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Paleo Orange Chicken

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Paleo Chinese Orange Chicken Chinese food, without the MSG.


  • 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


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.


  1. 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. 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. I know what I am now going to make this weekend! My mouth is watering already!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!!

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Oh I have missed Chinese food since switching to a paleo diet! Making this tomorrow… for breakfast!

  11. hahaha! that’s what i’m talking about katie! hope you enjoy.

  12. my sauce did not thicken :(
    what did i do wrong?

    • 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!

    • 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.

  13. 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.

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

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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. :)

  18. 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!

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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! : )

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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.

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

  29. 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!

  30. 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 ~

  31. 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!!

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

  36. 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…

  37. 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.

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

  39. 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!

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

    • 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.

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

  43. 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!

  44. 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. :)

  45. 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:)

  46. Okay so I found out how to make it 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.

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

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

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