Every night can be takeout night with this delicious orange chicken recipe. And even better, this is a crockpot version of orange chicken, so you can set it and forget it for maximum ease and delicious flavor. We'll cover the classic variety of orange chicken plus some variations tailored to your tastes and dietary needs.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 3 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 thinly chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the marmalade and barbecue sauce together until smooth. Then add the orange juice, soy sauce, and chicken stock or broth and stir until smooth.
  2. Add the mixture to the crockpot, and then add the chicken to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. Carefully remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and cut it into strips or cubes. Put it back in the crockpot and cook it for another 30 minutes.
  4. Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Supplies

  • medium bowl
  • crockpot
  • slotted spoon

Recipe Notes

For best rice results, check out our guide.

If your dish is too runny, consider adding corn or tapioca starch to thicken it. Simply remove the chicken and mix the starch slurry into the sauce.

For extra flavor, consider toasting the sesame seeds for about 4 minutes in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Variations

bowls of different grain options

Now that we've mastered classic crockpot orange chicken, let's discuss some variations based on different preferences and dietary restrictions.

  • Juicy Juicy: For more flavorful and juicy orange chicken, consider substituting boneless, skinless chicken thighs for half or all of the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This darker meat will ramp up the flavor and fat content of your dish.
  • Extra Crispy: For an even crispier texture, coat the chicken in cornstarch, salt, and pepper and brown each piece in hot oil for about three minutes per side. After that, add the chicken to the crockpot and proceed as usual.
  • Citrus Kick: For a more pronounced orange flavor, add some orange zest to the crockpot or as a garnish.
  • Gluten-Free: To make this recipe gluten-free, be sure to choose gluten-free soy sauce, barbecue sauce, and broth. Additionally, serve over quinoa or another gluten-free grain option.
  • Health Kick: To make this recipe healthier, serve it over cauliflower rice or brown rice and add broccoli to the dish for extra veggie power. Also, be sure to choose low-sodium chicken stock or broth and low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Vegetarian Version: For an easy store-bought veggie version, check out Gardein's Mandarin chicken, which uses chickpea protein. For a homemade veggie take, consider baking tofu and then glazing it with the orange-infused sauce. Simply make the sauce on the stovetop while the tofu is crisping in the oven.

Food Pairings

steamed veggies in wok

Here are some foods you can pair with your orange chicken:

  • Verdant Veggies: Add steamed broccoli or mixed vegetables to the sauce for a one-bowl dinner. Otherwise, serve them on the side as a break from the sweet orange chicken. Baby corn, water chestnuts, and snap peas are other excellent vegetable ideas.
  • Spicy Green Beans: Consider spicy Sichuan-inspired green beans for a side dish. Ginger and peppers add heat and help balance the main dish's sweetness.
  • Magic Mushrooms: The earthy umami goodness of mushrooms also pairs well with this chicken. Sauté the mushrooms in garlic, soy, and ginger for an easy veggie option.
  • All About Appetizers: Spring rolls, egg rolls, or crab rangoon would be a delicious start to a memorable meal. Spicy salted edamame is a crowd-pleaser, too.
  • Satisfying Soup: An egg drop soup or miso soup first course is another great idea.

This delicious meal is destined to become a household favorite!

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