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

This Healthy Orange Chicken and broccoli recipe turns your favorite takeout dish into a wholesome, easy meal. Crispy chicken pieces are coated in a sticky and sweet homemade orange sauce that’s just as delicious as anything you’d order from a restaurant!

Healthy orange chicken with rice and broccoli on a blue plate

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Orange Chicken

  • All-In-One Meal. This orange chicken recipe is the easiest and most delicious all-in-one meal! Thanks to the chicken, veggies, and orange sauce, the dish contains protein, fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals (same with this Sheet Pan Shrimp and Broccoli). If you want a side dish, Instant Pot Brown Rice is easy and quick.
  • REAL Orange Flavor. As with this classic Orange Chicken, the secret to the best orange chicken is in the sauce! Instead of orange chicken with orange marmalade and brown sugar, this orange chicken sauce is made of a few wholesome ingredients. The most important ingredient is real orange juice and orange zest.
  • Healthy. Just like my Crockpot Orange Chicken, this orange chicken is better tasting, better for you, and less expensive than orange chicken from [insert your Chinese takeout chain here]. Like many of my other healthy fast food makeovers (like Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry), this recipe keeps the spirit of the dish, but delivers it in a more wholesome way.
  • Tastes Like the Real Thing. You’ll find the signature orange chicken sauce and orange chicken crispy coating, but the chicken is baked and not fried.
One of the best healthy recipes for the entire family on a plate with broccoli

How to Make Healthy Orange Chicken

The Ingredients

For the Crispy Baked Chicken

  • Chicken Breasts. Because we’re baking the chicken instead of frying it, this orange chicken is good for you. After it’s baked, the chicken becomes the perfect combination of crispy outside and moist and tender inside. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you could also try this as an orange chicken thighs recipe.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs. The best way to help crisp up the chicken without frying it. They also absorb the sauce, giving the chicken pieces their hallmark sticky texture.
  • Green Onions. One of my favorite additions to stir fry recipes. They add balance to the sweetness of the sauce and give freshness and color to the dish.

For the Homemade Orange Chicken Sauce

  • Orange Zest + Juice. The key to our fresh, bright orange flavor. The best part: both of these ingredients can come from the same orange (winning!).
  • Honey. As with other sticky, Asian-inspired dishes (like Sesame Chicken), I used honey instead of granulated sugar or brown sugar.
  • Soy Sauce. A star ingredient in almost every stir fry recipe. Soy sauce brings a savory, salty complement to the sweetness of the orange and honey.
  • Ginger + Garlic. The Asian flavor dream team!
  • Cornstarch + Water. Creates a cornstarch slurry to help thicken the sauce.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. Orange chicken is not spicy on its own, so I threw in red pepper flakes for some heat. Add as much or as little as you want to reach your desired level of spiciness.

The Directions

  1. Prep the Broccoli. Toss it with oil and spices, then add it to a baking sheet.
orange chicken with breadcrumbs on a baking sheet
  1. Prep the Chicken. Toss it with breadcrumbs before adding it to the sheet pan.
takeout orange chicken covered in breadcrumbs on a baking sheet
  1. Bake. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Make the Sauce. Boil until it’s deliciously thick and sticky.
  3. Put It All Together. Coat the chicken in the sauce. Serve with broccoli and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place leftover orange chicken in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. To help the chicken recrisp, rewarm this recipe on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot. In a pinch, you can also reheat it in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Store orange chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The chicken may not be as crispy once thawed, but it will still taste delicious.

Meal Prep Tip

If you want to make extra broccoli, it can be chopped up to 2 days in advance or fully roasted 1 day in advance; this lightening-fast Roasted Frozen Broccoli is great to make a day ahead then reheat in the oven towards the end of the chicken’s baking time.

One of the best healthy chicken breast recipes served on a plate with rice and broccoli

Leftover Ideas

Upgrade Homemade Fried Rice by tossing in leftover orange chicken and broccoli. You could also serve your leftovers in a lettuce leaf (like in my Lettuce Wraps recipe).

What to Serve with Healthy Orange Chicken

orang chicken at home recipe with broccoli on a plate

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Make the Homemade Sauce. You can buy orange chicken sauce, but it’s generally full of added preservatives and sugar. Once you experience the fresh flavor of orange chicken sauce from scratch, you’ll never want to use the bottled kind again.
  • Use What You Have. Only have chicken thighs on hand? You can swap those here! They may take a little longer to cook than the breasts, but they’ll taste scrumptious. You can also omit the broccoli and swap in another veggie if you prefer. See my ideas above.
  • Don’t Overcook the Chicken. The key to chicken pieces with juicy insides and crispy outsides is cook time. The times listed in this recipe are perfect for the size of chicken pieces that I recommend. If you overcook your chicken pieces, they can become tough and chewy.

Healthy Orange Chicken

4.82 from 53 votes
This healthy orange chicken is baked and not fried. The sweet, sticky orange sauce tastes like Panda Express orange chicken but is so much better for you!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

FOR THE BROCCOLI:

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 small/medium breasts)
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • Zest of 1 medium orange about 2 tablespoons
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice from the same 1 medium orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic about 2 teaspoons
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare the broccoli: place the broccoli on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer on one side of the sheet pan.
  • Prepare the chicken: Place breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper into a large ziptop bag. Shake a little to combine. Add the chicken pieces, seal, then shake to coat the chicken evenly. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on the open side of the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and turn the chicken pieces over. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 additional minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. When a piece of chicken is cut, the juices should run clear.
  • While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan (one large enough to hold the sauce and the chicken), whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and corn starch, until it is very smooth. Add to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sauce is thickened and reduced, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Taste (be careful; it will be hot!) and adjust the seasoning as desired.
  • Add the baked chicken to the pot and stir to coat with the sauce. If the broccoli is not yet as crisp as you would like, spread it out over the surface of the entire pan (including the open side where you were previously roasting the chicken) and return it to the oven until it is as baked as you like (I left it in for about 3 more minutes). Stir the green onions into the pot with the chicken. Serve hot with the roasted broccoli and rice.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place leftover orange chicken in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: To help the chicken recrisp, rewarm this dish on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F until hot. In a pinch, you can also reheat it in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Store orange chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The chicken may not be as crispy once thawed, but it will still taste delicious. 
  • On 3/12/20 recipe was updated to reduce cornstarch to 2 tablespoons based on feedback that the sauce became too thick; if you like a super duper thick sauce, feel free to use the original 3 tablespoons.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4); without riceCalories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 28gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgPotassium: 811mgFiber: 3gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 775IUVitamin C: 104mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 2mg

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 Recipes

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!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

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 wellplated.com 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




101 Comments

Leave a comment

  1. I made this tonight and I felt like the zest made it bitter. I think without that it would’ve been perfect! The sauce was super think too. I will probably cut down on cornstarch or add more water. Looking forward to trying it again!

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Trina. Sometimes getting too close to the white of the orange can cause the zest to be bitter, but you can definitely leave it out.

  2. Beautiful recipe but that is not why I am commenting.

    There is an Instagram page called “campoaves” that uses your photos to get people to click on their homepage. I thought you would like to know.

    PS: looks like they deleted it but I have a screenshot in case you need it!!5 stars

  3. Great healthy version and made with real food! Only recommendation for others is to use less of the orange zest and less cornstarch. Final sauce was yummy but too thick and concentrated for our taste (we would have preferred more as glaze than sauce). Nonetheless, these are easy adjustments to make.4 stars

  4. Hi, I’m a huge orange chicken fan and really really wanted this skinny version to be good. I don’t know where I went wrong- the sauce was a flop! The consistency was perfect, but for some reason it was bitter and overall not yummy. Do you have any tips for me to make this work next time? Any specific orange that worn make it bitter?

    1. Hi Tristen! So sorry to hear that you had that result. The only thing that could cause it to be bitter is the zest of the orange. Too much could result in that flavor (although the amount here has been tested and it’s perfect for me). “You want the colorful part of the peel only, not the white pith! The pith has a bitter flavor and should be avoided.” Hope this helps!

  5. This meal is so good and so easy to make! We’ve been mixing the broccoli into the sauce with the chicken. My two year old cleans her bowl every time I make this and says “mmmm!” after every bite. I’ve used orange juice in a pinch, instead of juice and zest from an orange, and it still turned out great. This meal has become part of our regular rotation! Thanks Erin!5 stars

    1. Hi Jamie! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  6. I made this last night and it was fantastic. I was nervous about all the comments saying it was bitter but went ahead anyway because if you zest an orange correctly, it will not be bitter! You need an zester (not a cheese grater) and just zest the orange not the white! The only changes I made was using one cup of orange juice, 1 TBS of corn starch and added 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar and a small chopped up jalapeño pepper that was seeded. This recipe is a keeper.5 stars

Load More Comments