Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (2024)

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Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (1)

Happy New Year’s, everyone!

I hope that your 2014 is off to a terrific start. And hopefully, a delicious and healthy start!

So for all of you new years resolution folks who are out there scanning the world wide webosphere looking for lighter recipes after a holiday season full of sweets, you’ve come to the right place. Because I am dedicating theentire month of January this year to sharing healthy recipes with you. And I am stoked to kick things off with a lightened-up Chinese food classic — Skinny Orange Chicken.

This version packs all of the amazing sweet and savory orange flavor of the restaurant-style version, but with only a fraction of the calories and fat. And it is naturally sweetened with honey. And it can be served over rice or (my favorite) quinoa. And it can be made in just 20 minutes from start to finish.

Interested? You should be. :)

Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (2)

The main key to lightening up this restaurant classic is that we simply saute the chicken instead of fry it. The chicken is sauteed until golden and drenched in an orange chicken sauce anyway, so I guarantee you won’t even miss the frying! Plus, it saves us lots of unnecessary fat and calories in an already delicious dish.

And as I said, this skinny orange chicken recipe can literally be made in about 20 minutes. So here’s what you need to make it happen.

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First, begin by cutting your chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Mine were roughly 1-inch cubed. Then season them with lots of salt and pepper for extra flavor.

Next, we make the rockstar of this recipe — the orange chickensauce. This sauce really could not be simpler. Simply whisk all of the ingredients together along with some cornstarch (for thickening), and you’re ready to go.

Chicken + Sauce. Done.

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Next, saute the chicken in some olive oil until it is nearly cooked through. Be sure to let it rest in the pan a bit while cooking so that the sides can get nice and browned.

Then pour in the sauce, which should come to a boil within a minute or so. Let it boil for about 1-2 minutes, or until it’s nice and thickened.

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Then top the chicken with some extra orange zest, green onions and toasted sesame seeds, and you’re good to go!

If you want to go the traditional route, you can serve this orange chicken recipe over rice. But I’m a big fan of eating stir-fry recipes with quinoa. So I whipped up a quick batch for this recipe, made (as always) with chicken broth for extra flavor.

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I mean, really, just look at that gorgeous dish!

So much great flavor, and so little unnecessary fat and calories from frying the chicken. I’m pretty positive that even your friends or family members who usually prefer the fried version will go “poco loco” over this dish. :)

Stay tuned for more healthy recipes to come this month on Gimme Some Oven. And cheers to a great 2014 ahead!

Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (7)Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (8)


Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (9)

Skinny Orange Chicken

5 Stars4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars1 Star4.9 from 54 reviews

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 4-6 servings 1x
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This homemade orange chicken recipe comes together in just 20 minutes, and is a crazy delicious! (And healthier than the restaurant version!)



Orange Chicken Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • orange chicken sauce (ingredients below)
  • toppings: thinly-sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, orange zest

Orange Chicken Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • zest of one orange
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

(Optional: Quinoa Ingredients)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth


To Make The Orange Chicken:

  1. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and nearly cooked through.
  3. Pour in the orange chicken sauce, and stir to combine. Let the sauce come to a boil, then boil for an additional minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat and serve immediately over quinoa or rice. Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and additional orange zest.

To Make The Orange Chicken Sauce:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until combined. If you would like the sauce to be even sweeter, add an extra 2-4 tablespoons of honey.

To Make The Quinoa:

  1. You can see my step-by-step photo tutorial for how to cook quinoa here

Be sure to also check out these related recipes:

How To Cook Quinoa (A Step-By-Step Tutorial)

Sesame Chicken with Quinoa

Lighter Chinese Chicken Salad

posted on January 1, 2014 by Ali

Main Dishes


Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe | Gimme Some Oven (2024)


What is the difference between General Tso and orange chicken? ›

What is the difference between orange chicken and General Tso? Orange chicken is crispy fried with a fruity, sweet, and tangy sauce that's caramelized into a glaze. General Tso is stir-fried in a sweet, sour, and spicy umami sauce.

Why is my orange chicken sauce not thickening? ›

Sauce is like gravy in that if it's not thickening as much as you want after you've added the cornstarch, turn the heat up a little and continue to cook. Keep an eye on it though, as it can thicken quickly.

What is orange chicken sauce made of? ›

How to make the orange chicken sauce. The orange sauce is made from a mixture of the orange juice and zest, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and rice vinegar. This is bubbled up in the wok until slightly thickened. The chicken is then added back in, and tossed in the sauce until fully coated.

How many calories are in homemade orange chicken? ›

Our healthy homemade orange chicken has much better volume, calories, and macros. For the Orange Chicken: 279 Calories, 2 grams of fat, 31 grams of carbs and 35.5 grams of protein.

Which is healthier kung pao or General Tso? ›

General Tso's chicken is battered, deep fried, and tossed with a spicy sauce. Kung Pao chicken, on the other hand, is not deep fried and instead is wok seared and tossed with a marinade. The choice here depends on the restaurant, but in most cases Kung Pao chicken is the winner.

What is General Tso's sauce made of? ›

The sauce for General Tso's chicken is so simple to make with pantry staple ingredients: rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and some corn starch to thicken the sauce. Simply add the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

How do you thicken orange chicken sauce without cornstarch? ›

Mix 2 tablespoons (16 g) of flour with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of cold water, then add to your sauce and stir over medium heat until it thickens. Alternatively, create a sauce-thickening roux by whisking 1 tbsp (15 g) of butter and 1 tbsp (9 g) of salt together, then adding the mixture to your sauce.

Does lemon juice thicken sauces? ›

It was time for the secret weapon: lemon juice. Turns out, the acidity of the juice acts as a thickening agent, which reacts with the proteins in the dairy to increase the viscosity. It's a similar concept to adding vinegar to milk to make buttermilk, said Clark.

What thickens Chinese sauce? ›

Cornstarch! In his book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Mark Bittman recommends mixing 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with the same amount of water, and tossing this into the stir fry just when it's almost done. It thickens in seconds, picking up the flavors of everything already in the dish and coating evenly.

What is the Chinese version of orange chicken? ›

In Chinese, this dish is known as "陳皮雞", literally "dried citrus peel chicken", referring to dried orange or tangerine peel. However, the taste and recipes of this dish differ due to cultural and geographical factors.

What is Panda Express orange chicken made of? ›

Ingredients: dark meat chicken, water, sugar, distilled vinegar, modified food starch, corn starch, potato starch, contains less than 2% of: wheat, orange extract, caramel color, salt, garlic, phosphoric acid, rice wine, sesame oil. *The dish uses a proprietary batter and sauce.

Can I eat orange chicken on a diet? ›

Takeout orange chicken is not very healthy because it's loaded with sugar and deep-fried as well. But this homemade version is a healthier alternative made from whole food ingredients with no added sugar and no deep frying involved. When you pair it with some veggies it is a healthy option!

Is orange chicken high in carbs? ›

Orange chicken (1 cup) contains 60.8g total carbs, 59.6g net carbs, 11.2g fat, 29.2g protein, and 465 calories.

What is a serving size of orange chicken? ›

Serving Size: 3.6 oz. Preparation Instructions: Place a single layer of chicken on baking sheet. Heat at 400 F for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown, and internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Is General Tso just sweet and sour? ›

General Tso's chicken and sweet and sour chicken are completely different dishes. Starting with the sauce, General Tso's chicken is a sweet, spicy, and slightly tangy while sweet and sour sauce is often served on the side and is just sweet and tangy.

What is the difference between General Tso chicken and General Tao chicken? ›

General Tso's chicken (also known as General Tao's or Tsao's chicken) is an iconic Chinese-American takeout of deep-fried chicken coated in a thick sweet sauce. You can also make it spicy for those who like a little kick.

Is Panda Express orange chicken like General Tso? ›

The key difference is that the General Tso's sauce has more pepper flakes in it to give it that kick, while the orange chicken sauce has either orange zest, orange juice, or orange peel included to give it that bright zing of orange flavor.

What is orange chicken called at Chinese restaurants? ›

cheng zi ji (traditional Chinese: 橙子雞; simplified Chinese: 橙子鸡; pinyin: chéngzi jī; Jyutping: caang4-2 zi1 gai1; lit. 'orange chicken'), a calque.


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