Paleo Orange Chicken

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.

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.

  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!

  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 sautĂ©ed 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. :)

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