Instant Pot Orange Chicken Panda express inspired but, minus the deep fried chicken. It’s a healthy version of Orange Chicken that’s made with an amazing sweet sauce with a slight kick. A 15 mins recipe that the whole family will love.
Instant Pot Orange Chicken Panda Express
Panda Express inspired Instant Pot Orange Chicken is extremely delicious & get’s ready in 15 minutes!
No, you’ll not have crispy deep fried chicken pieces doused in a sweet sticky sauce.
But, you’ll not miss them either because the sauce of today’s Instant Pot Orange Chicken healthy version is finger licking good and it beautifully coats each sauteed piece of chicken.
It has the freshness from freshly squeezed orange juice, a good punch from freshly grated orange zest, lots of sweetness from sugar (both brown & white) & a whole lot of goodness from orange marmalade.
And, yes, marmalade is the secret ingredient.
Add it if you can or skip, the dish will still be just as good.
The slight kick from the red pepper flakes adds a whole new dimension & compliments the sweetness of marmalade beautifully. We love it!
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements way below the post on the “Recipe Card“. The list below is just a reference.
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs. You can even use frozen thawed chicken.
- Aromatics: Finely chopped ginger & garlic.
- Red Pepper Flakes.
- Sugar: Both brown and white sugar.
- Fresh Orange Juice: You can use sweetened bottled juice but than you have to reduce the amount of sugar from the recipe. Freshly squeezed orange juice will give the dish the best flavors ever.
- Orange Zest: The zest from a fresh orange. Just grate the outer skin (only the orange part) lightly with the help of a hand grater.
- Light Soy Sauce.
- Rice Vinegar.
- Ketchup: You can use Sriracha too for a spicy flavor or you can even use a mix of Sriracha sauce & ketchup.
- Orange Marmalade: Now, this one will totally boost the flavors of the dish making it a little more sweet, thick, glossy, sticky. That’s how we love our Orange Chicken. However, you can totally skip out the Marmalade. The recipe will still be very tasty.
- Cornstarch Slurry.
- Any Neutral Oil.
Tips & Tricks
- Saute the Chicken: Just rub the chicken with few drops of sesame oil & light soy sauce and than Saute it until lightly golden around the edges. This will add great flavors to the final dish. It helps mimic the restaurant quality wok flavors to some extent.
- Cook the chicken with orange juice: Pressure cooking the chicken in freshly squeezed orange juice will add tons of great flavor. I’ll highly recommend that you choose juice from a fresh orange over bottled juices.
- The Orange Chicken Sauce: The recipe has a fabulous thick sauce that’s sweet with a slight kick. For the best sauce do not skip any ingredients.
- The Sauce consistency: We love a thick sauce that clings to the chicken pieces well and we achieved the right consistency by simmering it with cornstarch slurry & finally mixed in the orange marmalade. If you prefer a slightly thinner sauce do simmer it less.
- The red pepper flakes: Adds a lovely zing to the dish without making it overtly spicy. However, if you have little ones at home skip the red pepper flakes.
- The Orange Marmalade: Now, this adds a whole new dimension to the recipe. It adds a great depth of flavor, gives the sauce a fabulous consistency, makes it thicker, adds more sweetness & freshness, imagine a burst of orange flavor & also adds a good amount of glossy sheen. So good! However, you can skip the marmalade if you want to. We love it by all means 🙂
- Orange Zest, when to add it: You can add it before pressure cooking or you can add it while simmering the sauce just like us. Adding it before pressure cooking will make the zest softer & make it milder.
- Controlling the Sweetness: This recipe is on the sweeter side with a good kick from the red pepper flakes. However, if you do not prefer sweeter sauces do reduce the amount of sugar according to your preference.
*Steps in words below step photos.
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements way below the post on the “Recipe Card“.
Step #1 Saute Chicken
Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE & set it on NORMAL.
Just 30 seconds is all you need to quickly saute the ginger & garlic.
Add the cubed chicken & saute until the edges begin to turn lightly golden. This helps boost the flavor so so much.
If adding red pepper flakes add mid way.
Step #2 Pressure Cook
De-glaze the pot really well after adding the Orange juice. This is to prevent the BURN error. Scrape the sides & the bottom of the pot with the help of a spatula.
PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 1 minute followed by a QUICK RELEASE.
Step #3 Thicken the Sauce
Add the sauce ingredients – sugars, light soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, orange zest & cornstarch slurry (helps thicken the sauce).
Mix well & simmer on SAUTE at LOW for 1 min stirring from time to time.
Add the orange marmalade, mix & simmer until you reach the sauce consistency that you love.
Enjoy the Best Instant Pot Orange Chicken with rice 🙂
Orange Chicken – FAQs
Orange Chicken will last for 5 days in the fridge when stored in moisture free air tight containers.
Yes Orange Chicken can be frozen for upto 3 months.
We always prefer individual size freezer safe bags or containers. It’s easier this way to re-heat and enjoy the dish.
- Steamed White Jasmine Rice.
- Steamed Brown Rice.
More Asian Take-out Recipes:
Instant Pot Orange ChickenPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 0.83 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs diced into ½ inch cubes (380 grams)
- ½ cup orange juice (from a fresh orange)
- 1 tsp Finely Chopped Garlic.
- 1 tsp Finely chopped ginger
- 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
- 3 tbsp any neutral oil
For the Sauce
- Begin the recipe by gently rubbing the cubed chicken pieces with sesame oil & light soy sauce. Set them aside while you prep the other ingredients. This step is OPTIONAL. However, it adds a nice touch to the recipe.
- Now, set the Instant Pot on SAUTE function & set it on NORMAL heat settings. Add oil & when the oil becomes moderately hot gently release the finely chopped ginger & garlic and saute them for just 30 seconds.
- Next, add the flash marinated chicken pieces & saute them until lightly golden around the edges. Add the red pepper flakes mid way. Saute the chicken while scraping the sides of the pot to loosen any bits & crumbs.
- Add the orange juice & de-glaze the pot very well with the help of a spatula. This is to help prevent the BURN error. It'll help loosen the bits & crumbs stuck at the base of the pot or on the sides.
- CANCEL the SAUTE function. Close the lid, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 1 min.
- Once, the pressure cooking cycle is over perform a quick release manually moving the valve from the SEALING to the VENTING position. Open the lid carefully.
- Now add all the ingredients mentioned above in the, "For the sauce" category of the Ingredients section and also the cornstarch slurry. Give a good stir. CANCEL the Pressure cook option.
- Turn on the SAUTE function & keep it at LOW. Simmer the sauce until it thickens to the consistency that you prefer (the sauce also thickens further as it cools down). Finally add the orange marmalade, mix well and simmer for just 30 seconds to blend in the marmalade with the sauce. You'll have a fabulous sticky sweet thick sauce at the end.
- Enjoy with Jasmine Rice, brown rice or noodles.
- Measuring Units Used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 teaspoon = 5 ml
- The Recipe is sweet, you can reduce the amount of sugar to control the sweetness.
- Ketchup: If you love spicy food sub the ketchup with Sriracha Sauce. You can also use 1:1 ketchup:Sriracha.
- Red Pepper Flakes: They add a subtle kick to the dish. However, if you are completely heat intolerant or making the dish for little ones skip using them.
- Orange Juice: For best flavors use the juice from fresh oranges.
- Bottled orange juice: It’s not a great sub for fresh juice. However, if you totally cannot find fresh oranges you may use bottled juice. In that case reduce the amount of sugar according to your preference.
- If not using Orange Marmalade: Use ¼ cups both brown sugar and white sugar.
- The Sauce: We prefer a thick sauce that beautifully clings to every piece of chicken. However, you may keep the sauce consistency the way you prefer. Simmer it less to thicken it less.