This slow cooker orange chicken is breaded chunks of chicken tossed in a sweet and savory Asian sauce and cooked in the crock pot. A take out copycat that’s perfect for a busy weeknight!
Love Panda Express? You can make Panda Express style orange chicken at home right in your slow cooker.
Orange chicken is one of those dishes that is universally loved, there’s just something about that breaded chicken coated in orange sauce! This slow cooker orange chicken tastes a lot like the fast food favorite, but it’s made at home in your slow cooker with less oil. It’s sure to become a family favorite!
How to make orange chicken
I know that the premise of most slow cooker recipes is to toss everything in and go, but in this case, we’re going to start by breading and browning the chicken. It’s an extra step, but it’s the best way to replicate the coating you get on restaurant style orange chicken. If you’re really pressed for time, you can absolutely skip this step and instead just put cut up raw chicken in the crock pot with the sauce. It will still be delicious, although not as close of a match to the Panda Express version.
After your chicken chunks are in the slow cooker, it’s time to make the sauce out of orange marmalade, soy sauce and sesame oil. The sauce gets tossed with the chicken and the whole thing cooks for a few hours on low.
The cornstarch in the chicken coating means that this sauce will thicken as it cooks. If you prefer a lot of extra sauce to serve with your orange chicken, you can double the sauce ingredient amounts before you place them in the slow cooker.
The end result is an amazing dinner that tastes a lot like the Chinese restaurant classic! Slow cooker orange chicken is best served over a bowl of steamed rice.
My kids request this meal all the time and I’m happy to oblige. Yes, it’s an extra step to pre-cook the chicken in its coating, but I really think this is totally worth the extra effort!
More Asian food favorites
- Homemade Egg Rolls
- Cream Cheese Wontons
- Firecracker Chicken
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Mongolian Beef
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
- 1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- Place the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and salt and pepper. Toss to coat the chicken in the cornstarch mixture.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. You may need to work in batches.
- Coat a slow cooker with cooking spray and add the chicken to the slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange marmalade, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and garlic.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and gently stir to coat.
- Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, then serve.
I used more corn starch for the coating and fried until it was a nice crunchy golden brown. It’s a must! Otherwise it’s a wasted step as what little coating you do have comes off in the crock pot.
I made this tonight for my wife and myself and it was just great. Absolutely brown the chicken and don’t skip that step. I put the sliced scallions in early. This was as good as any restaurant Orange Chicken that I’ve had, and we had the benefit of knowing that all the ingredients were first quality, with no MSG or excess salt.
Giving this 5 stars because after reading all the comments I just know it is going to be good. I do have one question. Can this be made the night before and then just reheated. I do not get home until 5 and to cook this then would be too late for dinner. If it can be reheated would the microwave work. Thanking you in advance.
My family loved it! I used 1.5 lbs of chicken tenderloins that I cut into nuggets sized pcs and I doubled the liquid and minced garlic ingredients. Awesome!
Easy and delicious. My four year old gave it a thumbs up!
Love your recipes….. This one calls for vegetable oil. Is there a more healthy substitute? Avocado or Olive Oil? How much will it change to taste or cooking?
You can use olive oil instead!
followed directions and cooked the chicken for 2.5 hours and I was surprised that the sauce didn’t get thicker after cooking.
Everybody love it, but I was wondering if I need to double the sauce recipe to make it thicker?
Whenever I’ve made this the sauce has thickened up quite a bit. You can always stir in a teaspoon of cornstarch that’s been dissolved in 1 tablespoon of cold water, then cook for another 30 minutes or so.
I did the corn starch fry but the sauce doesn’t seem to want to thicken. Ideas?
The sauce didn’t thicken after cooking in the crock pot?
Would this be okay to let sit in the fridge overnight like a marinade? Then put in the crockpot before work?
If you do that you may want to skip the breading as it will get soft from sitting in the fridge overnight.
Can you make this ahead of time and put it in the freezer for a later date ?
This wouldn’t be a good candidate for the freezer because the coating on the chicken would get soggy when thawed!
This was really good, but I felt like it was a little too overpowering sweet/orange. I’m wondering what I could add to tone that down a little bit. More soy sauce maybe?
Agreed the browning step is totally worth it!!
I make this and add some vegetables at the end. The sauce is so good the kids eat the vegetables too!
Very tasty and my picky 5yr old gave his thumbs up!
I really liked this ! I tried the original recipe before and it wasn’t to orangery. I replaced the Orange marmalade with apricot jelly I added some ginger (very small amount) .
It turned out so good!
I didn’t read the instructions correctly so I coated the chicken pieces in egg then rice flour mixed with gf oat flour.
I then added 1/8 of a cup of cornstarch to the sauce. It all turned out perfect though!
Really good recipe! The only thing that we didn’t really care for was the orange marmalade because it was too sweet and it didn’t taste like the typical orange chicken one would get at an Asian restaurant. It was tasty, just not quite what I expected. Orange chicken typically has a much more savory taste to it and this was just way too sweet. Otherwise really good!
If you double the sauce do you double the cornstarch (hope that isn’t a silly question)
Thanks very much!
I would keep the cornstarch as-is!
Would like to make this for a bigger group…about 10 people. Would this still turn out if I triple the recipe?
That should be fine, but you’ll definitely want to use a larger crockpot, at least 6 quart size.
What size pot for original?
I recommend a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
I made this today. I added a bit of ginger and cayenne and left the lid off while it was cooking it and it reduced to a lovely thick sauce. I added roasted cashews and vegetables at the end and served it over jasmine rice. Absolutely delicious!
So glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reporting back!
I made this tonight in my instant pot and it turned out amazing! So tender, juicy and flavorful! I will definitely be making this recipe again!
Love the idea of using the instant pot, I’ll have to try that!
I’d love to make this in my IP. Could you share how you did it? Please? 😉
I’ve made this recipe at least 5 times and our family LOVES it! The corn starch fry is a must, otherwise you end up with mushy sticky chicken. I put a few cups of rice in the steamer about an hour before dinner and bag steam some veggies in the microwave before serving. So easy and delicious!
So glad you enjoy it!!
This was phenomenal!!. It tastes so much better than Panda Express. The only thing I did differently was cook on the stovetop instead of the crockpot for 20 minutes on low.