This delicious Crockpot Orange Chicken tastes just as good as your favorite take-out.. but healthier! Tender chicken is coated in a yummy orange sauce and served with broccoli and peppers for a delicious and easy dinner that is bound to become a weeknight favorite.
Why You’re Going to Love This Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe
Whenever we go out for Chinese, my kids order orange chicken. The crispy chicken and perfectly sweetened orange sauce makes it a solid kid-favorite, every time. We finally decided it was time to attempt our own version at home. I wanted something that mimicked the flavor and texture of the dish they loved, but a little healthier. After a bit of trial and error, we finally found a winning combination! I knew I wanted to try and adapt it for my crockpot, so that’s what I did here. A quick pan-fry gives you the texture you want for the chicken, but if you want a more hands-off meal, you can skip this step. The final result is a tender, lightly sweetened Orange Chicken that will definitely satisfy any take-out craving.
Ingredients for Crockpot Orange Chicken:
- Rice Wine Vinegar– regular or seasoned rice wine vinegar will work here.
- Soy Sauce– we used low-sodium soy sauce.
- Sesame Oil– sesame oil has a strong, distinctive Asian flavor. A little bit goes a long way! It is purely for flavor here so you can leave it out if desired.
- Orange Marmalade– you can use any store-bought brand you like here. It helps thicken the sauce and adds the perfect orange flavor.
- Brown Sugar– adds a caramely flavor to the orange sauce.
- Salt & Pepper– for seasoning. We used kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Cornstarch– creates a crisp exterior on the chicken and helps thicken the sauce.
- Chicken– we used boneless, skinless chicken breast, but chicken thigh works great here too.
- Broccoli Florets– very traditional veggie for stir fry. Zucchini works great as a substitute.
- Red Bell Pepper– any color will work, but liked the red for color.
How to Make Orange Crockpot Chicken:
- Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, marmalade, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
- Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with cornstarch.
- Brown the chicken in a hot skillet with avocado oil. Transfer chicken to the crockpot.
- Pour marmalade mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
- Add the chopped veggies to the crockpot during the last 30 minutes of cooking; stir to coat.
- Make a slurry if desired by removing 1/2 cup of the cooking sauce from the crockpot into a small bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth. Stir back into the crockpot and allow sauce to thicken.
- Serve over rice and enjoy!
Tips & Suggestions:
We love the broccoli and pepper combination, but you can use whatever veggies you like! Some other great options are onions, zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage and carrots.
If your sauce didn’t get as thick as you like during the cook time, make a simple slurry using some of the sauce from the crockpot (about 1/2 cup) and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Whisk together and stir back into the crockpot and allow to thicken.
We used boneless, skinless chicken breast. But chicken thigh is a good option also! It requires a bit of trimming, but it cooks up nice and tender in the crockpot and is harder to overcook.
We served our Crockpot Orange Chicken over a bed of white rice. Other good options are brown rice, rice noodles, or even quinoa!
Yes! You can adapt this recipe to work on the stovetop. After browning your chicken, add the veggies to the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes. Next, add the sauce to the skillet. Allow the sauce to cook down and thicken while the chicken finishes cooking.
More Asian-Inspire Recipes You’ll Love:
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3/4 cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken thigh, boneless, skinless
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 2 cups broccoli florets
Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, marmalade, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cut chicken into small pieces, and toss into a large ziplock bag along with the corn starch; shake to coat.
Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once hot (oil will shimmer) add chicken. Brown on all sides and then place into the crockpot evenly on the bottom. Pour the vinegar mixture over the chicken making sure all the pieces are covered, put the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for about 4 hours or high for 2 hours. Check your chicken about half way through and adjust time and temp as necessary – every crockpot cooks a bit differently.
When there is 30 minutes left of cooking, chop the red bell pepper and trim broccoli florets as needed. Add to the crock pot and stir to coat with sauce.
If your sauce is still too thin after cooking, you can remove about 1/2 cup of the sauce from the crockpot and put in a small bowl. Whisk in about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir this slurry back into the crockpot and allow to thicken.
Serve over rice and spoon extra sauce over everything once plated. Garnish with sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 862IU | Vitamin C: 54mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
I’m a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.