Chicken Instant Pot Recipes Recipes

Last updated on July 1st, 2024 at 05:15 pm

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Instant Pot Orange Chicken Recipe – 30 Minutes [Video]

Instant Pot orange chicken is better than takeout; it is made with tender chicken in the most amazing and flavorful Asian orange sauce. Highly versatile and easy to make, ready in just 30 minutes, this dish is one that the whole family will love, even the picky eaters.

I love using my Instant Pot to make easy and delicious dishes. My Pressure Cooker Orange Chicken is the most popular recipe on the blog. If you are an Asian food lover like me, you have probably had this dish at your local Chinese restaurant and wondered what they put in it that gives it that deep orange zesty flavor. Well, now you can make it yourself because you have the best fool-proof recipe.

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. Better than any takeout and tastier than your favorite Asian restaurant, my Instant Pot orange chicken recipe features tender chicken coated with a sticky, sweet, and tangy orange sauce. I use real fresh orange juice and zest, freshly grated ginger, minced garlic, and rice wine vinegar for a flavor bomb.

The fresh zest is the star of the recipe, so you should make sure to zest your own orange. It only takes a few minutes, and it is very simple to make. You do not need any special tools. In the FAQs section, I explain several methods of how to do it with a zester, microplane, grater, vegetable peeler, or knife. Anyone can do it, and it makes a major difference in the flavor of this dish.

Another thing about the orange. When I serve orange chicken, I like to make it a presentation. Cut a nice juicy orange into thick slices and place the chicken pieces on top of them on the serving platter. Then, use another orange and make thin slices to arrange into twists for designs on top of the chicken. Also, do not be afraid to serve it with other sauces. I always have extra orange sauce, general Tso, teriyaki, sweet and sour, or Szechuan sauce available.

Why you will love this recipe 

  • You can make it in minutes: In just under 30 minutes, your family can have their favorite Asian meal ready to eat.
  • It’s easy to make: Just sauté and seal the pot. That is all the work you have to do.
  • One pot to clean: It is a one-pot meal so not a lot of dishes to wash.
  • Everyone loves it: This easy recipe is not too spicy but not too sweet. It’s right in the middle.

What you’ll need to make instant pot orange chicken

Special items

  • An instant pot – I have a six-quart Duo Plus Instant Pot. 
  • Wooden spoon – For stirring and scraping.

Ingredients:

For the chicken and sauce:

  • Chicken – I prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into one-inch pieces.
  • Vegetable oil – Canola or olive oil will work.
  • Orange zest – This is important. Zest your orange. It is simple, fast, and easy. Plus, it will save you money and taste much better than store-bought zest.
  • Orange juice – I highly recommend you squeeze your own. But, if you use store-bought juice, make sure it is sugar-free.
  • Tomato sauce – This is optional, but I love the tangy flavor it adds.
  • Ginger – Freshly grated. I keep ginger root in my freezer year-round, so I always have some handy.
  • Garlic – This is another ingredient that should be fresh. It tastes better and has an entirely different flavor than store-bought stuff.
  • Rice wine vinegar – Adds a lightly sweet and mild vinegar taste with a hint of tanginess.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar gives the sauce a bit of sweet stickiness.
  • Brown sugar – Adds some rich sweetness for a depth of flavor.
  • Soy sauce – An unexpected saltiness; make sure you use low-sodium, or it will be too salty.
  • Sriracha sauce – Only use a little bit or the heat will be too much.

For the cornstarch slurry:

  • Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.
  • Orange juice – Helps dissolve the cornstarch and adds more flavor.

Garnish:

  • Green onions – Adds a pop of color and flavor to the top of your orange chicken.
  • Orange zest – For that extra bit of orange kick in every bite.

How do you make easy Instant Pot Orange Chicken?

This is a super easy instant pot recipe 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Brown in the pan: Keep in mind that you can also sauté the meat in a skillet over the stove.
  3. 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.
  4. Natural pressure release: After, allow a 10-minute natural release. 
  5. Quick pressure release: Open the vent and quick release the remaining pressure.
  6. 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. 
  7. Serve: Enjoy it warm with some white or brown rice, sprinkle sesame seeds, chopped green onion, and orange zest on top. 

Expert tip

The pot in pot method

I almost always serve my orange chicken with fluffy instant pot rice. To reduce time and effort, you can use my pot-in-pot cooking method. This is where you cook other food in small heat-proof bowls or pans inside your Instant Pot’s cooking pot. It is a practical way of cooking a whole meal in one pot without having to mix them all. It also makes cleanup so much easier, and its very time-efficient! This works when you want to make multiple dishes for steaming and for reheating.

So, to use this method, you can follow all the steps for making the orange chicken, and then right before you are ready to close the pot and turn it on, place a long-legged trivet inside and put your rice in a stackable steamer pan on top of the trivet. You will not have to change the cooking time. Everything else will stay the same. Then, when your chicken is ready, your rice will be ready too. Check the details about the pot in pot method described here.

You can use this method to make dessert, too. They also have smaller stackable dishes you can stack in different ways to cook all sorts of things. Remember that the inner pot needs at least one cup of water or some other liquid, and you should always use a trivet. Another way to benefit from this method is to reheat leftovers. You do not need to dry out your food by heating it in a microwave or waiting a long time to reheat it in the oven.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Lemon lime chicken: It seems weird, but I have tried this with lemon and lime for a different flavor. I enjoyed both, but when I mixed them, it was incredible.
  • Barbecue orange chicken: Take everything to a different level using your favorite barbecue sauce instead of tomato sauce. This adds a whole other layer of flavor.
  • Orange flavor: Intensify the citrus flavor by adding 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade.
  • Extra spicy: I always have to have an extra spicy version of everything because there are so many spicy food lovers out there. Toss in some poblano peppers or cayenne pepper for extra heat.
  • Turn off the heat: On the other hand, if you do not want any heat, leave out the sriracha sauce.
  • Other meat: For a different taste and texture, use pork, turkey, beef, or ham instead of chicken.

Serving suggestions:

Instant pot orange chicken goes great with all sorts of side dishes. Here are some ideas my family loves:

  • I absolutely love to serve it with some homemade fried rice or brown rice.
  • Looking to avoid starches, serve it with my cauliflower rice. It is easy and tastes delicious.
  • Try Chinese dish is delicious with a side of crispy eggrolls, crab Rangoon, or potsticker soup.
  • Any type of bread would go well with this sweet and spicy chicken dish. You need something to sop up the excess sauce, so you do not miss even one drop.
  • Instead of rice, noodles always pair well with orange chicken. I love it with soba noodles. This recipe for Japanese soba noodles is sweet and a bit spicy with ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil.
  • The perfect vegetables to go with this dish are steamed broccoli, perfectly roasted asparagus, and roasted bok choy.
  • The kids love this with bubble tea or a mochi dessert, an ancient rice cake with red bean filling.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between orange chicken and sweet and sour chicken?

Although they are both Asian American dishes made with stir-fried sweet and tangy chicken, orange chicken is more zesty than sweet and sour chicken. The orange flavor in orange chicken stands out on its own, while the sweet and sour chicken is more of a pineapple flavor with hints of apple cider vinegar, ginger, and ketchup. Sweet and sour chicken is less spicy than orange chicken and has a thicker sauce.

Can I use frozen chicken?

Yes. You can use frozen chicken in this recipe. If you use frozen chicken, you can skip the sauté step and dump and cook it all for 10 minutes under high pressure. However, this is a faster and easier process, but it does not mean you get a better-tasting orange chicken. I do not recommend this cooking method unless you are in a big hurry and absolutely do not have the time to wait for your chicken to thaw out or to get fresh chicken. The browning and crisping of the fresh chicken, in the beginning, are what gives it the best flavor.

Why did my instant pot chicken turn chewy?

When chicken turns chewy, it is almost always because it is overcooked. It is not difficult to overcook chicken in the instant pot, especially if you use boneless skinless chicken breasts. I like to use chicken thighs for this recipe because they are juicier and have a meatier flavor. When chicken is overcooked, the moisture is removed, making the protein fibers chewy and rubbery. It does not matter how much liquid you cook them in. If they are overcooked, they will still be dry. The cooking time for this recipe is five minutes.

What is zest and how do I get it off the orange?

Orange zest is the layer on the outside of the orange peel. It can add a lot of flavor and decoration to dishes and beverages. Zesting an orange is easier and faster than you think. It takes just a few minutes, and you do not need special tools. It is easier if you have a zester or microplane, but you can also use the smallest holes on a regular grater. You could even use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Grate the outer layer of orange peel off the orange. Do NOT include the white stuff. It is bitter and horrible. If you get any of that in your zest, remove it.

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.

More instant pot chicken recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • The orange is the most essential ingredient. Use your fresh zest. I use the zest of one whole fresh orange for an incredible orange flavor.
  • Also, the orange juice should be freshly squeezed. Remember, orange is the main ingredient.
  • Besides the orange, the chicken is essential, so get high-quality organic, skinless chicken.
  • Remember to scrape the bottom of the pot well after you finish sautéing so you do not end up with the dreaded BURN notice.
  • Keep the cooking time the same. Five minutes is long enough. Otherwise, you end up with rubbery, chewy chicken.
  • Use a cornstarch slurry, not flour, to thicken. Flour will make your sauce too clumpy.
  • Using orange juice in the cornstarch slurry is a trick to make everything taste even better.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Instant Pot orange chicken is better than takeout; it is made with tender chicken in the most amazing and flavorful Asian orange sauce. Ready in just 30 minutes!

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time15 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Instant Pot orange chicken is better than takeout; it is made with tender chicken in the most amazing and flavorful Asian orange sauce. Ready in just 30 minutes!

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time15 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breast or thighs cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sauce:

  • 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

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Garnish:

  • 4 green onions sliced
  • extra orange zest

Instructions

  • It is important for the chicken not to have any extra moisture. Dry it with a few paper towels, and then cut it into 1-2 inch chunks.
  • Heat up your pressure cooker: press Sauté, click on the Adjust button, and select More to activate the Sauté More function. This 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 are stuck to the bottom. In that case, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup orange juice and scrape the bits 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.
  • 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 tanginess to the overall sweet recipe and makes it taste more savory. It is based on your 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 the 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 the Sauté function again on LOW. In a medium bowl, combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with the orange juice, whisking until well combined and free of 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.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(545)
Amy

Amy

I have to tell you this. This orange chicken recipe is so delicious me and my family have eaten it 27 times in the last 2 months. Tonight will make time number 28. The only thing I changed which by the way nothing needs to be changed was I added two cans of Mandarin oranges to it at the end simply because my family likes Mandarin oranges. The recipe is awesome thank you for sharing.

Cheri S.

Cheri S.

The flavor was really delicious! I used about 1/4 cup tomato sauce. I think I did something wrong because the chicken was dry and pretty tough. Maybe I sautéed it too long? I’m giving it 5 stars anyway because I think it was something I did. I’ll make it again with the hope that the chicken turns out more tender.

Connie C Griffin

Connie C Griffin

Made this today. It was outstanding. My hubby loved it 2! Thank you for sharing.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

thank you, we also love this recipe :)

Jasmine

Jasmine

This was quite good and easy. I made the following changes: replaced 2T oil with 2T butter, only used 2T sugar, added 1/2 tsp black pepper, added 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Next time I will probably increase the Sriracha to 2T as well. I used frozen chicken breasts which were already pounded thin and did 8 minutes low pressure with 10 minutes natural release. Chicken was very tender and I think the low pressure helped. I ate it as-is with rice, but next time I will add veggies, maybe broccoli and bell peppers would be nice to give some textural variety.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

thank you very much for the feedback, I am happy you loved the recipe.

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