Healthy Paleo Orange Chicken with crispy baked chicken coated in a Chinese orange sauce with a perfect sweet-and-tart balance. Pair the baked Chinese orange chicken with baby Bok Choy for a healthy and well balanced dinner!
Oven baked Paleo Orange Chicken
Orange chicken is a Chinese American dish. The reason it became so popular in the West is because it ticks all the marks that people love – crispy golden chicken that are almost like nuggets in a sweet and slightly tart orange-flavored sauce. I figured why not share my take on this popular orange chicken dish and make it healthier, easier, and use all real natural ingredients with no added sugar.
How to make baked crispy chicken
If you recall the Oven Baked Crispy Potato Recipe, I use similar techniques here to make the chicken golden crispy without deep-frying. This method is different from most of my Paleo chicken stir-fry recipes.
Preheating the sheet pan in a cold oven until the oven reaches the desired temperature will make the sheet pan extra hot – almost like a hot plate. The chicken pieces will crisp up quickly once they hit the hot surface thus sear the juice immediately.
How To Make Healthy Orange Chicken Sauce Paleo Whole30 friendly
To make healthy orange chicken sauce, we’ll need fresh squeezed orange juice, orange zest, and grated ginger to highlight the orange sauce flavor. In my healthy Paleo orange chicken recipe I use apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar. It gives the orange sauce a nice balance between sweet and tart flavor.
Unlike most Chinese American dishes that taste pretty much the same, check out my sesame chicken, sweet and sour chicken, chicken Napa cabbage stir-fry, and Kung Pao chicken. I guarantee each of them tastes different from one another and will wow your taste buds!
Make ahead tips
Dice and season the chicken and prepare the orange sauce in advance. Store the sauce in the fridge and store the chicken flat in a ziplock bag in the freezer if you will not cook the chicken the next day. If you have time, I recommend you chop the aromatics and blanch the baby bok choy on the serving day. If you can’t, I recommend preparing them 1 day in advance and use them the next day for best flavor and freshness.
So my friends, this Paleo Orange Chicken is healthy, oven baked, with no added sugar, and uses all real ingredients. If you give this Paleo Orange Chicken a try, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’ll help me and my blog tremendously. Thanks so much in advance!
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Healthy Paleo Orange Chicken recipe with crispy baked chicken coated in a Chinese orange sauce with a perfect sweet-and-tart balance.
- 1.5 lbs. chicken breasts , cut to bite size cubes
- ¼ tsp coarse salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp arrowroot flour or sweet potato starch/flour
- 3-4 cloves large garlic , finely chopped
- 2 thin slices ginger , finely chopped
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Avocado or olive oil
- Half one whole Orange , sliced into bite sized pieces
- 1-2 bulbs scallions , finely chopped
- Baby bok choy , quartered and blanched, as much as you like
Place a large rimmed sheet pan, unlined, in the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat the oven with the sheet pan inside to 425F (400F convection oven). In the meantime, dice and lightly coat the chicken with salt, pepper, baking soda, and arrowroot flour. Set the chicken aside in the fridge.
Once the oven reaches the temperature. Carefully remove sheet from oven and grease with 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil. Place chicken pieces one-by-one over the sheet pan. Try not to overlap each other much. Bake at lower rack for 10 minutes. Use this time to prepare aromatics and make the orange sauce. Set them aside ready to use.
Remove sheet from oven, using a metal spatula and tongs, loosen chickens from sheet and carefully flip each piece. Continue to bake until second side is golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes longer.
- Right before chicken is done baking (about 5 minutes prior). Preheat a large skillet with 1 tbsp oil. When hot, lower the heat to medium, add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Season with a pinch of salt and saute until fragrant (about 10-15 seconds).
Stir the orange sauce one more time then add it to the skillet. The sauce should become thicker pretty quickly, stir-often. Add baked chicken. Toss and coat the sauce over for about 30 seconds. Off heat, garnish with extra orange slices, scallions, and blanched bok choy.
Make-ahead tips: Dice and season the chicken and prepare the orange sauce in advance. Store the sauce in the fridge and store the chicken flat in a ziplock bag in the freezer if you will not cook the chicken the following day. If you have time, I recommend chopping the aromatics and blanching the baby bok choy on the serving day. If you can’t, I recommend preparing them 1 day in advance and use them the next day for best flavor and freshness.
Not sure how to zest an orange? Normally you'll reach the white part after zesting an area 1-2 times. Rotate the orange to a different spot as you zest. The white part of the orange, call pith, has a bitter taste, which is unpleasant for most recipes. If you do end up accidentally zesting the pith, stop and pick the white parts out of the zest. Read more information here.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without the baby bok choy.