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.

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Slow cooker orange chicken served over a bowl of rice.

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.

Breaded chicken in a slow cooker is the basis of orange chicken.

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.

Breaded chicken in a slow cooker coated with a sweet and savory sauce.

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.

Slow cooker orange chicken inside a crock pot, topped with sesame seeds and green onions.

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

4.88 from 62 votes

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

AuthorSara Welch
Slow cooker orange chicken served over a bowl of rice.
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!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 530mg | Potassium: 584mg | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 4.6mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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Comments

  1. The original flavor of the sauce was perfect but after cooking it seemed to be a lot milder. Is there any way to make the flavor more intense? Thanks.

    1. You could make a larger batch of the sauce, and leave some of it out of the slow cooker and stir it in at the very end right before serving.

  2. I havent made this, but want to try it…I dont have orange Marmalade, but I do have Red Currant Jelly from the Farmers Market that I use as a sauce ingredient for Pork Tenderloin. The sauce ingredients in this orange chicken recipe are Identical except for the orange marmalade. I will post the outcome. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this twice now, once in the crock pot and once on the stove. It got rave reviews from my family both times. I think I’m going to try adding a 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes next time to give it a little kick to offset the sweetness a bit.

  4. If you had to choose between your slow cooker orange chicken recipe or your non-slow cooker one, which one would you choose?

    1. The stove top one tastes like Panda Express style orange chicken. The slow cooker one the flavor is a little different and the chicken coating doesn’t stay as crispy since it’s cooked in a crock pot. They’re both good choices but the regular one has that restaurant taste that’s harder to replicate in a slow cooker.

  5. Love this recipe! I made it quick on one skillet. After cooking the chicken I added the sauce, and cooked on low for 20 minutes. Delicious! Don’t need to go out and take out anymore. Yay!

  6. Haven’t made it yet.. maybe for dinner tomorrow. Would it be weird to add brown sugar to this recipe?

  7. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for tomorrows dinner. I doubled the sauce and it is very thin. Could I thicken it up with a cornstarch slurry. Really taste good thin sauce and all. Thanks

  8. 5 stars
    I don’t normally leave reviews but this recipe was awesome. I made it last night and served it with a side of steamed broccoli and jasmine rice. I will definitely be making it again. We were hungry so I didn’t want to wait for it to cook in the slow cooker so I just cooked it all on the stove instead but I will try it in the slow cooker next time. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this 2 weeks ago for my Daughter’s Birthday Dinner. My family is used to my “substitutions” whenever I cook pretty much anything, so when I didn’t have Orange Marmalade on hand, I pureed a small can of Mandarin Oranges and added that plus .25 cup of granulated sugar to the sauce mixture (I missed having the rind, but no one else seemed to notice it was missing, lol). Sprinkling the final presentation with Sesame Seeds is a MUST! IMHO, that simple addition “made” the Dinner. (I served Jasmine Rice and a stove-top Garlicky Bok Choy dish as sides). Very definitely a “keeper” recipe. And one that’s easy enough to prepare that it can be served up anytime and not just for special occasions. 5 Stars.

  10. could I leave out the rice vinegar and the sesame oil? Or do I need to make a trip to the grocery store? Lol

    1. I haven’t tried it this way, my best guess would be that you can omit the sesame oil but use a different vinegar for the rice vinegar, such as 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.

  11. I made this meal, it was delicious! Wondering if it is gluten free and if not what could I substitute to make it GF?