You don’t have to give up takeout-style orange chicken when staying home with your slow cooker! Make this easy version that is just as delicious as the dish at your favorite restaurant (and healthier too!). With a simple list of ingredients, this recipe can be assembled faster than placing an order.
Make a healthier version of a favorite takeout dish without all the extra salt, sugar, preservatives, and MSG! The orange marmalade will elevate your flavor so easily. And, with a soy sauce modification, you can make this recipe gluten-free!
- Chicken – For this recipe, you need to use chicken breast specifically. Cut into larger-sized chunks to prevent it from becoming tough through cooking too fast.
- Cornstarch – This provides the crispy edge that you can achieve with the slow cooker.
- Olive oil – Olive oil is generally a healthier option than most takeout-style recipes using seed oils.
- Orange marmalade – The not-so-secret ingredient? A jar of orange marmalade on hand in the pantry makes it SO easy to whip up a deliciously sweet and savory dish!
- Soy sauce – Any regular soy sauce will do, but if you want to make this recipe gluten-free, be sure to buy a gluten-free version like this one. Or, you can also use coconut aminos for practically the same taste.
- Rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce – These are staples of Asian-inspired cooking that can elevate the flavor so easily.
- Seasonings – Just a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a bit of extra salt and pepper.
How To Make Crispy Orange Chicken In The Slow Cooker
- Place cut-up chicken in a gallon-sized zipper bag with cornstarch and shake. Add a teaspoon or so of water as needed for the cornstarch to form a light batter on the chicken.
- Heat up a nonstick skillet and lightly coat the surface with olive oil.
- Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned on one side.
- Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the opposite side.
- Place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker.
- Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the top of the chicken.
- Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours until the chicken is fully cooked.
Optional: Garnish orange chicken with cilantro, green onions, or sesame seeds.
Orange chicken can be made with a few variations depending on your preferences!
- Many popular restaurants have crispy orange chicken on the menu with added veggies. You can add chunks of red or green bell pepper into the slow cooker along with the other ingredients. Most other veggies will make the chicken soggy due to the added water content.
- If you like, add some canned pineapple during the last 30 minutes to 1 hour of cooking to allow the pieces to become saturated with the orange marmalade sauce.
- To save time or steps, skip the cornstarch batter and precooking in the skillet and make a non-crispy variation in the slow cooker for the flavor.
- Add a little extra spice with a pinch or two of red pepper flakes!
Keep in mind that you must use chicken breast to maintain a tender texture within the allotted cooking time and to prevent greasiness during cooking.
What To Serve With Crispy Orange Chicken
Crispy orange chicken is classically paired over a bowl of sticky white rice although you could also swap out brown rice or coconut rice. For a lower-carb option, saute some cauliflower rice in a bit of sesame oil for a tasty side! If you need another appliance option, try Instant Pot Jasmine Rice.
To add a little extra green to the meal, try sauteed spinach or zucchini or Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic. A bit of sesame oil here goes a long way in the skillet! You can also make your veggies slightly spicy with a pinch of crushed red pepper.
Storing and Reheating
Store your leftovers for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze the leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Be sure the chicken has fully cooled before freezing.
To reheat, place in the microwave and set to reduced power in order to avoid overcooking the chicken and making it tough. Defrost in the fridge first if reheating from frozen.
Slow Cooker Crispy Orange Chicken
- Slow Cooker
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- A pinch of ground pepper
- Place cut-up chicken in bag with cornstarch and shake. Add a teaspoon or so of water as needed for the cornstarch to form a light batter on the chicken
- Heat a nonstick skillet and lightly coat with olive oil
- Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned
- Turn over and cook for 2-3 minutes on opposite side
- Place chicken in slow cooker
- Mix the remaining ingredients in bowl or measuring cup
- Pour mix over top of chicken
- Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 until chicken is fully cooked
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat on reduced power in the microwave. (Defrost first if frozen.)
- Some readers have noticed that the chicken can overcook if turned on low for 6 hours. Slow cookers can vary in temperature and cooking time, so I would recommend planning for conservative timing and checking the meat after about 4 hours on low. My meal was fine even after remaining on the warm setting after cooking, but every slow cooker will vary!
- Garnish with cilantro, green onions, or sesame seeds.