Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
Healthy Orange Chicken Recipe
If I’m walking by the food court in the mall and if I can snag a free sample of Panda Express orange chicken, I do a little happy dance inside. But I don’t order it because I know it’s greasy and loaded with calories and fat that I don’t need.
Enter: this homemade, healthier, not fried version of orange chicken that’s made in one skillet and ready in 10 minutes. No fuss, hassle-free, and perfect for busy weeknights.
The skinny orange chicken is ridiculously tender, juicy, and full of orange flavor. When I say ridiculously tender, I mean it just melts in your mouth. You’d swear it was fried but it’s not.
Ingredients in Healthy Orange Chicken
To make the healthy orange chicken sauce and chicken, you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts
- Toasted sesame oil
- Olive oil
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Lite soy sauce
- Green onions
How to Make Healthy Orange Chicken
This really is such an easy orange chicken recipe! Here’s a quick overview of the cooking process:
- To a large skillet, add the freshly squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, olive oil, and boneless skinless chicken breast pieces that have been dredged in cornstarch (it’s the secret ingredient).
- Cook until the chicken is done. It will take less than 10 minutes!
- Dig in to this better-than-takeout copycat orange chicken alongside your favorite rice.
What to Serve with Orange Chicken
You can serve your favorite Asian-inspired sides with this skinny orange chicken. Here are some serving suggestions:
- Better-Than-Takeout Fried Rice (omit the chicken in the fried rice)
- Low-carb cauliflower rice (you can buy pre-made packets at the grocery store)
- Fresh spring rolls
- Crunchy peanut salad
- Sheet pan ginger vegetables (omit chicken)
- Mango teriyaki salad
Can I Use a Cornstarch Alternative?
A few readers have asked about using arrowroot powder or another cornstarch alternative in this recipe. I’ve only made this recipe as written, so I can’t say for sure if arrowroot or another substitute will give you the same results.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs?
Most likely, yes. However, I’ve only made this orange chicken recipe using chicken breasts.
How Much Orange Juice Is Needed for This Recipe?
You’ll need the juice of two large oranges, which is equal to roughly 3/4 cup bottled orange juice. However because this is such a critical element of the recipe, I recommend juicing the oranges yourself versus using bottled juice.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
Yes! It’s best fresh from the skillet, but you can divide the chicken into meal prep container and reheat throughout the week if desired.
If at all possible, reheat the chicken in a lightly oiled skillet. I try to avoid microwaving leftover chicken because it winds up being tough and dry, but do what’s best for you.
Tips for Cooking the Chicken with Cornstarch
Cornstarch thickens any liquids or sauces it comes into contact with. In this recipe, it helps the orange chicken sauce tighten up and cling to the chicken as if it had been fried and then coated in a sugar-laded orange sauce, but we’re not frying anything today.
Cornstarch is a kitchen magician in many regards, but there are some pitfalls. If you’re not careful you can have a gloppy mess in a hurry.
My tips for avoiding that include:
- Cook over medium heat.
- Flip the chicken and stir the pan sauce that coats the chicken nearly constantly.
- If at any time your sauce is tightening and thickening up faster than you’d like because the chicken isn’t quite cooked through, simply add more orange juice.
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Healthier Orange Chicken
- 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large oranges, juiced; plus more orange juice if necessary
- ⅓ cup lite soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon green onions, diced into thin rounds
- To a large bowl or ziptop plastic bag, add the chicken, cornstarch, and toss or shake the bag to coat the chicken evenly; set aside.
- To a large skillet, add the oils, orange juice, soy sauce, honey, and the chicken pieces but not any excess cornstarch that's at the bottom of your bowl or bag.
- Turn the heat to medium, and cook until chicken is done and cooked through; flip chicken and stir pan sauce that's forming nearly constantly. Tip - If at any time your sauce is tightening or thickening up too much before the chicken has cooked through, simply add additional orange juice to thin it and keep stirring.
- Evenly garnish with green onions and serve immediately.
- Extra chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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