Learn how to make Instant Pot orange chicken – a classic American Asian fusion recipe – with our beginner-friendly, step-by-step recipe. Served over rice, noodles or vegetables, this sweet, salty and sour chicken dish is a must for family dinners. Please, leave a rating or comment at the bottom of this post if you’ve made this recipe or have any questions!
WHAT IS ORANGE CHICKEN?
You can commonly find orange chicken at North American Chinese restaurants and it consists of chopped, battered and fried chicken pieces smothered in sweet, sour and savory sauce made with orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar. The chicken is crispy and the sauce is usually caramelised and sticky with a hint of chili.
Our Instant Pot orange chicken recipe is a pressure cooker adaptation and is simpler than making the classic version which requires frying of the chicken. This also means that this dish a little healthier and lower in fat. Chicken is first cooked in the orange, soy, garlic and ginger sauce and then thickened and sweetened on Saute once it is cooked. As such, you will not have that crispy chicken texture of the classic dish BUT the essence and flavors of the dish are still there.
Making orange chicken in the Instant Pot is quick and easy and this beginner-friendly recipe will help you master this simple version of the dish. Check out more Instant Pot Chinese recipes here.
INGREDIENTS FOR INSTANT POT ORANGE CHICKEN
As we mentioned, this is a beginner-friendly, step-by-step recipe but there are a few ingredients involved.
Chicken: you can use chicken thigh or breast meat, which needs to be cut into bite-sized pieces. We used skinless chicken breast here.
Sauce ingredients: orange juice is our main liquid ingredient and we’re adding a lot of flavor with garlic, ginger, ginger and a bit of extra orange zest. Soy sauce will add a hit of salt and umami and lemon juice or vinegar will add a little acidity to the dish. Sriracha sauce or any other hot sauce will add a little kick/heat and you can use as little or as much as you like.
All of the above ingredients are cooked together under pressure. Once the chicken is cooked and while it’s still very hot, you will be adding the sugar to further sweeten and caramelize the dish. We will finish the sauce on Saute function.
To thicken the sauce, we’re using a slurry mixture of cornstarch or flour (gluten-free or regular) and water. These are not pictured above.
You will find the recipe for this wild rice soup just below or you can jump to detailed step-by-step photo instructions under the recipe card. These are especially handy if you’re an Instant Pot beginner.
You might like more recipes from our Instant Pot For Beginners series:
- How To Cook Rice In Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Chicken Breasts & Gravy (Step-By-Step)
- Instant Pot Pasta With Tomato Meatballs (Step-By-Step)
- Instant Pot Boiled Eggs (Soft-Boiled, Jammy & Hard-Boiled)
- Instant Pot Lentil Stew (Veggie-Loaded , Step-By-Step)
WATCH OUR TOP 10 VIDEO RECIPES HERE
Classic Asian American fusion, this Instant Pot orange chicken is delicious and easy to make. Serve over rice or noodles and a side of veggies.
2 lb / 900 g chicken breast or/and thighs ( cut into 1–2 inch pieces)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced/grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced/grated garlic (3–4 garlic cloves)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce (or ¼ teaspoon chili flakes)
TO FINISH THE SAUCE:
3 tablespoons brown sugar or granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
3 tablespoons water or extra orange juice
¼ cup diced scallions (green onions)
Steamed rice or noodles
Side of greens of choice (if you want)
- Prep the ingredients. Wash and blot dry the chicken with a paper towel. Then trim off excess fat. You could use kitchen shears. Then cut the chicken into bite-size chunks. Get the sauce ingredients ready as well.
- Sauté. Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté function key. Once hot, add in the oil and swirl it around. Add in the chicken, salt and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring halfwayway. Then press Cancel to stop the Sauté function.
- Use 1/3 cup of orange juice to deglaze the pot. Simply pour it in and stir through with the thicken, scraping the bottom to make sure there are no bits of chicken stuck as these may cause a BURN notice.
- Combine orange zest, remaining orange juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and Sriracha hot sauce. Pour the mixture into the Instant Pot over the chicken.
- Secure and lock the lid. make sure the pressure handle is pointing to Sealing on Duo Classic. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust the timer to 4 minutes on HIGH pressure. After a few beeps/seconds, the ON sign will come on indicating the pot is heating up and the pressure is building; pressurizing will take about 3-5 minutes and then the 4-minute timer will begin.
- Once the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Then use the quick release method to let off the remaining pressure (press the steam knob down or point to Venting on older models).
- Finish the sauce: Open the lid and stir the contents. The sauce will look a little thin at this stage. Press the Sauté setting button again. Stir in the brown sugar and let the sauce bubble for 5-6 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
- In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch or flour and water. Stir this cornstarch slurry into the Instant Pot and let the sauce thicken for a minute. Press Cancel to stop the Saute process.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt or hot sauce if desired. Serve over rice or noodles with favorite vegetables on the side.
Saute: 2 minutes | Pressurizing: 3-4 minutes | Cooking at HIGH pressure: 4 minutes | Release: 5 minutes natural release, then quick release the remaining pressure | Finish sauce: 5 minutes
Keywords: Chicken, Instant Pot, Chinese, Asian, Pressure Cooker, Dinner, Main, Gluten-Free, Poultry
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT ORANGE CHICKEN
Here are step-by-step instructions for making the orange chicken in the Instant Pot. We made it in the Instant Pot Duo Classic & Nova 6-quart pressure cooker.
Step 1. Prepare your chicken. Blot it dry with a paper towel. Then trim off excess fat. I like to use kitchen shears. Then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
Step 2. Turn your Instant Pot on and press the Saute function. Once hot, add in the oil and swirl it around. Add in the chicken, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Then press Cancel to stop the Saute function.
Step 3. Use 1/3 cup of orange juice to deglaze the pot. Simply pour it in and stir through with the thicken, scraping the bottom to make sure there are no bits of chicken stuck as these may cause a BURN notice.
Step 4. Combine orange zest, remaining orange juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and Sriracha hot sauce. Pour the mixture into the Instant Pot over the chicken.
Step 5. Cover and secure the lid. Make sure the steam releasing handle is set to Sealing. Set the Manual/Pressure Cook button to 4 minutes (3 minutes if using only breast meat). It should take 3-5 minutes to come to pressure and then the timer will begin. When the timer is up, let the pot sit for 5 minutes and then release the pressure manually but pointing the valve to Venting.
Step 6. Prepare other ingredients: water, cornstarch and brown sugar.
Step 7. Remove the lid and stir the contents. Press the Saute setting button and stir in the brown sugar. Allow bubbling away for 5-6 minutes to caramelise slightly.
Step 8. In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and juice or water. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the Instant Pot and let the sauce thicken for a minute. Press Cancel to stop the Saute process. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or hot sauce if desired.
Serve the orange thicken topped with chopped scallions (green onions) and sesame seeds. Serve the chicken over rice.