Saucy Citrus Delight: Instant Pot Orange Chicken Perfection

Saucy Citrus Delight: Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Greetings, flavor enthusiasts! Chef Ethan in the house, ready to elevate your taste buds to citrusy heaven with an Instant Pot Orange Chicken recipe that’s as delightful to make as it is to devour. Get ready for a culinary journey that’ll have your kitchen smelling like an orange grove in full bloom!

What is Orange Chicken?

Orange Chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish consisting of bite-sized pieces of chicken that are deep-fried and coated with a sweet and tangy orange-flavored sauce. The dish is known for its crispy texture, vibrant orange color, and the balance of sweet and savory flavors in the sauce. Orange Chicken is often garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, adding additional flavor and visual appeal.

The orange sauce typically includes ingredients such as orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and garlic. It brings a combination of citrusy brightness and savory notes to the dish. While traditionally deep-fried, some variations may involve baking or stir-frying the chicken for a slightly lighter version.

How To Make The Best Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Instant Pot Orange Chicken Recipe

Recipe by Ethan HarrisCourse: Main, DinnerCuisine: Chinese, AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Savor the blend of crispy perfection and zesty orange glaze in our Instant Pot Orange Chicken. Elevate your mealtime with this quick, delicious, and homemade take on a Chinese classic.


  • For the Chicken:
  • 1.5 to 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Vegetable oil for sautéing

  • For the Orange Sauce:
  • 1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

  • For Garnish:
  • Sesame seeds

  • Sliced green onions


  • Prep the Chicken:
    Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
    Coat the chicken in cornstarch, shaking off any excess.
  • Sauté Chicken in Instant Pot:
    Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode.
    Add vegetable oil and brown the chicken in batches until golden. Remove and set aside.
  • Prepare the Orange Sauce:
    In a bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, chicken broth, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, orange zest, garlic, and ginger until well combined.
  • Pressure Cook:
    Add the browned chicken back to the Instant Pot.
    Pour the orange sauce over the chicken.
    Close the Instant Pot lid, set to “Sealing,” and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes
  • Natural Release:
    Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for about 10 minutes, then carefully perform a quick release.
  • Thicken the Sauce:
    If the sauce needs further thickening, set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode and simmer for a few minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Serve:
    Garnish the Orange Chicken with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
    Serve over rice or noodles.

Serving Suggestions for Your Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Enhance the dining experience of your Instant Pot Orange Chicken by pairing it with complementary side dishes and garnishes. Here are some serving suggestions:

Steamed Rice or Noodles: Serve the Instant Pot Orange Chicken over a bed of fluffy steamed rice or alongside your favorite noodles. The sauce from the chicken pairs wonderfully with both.

Stir-Fried Vegetables: Prepare a side of stir-fried vegetables, such as broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas. The vibrant colors and crisp texture of the vegetables complement the saucy chicken.

Fresh Orange Slices: Garnish the dish with fresh orange slices for a burst of citrus freshness. This adds a visually appealing element and enhances the orange flavor.

Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the Instant Pot Orange Chicken for a nutty and crunchy texture. This adds a delightful finishing touch.

Green Onions: Slice green onions and sprinkle them on top of the dish for a mild onion flavor and a pop of color.

Cooking Tips for Instant Pot Orange Chicken

To ensure that your Instant Pot Orange Chicken turns out perfectly, consider these cooking tips:

Perfectly Cooked Chicken: When browning the chicken before pressure cooking, ensure that each piece is golden and slightly crispy. This step adds texture to the chicken and enhances the overall dish.

Cornstarch Coating: Coating the chicken pieces in cornstarch before cooking helps create a crispy exterior and thickens the sauce during pressure cooking.

Sauté for Flavor: Use the “Sauté” function on the Instant Pot to brown the chicken. This not only seals in the juices but also adds a depth of flavor to the dish.

Fresh Orange Juice: Whenever possible, use freshly squeezed orange juice for the sauce. It adds a vibrant and authentic citrus flavor to the dish.

Adjust Sweetness and Tanginess: Taste the orange sauce before pressure cooking and adjust the sweetness or tanginess to your liking. You can add a bit more sugar if you prefer it sweeter or more vinegar for extra tang.

Natural Release: Allow the Instant Pot to natural release pressure for about 10 minutes after cooking. This helps the chicken remain juicy and absorb the flavors of the sauce.

Thicken the Sauce: If the sauce is not thick enough after pressure cooking, use the “Sauté” function to simmer and thicken it further. Mix a bit more cornstarch with water and stir it in gradually until the desired consistency is reached.

Garnish Just Before Serving: Sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced green onions just before serving to add a burst of freshness and visual appeal.

Customize with Vegetables: Add vegetables such as broccoli or bell peppers to the Instant Pot before pressure cooking for a one-pot meal with added nutrition.

Serve Immediately: For the best texture and flavor, serve Instant Pot Orange Chicken immediately. The crispy coating on the chicken and the saucy goodness are at their prime right after cooking.

Troubleshooting for making Instant Pot Orange Chicken

If you encounter any issues while making Instant Pot Orange Chicken, here are some troubleshooting tips to help you address common challenges:

Chicken Not Crispy Enough:

Ensure that the Instant Pot is set to “Sauté” mode on high heat when browning the chicken before pressure cooking.
Brown the chicken in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot, which can lead to steaming instead of browning.

Sauce Too Thin:

If the sauce is not thick enough after pressure cooking, use the “Sauté” function to simmer and reduce it.
Make a slurry by mixing cornstarch with a small amount of cold water, and gradually stir it into the sauce until the desired thickness is achieved.

Sauce Too Thick:

If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more liquid (such as chicken broth or water) and stir until you reach the desired consistency.

Burn Notice on Instant Pot:

If you encounter a burn notice, it may be due to ingredients sticking to the bottom. Ensure you deglaze the pot properly after sautéing the chicken.
Add enough liquid to the pot to prevent burning. Adjust the sauce consistency if needed.

Overcooked Chicken:

Reduce the pressure cooking time if you find that the chicken is overcooked.
Use natural release for a shorter time to prevent the chicken from becoming too tender.

Lack of Flavor:

Adjust the seasoning to your taste. You can add more soy sauce, orange zest, or a splash of rice vinegar to enhance the flavor.

Sauce Separation:

If the sauce separates, whisk it back together or use an immersion blender to re-emulsify the ingredients.

Bland Taste:

Ensure you’re using fresh and high-quality ingredients. Adjust the salt, sweetness, or tanginess by adding more soy sauce, sugar, or vinegar.

Vegetables Overcooked:

If you’re adding vegetables to the Instant Pot, consider quick-cooking varieties and add them towards the end of the cooking time to prevent them from becoming mushy.

Lack of Orange Flavor:

Increase the amount of orange zest or use a higher-quality orange juice to enhance the citrus flavor.


In summary, venturing into the realm of Instant Pot cooking not only introduces you to the convenience of efficient and flavorful meals but also opens the door to a trio of delightful recipes. From the succulent and zesty Instant Pot Orange Chicken to the savory and satisfying Shrimp Fried Rice and the classic Beef and Broccoli, each dish represents a unique culinary journey.

From achieving the right level of crispiness in the chicken to ensuring a well-textured and flavorful sauce, each step plays a crucial role in the success of your Instant Pot Orange Chicken. The versatility of the Instant Pot allows for efficient cooking and infusing the dish with the delightful combination of sweet and tangy orange flavors.

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