Instant Pot Orange Chicken

instant pot orange chicken | orange chicken instant pot

Step-by-Step Guide on how to make Instant Pot Orange Chicken! Not the ordinary Classic American Chinese takeout orange chicken recipe, but with our easy, healthy, and tasty twists. Tender juicy chicken glossed with a caramelized honey garlic glaze. Quick and easy chicken dinner your family will enjoy!

Check out Our Handpicked Instant Pot Accessories

instant pot orange chicken recipe

We’re grateful to hear many of you enjoyed the tasty twists with our Instant Pot Lemon Chicken. A recipe inspired by my dad’s Chinese restaurant!

So how can we miss experimenting and recreating this classic favorite Chinese Takeout – Orange Chicken!

easy orange chicken

Orange Chicken

The classic Orange Chicken is wok deep-fried, crispy golden, battered chicken nuggets in a sticky, sweet, savory, and tangy orange sauce.

Crunchy, juicy, bursting with umami flavors – a very addictive combination. Many people love this popular American Chinese dish. 

United States’ largest Chinese fast food chain – Panda Express – claims to have invented the original orange chicken.

In fact, their Panda Express Orange Chicken is one of their best-selling signature dishes.

orange chicken recipe

As usual, with our Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe, we’d like to have some creative fun with it!

You won’t need to dice, batter, or deep fry the chicken. But rather, it’s a much easier, healthier, simpler yet still delicious orange chicken you can make at home with pantry ingredients.

Enjoy this tender and juicy chicken drowned in a sweet and tangy honey garlicky orange sauce. 

How to Make Instant Pot Orange Chicken

orange chicken instant pot | instant pot orange chicken

Here are the simple ingredients for making Orange Chicken in Instant Pot:

orange chicken ingredients

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Orange

Since the orange is one of the key ingredients, try to use a fresh, juicy, sweet, and intensely-flavored orange for best results.

Amy + Jacky’s Tips – Substitute: If you don’t have a fresh orange, you can substitute it with orange juice. Keep in mind that the flavor profile will differ and the final result will depend on your orange juice’s quality and flavors. Make sure to taste and adjust accordingly.

Preparations: Zest an orange, and set aside the orange zest. Then, freshly squeeze the orange juice from the fresh orange.

orange zest

Chicken

Don’t worry! The chicken didn’t run away as we were developing this orange chicken recipe! hehe~

We developed this recipe with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs because the results will be better using dark meat.

Amy + Jacky’s Tips – Substitute: If you prefer, you can use chicken breasts or chicken drumsticks to make this orange chicken recipe. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

chicken thighs

Step 1

Marinate Chicken in Instant Pot

First, add garlic cloves, ginger slices, onion slices, ¼ cup (63ml) regular soy sauce, ½ tsp (2.5ml) sesame oil, 2 tbsp (30g) ketchup, orange zest, 70ml – 90ml orange juice, 1 tbsp (15ml) Shaoxing wine (optional), and ½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock in your Instant Pot. Mix well.

orange chicken marinade

Add chicken thighs in Instant Pot skin side down.

Now, we’ll marinate the chicken in the inner pot for at least 30 minutes to up to 2 hours in the fridge. 

marinate orange chicken

Amy + Jacky’s Tips! Dip the chicken thighs’ meat in the marinade first before flipping it over for better coverage.
Step 2

Pressure Cook Orange Chicken

After marinating the chicken, place the inner pot back in your Instant Pot.

Flip the chicken thighs over so the chicken skins are facing up.

flip chicken

With Venting Knob in Venting Position. Close the lid. Then, turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.

Pressure Cooking Method: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes, then Natural Release for 10 minutes.

high pressure for 6 minutes

After 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position.

When the Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.

Step 3

Sweeten and Thicken Instant Pot Orange Chicken

orange chicken pressure cooker

Now, set aside the chicken thighs on a serving plate. 

Then, bring the orange sauce mixture to a simmer with the “Saute” function.

Add in 1 to 3 tbsp honey to sweeten the sauce. Taste and adjust the sweetness as you add the honey.

Amy + Jacky’s Tips – Sweetness: Make sure to taste and adjust the orange sauce because the amount you need depends on your orange juice’s sweetness, honey, and your personal preferences. For reference, we used 2 tbsp (30ml) honey.

In a small mixing bowl, mix 2.5 tbsp (22.5g) cornstarch with 3 tbsp (45ml) cold water. Mix it into the orange sauce one-third at a time until desired thickness.

orange chicken in Instant Pot

Once again, taste the yummy honey garlic orange sauce, then season with salt or regular soy sauce if necessary. For reference, we added 3 large pinches of salt to season it properly.

Place the chicken back into the orange sauce.

Step 4

Optional Flavor-Boosting Step: Broil Chicken with Air Fryer Lid or Oven

Option 1 – Oven or Toaster Oven

Place the Orange Chicken on an oven tray under the “Broil” function (or the highest temperature setting) for a few minutes until the tasty orange sauce is caramelized.

Option 2 – Air Fryer or Air Fryer Lid

Place air fryer basket with the tray on the middle rack in Instant Pot.

Layer chicken on the air fryer tray in Instant Pot.

air fryer lid air fry at 400f

Place the Air Fryer Lid on Instant Pot.

Press “Airfry” button, set Temperature to 400°F and Cooking Time to 15 minutes.

Amy + Jacky’s Tips! For reference, it takes roughly 7 to 11 minutes + preheat time to caramelize the chicken with Instant Pot’s Air Fryer Lid. You can open the lid to check the progress.

Then, air fry the second batch of orange chicken in Instant Pot.

air fryer orange chicken

Step 5

Garnish and Serve Instant Pot Orange Chicken

There are a lot of garnishment choices!

For example, you can garnish your deliciously caramelized orange chicken with finely sliced green onions, orange zest, orange slices, and toasted sesame seeds.

orange chicken instant pot | instant pot orange chicken

Side Dishes to Serve with Orange Chicken

You can serve this tasty Orange Chicken with a large variety of side dishes to make it a complete meal. A complete Chinese homecooked meal usually includes protein, rice, vegetables, and a nourishing Chinese soup.

Here are some delicious Chinese side dishes: 

Enjoy this Juicy Caramelized Instant Pot Orange Chicken!

4.93 from 28 votes

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Author: Amy + Jacky
Step-by-Step Guide on how to make Instant Pot Orange Chicken! Not the ordinary Classic Chinese takeout orange chicken recipe, but with our easy, healthy, and tasty twists. Tender juicy chicken with a caramelized honey garlic glaze. Quick and easy chicken dinner your family will enjoy!
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Servings 4
Total Time 35 mins
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Ingredients

  • 4 - 6 (2lbs) bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 orange , juiced (70ml - 90ml) and zested (7g)
  • 6 (21g) garlic cloves , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , crushed and sliced
  • 1 (170g) onion , sliced
  • ¼ cup (63ml) regular soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) ketchup
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon (15ml) Shaoxing wine
  • ½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 - 3 tablespoons (30g) honey or sugar to sweeten
  • Salt to taste

Thickener

  • tablespoons (22.5g) cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) cold water

Optional Garnish

  • 1 - 2 stalks green onion , finely sliced
  • Orange slices, orange zest
  • Toasted white and black sesame seeds

Share this Recipe so We can create more yummy recipes for you.  Thank you 🙂

Instructions 

  • Marinate Chicken in Instant Pot: Add garlic, ginger, onion, ¼ cup (63ml) regular soy sauce, ½ tsp (2.5ml) sesame oil, 2 tbsp (30g) ketchup, orange zest, 70ml - 90ml orange juice, 1 tbsp (15ml) Shaoxing wine, and ½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock in Instant Pot. Mix well.
    Add chicken in Instant Pot skin side down.
    Marinate chicken in the inner pot for at least 30 minutes to up to 2 hours in the fridge.
    Amy + Jacky's Tip! Dip the chicken thighs' meat in the marinade first before flipping it over for better coverage.
  • Pressure Cook Orange Chicken: Place the inner pot back in Instant Pot. Flip the chicken over so the chicken skins are facing up.
    Close the lid. Turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes, then Natural Release for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position. When the Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.
  • Sweeten and Thicken: Set aside the chicken on a serving plate. Bring the orange sauce to a simmer with "Saute" function.
    Add in 1 to 3 tbsp honey to sweeten the sauce.
    Amy + Jacky's Tips - Sweetness: Make sure to taste and adjust the sweetness as you add the honey because the amount you need depends on your orange juice's sweetness, honey, and your preferences. For reference, we used 2 tbsp (30ml) honey.
    In a small mixing bowl, mix 2.5 tbsp (22.5g) cornstarch with 3 tbsp (45ml) cold water. Mix it into the orange sauce one-third at a time until desired thickness.
    Taste the orange sauce, then season with salt or regular soy sauce if necessary. For reference, we added 3 large pinches of salt to season it properly.
    Place the chicken back in the orange sauce.
  • Optional Flavor-Boosting Step: Broil Chicken
    Option 1 - Oven or Toaster Oven: Place the Orange Chicken on an oven tray under the "Broil" function (or the highest temperature setting) for a few minutes until the tasty orange sauce is caramelized.
    Option 2 - Air Fryer or Air Fryer Lid: Place air fryer basket with the tray on the middle rack in Instant Pot. Layer chicken on the air fryer tray in Instant Pot. Place the Air Fryer Lid on Instant Pot. Press "Airfry" button, set Temperature to 400°F and Cooking Time to 15 minutes. Then, air fry the second batch of orange chicken in Instant Pot.
    Amy + Jacky's Tip: it'll take roughly 7 to 11 minutes + preheat time to caramelize with Air Fryer Lid. You can open the lid to check the progress.
  • Garnish and Serve: Garnish your caramelized orange chicken with finely sliced green onions, orange zest, orange slices, and toasted sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy~

Notes

1. Cooking Time: The total cooking time doesn't include the chicken marinating time (30 minutes to up to 2 hours).
2. Orange Quality: Orange is one of the key ingredients of this recipe, so try to use a fresh, juicy, sweet, vibrant, and intensely-flavored orange for best results.
3. Orange Substitute: You can substitute the fresh orange with orange juice. The flavor profile will differ and the final result will depend on your orange juice’s quality and flavors. Make sure to taste and adjust accordingly.
4. Chicken Thigh Substitutes: We developed this recipe with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs because the results will be better using dark meat. If you prefer, you can use chicken drumsticks or chicken breasts. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Rate Amy + Jacky's Recipe: If you've tried our recipe, rate the recipe in the Comments section. Thank you!
Calories: 583kcal
Course: Main
Cuisine: American-Chinese, Chinese
Keyword: easy orange chicken, healthy orange chicken, instant pot orange chicken, instant pot orange chicken recipe, orange chicken instant pot, pressure cooker orange chicken

Nutrition

Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 222mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 660mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 314IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg
instant pot orange chicken | orange chicken instant pot | pressure cooker orange chicken
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