and garnish with fresh chives or green onions.
- You can also serve over vermicelli noodles, if desired.