Tender chicken dressed up with zesty, tangy goodness!
We’ll be the first to admit it: We LOVE Chinese takeout! It’s an easy option for busy weeknights, and it’s perfect for weekends, too. This mouthwatering cuisine is loaded with savory and zesty flavors that are sure to satisfy your cravings. While the ease of access and yummy taste of takeout is wonderful, there’s one problem: Most of the items on the takeout menu are loaded with sodium, saturated fats, and sometimes even trans fats! Obviously, this is no good if you’re trying to eat healthier. For this reason, we spent some time creating nutritious and simple alternative options to takeout. This healthy orange chicken crockpot recipe turned out to be one of our favorites!
This dish is full of flavor, easy to make, and perfect for busy weeknights. This healthy orange chicken crockpot recipe will balance out the sweet juiciness of the chicken (unlike the unhealthy breaded and deep-fried chicken from restaurants), and savory rice while still holding true to the sweet and tangy flavor profile of the dish. The orange sauce imparts a sweet and sour flavor that is addictive, without the sugar-laden orange marmalade or syrupy sauce that the takeout version uses. Serve over brown rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
Lower-Calorie Ingredients Full of the Flavors You Love
When you’re craving Chinese food, what are your taste buds asking for? Maybe something savory and salty? Tangy and sweet with a little bit of a kick? All of the above? If so, this is the recipe for you!
Many takeout recipes use dark meat chicken as a base. Dark meat chicken is not necessarily bad for you, but white meat chicken is the way to go if you’re watching your weight. Why? Because it contains less fat and fewer calories.
Our slow cooker orange chicken combines savory, white meat chicken with salty, light soy sauce. You can even swap in coconut aminos instead for a gluten-free, lower-sodium option! Orange juice, orange zest, and coconut sugar give the orange sauce its natural tangy sweetness, while the ginger and sriracha add a small punch of spiciness to the dish.
How to Make this Yummy Chinese Takeout Alternative
Start by scrambling one egg in a bowl. Place some flour in a separate bowl or plate and begin cutting your boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Dip each piece into the egg and then coat it evenly in the flour.
Add some canola or coconut oil to a heavy skillet, and turn the heat to medium-high. To test the oil to see if it’s hot enough, add a small pinch of flour to the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready for your chicken! Now, you only want to cook the chicken until it’s golden brown on all sides. You don’t want to cook it all the way through in the pan because the slow cooker will finish cooking it for you! Once it’s golden, remove the chicken from the pan and place it onto a paper towel to drain off any of the excess oil.
Before you add the chicken to the slow cooker, you’ll want to make the orange sauce. Add all of the orange sauce ingredients to a mixing bowl, except for the green onions. Whisk the mixture until it’s evenly combined. Place the golden chicken pieces into the slow cooker and put the orange sauce on top, stirring lightly to coat the chicken. Turn the slow cooker on high for about two hours, or low for three to four hours. Once finished, add the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with the green onions!
Sides to Accompany Our Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
This slow cooker orange chicken is perfectly filling on its own. That said, we have quite a few healthy side dish options that pair wonderfully with these juicy and flavorful bites of chicken. You can serve it with a side of brown rice, or make any of these healthier takeout alternatives:
- Restaurant Style Chicken Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Asian Sticky Rice
- Skinny Quinoa Stir-Fry
- Super Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast filets, about 3 large filets boneless and skinless
- 1 large egg beat with a fork
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup canola oil optional coconut oil
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar optional, molasses or maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons lite soy sauce optional, Tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon sriracha sauce optional, tabasco or red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 green onions thinly slice the green part and discard the white.
- 2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Cut chicken into bitesize pieces. Dip in egg then roll in flour to coat pieces.
- Add oil to a heavy skillet, turn to medium-high heat. Add a small pinch of flour to the oil. If it sizzles, it's hot enough.
- Cook just until to golden on all sides. Do not cook all the way through.
- Remove skillet from heat and place chicken on a paper towel to drain off any excess oil.
- Add all sauce ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Add chicken and sauce to a slow cooker. Cook on high 1.5-2 hours or low 3-4 hours.
- Add to serving dish and garnish with green onions.
Have you made this recipe?
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What do you think? Are you going to try this yummy slow cooker orange chicken the next time you’re craving takeout? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comment section!
If you enjoyed this healthy orange chicken crockpot recipe, you might also like to try:
- Chicken Fried Rice Crockpot Recipe
- Balsamic Chicken Crockpot Recipe
- Crockpot Skinny Lemon Chicken
- Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken
- 6-Ingredient Chinese Chicken
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on December 8, 2013.