This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This simple Crockpot Orange Chicken takes the Chinese restaurant favorite and turns it into an easy, hands-off slow cooker meal. Instead of sugary ingredients like orange soda or marmalade, this healthy crock pot recipe uses natural sweeteners and everyday ingredients for that luscious, sticky sauce.

dinner plate of healthier orange chicken, made in a crockpot

Why You’ll Love This Easy Orange Chicken

  • Lightened-Up. Orange chicken (the kind with Panda Express sauce) typically consists of chicken that is breaded, deep fried, and tossed in a sugar-laden orange sauce. Like my Healthy Orange Chicken and classic Orange Chicken recipes, this crockpot orange chicken is a healthier, lightened-up version that still has the sweet, citrusy flavor you love.
  • Hands-Free Cooking. Thanks to the slow cooker, this recipe requires very little hands-on cooking. Along with this recipe, I love turning to other Asian-inspired slow cooker dishes like Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken, and Pineapple Chicken for a delicious meal that requires less time in the kitchen.
  • NO Orange Marmalade. Almost every other recipe I’ve read for an easy version of homemade orange chicken calls for copious amounts of orange marmalade. Now, I adore orange marmalade, but it would certainly detract from my goal of making this a healthy orange chicken recipe. Instead, this recipe uses real orange juice.
slow cooker full of homemade orange chicken

5 Star Review

“This recipe was such a hit!! It’s hard to make a meal that a baby, toddler, and two adults all like. But this is a winner.”

— Sharon —

How to Make Crockpot Orange Chicken

The Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • Chicken Breasts. Crowd-pleasing, quick-cooking, and packed with protein, chicken breasts are a fabulous choice for recipes like this one. The neutral flavor of the chicken allows the sauce to shine.
  • Salt + Pepper. Simple seasonings that help the chicken taste its best.

For the Orange Sauce

  • Orange Juice. Nothing like a real orange for some real-deal orange chicken.
  • Soy Sauce. The salty counterpoint to the sweetness of the orange.
  • Rice Vinegar. For balance and punch.
  • Honey. Sticky sweetness, done more naturally.
  • Garlic and Ginger. To make the crockpot orange chicken sing and zing!
  • Red Pepper Flakes. Add a little or a lot, depending on your preferred spice level.
  • Cornstarch. Helps thicken the sauce.

The Directions

  1. Add the Chicken to the Slow Cooker. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low. Remove the chicken.
  3. Strain and Thicken the Sauce. Stir the chicken back into the sauce and add toppings. ENJOY!

Recipe Adaptations

  • Slow Cooker Orange Chicken Drumsticks. Swap the breasts for chicken drumsticks. Remove the skin from the drumsticks, then place the drumsticks in the slow cooker. Stir to coat with the sauce, then cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone, 2 to 3 hours on HIGH or 4 hours on LOW. Reduce the sauce as directed.
  • Slow Cooker Orange Sesame Chicken. After the sauce is reduced (Step 3), stir 1 teaspoon sesame oil into the sauce. Sprinkle the finished chicken with toasted sesame seeds. (Use your sesame seeds to make Bourbon Chicken or Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken next.)
  • Crockpot Orange Chicken Thighs. Swap the boneless, skinless chicken breasts for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, 2 on HIGH or 4 hours on LOW.
plate of healthy orange chicken made in a crock pot

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Leftover Ideas

Stir leftovers into Homemade Fried Rice or Cauliflower Fried Rice for a hearty meal.

skinny (healthy) plate of orange chicken made in a slow cooker

What to Serve with Crockpot Orange Chicken

  • Slow Cooker. This one is programmable, which helps deter overcooking.
  • Measuring Cup. Great for mixing marinades. No need to dirty another bowl!
  • Whisk. This whisk is small, meaning it’s less likely to create a big mess.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use the Chicken You Have. This recipe can easily be adapted to fit a variety of cuts of chicken. You can make this slow cooker orange chicken with chicken breasts, thighs, tenders (like in General Tso Chicken), or even drumsticks (see above for tips). Make sure you adjust the cook time if needed for the different types.
  • Add Toppings. Whether you add green onions, almonds, or sesame seeds (or all three!), I urge you to choose at least one. The green onions add a scrumptious freshness and crunch, and the almonds and sesame seeds offer an additional crunch and nuttiness. These toppings really help make your dish taste restaurant-quality!
  • Don’t Skip Rice Vinegar. If you don’t have rice vinegar in your pantry, you may be tempted to leave it out. Don’t! Its lightly sweet and mild acidity is unique and perfect for this dish. If you plan to make this recipe (or any of my other stir fries) on a regular basis, it’s worth grabbing one on your next grocery trip.

Crockpot Orange Chicken

4.56 from 27 votes
This Crockpot Orange Chicken is an easy orange chicken recipe with orange juice, honey, and NO marmalade. Serve with vegetables for a healthy meal!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 hours 10 minutes
Total: 5 hours 20 minutes

Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 medium breasts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup reduced-sugar orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 2 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Prepared brown rice for serving
  • Sliced green onions optional for serving
  • Sliced or slivered toasted almonds and/or toasted sesame seeds optional for serving


  • Coat the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Arrange the chicken in the bottom, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the orange juice, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Pour over the chicken. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low, until the chicken registers 165°F and is cooked through. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • With a mesh sieve, strain the sauce into a bowl or measuring cup. Discard the solids, then return the liquid to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker heat to high. Mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water to create a slurry, then stir it into the slow cooker sauce. Cover and cook on high until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring it often. Return the chicken pieces to the slow cooker and stir to coat with the sauce. Serve with prepared rice, sprinkled with green onions and toasted almonds or sesame seeds as desired.



  • Cooking times can vary widely based on the model and size of your slow cooker. Be sure to check the chicken early, especially if you are using a larger-size slow cooker, to make sure it does not overcook.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.


Serving: 1(of 4), with 1/2 cup brown riceCalories: 351kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 49gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgPotassium: 1002mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 268IUVitamin C: 34mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.

Sign Me Up

More Healthy Takeout Favorites

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

  1. This was delicious and not heavy like other recipes for this. It was so easy to put together. I loved it!5 stars

  2. Wanting to use a zested orange from another recipe of yours (Banana Bundt Cake, which could not have been more delicious!) and wondering if it’s a straight substitution, or a mix of the freshly squeezed juice and water? If a mix, any thoughts on a ratio? Thanks!

  3. I made this recipe as a “test run” before I make it during vacation; absolutely delicious! Do you think it’s okay to freeze ahead of time, and then thaw overnight in the frig before reheating?5 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t what you hope for, Glenn. Many other readers have tried it and loved it, but I know everyone has different tastes. I truly wish you would have loved it!

  4. I found this recipe looking to use some orange juice that was about to expire. Sadly, it was very bland. I even went above and beyond the ingredients here (I added the salt and pepper to the sauce, in addition to seasoning the breasts; went up to a full teaspoon of red pepper; used full-sugar OJ; and doubled the garlic) and it still had almost no flavor. I added another tablespoon of soy sauce, some sesame oil, and fresh lemon to brighten it up at the end, but it was still flat, dull and nearly tasteless. Eventually I gave up and topped my plate with a handful of cashews and a generous pour of poke sauce to make it appetizing.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, John. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  5. This is now my son’s favorite version of Orange Chicken. He’s hard to please, and a bit picky. I like it, too – my entire family does with the exception of my vegetarian daughter. And it’s nice to have the flavor without the greasiness or oil of the take-out versions.5 stars

  6. This was such a great recipe! My only tweek was 1 tsp garlic and 3tsp ginger since we’re fans of ginger! This will now be on the go to menu since it’s so easy😋5 stars

    1. Hi Morgan! Orange slices are for the photos only but feel free to add any toppings you’d like.

  7. This recipe was such a hit!! It’s hard to make a meal that a baby, toddler, and two adults all like. But this is a winner. As I’m trying my way through Erin’s recipes, I’m learning my kids need things all separate like chicken, rice, and peas (as opposed to like a casserole) and this lets me do that without compromising the flavor or interest of a dish. Looking for more things like this!5 stars

  8. So good used 3 fresh oranges from my own tree gave 1 cup of fresh juice
    Local honey
    The whole family loved it5 stars

  9. Erin —

    Can I make the Crockpot Orange Chicken with something other than rice vinegar? I have white and red and I don’t want to buy a whole bottle for this recipe.

    And how much dry ginger can I use in place of 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Bob! I haven’t tried it with any other type of vinegar but you probably could. They all just have a different taste to them vs the rice vinegar that is a little milder in taste. If you are using ground ginger you’ll only need 1/2 teaspoon. Enjoy!

Load More Comments