Crockpot Orange Chicken has tender chunks of chicken with crisp-tender veggies in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. It’s cooked in your slow cooker for an easy weeknight meal! 

Crockpot orange chicken over rice on a plate

If you love take out, you can save yourself some money and make it right at home. It’s tastier, cheaper and better for you.

Most slow cooker recipes call for tossing everything in, set it and forget it. Today I’m sharing two secrets that will make this the best slow cooker orange chicken ever!

Secrets to the Best Orange Chicken

  1. Searing the chicken
  2. Adjusting the cook time

Searing the Chicken

Searing the chicken in a very hot pan creates a caramelized crust that adds both flavor and texture. It also keeps the meat juicy. If you’re in a rush, you can skip this step, it will still be delicious, just not quite the same as take out.

Adjusting the cook time

Have you ever cooked the chicken all day in the slow cooker and found it kind of dried out? Or your veggies became mush? This little tip makes all the difference.

Instead of cooking it all day, we’re only going to cook it for a couple of hours. Once the cooking time is up, turn the crockpot the ‘warm’ setting and it will hold the temperature until you’re ready to eat.

Some Crockpot models automatically switch to warm when they’re finished cooking, but there are some old crockpots out there (because they last FOR-EVER) that won’t do that.

Chicken breast is a leaner meat, so it can overcook easily, there just isn’t enough fat in it. Plus, in this recipe, the breasts are cut to small chunks which makes it cook even faster.

No one likes dry chicken, no matter how flavored it is, am I right?! And, no one likes mushy vegetables.

The vegetables will stay crisp-tender, more of a stir-fried texture because you’re not cooking them all day. I had this on the warm setting for 5 hours, and my veggies were still crisp-tender.

Step by Step Instructions

chopped up ingredients for crockpot orange chicken

Step one: prepare the veggies, meat, and sauce

  • Cut the onions into 1/2 inch chunks
  • Cut the bell pepper into 1/2 inch chunks
  • Peel and slice the carrots
  • Slice the celery
  • Slice the green onion
  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks
  • Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, whisk well and set aside (pro-tip grating ginger is a cinch with a Microplane)
chunks of raw chicken being dredged flour

Step two: dredge the chicken

  • combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium-size bowl.
  • toss a few pieces of chicken into the mixture to coat. Then transfer to the hot pan to brown (see step three).

Note: This works best in a rotation, while the first batch of dredged chicken is searing, dredge some more pieces of chicken. Once you remove the first batch from the hot pan, add the next batch of dredged chicken, and so on until everything is completed.

seared chunks of chicken in a cast iron pan

Step three: sear the chicken

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet. Olive oil is too fragile of an oil to use in this pan because you will be searing on high heat. Choose an oil that can withstand the heat without smoking. Canola oil or Avocado oil also works well.
  • working in batches, carefully put several pieces of dredged chicken into the pan. I like to use tongs. Let it sear for a few minutes, then flip to the other side. A very hot pan is the key to the meat not sticking and building the flavor and texture we talked about earlier in the post.
  • Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the seared chicken to a clean plate.

Step four: Cook in the crockpot

  • Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker
  • Add the vegetables, except the green onion
  • Add the sauce and stir everything together
  • Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Turn to ‘warm’ until you are ready to eat.
  • Serve garnished with green onions
chicken, vegetables and sauce in a crockpot

Notes

  1. When browning the chicken, the pan should be screaming hot, that way, the meat will not stick, and caramelize quickly. The result is a nice golden color with some crispiness. 
  2. Use an oil that can withstand very high heat. Olive oil is too fragile for this. Vegetable, Canola, or Avocado oils are all great candidates. 
  3. Only brown the chicken, It does not need to be cooked all the way through because it will be going in the crockpot. It will only take a couple of minutes on each side.  
  4. Add some red pepper flakes for some heat.
slow cooker orange chicken served over rice on a plate

Thickening the sauce

I find the sauce in this recipe to be thick enough, but, if you want it thicker there’s a couple of options.

  1. At the end of the cooking time (or just before serving), add a cornstarch slurry (2 tbs of cornstarch mixed with 2 tbs of cold water) to the crockpot, stir well, and it will thicken in about 5-10 minutes.
  2. For a healthier option, you can use Glucomannan instead of cornstarch. Push the chicken and veggies to the side so you have a bit of sauce to work with. Sprinkle 1 tsp of glucomannan over the sauce while whisking until it is combined. Stir with the rest of the contents, and it should thicken in about 5-10 minutes.
crockpot orange chicken served over a bed of spinach.

Side dish suggestions

It’s most common to serve this over rice. Sticky white rice is the most like a Chinese restaurant (and so delicious!), but in efforts to be a bit healthier, brown rice or wild rice can be substituted. 

If you prefer a low carb or grain-free option, serve it over spinach leaves, Spaghetti Squash, or sliced cabbage. You can even grab a pre-made coleslaw mix (without dressing) for a short cut. 

For more ideas, see my collection of side dishes that go well with Chinese food. 

More Slow cooker recipes

For more recipe inspiration, follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. Like behind the scenes action? Check out my stories on Instagram.

๐Ÿ“‹ Recipe

Crockpot orange chicken over rice on a plate

Crockpot Orange Chicken

tender chunks of chicken with crisp-tender veggies in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. It's cooked in your slow cooker for an easy weeknight meal! 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8
Calories: 205kcal

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs canola oil for searing
  • 1/2 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate thawed (100% juice)
  • 3 tbs ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic pressed or minced
  • 1- 1 1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced for garnishing

Instructions

  • Cut up onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and green onion
  • Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks
  • Press or mince the garlic, grate the ginger (a Microplane works great for the ginger)
  • Whisk the flour, salt, and pepper together in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl combine the juice, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Whisk to combine well.
  • Dredge the chicken pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture
  • Heat oil in a fry pan. Brown the chicken pieces, working in batches if necessary. Don't crowd the pan.
  • Transfer chicken to the slow cooker.
  • Add peppers, onions, carrots, and celery. Reserve green onions for garnishing.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and stir to coat.
  • Set slow cooker on low for 2 1/2 hours. After cooking, turn to 'warm' until ready to serve.
  • Serve over rice with sliced green onions

Notes

  1. When browning the chicken, the pan should be screaming hot, that way, the meat will not stick, and caramelize quickly. The result is a nice golden color with some crispiness. 
  2. Use an oil that can withstand very high heat. Olive oil is too fragile for this. Vegetable, Canola, or Avocado oils are all great candidates. 
  3. Only brown the chicken, It does not need to be cooked all the way through because it will be going in the crockpot. It will only take a couple of minutes on each side.  
  4. Add some red pepper flakes for some heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 564mg | Potassium: 536mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 4164IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
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8 Comments

  1. I love orange everything so this is just perfect!! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I agree 1000 percent Kathryn! Home made always rocks it! Can’t wait till you try it, you’ll have to let me know what you think. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks for trusting me, and reading my blog, it means a lot. I think the secret with chicken in the crockpot too, is not to cook it for so long, then it’s dry. Let me know when you try it!

  4. Chellie, this looks perfect, I love orange chicken and so I tried it from Pinterest before, but it was so orange and sickly sweet that we hated it and I’ve never made it again. I love your recipes and trust your palette, so I’m gonna try it again, it’s so good!

  5. Yum! And yay for homemade versions of take-out food – it’s always SO much better! I don’t have an orange chicken recipe either, and I do love my slow cooker, so this sounds like a perfect one for us to try! All the better that I don’t have to mess with it when it’s dinnertime – especially at this time of year ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  6. This looks great! I am copying it and will try it soon. I am now egg and dairy free so looking for new recipes that I can make work. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚