Instant Pot Orange Chicken is better than takeout, made with tender chicken in the most amazing Asian orange sauce. Highly versatile and easy to make, this is a dish that the whole family will love, even the picky eaters.
We love using Instant Pot to make easy and delicious dishes. Our Pressure Cooker Orange Chicken is the most popular recipe on the blog. Other readers’ favorite dishes are Instant Pot Sesame Chicken, Instant Pot Mongolian Beef, and Instant Pot Whole Chicken. Make sure to check our Instant Pot Recipes, there is something for everyone.
Instant Pot Chicken Recipes are one of the easiest and most flavorful dishes that you can make in just 30 minutes in your electric pressure cooker. Forget about takeout, this easy Chinese dinner made with easy-to-find ingredients is so good that it will become a staple in your house.
The Orange Chicken is made entirely in the Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot, so fewer dishes for you to clean. Sweet, tangy, and hearty, served over instant pot rice, this dinner is so much better than takeout and also budget-friendly, as you will have leftovers that taste great.
In addition, this recipe can be made in the crockpot or on the stove just as easily. Give it a try, and you will see why this is one of the best Asian dishes you can make in the Pressure Cooker.
Tender bites of chicken are cooked in a sauce infused with Asian flavors. The zest of a whole orange is the secret ingredient that makes this great recipe so refreshing and delicious. This will quickly become your favorite instant pot recipe.
- Meat: You can make this recipe with boneless and skinless chicken breasts or skinless and boneless chicken thighs.
- Oil: Also, you will need a neutral oil to brown the chicken pieces, use canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Citrus: To make the sticky orange sauce, fresh orange flavors are a must. Hence, we use a cup of orange juice and also orange zest.
- Aromatics: Fresh ginger and garlic add extra flavor to the sauce.
- Rice wine vinegar: If you don’t have any rice vinegar on hand, use a splash of dry white wine or apple cider vinegar.
- Tomato sauce: While it is an unexpected ingredient, it nicely balances the sweetness of the dish.
- Sugar: We use a mix of white sugar and brown sugar to add sweetness to this easy recipe.
- Soy sauce: Always use lite soy sauce to better control the amount of sodium in recipes. Also, you can use coconut aminos.
- Sriracha sauce: It will add some heat to the orange chicken sauce, so use as much as you like.
- Cornstarch slurry: It is made from a mixture of cornstarch and orange juice.
- Green onions: We like to sprinkle them on top before serving the dish.
How do you make easy Instant Pot Orange Chicken?
This is a super easy recipe to make and ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. For exact ingredient measures, please see the recipe card below. Also, watch the short video tutorial to guide you with the cooking process. But the general cooking steps are as follows:
- Saute the meat in the Pressure Cooker: Turn the Instant Pot ON and select “sauté” mode, adjust heat to more. Then, add the oil to the bottom of the pot, and add the pieces of boneless chicken breasts, sauté for about 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. It is important when sautéing it, to stir constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Brown in the pan: Keep in mind that you can also sauté the meat in a skillet over the stove.
- Make the sauce: Once the meat is browned, add all the sauce ingredients to the pot over the tender chunks of chicken. Stir gently, and close the lid. Select manual, and set the cook time for 5 minutes on High Pressure. Make sure the vent is closed.
- Natural pressure release: After, allow a 10-minute natural release.
- Quick pressure release: Open the vent and quick release the remaining pressure.
- Add the cornstarch: Finally, add the cornstarch to the mix, and gently stir, until all the ingredients are combined, and there are no lumps. Close the lid, and cook on Sauté function for a few more minutes, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens.
- Serve: Enjoy it warm with some white or brown rice, sprinkle sesame seeds, chopped green onion, and orange zest on top.
- Spicy: If you like spicy food, use more hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and even cayenne pepper.
- Orange flavor: Intensify the citrus flavor by using fresh oranges and orange marmalade.
- Veggies: Also, make this a stir fry by mixing in some veggies. We like to add green beans, broccoli, Chinese corn, mushrooms, bell peppers.
- Frozen chicken: As an alternative, make this recipe using frozen chicken. Skip the saute part, dump, and cook everything for 10 minutes on high pressure.
- BBQ sauce: A great way to add extra flavor and skip some of the sugar, is by mixing in a little bit of barbeque sauce.
- Other meat: Also, you can try this recipe with pork, turkey, or beef.
- Pot in pot method: To save time, you can cook the rice at the same time using the pot in pot method described here. The cooking time stays the same.
- Crockpot version: Make this easy orange chicken recipe in the slow cooker. First, brown the meat, combine everything in the crockpot, and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. At the last step, stir in the corn starch slurry 30 minutes before cooking is complete.
- Stove version: Make this easy recipe on the stove. First, brown the meat, add the sauce ingredients and stir. Finally, stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce thickens.
How to serve:
- We love serving it with jasmine rice, white rice, cauliflower rice, or brown rice.
- It also goes well with vegetables such as steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, or oven-roasted bok choy.
- Another option is to serve it with soba noodles, udon noodles, or rice noodles.
- As an alternative, add a light salad and a light soup on the side.
How to store leftovers:
- Refrigerate: The best way to store leftovers is to first let them fully cool. After that, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: In addition, to freeze this meal, just transfer the cooled leftovers to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Next, freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw: Finally, when ready to serve, transfer it to the refrigerator section and thaw overnight.
- Reheat: Reheat on the stove over medium heat.
How to avoid the “burn notice”?
In some cases, you might end up getting the “burn notice” while sauteeing the meat. To avoid this issue in the Pressure Cooker, ensure that there are no browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan after sautéeing food. Also, I love to deglaze it with some liquid and gently scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.
What is a 10 Minutes Natural Pressure Release?
A Natural Pressure Release means that the pressure is released gradually without opening the valve. For a Natural Pressure Release, you either click on Keep Warm, turn off the Instant Pot or just wait a certain amount of time for the pressure to be released.
After which you open the valve and let any leftover pressure release. A natural release is usually used when cooking soups, meat in a large amount of sauce, pasta, or oats. This method prevents any foam from the dish to shoot out through the valve, which can happen during a Quick Pressure Release.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes:
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe is best made with skinless chicken thighs as the meat is extra tender.
- Browning the chicken is optional, but if you decide to, make sure to deglaze the pot after and scrape with a wooden spoon any bits that are stuck with a bottom.
- Make sure to use no sugar added orange juice, to avoid making the dish extra sweet.
- The tomato sauce is optional, it adds a nice tangy flavor if you prefer that.
- Using fresh orange zest is key and please don’t skip this step, it will add amazing flavor.
- Also, cornstarch is a key ingredient here, do not try to replace it with flour, the results will not be the same.
- If the sauce is too runny, mix another 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch with water and add it to the Instant Pot. Please note, that the sauce will get thicker with time, so definitely wait a bit before adding more cornstarch.
- You can also adjust the sugar in this recipe, I like my Orange Chicken on the sweeter side, but you can use less.
Instant Pot Orange Chicken
- 2 lbs chicken breast or thighs (cut into 1-2 inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup orange juice (no sugar added)
- 1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
- 6 cloves garlic* (minced)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or dry white wine**)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (optional)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup lite soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha***
- zest from 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 4 green onions (sliced)
- extra orange zest
- It is important for the chicken not to have any extra moisture, dry it with a few paper towels, and after that cut the chicken into 1-2 inch chunks.
- Heat up your pressure cooker: press Sauté -> click on the Adjust button -> select More to get the Sauté More function, which means that the food will be sautéed over medium-high heat. Wait for the Instant Pot indicator to read HOT.
- Add the oil to the hot Instant Pot, add the chicken and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. When sautéing it, stir constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Also, after you sauté the chicken, check if bits stuck to the bottom, in that case, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup orange juice and scrape them with a wooden spoon. If you leave the bits stuck to the bottom, they may burn or cause the pot not to come to pressure.
- If you want a truly golden-brown chicken, brown it on the stovetop, as the Instant Pot isn't really good for that.
- Add the sauce ingredients to the pot: remaining 3/4 cups of orange juice, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, orange zest, and Sriracha sauce. You can skip the Sriracha sauce or add more if you prefer your food on the spicier side.
- Add the tomato sauce if you are using it. The tomato sauce adds a tanginess to the overall sweet recipe, and it makes it taste more savory. It is based on your own preference. I like it both ways: with and without the sauce. You can use less, or completely leave it out if you want a pure orange aroma.
- Stir gently until all the ingredients are combined and coated in sauce.
- Close lid, select Manual, and select 5 minutes on High Pressure. Make sure the vent is closed.
- Use a 10-minute Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure by opening the vent. Open the lid.
- Select again the Sauté function, on LOW. In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with the orange juice, whisk until all combined with no lumps.
- Add the mixture to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook on the Sauté function for a few more minutes, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- If you want the sauce even thicker, mix one more tablespoon of cornstarch with orange juice and add it to the pot.
- Let the Orange Chicken stand for 5-7 minutes, the sauce will thicken more.
- Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and extra orange zest.