Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe

Orange Chicken has to be one of my favorite Chinese dishes that I order when we order takeout or visit a Chinese restaurant that I love when we happen to make it into the big city. I’ve made it a few times at home, but decided the other day that I wanted to try a skinny orange chicken.

Orange Chicken Recipe | ©

You know, the first of the year, that’s what seems to be on our minds and this recipe seemed just ripe for a little reworking.

Orange Chicken Recipe | ©

I began with four skinless, boneless chicken breasts that I sliced in half lengthwise and then cut into bite-sized pieces. I find that they cook a lot more evenly that way and it saves a ton of time when cooking chicken in recipes like this. You’ll definitely want to make sure you are using a very sharp knife and I like to pop my chicken into the freezer for about 15 minutes as it makes them perfect for cutting, in my opinion.

I tossed my chicken into a skillet with a bit of oil. I used coconut oil as I was trying to make this recipe as Paleo-friendly as possible, but you can use olive oil, butter, or a combination of the two for great flavor.

While my chicken was browning, I mixed together the sauce for the chicken. While traditional orange chicken always calls for frying the chicken bites in a cornstarch batter. I omitted that part to reduce a few calories. Believe me, you won’t miss it once you taste the sauce on this chicken!

Once the chicken was browned, I removed it from the skillet as I cooked the sauce to reduce it for the dressing. You are going to love the substitutions I made. It tastes so fresh and delicious!

Orange Chicken Recipe | ©

Here’s my Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe. I think you are going to love it. I know we sure do!

4.7 from 21 reviews
Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Orange Chicken makes a favorite Chinese dish. Get this lightened up Skinny Orange Chicken recipe which is Paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and grain-free, but definitely not free of flavor!
Serves: 4
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1½ teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish, optional
  • Broccoli recipe
  1. Melt coconut oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add in chicken pieces and cook until cooked through and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. While chicken is cooking, stir together chicken stock, honey or maple syrup, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, coconut aminos, Sriracha sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes. Pour into heated skillet once chicken has been removed and reduce to low heat. Cook, stirring often, until sauce has been reduced and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and pour over chicken.
  3. To serve, spoon chicken over a bed of broccoli and then spoon on additional sauce. Top with sesame seeds, if desired.
If not concerned with making this recipe Paleo-friendly, use the following substitutions:
For 1 tablespoon coconut oil, use butter or olive oil or a combination of the two
For ¼ cup coconut aminos, use ¼ soy sauce

If your sauce does not thicken as desired, you may add the following to assist in the thickening:
Mix 1 - 2 teaspoons of tapioca flour or arrowroot powder, if Paleo OR cornstarch, if non-Paleo, with the same amount of water to form a paste. Stir into the sauce well to thicken.


Are you interested in more lightened up favorites? Are you looking for more sugar-free, grain-free, or Paleo-friendly recipes? Please send me an email letting me know and I’ll be sure to include more of what you are looking for this year.

Love to you all!
Robyn xo


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  1. 86

    Kathy says

    This is an amazing recipe! Our little grand daughters gobbled it up, even the broccoli! I left out the heat for them. I would love to have the nutritional info if possible!

  2. 87

    Alison says

    All I can say is AMAZING!!! SOO DELICIOUS!!! I served it with cauliflower rice! Thanks for this AWESOME recipe Robyn!!

  3. 89

    Denise says

    Made this for dinner tonight with leftover rotisserie chicken. Wow! So packed with flavor. I chose to halve the sriracha and leave out the red pepper flakes to lessen the heat. Will definitely be making again and again.

  4. 92

    hannah says

    Yummy! Had this as a pretty quick weeknight dinner for my boyfriend and I, I served with rice and had the broccoli on the side. I loved the fresh orange flavors and I didn’t miss the deep fried batter one bit :) It also made for great leftovers!

  5. 95

    Cameo says

    Two things: 1. I never buy sriatcha sauce as I never need it. It is necessary to the goodness that I’d orange chicken? 2. I’m confused on the arrowroot starch thickening paste. Some say TABLE spoons, you say TEAspoon. One girl said before the chicken, you say on the sauce. I’m a detailed gal, can you help me out? Thanks! Can’t wait to make this!

  6. 97

    Beckie Smock says

    Making this tonight! I love everything you do, thank you so much! I try to do all my prepping while kids are in school so I have the chicken cut and the sauce made….curious if I can marinate? Thoughts?
    Thanks again!

  7. 100

    Shannon says

    This was so good. My boys (4&6) as well as my daughter (13) and hubby devoured this dish. I was hoping for leftovers for lunch but they ate every last bit!

  8. 102

    Shanon says

    I didn’t have coconut aminos, either, but Tamari sauce is a gluten free soy sauce that can be substituted to be as close to paleo as you can. Great Recipe!!!!!

  9. 104

    Jamie M. says

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! I’m not sure that siracha is paleo but it was fab nonetheless!! Thanks for posting this!! :-)

  10. 106

    Carla says

    I am going to try this for my fourth of July dinner. However, I have not fried chicken without a breading. What is keeping the chicken from being burnt with being added directly to hot oil or not being done because you’re trying to keep it from cooking to long and being hard?

  11. 108

    Sarah says

    Thanks for the amazing recipe! Had a quick question. Is there something you can substitute the Sriracha sauce? And does it effect the thickness? I don’t keep spicy stuff in the house because I don’t like my foods spicy. I made this last week and left it out. The flavor was fine for me, but it didn’t thickent. Did the Sriracha mess that up or could it have been something different. New to Paleo and New to Cooking!

  12. 109

    Debra says

    I made this sauce with shrimp.
    I didn’t have a fresh orange, so just used the refrigerated OJ in the fridge and a splash of water instead of chicken stock.
    It was delicious orange shrimp!!!!!

  13. 110

    Paige says

    Made this tonight and it was amazing. First time ever having and trying orange chicken. Thank you!

  14. 111

    Hope says

    Tried this last night and it was awesome. Not only is this extremely easy to make but the time invested is so minimal. It is packed with flavor that makes you enjoy each bite and look forward to the next. I added long grain brown rice for my boyfriend and the sauce soaked in there perfectly. It cures the “chinese food” cravings without the 1000 extra calories! I do not follow the Paleo diet so I used what I already had in my kitchen- olive oil & soy sauce. Thank you for helping us eat so well!

  15. 112

    Megan says

    We made this tonight and enjoyed it! We used soy sauce in place of the coconut aminos, and it was a little too salty, so next time I think we’ll do more honey and less soy sauce. We had it with a side of rice, which helped soak up a lot of the sauce and flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  16. 115

    Kelsey says

    I’ve made this recipe once a week since finding it and I absolutely love it! My only issue is my sauce won’t thicken. About how long do you usually simmer it for? Every time I’ve made it, it just won’t thicken up. Any ideas?

    • 116


      Hi Kelsey,
      Sorry it doesn’t thicken for you. If you are following a Paleo diet, you’d use tapioca flour or arrowroot powder to thicken it. If not, then cornstarch would work as well. Just about 1 or 2 teaspoons to equal amounts of water to form a paste and then add into the sauce. I hope that helps!

  17. 117

    Ellee says

    Fan-freaking-tastic! Easy and delicious! A nice change-up on all the chop suey-esque stir fries at our house! Pinned & definitely will make this again!

  18. 118

    Cass says

    Made this today, tasted AWESOME!! But the sauce wouldn’t thicken. So I ended up just putting the chicken back in the pan and cooking it together so the flavor a would blend. Any tips? Will definitely make again!

  19. 119

    Adam says

    Hey there, your recipe looks delicious! I was wondering…after the chicken browns, do you think I could just throw everything into my slow cooker for a few hours?? Think there’s enough sauce?
    Thanks for your help!

    • 120


      Hi Adam,
      I’ve not done it that way, but I think it would work perfectly. It would give the sauce additional time to thicken with the chicken and all of those flavors to become even more pronounced. Let me know how it works for you!!!

  20. 121

    Amanda says

    Thank you so much for this! This is a great allergy friendly recipe for my son the whole family enjoys! We just leave the hot sauce out because it’s a little too spicy for my two year old.

  21. 123


    Hi, all.

    For those of you having trouble with the sauce not thickening, add 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot powder (a paleo-approved alternative to cornstarch) before adding the chicken. And as Robyn suggests, be sure to keep the heat low. I hope this helps! Other than that, this recipe is delicious! We’ll certainly be making it ahead.

    Thank you, Robyn!

  22. 127

    Karly says

    I’m wondering what would you choose for the sweetener between maple syrup or honey? Do you find one tastes more like it goes with it the asian flavor? Thank you for your opinion because I really want to try this for my family! :-)

    • 128


      Hi Karly,
      I go back and forth between the two, but really think that the honey does lend more of an Asian flavor than the maple syrup. It also tends to make the sauce thicken more quickly when you reduce it. Hope your family loves it!

  23. 130

    Sue says

    I made this and followed the recipe to the letter. The flavor was amazing! We loved it! But, my sauce never really thickened up, do you have any tips for that? I want to make it again!

    • 131


      Hi Sue,
      So glad you loved it! It is now one of my weekly staple recipes! Continue to cook the sauce maybe increasing the temp a wee bit and it should thicken fairly quickly.

  24. 132

    Laurel says

    Hi!! I made this tonight but my sauce never thickened. I used a stainless steel skillet. Could that have been the problem? Thanks!!

    • 133


      Hey, Laurel! Use 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot powder (paleo-friendly alternative to cornstarch) before adding the chicken, and that should thicken the sauce for you. We had the same trouble, but this worked for us. Hope this helps!

  25. 134

    Ashley says

    I was wondering what can be used besides coconut, as I’m highly allergic to it, I can usually avoid coconut but I really want to make this…. any suggestions? BTW I’m new to the Paleo life.

    • 135


      If you are avoiding coconut, then you can use Ghee or grass-fed butter in place of the coconut oil and a low-sodium soy sauce in place of the coconut aminos, especially if you aren’t concerned with the recipe being strictly Paleo.

  26. 140

    Julie says

    Made this exactly like recipe (uses soy instead of coconut aminos) and it was absolutely delicious. Served over brown rice with side of broccoli. Orange sauce is light and fresh and very nice. I think this will be a new family favorite! Yummy!

  27. 147

    Donna says

    Do you have a recipe for the packets of onion soup mix sold in grocery stores?

    Looking to go heather for 2014.


  28. 149

    Alice F says

    Ok, I made this last night for dinner. My family loved it! I didn’t have any coconut aminos, so I used low sodium soy sauce. My kids loved it and my husband took leftovers for lunch today! I was happy because not only was it simple to prepare and delicious, but it didn’t have rice or pasta in the dish. By the way, the photos in the post are beautiful.

  29. 151

    Martha says

    I made this recipe tonight for my family’s dinner. It was AMAZING!!! Orange chicken is something I crave and order whenever I go to Panda Express. Let me tell you, hands down, this is a favorite for me and my husband!!! But the best part was that my children loved it, too!!!

    Thank you so much for all you do. Keep up the delicious recipes!

    • 152


      Oh my goodness! I’m so glad, Martha! Thank you so much for your sweet comment and for letting me know how your family enjoyed it! xo

    • 154


      Hi Kathleen,
      Coconut Aminos is a soy sauce substitute used for those who are allergic to soy or are making Paleo-compliant or friendly recipes since they do not use soy products. If you aren’t worried about either, you can just use soy sauce. If you are trying to be Paleo-friendly, you can find Coconut Aminos at grocery stores like Whole Foods, as well as online.

  30. 155


    Skinny or not this is absolutely gorgeous! Chicken is our go to around here and I’m always looking for ways to switch it up. Happy New Year!! xo

  31. 160

    Janet says

    I too was wondering about coconut aminos – never heard of it. But definately going to try it – one of our favorite dishes. Janet/AZ

  32. 161

    Martha T says

    I love orange chicken and I know that it is so bad for me. I would love to try this recipe, but I’m not familiar with coconut aminos. If I can’t find it, is there any substitute that I can use?

    • 169


      We actually love it even more than the fried version. I’m thinking I may have started something around here with lightening up some favorites! :)

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