★★★★★

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken that’s so much better than takeout! Tender chicken bites tossed in sticky sauce and citrus glaze is a kid-friendly meal that you can make in the Instant Pot any night of the week.

For more Instant Pot “fake out” dinners, our readers LOVE this easy Bourbon Chicken recipe. We’re also obsessed with making this Beef Broccoli for a delicious weeknight meal.

Orange chicken ladled out of Instant Pot.

Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken

Anyone else out there have a weakness for Panda Express?

I know it’s not authentic Chinese food and that there are lots of other places to get delicious takeout, but when I’m hungry and there’s a Panda Express nearby, I can’t resist the call.

Specifically, of their orange chicken. Sweet, sour and saucy chicken served on a bowl of rice hits the spot every single time.

Lucky for me–and you–it’s SO easy to make Orange Chicken at home. Using my Instant Pot, this dinner was ready in less time than it takes to drive to pick up takeout.

I love making copycats of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes, like Chicken Fried Rice and Sesame Chicken. Now, we have another one to add to the rotation!

Homemade Orange Chicken tastes even better than the famous Panda Express dish, too. With fresh ingredients, including real orange juice and zest, this quick dinner is flavorful, satisfying and just plain delicious.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients need to make orange chicken in the pressure cooker.
  • Chicken – I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces. You can substitute chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Orange juice – Any brand of orange juice works well (no need to squeeze your own unless you really want to!).
  • Soy sauce – Or substitute Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • Tomato paste – This adds tang and helps thicken the sauce.
  • Orange zest – Use a microplane grater or zester to remove the outermost layer from an orange peel (avoiding the bitter white part).
  • Spices- To season this sauce, I used plenty of ground ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes!

Step by Step Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make orange chicken in the pressure cooker.

STEP 1. Saute the chicken

With the Instant Pot on the “saute” setting, cook the chicken with the olive oil for 3 -4 minutes until the chicken is mostly cooked through.

STEP 2. Deglaze

Add a cup of the orange juice to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape off any pieces of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pot.

STEP 3. Pressure cook

Put remaining ingredients for the orange chicken (except the glaze and garnishes) into the pot but do not stir. Add the lid to the pot, seal the valve and select a cooking time of 5 minutes at high pressure.

When the cook time ends, let the pot release the pressure naturally for 5 minutes, then do a quick release of remaining pressure.

STEP 4. Orange glaze

Combine the cornstarch and remaining orange juice in a bowl and whisk. Add the mixture to the Instant Pot with the chicken and give everything a good stir.

Set the Instant Pot back to “saute” and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce is thick and bubbly.

STEP 5. Garnish and serve

Serve the orange chicken over bowls of rice, topped with chopped green onions and orange zest.

Orange chicken on rice served on a white plate.

Recipe FAQs

What rice is best to serve with orange chicken?

We love this orange chicken on a simple bed of plain white rice. It would also be delicious over brown rice, for a heartier taste.

Can this be made without sugar?

This is not a recipe I’d make without sugar! It’s important for the taste of the sauce, the thickness of the sauce and that classic “sticky” glaze we love in orange chicken.

What size Instant Pot do I need?

This recipe was tested in a 6 quart instant pot.

Tips and Tricks

  • Store leftover orange chicken in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It’ll keep for about 3 days.
  • Remember to scrape ALL the pieces of chicken from the bottom and sides of your pot before adding the rest of the sauce ingredients. This step prevents getting a “burn notice” when you pressure cook the orange chicken.
Brown rice with orange chicken on a white plate.

More Easy Dinner Recipes

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Yield: 6 servings

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Orange Chicken that's so much better than takeout! Tender chicken bites tossed in sticky sauce and citrus glaze is a kid-friendly meal that you can make in the Instant Pot any night of the week.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp ground gigner
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

For the glaze

  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch

Garnish

  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 orange, zested

Instructions

  1. In the Instant Pot on SAUTE, add the olive oil with chicken pieces. Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken is mostly cooked.
  2. Add orange juice to the pot and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot so you don't get the burn notice (this is called deglazing). Turn off.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, sesame oil, tomato paste, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, sugars, and soy sauce to the pot. Do not stir.
  4. Secure the lid and make sure the vent on top of the pot is set to "SEALING." Select High Pressure (or Manuel) for a cook time of 5 minutes.
  5. When cook time ends, allow pot to naturally release pressure for ten minutes, then move the valve on top to "VENTING" to release the remaining pressure.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice with cornstarch. Open the lid, stir the chicken and add the slurry to the pot. Select "SAUTE" and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until thick and bubbly.
  7. Turn off and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Add sliced green onions and orange zest to the top. Serve over rice.

Notes

  • Recipe tested in 6 qt Instant Pot.
  • Swap out the chicken breasts for thighs if you prefer.
  • Store leftover orange chicken in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It'll keep for about 3 days.
  • Remember to scrape ALL the pieces of chicken from the bottom and sides of your pot before adding the rest of the sauce ingredients. This step prevents getting a "burn notice" when you pressure cook the orange chicken.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1090mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 48g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Put your takeout menu away and make perfect Orange Chicken in the Instant Pot instead!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on November 21, 2020

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