Instant Pot orange chicken is a delicious Asian-inspired meal you can make at home! Everyone will love this tender chicken coated in orange flavor, just like Panda Express Orange Chicken. Each bite is bursting with flavor!
This homemade dish is better than take-out, and it is not hard to create this dish from start to finish. You have this tasty dish on the table in less than 45 minutes with this recipe. This is one of my kids’ favorite dishes because they love chicken and the sweet and tangy flavor.
Why You Will Love Instant Pot Orange Chicken
This easy pressure cooker recipe turns basic pantry staples into a delicious meal.
There’s no need to order take-out when you can have a dinner like this any night of the week.
This Panda Express Copycat recipe is sure to be a family favorite.
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
Chicken – Use either boneless breast or boneless chicken thighs in this recipe.
Oranges – Freshly squeezed orange juice will give this dish a fantastic citrus flavor. But store-bought orange juice works fine, too, if you don’t have time to make fresh-squeezed. I love adding the zest of one orange, even if I don’t use fresh juice.
Ketchup – This is an optional ingredient and might seem a little strange! But it helps add an additional layer of sweet flavor to the dish, so I recommend using it.
Ginger – I prefer to use fresh minced ginger. But if you don’t have a ginger root, use 2 teaspoons of dry ginger instead.
The rest of the ingredients are pantry basics, including cooking oil, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, and water.
How to Make
1. Brown the Meat
One of the best things about using an electric pressure cooker is that you can brown the meat right in it without dirtying another pan. So put the Instant Pot on saute and add the oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the diced pieces of chicken and stir until they become light brown.
Turn off the Instant Pot and pour in a little bit of orange juice. Stir to deglaze the pressure cooker and scrape the bottom of the inner pot to make sure no bits of browned meat are stuck to the bottom. Deglazing reduces the chances of getting an Instant Pot Burn error.
Then add the sauce ingredients, which are the rest of the orange juice, diced ginger, minced garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, and orange zest. Stir until everything is coated in the sauce.
2. Pressure Cook
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and ensure the sealing ring is in and the steam release valve is closed. Use the manual button to set it for High pressure for 7 minutes.
It will take about 10 minutes for it to reach pressure. Once it has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
A natural release is essential when using chicken breast because it helps keep the meat moist and not rubbery! Once the 10 minutes is up, release any remaining pressure by turning the valve.
3. Thicken the Sauce
Mix the cornstarch with water in a small bowl to make a cornstarch slurry. Stir until there are no lumps left. Hit cancel on the pressure cooker, and then turn it on Saute.
Slowly pour the cornstarch and water slurry into the pressure cooker and stir it to mix. Keep stirring the sauce until it starts to bubble and thicken. It should only take 2-3 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
Then turn off the Instant Pot and get ready to serve your meal.
Sprinkle this with sesame seeds and green onions before serving. It is excellent served with white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles to soak up the sweet and tangy sauce.
How to Store
You can store the Instant Pot Orange Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or about 3 months in the freezer. If it is frozen, thaw it overnight in the fridge.
To reheat, either use the microwave or put it in a saucepan on the stove on low heat. It will thicken as it sits, so you will probably want to add a few tablespoons of water to the leftovers to make them saucier.
Zesting is grating the orange part of an orange peel. Don’t include the white part. You can use a small grater or mandolin to zest. If you want larger pieces of orange peel, a vegetable peel or knife are good choices.
Frozen chicken is a little tricky to use in this recipe because it calls for chicken diced into bite-size pieces. I’d suggest thawing it at least enough to chop into pieces before using it in this recipe. Then increase the cooking time by about 5 minutes to make sure it is cooked through.
Yes, vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or bell peppers taste good with the orange chicken sauce. Add some fresh or frozen veggies before pressure cooking. This won’t affect the cooking time.
Key Tips for This Recipe
Be sure to check out the step by step instructions
Stir in some red pepper flakes, sriracha, or hot sauce if you want your orange chicken to be both sweet and spicy.
Deglaze the Instant Pot before bringing it to pressure to reduce the chances of getting a burn error.
Make sure to use a natural pressure release during the cooking process, so the chicken doesn’t get rubbery.
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- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into cubes
- 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed from fresh oranges or store-bought
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon tomato ketchup, optional
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, optional
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Chop chicken into bite-size chunks. Juice the oranges if you are using fresh orange juice. Grate the lemon zest.
- Set the instant pot on the SAUTE function let it heat up. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Add the chicken pieces and cook until they brown.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and add a small amount of orange juice to deglaze. Stir and scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to make sure no bits of browned meat are stuck. This will reduce the likelihood of getting a Burn error.
- Add orange juice, followed by minced ginger, chopped garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato ketchup, and orange zest. Do not add the water and cornstarch!
- Stir until all ingredients are combined, and chicken is well coated in the sauce.
- Close the lid and pressure valve. Select the PRESSURE COOK button on HIGH PRESSURE and cook for 7 minutes.
- Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, do a 10-minute natural release. Chicken breast can get rubbery if you do a manual release, so wait the 10 minutes, before using a quick pressure release to remove any remaining pressure.
- Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir to make a cornstarch slurry. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Turn the Instant Pot on SAUTE. Slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture while stirring. Continue to stir until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. This should take 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the Instant pot off and garnish the dish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
- Serve in a bowl with steamed white or brown rice or noodles and green beans, broccoli, or asparagus.
- Stir in some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce if you want your orange chicken to be sweet and spicy.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot to reduce the chances of getting a burn error.
- Use a natural pressure release, not a quick release, so the chicken doesn't get rubbery.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 692mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 45g
Nutrition facts are estimates.