This easy gf crispy orange chicken recipe features pantry ingredients, a glossy sauce, orange juice for sweetness, and ginger and broccoli for a super easy weeknight takeout-at-home dinner. You'll love this sticky, crispy, gluten free Chinese dinner!
Hell. O. Pan. Try. Meal.
Cue all of the "in these trying times..." phrases BUT GUESS WHAT I made this months ago for a magazine I write for and it only is just now making it to your eye balls.
I can see the future, basically? OR, more likely, the best recipes are the kind that work all the time, even in pandemics.
What we have here is: A crispy chicken dealio, made gluten free because cornstarch, PLUS the cornstarch makes the chicken EXTRA crispy without any overly annoying breading, you're welcome for that.
Then we have a glossy sauce with orange juice, ginger, soy sauce, and stock. Broccoli for balance. Rice for ... more balance.
I intentionally made this with ONLY fresh broccoli, we are not messing with fresh garlic or ginger. If you like those things? Great, go for it. Same goes with the broccoli. This can definitely be a chicken + sauce only situation, but honestly almost any other veggie you have would be great. Frozen broccoli, hell yes.
Check your pantry for a sad can of random Asian veg, you know the kind: bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts would all be wonderful thrown into this when you add the broccoli.
Let's Make Gluten Free Orange Chicken!
Let's start! Yummy dredge for the chicken. cornstarch, ground ginger, garlic powder, salt, pepper.
I also start rice about this time if I'm making it. Set a timer! If the rice gets done before the crispy orange chicken it'll be fine hanging out with the lid on off the heat.
Mix the dredge together, then toss chicken pieces with it. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but use any chicken you like. Crispy orange chicken works with all kinds of chicken!Gluten Free Orange Chicken Sauce
Gather everything else up: stock, soy sauce, orange juice, honey, broccoli. That's IT.
While the skillet is heating, whisk together the OJ, stock, honey, and soy sauce with one more tablespoon of cornstarch.
When the skillet is hot, add the chicken in one layer and let it sizzle without messing with it for about 3 minutes per side until it's golden brown and crispy. Depending on the size of your skillet you might have to do this in two or even three batches. Just keep the crispy chicken on a plate until it's ready to go back into the sauce.
PS don't worry if the crispy chicken isn't cooked through - it'll go back in the sauce to finish cooking!
When all of the chicken is crispy, add the broccoli and stir it together with the chicken (all back in the pan now) for just a minute or two. Add more oil if the pan is very dry, a few tablespoons.
After a few minutes, the broccoli will turn bright green but still be mainly raw. When that happens, pour the sauce mixture into the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and let the sauce boil.
Simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes, stirring as you go. Taste it, and add more soy sauce if it seems bland.
The sauce will reduce just a bit and thicken with the cornstarch. It turns into this sweet, sticky, savory, glossy nonsense that is, frankly, drinkable.
When the broccoli is just soft enough to eat, done! Add garnishes if you want (fresh herbs, sriracha, sliced scallions, sesame seeds), but frankly I couldn't be bothered.
This is so, so good. The sauce is easy and all of the ingredients last and last in your pantry and fridge, and can be swapped out based on what you have around!
And, if you're loving gluten free dinners, my gluten free turkey meatballs are baked in the oven and make a great meal prep entree, even one that could be used with this sauce!
I think the meat method would work really well with thinly sliced pork or even cube steak, and mix up the veggies so that this is different every time you make it.
Gluten Free Orange Chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (do not obsess over this)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup chicken stock or any kind you have
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 pound broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
- Cooked white rice for serving
- Whisk together ¼ cup of the cornstarch, the ginger, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
- In a separate dish, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch with the orange juice, chicken stock, honey, and soy sauce.
- Preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat with about 3 tablespoons of olive or canola oil (or whatever you like to cook with). The oil should cover the bottom of the pan.
- When the oil is very hot, add the chicken in one layer and let sizzle for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cook the chicken in batches if you need to.
- When the chicken is crispy and browned on both sides, add the broccoli and stir together. If the pan seems dry or the chicken is sticking, add another few tablespoons of oil to the pan.
- When the broccoli is bright green, pour the orange juice mixture into the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and allow the sauce to come to a boil.
- Simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes, uncovered, until it thickens and reduces slightly. Serve immediately over rice, with more soy sauce for sprinkling if you’d like. YUM.
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