Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Instant Pot Orange Chicken
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Well, it’s official. I am OBSESSED with my new Instant Pot. If you haven’t heard of it yet, its pretty much a pressure cooker that has easy one-touch settings for different types of recipes. It also cooks your meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods, and is one of my favorite small kitchen appliances. For someone who has a busy life, this can really come in handy. I actually waited an entire year to purchase a 6 quart one on Black Friday for the best price (Amazon always seems to have the best deal). The wait was sooooo worth it.

For those who still aren’t convinced, I’ll explain more. The first thing I ever made in my Instant Pot was actually a bagged soup mix from my local health foods store. I had been waiting to make it for a few days, and finally pulled it out to try to make before work so I would have dinner ready at night. Of course, I looked at the directions….and realized it contained dried beans. Yeah, TOTAL BUZZKILL. Presoak the beans for 4-8 hours or overnight? Who wants to wait that long? Not me.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken, easy gluten free weeknight dinner! - Zest and Lemons

So, I threw everything in the Instant Pot instead (dried beans and all) and set it on the “beans/chili” mode for 40 minutes. It was perfect! No soaking needed. It was that point that I decided to throw all of my pots and pans away so I could only use my Instant Pot. Ok, I’m kidding, but this appliance really has currently been making most of my weeknight dinners.

If I haven’t convinced you yet to buy an Instant Pot, hopefully this new recipe will. This orange chicken recipe was actually the second thing I ever made in it. The best part about using the Instant Pot is that you can sear the chicken in the pot before adding in the rest of your ingredients! It actually gets very hot, very fast, and makes it really easy to sear meat before cooking. Not to mention, the whole cooking process is done in a matter of minutes!

Instant Pot Orange Chicken, easy gluten free weeknight dinner! - Zest and Lemons

With this recipe, just add a few Tablespoons of oil to the bottom of the pot and set on “Sauté” mode. Once hot (it only takes a minute or less!), add in some chopped onion and the cubed chicken and continue to stir until the onion is almost translucent and the chicken is mostly seared… just for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in all your sauce ingredients and close the lid (turn the venting knob to seal). Set the Instant Pot to “Poultry” mode and adjust the time to 7 minutes. That’s it! No need to watch a pot over the stove, or constantly stand and stir. Just walk away and let it cook!

Once the chicken has cooked, use the quick release method by turning the venting knob to vent. When all the steam has released and pressure has come back down, open the pot and set it back to “Sauté” mode. Make a slurry by adding the remaining cornstarch to a few Tablespoons of water, then stir this into the chicken. It will only take a few seconds to thicken. Serve over some rice and top with freshly chopped green onion for the perfect easy weeknight dinner!  All thanks to that spectacular Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Yield: 3-4

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

This easy orange chicken recipe is gluten free and full of citrus flavor. Made right in your Instant Pot for a quick weeknight dinner!


  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (about large 2 oranges)
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup gluten free Tamari
  • 1/4 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 4 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • Optional: green onion to garnish, chopped


  1. Dry the cubed chicken with a few paper towels to remove excess moisture, then toss in a bag or bowl with salt and 1 Tbsp cornstarch until coated evenly.
  2. Add minced garlic, orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice, Tamari, tomato sauce, ginger, and honey to a bowl and mix to combine. Set sauce mixture aside.
  3. Set your Instant Pot to Sauté. When the indicator says it’s hot/ready, add the oil and sauté onion and chicken for 2-4 minutes until onion is almost translucent and chicken is just about seared.
  4. Add the sauce mixture to the pot with the chicken. Close the lid, (make sure your venting knob is set to “seal”), press the “Poultry” mode and adjust time to 7 minutes. When the timer goes off, use the quick release to release the steam (it will take a few minutes). Open the lid and press the “Sauté” button again.
  5. In a small bowl or cup, mix together water and remaining 4 Tbsp cornstarch until dissolved. Add this slurry to your pot and stir until everything thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let stand for a few minutes to continue thickening.
  6. Serve over rice or rice noodles, and top with chopped green onion to garnish.


- This recipe works best in a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot. If using the mini 3 quart, sauté the onion and chicken in a wok or large sauté pan on the stove first, then add into the pot with the sauce. The 3 quart Instant Pot doesn’t have Poultry mode, so set to 7 minutes on manual/pressure cook mode.

Instant Pot Orange Chicken, easy weeknight gluten free dinner - Zest and Lemons

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