Gluten Free Orange Chicken

Make this sweet, spicy, crispy and sticky gluten free orange chicken for your next dinner! It is better than Chinese orange chicken take out and so addictive!

You can’t resist these crispy chicken bites that are glazed twice with caramelized citrus sauce. The first glaze is spicy and dark and the second glaze is zesty and sweet. Perfect combination!

Make these chicken bites ahead of time and store in the fridge for delicious weeknight dinners. I love to serve them with rice, but you can use other grains or wrap in lettuce for lunch.

Improve your regular chicken and rice meals with this incredibly tasty gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free recipe! I’m sure you will love this easy chicken meal.

Grabbing gluten-free orange chicken with chopsticks

Origin of Orange chicken

Orange chicken is know as Chinese food in North America, but actual orange chicken is rarely found in Chinese restaurants in China.

It is claimed that the original Chinese-American orange chicken recipe was developed in Hawaii in 1987 by chef Andy Kao. We all know this popular Chinese kitchen fast food chain, right?

On the other hand, crispy and sweet orange chicken may have originated from the “tangerine chicken” dish from Hunan province, China. In Chinese, this dish is known as “陳皮雞”, which translates as “dried citrus peel chicken”, usually made with dried orange or tangerine peel.

How to make Asian take out gluten free

If you want to make breaded orange chicken, try to substitute flour or bread with corn starch or potato starch.

You can also use arrowroot powder or tapioca flour.

However, if you try to toss it in gluten-free flour, it won’t be so crispy. Starch works better for this chicken recipe!

Gluten free sweet and sour sauce for orange chicken glaze

Delicious orange chicken glaze is made with fresh orange juice, gluten-free soy sauce, sugar and spices. You can regulate the sweetness and spiciness of your homemade sweet sour sauce. It goes so well with chicken!

You can mix all ingredients for the sauce, put in a jar and store covered in the fridge up to 2-3 week. Just give it a stir and add to your poultry!

Ingredients ready for chicken glaze on the table
Ingredients ready for chicken glaze on the table: fried chicken, orange juice, brown sugar, corn starch, turmeric, cayenne, garlic and ginger powders, orange zest, rice vinegar and gluten-free soy sauce

How to make gluten free orange chicken

First cut boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs in bite size pieces. Preferably tap them dry with kitchen towel.

In a small bowl combine salt, pepper and corn starch.

Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Add chicken pieces to the starch mix, toss to coat and shake of excess. Fry the chicken, stirring until cooked and golden. Remove from heat.

I prefer to coat the chicken once in starch, which allows to hold the sauce and adds crispiness.

Mix all ingredients for the first spicy glaze – orange juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, corn starch, cayenne and turmeric powders.

Reduce in the pan until thickened.

Coat the chicken in the sticky and warm glaze. Cook it for 1 minute together to let it stick. Set aside.

Clean the pan or use another one.

Mix all ingredients for second glaze -orange juice, white granulated sugar, salt and corn starch. Reduce the glaze for  about 10 minutes on low.

Toss to cover chicken pieces in the second glaze. It is easy to use tongs for tossing.

You can also use only one glaze, but keep in mind that the first one is dark and spicy, and the second one is bright and sweet.

For a healthier version you can substitute sugar with alternatives like erythritol, but I haven’t tried it. Coconut sugar can also be a good substitute.

What goes with orange chicken

To our taste, gluten-free orange chicken is best to serve with Basmati rice. You can also serve it with cauliflower rice.

This is a good addition to your vegetable stir fry or Buddha bowl.

Try it with pasta.

I like to garnish gluten free orange chicken with fresh micro herbs, sesame seeds, fresh slice of orange and orange peel. It looks festive for special dinner or to diversify your weeknight meals.

Gluten-free prange chicken served with rice and garnished with fresh orange slice, orange peel, sesame seeds and fresh micro herbs

Storing orange chicken

Store in the fridge up to 5 days. Reheat couple minutes in a pan with little bit of water or orange juice.

Keep in mind that the chicken will lose its crispiness after storing in the fridge. But it will still be delicious!

If you like to freeze it, cook the chicken without the sauce. Let it cool and put in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag.

When you are ready to serve it, thaw chicken overnight in the fridge and reheat in the pan. Then toss in the sauce as mentioned in the recipe.

You can cook the chicken straight out of the freezer, but it will need couple more minutes than mentioned in the recipe.

Tips For Making The Best Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

  • Cut the chicken in bite size pieces, but not too small. Otherwise it will be easy to overcook.
  • Use large pan or wok.
  • Don’t overcrowd the skillet or pan, when frying the chicken. Better cook in few batches.
  • Heat the oil in a pan, before adding the chicken. I used peanut oil, but you an use sunflower oil.
  • Keep in mind it will continue cooking, even while it is cooling. Don’t cool it in a pan.
  • If you are afraid of drying and overcooking chicken, choose skinless and boneless thighs. They are juicier, more flavorful, as well as harder to overcook because of the amount of fat in them.
  • Don’t forget to clean the pan or use another one for each glaze, otherwise it won’t be smooth and may burn.
  • Don’t skip the second glaze, as it adds more flavor!

Gluten free Orange Chicken with rice served on the black late with chopsticks on the blue table

Other delicious chicken recipes with sauce:

You should also check another simple Asian take out that you can make at home – Beef and broccoli stir fry.

Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to receive up-to date healthy recipes and amazing desserts! And if you make this Gluten Free Orange Chicken or one of our other recipes, tag us to let us know. We love to see what you are cooking!

Gluten free Orange Chicken recipe, served on the black plate with rice

Gluten Free Orange Chicken

Cooking Journey
5 from 5 votes
Make sweet and sticky gluten free orange chicken with rice for your next dinner! It is better than Chinese orange chicken take out and so addictive!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 433 kcal

Equipment

  • 1-2 large pans
  • Whisk
  • Heat-proof tongs
  • Small bowl




Ingredients 

  • 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into pieces
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil for frying
1st spicy glaze
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • cup brown sugar
  • tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
2nd sweet glaze
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • ¼ tsp salt



Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in the large pan.
    2 tbsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil
    Heat oil in the large pan.
  • In a small bowl combine corn starch, black pepper and salt. Toss chicken to coat and put in a hot oil.
    ½ cup corn starch, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs
    In a small bowl combine corn starch, black pepper and salt. Toss chicken to coat and put in a hot oil.
  • Fry on both sides on high heat until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
    Fry on both sides on high heat until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Put large clean pan on a heat. Add orange juice, soy sauce and vinegar.
    1 cup orange juice, 2½ tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar
    Put large clean pan on a heat. Add orange juice, soy sauce and vinegar.
  • Add spices, starch and brown sugar. Simmer, whisking until reduced and sticky, about 10 minutes.
    ⅓ cup brown sugar, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne powder, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp corn starch
    Add spices, starch and brown sugar. Simmer, whisking until reduced and sticky, about 10 minutes.
  • Add cooked chicken in a pan and toss to coat for couple minutes. Remove chicken from a pan and set aside.
    Add cooked chicken in a pan and toss to coat for couple minutes. Remove chicken from a pan and set aside.
  • Put large clean pan on a heat. Add orange juice, white sugar, starch and salt.
    1 cup orange juice, ¼ cup white granulated sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 1 tbsp corn starch
    Put large clean pan on a heat. Add orange juice, white sugar, starch and salt.
  • Reduce the sweet orange sauce until sticky, about 10 minutes.
    Reduce the sweet orange sauce until sticky, about 10 minutes.
  • Add chicken to the pan and toss to coat in the glaze.
    Add chicken to the pan and toss to coat in the glaze.
  • Let the chicken cool a little and enjoy with rice or salad.
    Let the chicken cool a little and enjoy with rice or salad.



Notes

Store gluten-free orange chicken in the fridge up to 5 days. Reheat couple minutes in a pan with little bit of water or orange juice.
Keep in mind that the chicken will lose its crispiness after storing in the fridge. But it will still be delicious!
Check the post for instructions on freezing.
Keyword easy, sticky, sweet and spicy

Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    I love orange chicken. I love it even more since it is gluten free. This recipe was delicious. It had great depth of flavor.

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks for the detailed instructions. The recipe was perfect and the taste was spot on. So much healthier than the fast food version!

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