Paleo Orange Chicken

Paleo Chinese Orange Chicken Chinese food, without the MSG.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 3 T fat (coconut oil works well here)
  • juice of 2 oranges*
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 t fresh ginger
  • 3 T coconut aminos or wheat-free soy sauce
  • 1 t chili garlic sauce or sriracha
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Method

In a medium size sauce pot, add the orange juice, zest, ginger, coconut aminos and chili garlic sauce or sriracha. Set over medium heat and let simmer to reduce and thicken while the chicken cooks. In a saute pan, heat 3 T of the fat of your choice, over medium high heat. Add the chopped chicken thighs and cook until a nice brown crust has developed on the chicken pieces, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken to the sauce pot and stir to coat with the orange sauce. Serve topped with sliced green onions. *Taste your oranges. If they don’t taste orange-y, then neither will this dish. Use tangerines if you gotta or add a teaspoon of sweetener until you’re satisfied with the flavor.

143 thoughts on “Paleo Orange Chicken

  1. Juli Reply

    You’ve done it again!!
    Think i might just have to make this instead of the pad thai i was going to make tonight haha.
    You’re the best :)

  2. Brandon Reply

    Why didn’t we think of the broccoli option when we made this???!!! That sounds awesome.

    Oh yeah, it’s because we had an aging cauliflower.

  3. Stefanie Reply

    This looks amazing! What are coconut aminos? Is it shredded coconut? I’ve not heard the term and can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • megan keatley Reply

      it’s a coconut alternative to soy sauce. very similar in taste. it’s a bit pricey and definitely a hard-to-find kind of thing, so wheat-free soy sauce is our alternative.

  4. Kara Reply

    This was awesome! I made it along with the pork fried rice recipe minus the pork. I made a few changes based on ingredients I had on hand, but oh my goodness, it was so good! Thank you! You have an awesome blog!!!

  5. Justin Reply

    I made this for dinner Sunday evening along with pork fried “rice.” All I can say is… OM NOM NOM!!

  6. Angie Reply

    Made this last night with 4 boneless skinless thighs and two breasts…. There were only two of us and no leftovers because we scarfed it all down. Great recipe! Thanks!

  7. kootz Reply

    This is the BEST recipe I’ve made from your blog so far… all the other ones are great but I make this once a week. Like right now… it’s shovel-able.

  8. Monroe Reply

    Made the orange chicken last night, another winner from HB!!

    Is it bad that I doubled the recipe and ate 2/3 of it? Gluttony comes to mind, but I may be wrong

    • megan keatley Reply

      you’re asking me? ha!

      as embarrassing as it is to admit, even when i’m full, i will continue to eat just for the sake of being able to keep tasting the food. i have problems. hahaha.

    • megan keatley Reply

      it’s not going to thicken like gravy. the longer you let the sauce sit on the heat, the more water will evaporate and the thicker it will become. hope that helps a bit!

    • Jess Reply

      I couldn’t get it to work either. It tasted and looked like soy sauce….my fault being a bad cook, not the recipe! Any advice? I’m so looking forward to making this look like the pic and taste like it should.

      • megan keatley Reply

        hmmm, i guess just remember to taste as you go. if it tastes too much like soy, then you can always add more orange or chili.

        • Jess Reply

          Thanks! I plan on making this again soon. I’m so excited by your site I’m cooking my way through it. the pot pie was great.

  9. jd Reply

    just started the sauce for tonight… already had it at friends. it’s amazing. thanks!

    also the asian grilled skirt steak (we use angus sirloin) is phenomenal. we make that like once a week.

  10. Angie Reply

    When you serve this with the fried rice, do you include the pork or just leave it out?

  11. Erin Reply

    I think this was my first real paleo recipe, and OMG, it is YUMMY! I’m making it again tonite!

  12. Chris Reply

    Tried this tonight.. great recipe. Would recommend cutting the soy sauce by half if used as a substitute. Came out salty even with reduced sodium soy. Otherwise great! Will make again.

  13. Jennifer Reply

    Made this tonight. I agree about cutting the soy, as I also used low-sodium soy and it was very strong. I didn’t have oranges so I used 4 clementines, which would have been fine except the peel doesn’t zest as well as an orange. My husband loved it and I thought it was pretty good. Definitely something I’d like to re-try and do the right way. :)

  14. Chrissy Reply

    Man, I thought I messed this up bc my sauce wasn’t really thick, but I was wrong- it was fantastic!! The perfect amount of everything! I can’t wait to make the fried rice!! Thank you for another awesome recipe!

  15. Alima Reply

    What type of chili garlic sauce do you use? The ones I see always have a lot of sugar.
    Thanks!

  16. Rebecca Reply

    I made this with the fried “rice” tonight – YUM! I put too much chili sauce in the rice, my tongue is on FIRE. The flavor of the orange chicken was delicious! My sauce didn’t really thicken either, but it was still super delicious!

  17. Bicster Reply

    I made this tonight and the sauce was impossibly bitter. I guess the Cara Cara Navel Oranges that smelled so nice and looked so pretty were more like grapefruit. Even after a massive reduction with 1/4 C added honey and bottled orange juice, I could not tame the bitterness. Too much zest? I was careful not to get any pith with my microplane.

    • megan keatley Reply

      it’s probably a combo or bitter citrus and the zest. not much you can do once it’s bitter…i think. the oranges have to be at least semi-sweet off the bat

  18. April Reply

    I made this tonight and it ended up a little bitter and a little salty. I boiled a potato in it a while to absorb some of the saltiness and then added some honey. It turned out delicious. I will definitely be more careful with the amount of soy I use and I will wait until the sauce is thicker before I add my zest. Otherwise, delicious with my zucchini noodles and steamed carrots and snow peas.

  19. Jenny @ Colorado Uncouture Reply

    Made this tonight, great, will be making again and again. Added a splash of fish sauce and when serving sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on top. Served with rice (oh the horror, ha ha) and stir-fry veggies. To to the folks who were complaining of saltiness, I wonder if they’re using soy sauce like Kikoman? Tamari is much less salty and has a better depth of flavour, for what it’s worth. Thanks for a a great recipe, we literally shoveled it in our mouths! : )

    • megan keatley Reply

      that’s a good question. i didn’t even think about that. we use gluten free reduced sodium soy sauce…so maybe that’s the issue. so glad you enjoyed jenny!

  20. Q Reply

    I always love this recipe but was wondering if some almond flour in the sauce would help thicken it just a tad. I’m always too nervous to try for fear of messing up such a perfect meal.

  21. brandon keatley Reply

    I’m not sure almond flour would be welcome in it. It will reduce (evaporate) and thicken if you give it enough time. Just leave it on the heat until it’s as thick as you like and you’ll be golden.

  22. snr Reply

    we followed this recipe completely and it was completely inedible. bitter and salty and gross. ick. at least it looked pretty?

  23. Alycia Reply

    Tried it and unfortunately it came out bitter for me as well. I may have been a little too agressive with the zesting, or I may try it without the zest next time.

    • megan keatley Reply

      did you taste the oranges? if the oranges aren’t sweet…i’d imagine that’s why it was bitter. did you add any sweetener like i mentioned in the recipe?

  24. Mai Reply

    Looks like an awesome recipe that I’d love to try. The dog meat comment is a little offensive though.

  25. Angelia Reply

    Made this tonight for dinner!
    KIDS LOVED it! I LOVED it! Hubby said it was good, but ‘different’.
    the whole family has been going through some food pains since I started eating Primal~
    I made them rice.

    Was wonderful and slightly sweet but orangy! Got organic navel oranges from the co-op and they smelled and tasted SO GOOD!

    I’ve tried two recipes so far from your site and both have been SPOT ON!
    THANK YOU!

  26. James Reply

    Megan – Made this last night and it was awesome. We didn’t have any soy sauce or coconut aminos, so we swapped in 1 t of stir fry sauce. Also we heated the sauce a bit too long while cooking the chicken. But next time we’ll be ready!

    I continue to meet my fitness goals with the help of your recipes ~

  27. Orange Chicken Reply

    [...] found the recipe on Health-Bent a few weeks ago, and the photo inspired instantaneous mouth-watering. I was pretty [...]

  28. Allie Reply

    AMAZING! I’m always willing to try new things, but this far surpassed ALL expectations!! I cut it in half to make 2 servings – BUT I wish I made twice as much…. I had this with stir-fry onions, peppers, green beans and broccoli topped with silvered almonds!!

  29. Jen Reply

    I made this tonight and the entire family scarfed it down, including the ultra picky 2 year old. My seven year old asked if I could make it for breakfast :-)

    I didn’t have oranges so I used 6 clementines. They were difficult to juice so I just peeled them and threw them in the vitamix to puree them. My sauce came out velvety and thick which I think was due to the natural fruit pectin from using the whole clementine. I did have to add a substantial amount of coconut sugar to counteract the bitterness (again probably from using the whole clementine) but it was worth it! This one is going in the rotation!

  30. Misty Reply

    Really great! We made it with Cauliflower rice. I added some honey for sweetness but I think next time I might try to add some raisins to the sauce at the end instead.

    I think carrots would also make a great addition.

  31. Betsy Reply

    Saw this on Pinterest and want to repin, but would hate for anyone to ever associate me with that “dog meat” comment in any way. Would you consider editing to remove it? Looks delicious!

  32. Jamie Reply

    Wow, I saw this the other day and made it tonight. It was absolutely amazing and totally lived up to my expectations. I ended up reducing the sauce by about 1/2 and added a little stevia to sweeten it up a little bit. I have never had Orange Chicken at a Chinese restaurant but I can’t imagine it tastes better than this! Thank you!

  33. Tilly Monster Reply

    Oh dear lordy… this was so delicious I was tempted (ok, I did, a little) to lick the pan after I ate all the chicken. I just used some of Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tenderloins and a little extra fresh ginger– on a bed of sautéed kale. Oh ooooh oooh! Who needs Panda Express…

  34. Kara Reply

    I have just discovered your site and your recipes look amazing! I usually shy away from “diet” terms but have been really intrigued by the Peale thing since I’n a Celiac and the requirements fit in with a gluten free lifestyle. Anyway, this looks d’lish and I will be giving it a go this week. Have a great day.

  35. Marlina Reply

    Made this tonight and loved it!! Threw in some broccoli and asparagus, it was such a tasty chinesey treat! Thanks a bunch :)

  36. nicole Reply

    This is delicious! Not specifically on the Paleo diet but was looking for a quick and effortless orange chicken recipe. I added some honey to balance out the saltiness and it is oh so yummy!
    Thanks for sharing!

  37. Paige Reply

    I really want to try this recipe, but I can’t have nightshades, so I’d have to leave out the chili sauce. Do you think it will still work (obviously without the kick)? Or is there something I can substitute?

  38. leo Reply

    using zest from the whole orange is what made the sauce really bitter i think, I ended up with something really bad and had to throw it out.. i would go easy and put only a pinch of zest. but these kind of mistakes are good for learning, so no worries.

    • brandon keatley Reply

      curious what you used to zest it with?

      we use a microplane…which does’t “zest” very deeply into the skin/white of the orange. zesting the pith could be part of the problem…and of course the variety of the orange. we use navels whenever possible.

  39. Cat Reply

    So exited to make recipe…was out of coconut aminos…so I subsituted Balsamic vinegar and it came out great!

  40. Laura Reply

    I’ve made this twice so far. Once with chicken breast (it was what I had on hand) and once per recipe. Both times were delicious… though chicken thighs are obviously better. The only issue I had was using the written amount of aminos for the soy…waaaaay too salty for my taste. I usually go light on all things salty so that was just a faux pas on my part.

    definitely recommend!

  41. Amanda Reply

    This was so delicious! I’ve made it twice, and this time I didn’t have any oranges on hand, so I used lemons instead. It was very good. Thanks. :)

  42. Theresa Reply

    I made this last night, adding stir fry veges and only used 2 tbls of soy because I am sodium sensitive. My sauce was not thick, but that did not matter because it was SO DELICIOUS! MY husband and I loved it. This will be a favorite on my weekly menu. Thank you, thank you, thank you:)

  43. Sam Reply

    Okay so I found out how to make it thicken..you can’t really thicken sauce in a deep sauce pan (at least I can’t haha), so what I do is I pour it into something shallow like a skillet, and let it simmer and reduce that way. You can cover it with a pot cover too and it will thicken. Worked like a charm! Never worked the other way for me (pouring the chicken into the sauce pan)..I had to pour the sauce in the chicken pan. But be careful because you could overcook the chicken trying to reduce it this way.

  44. Kim Reply

    My son’s girlfriend made this last night – Delicious! (go Rose!).. how many servings does this recipe yield?

  45. Janelle Duah Reply

    this was nothing short of amazing! perfect blend of spice, heat, sweet, and savory. definitely going to be a weekly staple!

  46. Libby Reply

    What would be a good side for this dish? I was thinking of putting it on cauliflower rice, but my husband doesn’t like cauliflower…..

    • jen Reply

      Libby – we’ve done the recipe twice and I do over a broccoli and carrots steamed or stirfried.

  47. Angie Torres Reply

    I have a large family (6 of us) and I was wondering how many servings this recipe made so I know how many times to double it. Thanks! I am really looking forward to making this one.

    • Lori Reply

      I doubled it and my family of four (hubby, me, boys 10 & 6) scarfed it all down with cauliflower rice. I was hoping for leftovers because it’s super yummy. IMO, recipe as written serves 2-3

  48. Mackenzie Reply

    I didn’t have sriracha, so I used Thai red chili paste and it was boooommmmmb.com! I also sautéed red onion, red bell pepper, and carrots with the chicken, which I highly recommend. Great recipe!

  49. Kiele Reply

    made this for dinner tonight. threw in some cashews and served it over a bed of lightly steamed veggies….. freaking awesome!!!!

  50. Louise Reply

    just wondering in the recipe what does the T stand for – tablespoon/teaspoon

  51. Maria Reply

    Had this for dinner tonight. Absolutely delicious. I used chicken breast and added in some California blend veggies after reading one of the comments saying she used stir fry veggies. There was plenty of sauce to go around and it was very, very, tasty.

  52. Dianna Reply

    Made four packages of Island Chicken, using Key Lime juice instead of Lemon, and then made the orange sauce for the orange chicken. It’s awesome. Just the right amount of sweet and heat. Those 8 packages are already in the freezer and the chicken tacos are simmering away in the crockpot to be served for dinner tonight, with enough for another dinner in the freezer. Love your site and have bookmarked it to explore further. Thanks so much. My kitchen smells wonderful and my husband is happy he doesn’t have to cook on those days I work 12 hour shifts.

  53. Veronica Reply

    Made this for dinner tonight along with some steamed sugar snap peas tossed with a little sesame oil & seeds. Fabulous! Definite winner. Thank you so much!

  54. Anonymous Reply

    Hey odd question, what font do you use for your headings?

    Thanks!

  55. Paul Reply

    For those who asked about thickening the sauce, I used a little coconut flour and that did the trick. I imagine almond flour might have the same effect. Very tasty, thanks for sharing!

  56. Blanca Reply

    Did anybody substitute the siracha or chili garlic sauce with a different hot sauce? Both sauces in the recipe have sugar. Please share what you subbed with. Thanks.

    • Shelley Reply

      I have made this twice now subbing chili garlic sauce for sriracha. Both times I’ve been thrilled with the results. Hubby & I like things spicy so I actually used almost two tablespoons of the chili garlic sauce. Serve it over steamed veggies & its killer! Next time I may double the sauce though. That way theres more for the veggies!

  57. Merrill Reply

    We made this tonight and it was great! I sautéed the chicken in a skillet until almost done and then took it out and poured the sauce in and stirred with a whisk in the skillet to get all the browned bits incorporated, kind of like making gravy. Then I cooked it down, stirring occasionally until it turned a darker color and was glossy and thick. This took 5-10 minutes. Then I added the chicken back and stirred together long enough for the chicken to rewarm. Served with steamed broccoli and carrots and sliced pineapple. Yum!

  58. Callan Reply

    Just made this recipe and added some sliced habanero peppers which gave it a serious kick! If allowed to reduce, the sauce is amazing… thank you so much for sharing!

  59. Sylvia Reply

    How much orange juice should u be using, 1/3 if a cup? Just wondering:)

  60. Katie A. Reply

    Awesome recipe! Much more savory (and obviously much healthier) than Chinese take-out. My Louisiana-born hubby loved the sriracha heat & I’m a Florida girl so orange makes me happy :) The sauce didn’t quite glaze up as expected, but after reading the other comments I’ll try it in a little pan not a sauce pot next time. Yes – definitely a next time. FYI: google tells me a medium orange is normally 1/4 cup, so 2 would be 1/2 cup by YMMV. Thanks ya’ll!!!!

  61. Samantha Reply

    Just made this for lunch, added some sweet red peppers in with the chicken and served with cauliflower ‘rice’. I cannot even describe the joy I experienced eating this. This beats any Chinese take out I ever had in my pre-paleo days. I know what I’m bringing to the next paleo potluck at the gym now :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart (or stomach) for this amazing recipe!

  62. Crock Pot Orange Chicken | Who Needs A Cape? Reply

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  63. Maggie Reply

    This is SO much better than take-out deep fried over-sugared orange chicken! Another winner; you all never cease to amaze me. Even my non-paleo husband had this over cauliflower rice and had no complaints.

    I should have read the other comments, as I also wanted more of a thick glaze with the sauce, and I was so sad to toss out the lovey shnibbles after cooking the chicken! Next time I’ll remove the chicken from the pan it cooked in, deglaze the pan with the sauce and cook it down, then add the chicken back in. That’s how you do your General Tso’s chicken, which I also love, so I’m sure I’ll get results that I will love even more, if that’s possible!

  64. Sandi Jones Reply

    Made a double batch of this today, it fed 5 (3 adults 2 kids) just about right. I did 1/2 with the coconut oil, and 1/2 with bacon fat. Since I had to split it between 2 pans, I thought I’d experiment. I’d definitely go with the bacon fat all round next time, better flavour and it came together much more quickly.

    Definitely delicious no matter what fat you use, though!

    • Sandi Jones Reply

      Also, I think a more accurate word than “Thicken” in the recipe might be “reduce”, as I interpret it. It seems to be causing a bit of confusion.

  65. Steve Reply

    Made this tonight… Great dish sweet with heat. Having trouble finding chili garlic sauce tho and I noticed a few of your recepies call for it! I let my sauce sit for abit almost to the point of boiling, it reduced just fine! I used tropicana orange juice instead of squeezing the oranges, turned out great. Awesome recepies awesome site!! Keep it up.

    • Suzette Reply

      I made this recipe tonight. I think it has great potential, but I used wheat-free soy sauce, tangerine juice (1/3 cup) instead of freshly squeezed oranges, and srirachi, and it was not very orange-y and it was really salty. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as I want to try it again.

  66. Michelle Reply

    Yum! Just had it for dinner tonight. I added arrowroot to make the sauce nice and thick. Thanks!!

  67. qp Reply

    this recipe looks great (and tastes great!) but just FYI, if you’re trying to go SUPER STRICT paleo, sriracha is sadly not going to make the cut. it is one of my “oh well eat it anyway” foods but, w/ ingredients like potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and xantham gum it’s not really “paleo”.

  68. Megan Reply

    This recipe was great! For any of you looking for a Whole 30 version, I substituted the chili garlic sauce with 3tsp of Red Curry Paste, a minced clove of garlic, and red pepper flakes! Turned out so good! I like my food on the spicier side so adjust the curry paste/red pepper flakes accordingly. Also, I served this with California blend vegetables. Next time I’ll add some cauliflower rice or make a double batch! It went quickly!

  69. Megan Reply

    This recipe was great! For any of you looking for a Whole 30 version, I substituted the chili garlic sauce with 3tsp of Red Curry Paste, a minced clove of garlic, and red pepper flakes! Turned out so good! I like my food on the spicier side so adjust the curry paste/red pepper flakes accordingly. Also, I served this with California blend vegetables. Next time I’ll add some cauliflower rice or make a double batch! It went quickly! .

  70. Elizabeth Reply

    Wow! This was super easy and delicious! I used chicken breast because I am not wild about chicken thighs. I ended up doubling the sauce (because I served it over cauliflower rice and wanted the rice to soak up some of the yumminess). For the second batch of sauce, I added about 1/2 t of arrow root powder which thickened the sauce just right. I also threw in a some lightly steamed broccoli. Great fresh, clean flavor! Thank you!

  71. Imo Reply

    Love this recipe! Even better is it’s a great palio recipe too. We use chicken breasts instead of thighs as it’s what we usually have in the fringe. I tend to marinate the chicken in the sauce first and substitute the chilli garlic paste with actual chilli and garlic.

  72. Rachel E Reply

    Holy smokes. I don’t know how you did it, but this tastes BETTER than any Chinese food version I’ve ever had. Your website is a gift! Thank you for developing and sharing such deliciousness! Mmmmmm :D

  73. Karen Reply

    Anyone know the nutrition facts on the recipe? I just made it & it was amazing but I was a little concerned about the carb count with the orange juice. Terrific recipe!

  74. Brett Deutscher Reply

    wow! Really really yummy. I like this Paleo stuff!!!

  75. Emmalou Reply

    I made this tonight and really enjoyed it, although found it a bit salty. I subbed out Braggs for the coconut aminos, so maybe that was it. Overall an excellent dish though. I look forward to making it again. I served it with basmati tossed with fresh cilantro, and sesame red cabbage. Yum!

  76. eli Reply

    Why did mine turn out so bitter? The only thing I did differently was I skipped the sriracha garlic sauce. I also made sure to grate only the orange part of the orange, not the white, but the sauce had a horrible bitter after-taste. Anyone know why that could be?

    • Health-Bent Reply

      only thing i can think of is maybe the orange itself wasn’t a good one? happen to taste the orange juice on its own?

      – bk

      • Laura Reply

        Eli, I found this recipe bitter at first as well. My husband loved it exactly as stated. So I separated some of the sauce for myself and added a smidge, as in not even enough to coat the bottom of a small spoon, of honey and mixed it into the sauce. That helped a ton. We also just slightly reduced the ginger on our second batch and that cut the bitterness substantially. Don’t give up, this is a great recipe. Adding some water chestnuts as well!

  77. Lori Reply

    We made this tonight for dinner: YUM!! So delicious. Highly recommend it!

  78. Kim Reply

    This recipe is Amazing!!! I have made it twice already and it’s on this weeks menu! Thanks!

  79. Alexandra Reed Reply

    Well I was so excited to discover this recipe and couldn’t wait to try it so I bumped it up to the top of my recipe list and made it tonight. Doubled the sauce recipe and added arrowroot flour/starch which reacted weirdly with the sauce and a jelly formed around it despite my whisking furiously… gross. took the lumps out and switched to cornstarch (non paleo. bummer) which worked but didnt change the fact that the sauce had a really sour after taste.. guess from the coconut aminos? and not v sweet so had to add brown sugar (ALSO not paleo. agh) so my tasty paleo meal turned into a not tasty not paleo let down.. can’t figure out where I went wrong? Maybe the oranges weren’t orangey enough but I did add sweetener to compensate. Anyways I wish this worked for me. Maybe I’ll try again.. maybe. but this was very disappointing.

    • Carli Reply

      When you add arrowroot flour, first mix it in a separate bowl with at least an equal amount of cool water, then pour the water/starch mixture verrrrry slowly into the sauce, stirring the entire time. Hope that helps.

  80. Orange Chicken Reply

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  81. Irma Reply

    Just made this tonight! Yummy! I used two large oranges for just over a pound and a half of chicken breast. A little too much on the citrus side but I loved it that way, my husband not so much. Would not change a thing:)

  82. Melisa Reply

    This is such a yummy dish! My whole family loves it! Never any left overs….

  83. Natalie Browning Reply

    This was as amazing as everyone has said! I substituted grapefruit for the oranges and it added another kick to it! Along with ground ginger instead of fresh as that’s what I had in the house :) SOOOOO good with cauliflower mash with caramelized onions and garlic. But next time I think I will try the veggies on the side with snap peas– the chicken is the star so it needs something a little simple to pair. Wonderful dish thank you so so much!

  84. Tatyana Reply

    I used chicken breast, ground ginger and it came out way better than any resturant I’ve ever been to. I am so glad to have another recipe to use my coconut oil with. Couldn’t find any soy sauce that said wheat free, but the one we have at home is fine, so it isn’t completely paleo, but I enjoy this. Making things from scratch. Thank you for this recipe.

  85. Paleo Chinese Food Recipes Orange Chicken Recipe | Paleo Recipes Reply

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