There we were in the middle of Hong Kong…my husband Patrick, my brother and sis-in-law and me, sitting down to our first authentic Chinese meal.
We ordered orange chicken, and after their first bite, Patrick and my brother turned to each other and said, “well it’s good, but Panda Express is better…” That’s become a reoccurring joke between them. Any Chinese food we try is immediately compared to the very lofty standards of Panda Express. (LOLzzz.)
So when we made this Instant Pot Orange Chicken, I handed a fork-full to my brother to taste (he’s always conveniently in the area when my mom and I have our cooking days for the blog 😉 ), but made sure to preface it with, “give this chicken a try, and tell me what you think…but don’t compare it to Panda, because obvi nothing beats Panda in your opinion…”
Needless to say, he approved of our Instant Pot Orange Chicken, even if it wasn’t served in a styrofoam to-go box from Panda Express.
We love this one because it’s super easy to make, comes together fairly quickly, and is much healthier than a certain version of this dish you’d find at a certain Chinese chain restaurant. Ahem.
So next time you need a quick and easy dinner, give this one a try! You can close your eyes and pretend like you’re in an authentic restaurant in Hong Kong. Or sitting on a squeaky plastic chair in the mall’s food court. 😉
- 3 lbs. chicken breasts
- 4 Tbsp. corn or tapioca starch, divided
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Zest from 1 orange
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. sriracha sauce, optional
- Cooked rice to serve with
- Green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- Cut chicken breasts into small 1-inch pieces and place inside instant pot.
- Add 2 Tbsp. corn/tapioca starch to instant pot and stir to coat chicken.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine orange juice, grated ginger, garlic cloves, rice vinegar, tomato paste, honey, soy sauce, orange zest, sesame oil and sriracha sauce (if you want it a bit spicier) and mix well. Pour over chicken and stir so chicken is all coated in sauce.
- Secure the lid, make sure valve is on "sealing" and set the instant pot to manual or high pressure for 5 minutes. Once it beeps, allow it to naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes, and then flip the valve to "venting" to allow the rest of the steam to escape. Once the pressure valve drops, release the lid and open carefully.
- Turn instant pot off, then back on to "saute." In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 Tbsp. corn/tapioca starch with 2 Tbsp. cold water. Add to the instant pot and stir while it simmers. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and then turn off the instant pot. (Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
- Serve over rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
*We haven't tried making this in a slow cooker, but assume it would work just as well. Follow the first 3 directions above, then turn slow cooker to low and cook for 4-6 hours. Once chicken is cooked through, add the starch and water mixture and stir while heating for about 5 minutes until thickened. If you do try it in a slow cooker, let us know how it turns out for you!
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