This post featuring a gluten-free orange chicken recipe contains affiliate links.
I love Chinese food as much as the next person, but most Chinese restaurants are full of gluten.
At a Chinese restaurant, you have to be vigilant of things that contain soy sauce and are cooked in shared oil. Most deep fried foods, like orange chicken and sesame chicken, even if labeled gluten-free, are typically cooked in the same oil used to cook the gluteny stuff.
So if you go to a Chinese restaurant, you’re left with the steamed dishes or stir-fry dishes (if cooked in a clean pan with clean oil – you must ask). These are not the most exciting offerings, are they?
The good news is that making Chinese food at home is very easy to do.
That’s why I’ve put together this delicious and totally gluten-free orange chicken recipe that you can easily make at home with whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Make It Your Own
The beauty of this gluten-free orange chicken recipe is that once you have the basics down pat, you can put your own spin on it.
For example, instead of using orange juice to flavor the chicken, you can use pineapple juice (use the juice from a can, and then add the pineapple to your dish) or for a more savory option, use chicken broth. You can also swap orange juice for hot sauce (along with a few red pepper flakes) for a spicier version of this dish.
You also can swap the vegetables for anything you have on hand.
For example, if you have extra mushrooms or bell peppers lying around, simply add them to the recipe too. I rarely make this recipe with the exact vegetables seen here as I’m always changing things up depending on what I already have in the house and what needs to be consumed before it goes bad!
Getting the Chicken Just Right
I used to simply stir fry the chicken as-is until I realized how amazing stir-fry chicken can taste when you swirl it around in a little cornstarch first. (You can swap cornstarch for tapioca starch as well.)
The cornstarch allows the chicken to get a nicely browned crust without overcooking or browning the chicken and while keeping the chicken juicy inside. It also gives the sauce something to adhere to, so the honey orange sauce stays put.
I highly recommend adding the cornstarch to the chicken before sautéing it in your pot. It makes a HUGE difference.
Gluten-Free Orange Chicken Recipe
OK, so the next time you’re craving orange chicken, give this gluten-free orange chicken recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed – enjoy!
- 2 cups rice of choice
- 4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2-3 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and patted dry with a paper towel (about 1-1/5 lbs)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 4 Tbsp. sesame oil (or other oil), divided
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 4 Tbsp. honey
- 3 Tbsp. orange juice (juice of about ½ orange)
- 1 Tbsp. orange zest (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cornstarch slurry (1 Tbsp. of cornstarch + 1 Tbsp. water)
- Cut up vegetables of choice (broccoli, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, etc.)
- Kosher salt to taste (optional)
- Add rice, water, butter and salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover until rice is cooked through (about 30 minutes). (Alternatively, use your rice cooker to prepare the rice.) Use a fork to fluff rice when done.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, tamari, honey, OJ, zest, garlic and ginger. Heat mixture over medium high heat until bubbly, then whisk in cornstarch slurry. Once mixture is thickened (about 30-60 seconds), remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine chicken pieces and ¼ cup of cornstarch in a bowl or ziptop bag until combined well.
- Add 3 Tbsp. oil to a large pan and heat over medium high heat. Once pot is hot, add chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through and chicken begins to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to pan over medium high heat. Add vegetables and cook until softened. Add chicken and coat with sauce until well combined and heated throughout.
- Serve over steaming rice.