Chinese Orange Chicken (Baked, Paleo, Whole30)
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 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 dish a try, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’ll help me and my blog tremendously. Thanks so much in advance!
Want to make 10 Paleo meals ready in under 10 minutes each? Subscriber to my blog I Heart Umami and receive my 3-part video tutorial guide. You’ll also learn how to organize your shopping lists, how to get in-and-out the store fast, and my must-have items in my pantry to make healthy delicious food easily!
Also check out my Citrus Roasted Whole Chicken with Oranges, Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad, Whole30 Asian Peanut Sauce, and easy Instant Pot Strawberry Compote!
Paleo Orange Chicken (Whole30, Oven Baked, Healthy)
- 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)
Whole30 Paleo Orange Chicken sauce:
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp arrowroot powder
- 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.
Amazing! Tastes as good as it looks. Yum
Hi! Can I use ground ginger instead of grated?
Yes! Please reduce the quantity by half. Ground chicken powder has stronger flavor than freshly grated. 🙂
I made this on Friday night, between my husband and I, we ate the entire recipe. I loved that it wasn’t sickeningly sweet, wonderful flavor and the chicken baking was awesome. Thank you.
Aww so very welcome, Diane! So happy to hear! XO!
This is a Restaurant Quality dish for sure. We couldn’t stop eating it. 😋
I used chicken thigh fillets but still followed the “velveting steps”. It turned out crisp, juicy and packed full of flavour. We Absolutely Loved This Recipe. ❤️
Thank you ChihYu! 🙏🏼
Thanks so much, Jojo!! Love you!
Absolutely lovely, this is easily the best orange chicken I’ve ever had. The fact that its paleo makes it perfect.
So lovely to hear. Thank you, Elle!
This was absolutely delicious I would recommend anyone to try it !
That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing, Lia!
Made it for dinner tonight and even plated it the same way lol!! “nailed it!” Definitely made the regular dinner rotation for my family!
That’s great. So happy to hear!
Loved it and so did the hubby!
Made this yesterday for my family. The chicken was done before it crisped on both sides thanks to my unreliable oven, but it still turned out delicious! Can’t wait to try your other recipes.
I made this tonight and my 2 year old and 4 year old loved it as much as well did! A new family fave. Thank you so much. Love your recipes x
I’m so so happy to hear that, Sonia. Thanks so much for sharing. Also very happy to hear the little ones love the meal, too! I know it can be difficult sometimes so kudos to you! :))
This recipe is so easy and chock full of flavor! I know the red pepper flakes are optional, but I thought they really rounded out the dish. Yum!!!
That sounds amazing, Courtney. Thanks for sharing!
Your recipes are absolutely scrumptious! Your chicken meatballs in a coconut sauce, so delicious and your paleo orange chicken that I made tonight is simply divine. I just made a little more sauce as I am a « sauce person » especially when it goes over rice which I eat in a very small quantity being on a SIBO diet and instead of garlic, I used garlic oil which is permitted on that diet.
Thank you for sharing, Lorraine. Garlic oil sounds great. I’ll have to try that next time!
Really easy recipe and great flavours, loved it!
Thank you, Kristina!
I absolutely love orange chicken, so I can’t wait to try this out!
I love crispy chicken with orange sauce – it has that special taste that makes me want to beg for more and more!
This one is a keeper, yum! I love your video and how you’ve made this so easy!
This is so good! I love this paleo twist on a favorite Asian dish!
This chicken looks so delicious! I love that it’s made in the oven.
Excited to make this recipe. Love the garlic, ginger and cayenne ‘aromatics’.
It looks delicious and the ingredients are all on hand… except the Bok Choy which is on my list for market day!
This dish is so special! I’m putting on our list for this week to make!