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. 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:)

  2. Sam Reply

    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.

  3. Kim Reply

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

  4. Janelle Duah Reply

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Mackenzie Reply

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

  8. Kiele Reply

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

  9. Louise Reply

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. Anonymous Reply

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


  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. Sylvia Reply

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

  19. 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!!!!

  20. 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!

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

    [...] I love a little Asian-type flair in my food. My husband does too. And, truly I’m in love with my Crock pot! Aren’t we all??? So I totally HAD to make this recipe when Katie used it in her 40 meals in 4 hours! It’s really yummy. I served mine over a mix of stir fried veggies (not made in the Crockpot). I did make some changes to the recipe to fit my needs – the items with an asterisk next to it will not be on the 40 meals in 4 hours shopping list. You can check out the original recipe here! [...]

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. Michelle Reply

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

  26. 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”.

  27. 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!

  28. 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! .

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. Brett Deutscher Reply

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

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

  36. Lori Reply

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

  37. Kim Reply

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

  38. 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.

  39. Orange Chicken Reply

    […] adapted this recipe from, changed it up a bit to my liking and Voila! It was amazing! I fiddled with it when I had the time […]

  40. 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:)

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