Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken. This recipe is perfect when you want a no-fuss takeout meal without all of the extra calories! This easy orange chicken recipe is gluten-free, has no extra sugar or MSG, and is perfect for the entire family! My kids absolutely love this orange chicken!

slow cooker orange chicken topped with sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes

Take out dishes are some of my favorite recipes to make at home, especially this tasty Slow Cooker Orange Chicken. It’s so much easier to control the spice level, saltiness AND calories when you make Chinese takeout recipes at home. This orange chicken is a family favorite! My kids love it! It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and has so much flavor. The chicken turns out super juicy thanks to a technique called “velveting“. I toss the cubed chicken in cornstarch then pan fry it over high heat to caramelize the outside and seal in the juices. This will seriously give your favorite takeout orange chicken a run for it’s money!

Why this Slow Cooker Orange Chicken is the BEST!

  1. It’s healthier than takeout! Asian Takeout food is usually loaded with MSG and extra sugar. There’s no need for all of that! Making it yourself means you can choose better ingredients.
  2. It’s easy to make! This easy Orange Chicken recipe takes literally 10 minutes to throw together. 10. Minutes. You could start your coffee in the morning, throw this together, and by the time your coffee is ready to drink, dinner is ready to cook!
  3. It uses a slow cooker. Slow cookers are hands down my favorite kitchen appliance because they really bring out the meal’s flavors and cooks meat to an oh-so-tender perfection. Fail-proof deliciousness. Every. Single. Time!
  4. There’s no deep-frying! In this recipe, we just sauté the chicken in a little oil, cutting the calories in half, and then add it to the slow cooker. The chicken comes out extra juicy, tender and loaded with flavor!

overhead shot of slow cooker orange chicken in crockpot

How do I make this Slow Cooker Orange Chicken?

It takes just 3 easy steps and 10 minutes:

Prepare the chicken: Add the cornstarch, salt, pepper and chicken to a ziplock bag and shake it until the chicken is well coated with the other ingredients.

marinating cubed chicken breast in large ziplock bag

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wok and sauté the chicken for 2 minutes until it’s golden brown. It won’t cook all the way through – that’s the slow cooker’s job!

Next add in the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add the chicken and garlic to the slow cooker.

browning cubed chicken in large white skillet

Meanwhile add sauce ingredients to small bowl and whisk to combine.

orange sauce ingredients in bowl

Add the sauce ingredients to the pan the chicken was cooked in to deglaze the pan. This extracts so much flavor and helps to remove the extra “fond” off the bottom of the pan.

deglazing bottom of pan with sauce

Add the sauce to the chicken in the slow cooker and toss to combine. Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Add a quick cornstarch slurry to the crockpot and cook for a couple more minutes then serve!

overhead shot of orange chicken in the white slow cooker after it was done cooking

What do I serve with this easy orange chicken dish?

I love having this with fried rice, noodles or even cauliflower fried rice to keep it low carb!

Can I turn the spicy heat up or down a notch?

Absolutely! If you want more heat, add some Sriracha sauce to your portion after it’s served. To turn the heat down, just completely skip the crushed red chili flakes when you make the sauce. This is great for feeding the whole family – no heat for the kids, extra spice for the grown-ups!

Chinese orange chicken in crockpot with spoon

How do I store this Slow Cooker Orange Chicken?

Fridge: Store this orange chicken dish in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.

Freezer: Store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating in a pot on the stove.

Can this be made in the Instant Pot?

Yes! Simply brown the chicken as directed in the Instant Pot then add all of the sauce ingredients to the instant pot and pressure cook for 5 minutes then allow it to naturally release.

aerial shot of orange chicken in a bowl with rice and broccoli

Here are more easy slow cooker takeout recipes to enjoy!

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Super Easy Slow Cooker Orange Chicken. So much better and healthier than takeout!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • sesame seeds for garnish, if desired

Orange Sauce

  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

Images:
  • Add chicken, cornstarch, salt and pepper to a large ziplock bag. Toss to coat the chicken.
  • Heat oil to a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.
    Add in chicken in two batches and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes.
    Add in garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute. Transfer the chicken and garlic mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Meanwhile mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Add the sauce ingredients to the skillet the chicken was cooked in and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes making sure to scrap the brown bits (fond) off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the sauce to the slow cooker and toss to coat the chicken.
    Cook on low for 2-3 hours. (Mine took 2 hours exactly)
  • In a small bowl combine 1 tsp of cornstarch with 1 tbsp of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker. Add to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and all the chicken to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
    Serve immediately with sesame seeds for garlic, if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 499 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 1069mg46%
Potassium 697mg20%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 48g53%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chicken, Easy Recipe, Orange Chicken, Slow Cooker

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Comments

  • Elizabeth

    Perfect! Made it and it tastes exactly like restaurant Orange Chicken without the deep friend unhealthiness. I’ve been working on getting Chinese restaurant authentic taste into my regular menus for years, and this is going on the top of the list. Only thing I did differently was adding the cornstarch to the sauce mixture instead of coating chicken with it because I never have much success with stir frying coated chicken. Stir fried it without the cornstarch. Sauce was nice and thick. You are a genius and my favorite food blog.

  • lucinda L peterson

    This is really easy and exceptionally good.

  • Tracy Marozzi

    Can this be made in an instant pot? If so, do you have directions to make it that way? Thank you!

    Tracy M.

    • Hi Tracy!

      Yes this can be made in the instant pot! Simply brown the chicken as directed in the Instant Pot then add all of the sauce ingredients to the instant pot and pressure cook for 5 minutes then allow it to naturally release.

      Thanks and Enjoy!

      Kelley

  • Tara

    Oh wow! The chicken looks so good with that glaze. I love how easily it comes together in the slow cooker too.

  • Beth

    I love orange chicken, and I’m a big fan of anything I can make in the slow cooker. I can’t wait to make this. The family is going to love it.

  • Kari Heron | Chef and Steward

    While I have no problem with MSG because glutamates are naturally occurring in many flavourful foods, I quite fancied your recipe and it was so easy to make!

  • Elizabeth

    My kids have been begging for orange chicken! I love that this can be made in the crockpost. Can’t wait to try this.

  • Nancy

    Really flavourful orange chicken recipe. It comes out super juicy. Thanks everyone loved it

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