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Crockpot Orange Chicken

Better than takeout and better for you, this quick and easy crockpot orange chicken will become a new favorite. A tangy, sweet-yet-savory sauce starring orange preserves, soy sauce, and ginger smothers perfectly tender chicken breasts to make an unforgettable entree.

Easy Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

I have been loving this easy slow cooker chicken twist on PF Chang’s orange chicken. It’s got all of the flavor and less of the guilt. Unlike the breaded and fried version you’d get at takeout, this orange chicken is done in the slow cooker, yielding the most tender, magnificently flavorful chicken dish you could imagine. The magic lies in the wowing sauce that the chicken is cooked in, low-and-slow, for hours. It’s made of tangy orange preserves, umami soy sauce, spicy ginger, and garlic. As it cooks, the sweet-savory sauce thickens, becoming wonderfully sticky and, when spooned over the tender chicken, it provides the perfect, flavor-packed glaze.

Easy to make and so flavorful, this healthier orange chicken will surely become a favorite in your recipe lineup. Plus, it only requires 5 minutes of active time in the kitchen. If you don’t have a crock pot, make this similar Mandarin Chicken or these crispy Orange Chicken Bites.

Closeup of a fork taking a bite out of crockpot orange chicken.

Reasons You’ll Love This Slow Cooker Recipe

This PF Changs-inspired orange chicken will win hearts and taste buds far and wide. Here are some of the things that make it an absolute must-try in my book.

  • Better than takeout. This recipe is basically a copycat of PF Chang’s orange chicken, except it’s not breaded and fried. So it’s much healthier and just as tasty, if not tastier. And easier on your pocketbook, might I add.
  • So quick and easy. This recipe only requires a few simple steps and 5 minutes of prep time. Then all you have to do is press a button, walk away, and enjoy your day. Dinner will be ready for you in a few hours.
  • So much flavor. The tangy sweetness of the orange preserves paired with the soy sauce, the spice of the ginger, and the nuttiness of the toasted sesame seed is just an unreal combination. You’ll be craving seconds before you’ve even finished your first piece.
Ingredients for crockpot orange chicken separated into bowls.

What You’ll Need

You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this slow-cooker orange chicken. Here they are. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Boneless, skinless thighs will also work. You could even use a different protein if you’d like. Try boneless pork chops or cubed beef stew meat.
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Orange marmalade or preserves: I use low-sugar preserves, and I like preserves that have pulp – it brings a really nice texture to the sauce.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice: Let me reiterate. Freshly squeezed, please! The flavor is 100 times better than the bottled stuff.
  • Low-sodium soy sauce: Liquid aminos would be a fine alternative.
  • Garlic
  • Ground ginger
  • Sesame seeds
Spooning sauce over orange chicken on a serving platter.

How to Make Orange Chicken in the Crockpot

Here’s a brief overview of how to make this delightful, better-than-takeout orange chicken. For more thorough instructions, please scroll to the recipe card further down the page.

  • Prepare the crockpot. Grease the crockpot insert with cooking spray.
  • Brown the chicken (optional). Heat some olive oil in a skillet and sear the chicken for 2 minutes on either side.
  • Make the sauce. Whisk together the orange preserves, orange juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger.
  • Load the crockpot. Place chicken in the crockpot, season with salt and pepper, and pour the sauce over the chicken.
  • Cook. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2.5-3 hours.
  • Toast the sesame seeds. Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium-high heat until fragrant.
  • Serve. Transfer the chicken to a plate, spoon the sauce over the chicken, and garnish with sesame seeds.
Crockpot orange chicken on a serving platter.

Tips for Success

Before you tie on your apron, have a quick look at these simple tips and tricks. You’ll be an orange chicken pro in no time.

  • Brown the chicken. While you can combine all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it do its thing for a few hours, I like to brown the chicken first. It results in a deeper, richer flavor and juicier chicken.
  • Don’t use frozen chicken. Putting frozen chicken in the slow cooker is never a good idea. The meat will enter temperatures that are not considered food-safe. Thaw your chicken before using it.
  • Use fresh orange juice. The flavor is just so much better than bottled. It really makes a difference in the finished product.
  • Size matters. This recipe is meant for a 5-7 quart slow cooker. If your crockpot is larger, scale the recipe up a bit to avoid burning your food. If your crockpot is too small, your chicken might not cook all the way through, so it’s best to scale the recipe down.
  • Cook on low if you have time. While you can cook crockpot orange chicken on high, I find that this can lead to slightly dryer, less tender chicken. If you have the extra time, use the lowest setting on your slow cooker and cook longer.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

This saucy orange chicken loves company. Serve it with your favorite rice dish, over noodles, and/or with a yummy veggie side dish. Here are some ideas for you.

Crockpot orange chicken breasts arranged on a plate with a fork.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Refrigerator. Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature before sealing it in an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. It will stay good there for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. Once the chicken has cooled completely, transfer it to a freezer-safe, airtight container. Seal the container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the chicken to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • To reheat. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour the sauce and a couple of tablespoons of water or chicken broth over the chicken. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake the chicken at 350˚F for 15 minutes or until heated through.

More Crockpot Chicken Recipes

If you feel like you have a million and one things to do before the day is through (I can relate), crockpot recipes are definitely something to stock up on. Here are some of my go-to’s that you should try.

Crockpot orange chicken served on a plate with a fork.

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Katerina | Diethood
In this Crockpot Orange Chicken recipe, tender chicken breasts are generously coated in a delicious mix of tangy, sweet, and savory, thanks to the combination of orange preserves, soy sauce, and ginger.
4.50 from 8 votes
Servings : 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup orange marmalade
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, or to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds
For the cornstarch slurry, optional
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Lightly grease the crock pot insert with cooking spray.
  • If browning the chicken, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and brown all chicken pieces, 2 minutes per side.
  • Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the crock pot in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine orange preserves, orange juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger; mix until combined.
  • Pour over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • In the meantime, heat the sesame seeds in a frying pan set over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, cooking just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
  • Whisk the water with the cornstarch in a small mixing bowl until incorporated to make a slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce inside the crock pot and whisk until completely combined and thickened. You can also pour the orange sauce out into a small saucepan before adding the slurry.
  • Spoon the orange sauce over the chicken, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Brown the chicken first. It boosts flavor and juiciness.
  • Go for fresh orange juice. It gives a superior flavor to the final dish.
  • Orange marmalade or orange preserves are good options for this recipe. I like to use a low-sugar version whenever possible.
  • If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • Your slow cooker’s size is key. Aim for 5 to 7 quarts, and adjust the recipe if needed.
  • If you can, cook on low. It results in more tender chicken.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 383 kcal | Carbohydrates: 48 g | Protein: 38 g | Fat: 5 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0.02 g | Cholesterol: 109 mg | Sodium: 806 mg | Potassium: 812 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 40 g | Vitamin A: 181 IU | Vitamin C: 29 mg | Calcium: 46 mg | Iron: 1 mg | Net Carbs: 47 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: crockpot orange chicken, orange chicken, slow cooker orange chicken
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33 comments on “Crockpot Orange Chicken”

  1. Avatar photo
    Beth Bjorklund

    I just have to say that YOUR comments are darling and make me smile. I’ll cook anything you suggest. You are REAL. You should be on tv. I’m going to make your Crock pot honey garlic chicken first because I have the ingredients in the house. BTW, is it ok if I use boneless thighs instead of breasts?
    Thank you.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Thanks for the kind words! ❤️😊
      You can use boneless thighs, but they won’t need to cook as long as bone-in thighs. I’d start checking for doneness around 2-hour mark.

  2. I noticed that this recipe calls for both orange juice and orange preserves. However, the video shows it being made with no orange juice. Which one is correct?

  3. Why do you say prep time only 5 minutes. I find this very frustrating that all food bloggers say prep time is only 5 minutes. It takes more than 5 minutes simply to pull out the ingredients. You have to gather the ingredients, measure, chop, put them all in the pot. That takes at least 20 minutes. Please be honest about prep time.

    1. You can buy the garlic cloves already chopped in the garden section of any major grocery store. That’s all I use and I have never regretted the time save.

  4. Avatar photo
    LUCY BROUSSARD

    I LOVE UR IDEAS IM GONNA TRY I NEED FAST THEY ARE FOR ME NEED TO TRIM AWHOLE LOT MATTER OF FACT EVERYWHERE LOL

  5. Can’t wait to try the orange chicken. Look forward to the diet meals emails. I am on a diet and always need different recipes. Have lost 16 pounds so far.

  6. Avatar photo
    Harry marshall

    I found unsweetened Smucker’s Marmalade, the meat came out on the dry side, so I think next time I’ll double up on the sauce when I put in the slow cooker it’s totally submerged.

  7. Avatar photo
    Brian Rungaitis

    Looks and sounds awesome. I am debating on making either this or another recipe that I found for my slow cooker. Decisions, decisions….. Anyway, I WILL be trying this sometime and I will post another comment on how it turns out. Thanks again for the recipe!

    Brian Rungaitis

  8. I found this recipe online about a month ago and have been wanting to try it, but finding orange preserves here is very difficult (I live in a small fishing village in Nicaragua), yesterday I had gone into a decent size city to meet some friends for lunch and found 2 jars of orange jelly–not preserves but it was the best I was going to get. Got up this morning and got it started in the crock pot. I was a little worried that after all the waiting and searching for orange preserves it would not live up to what I had been anticipating. It was DELICIOUS. I bought the only 2 jars of orange jelly the store had so I can make this one more time before I have to go back to searching for more 🙂 The only negative was having to smell it cooking all day before I could devour it 🙂

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Hi Beth!! SO happy you enjoyed it!! I mean, after all that trouble to find the preserves and all, it better be good, right?! 😉

  9. I really wanted to like this but it did not come out. I followed the directions exactly and at only four hours on low the chicken is very dark brown almost burnt looking and they are very dry. The sauce also seems to have a burnt flavor. Not sure what happened but I know I followed the directions exactly.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out for you, Rebecca. 🙁 I hate when that happens. I’m not sure why the chicken would burn, especially on the low setting. My previous slow cooker was cooking at too high of a temperature (even at low), which would create problems with all foods. Just a thought.

      1. I am unfamiliar with orange preserves, but I am familiar with orange marmalade. Could it be used as a substitute or is it too strong?

  10. Avatar photo
    Becky | The Cookie Rookie

    I’ve really been wanting to make something like this! You’ve just inspired me! Looks amazing!!

  11. Avatar photo
    Heather // girlichef

    Oh how I want my house to smell like this! Such a happy mistake, I’m adding it to our menu for next week, my kids will devour it, I’m sure!

  12. Avatar photo
    Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat.

    I love crockpot meals, so nice having supper ready at the end of the day! And this orange chicken looks like a fantastic meal!

    1. I have the Vitaclay and I can’t dry slowcook so I always need to add broth or water to it. It cooks super fast but I wonder if I’m watering down the recipe or making it taste different. Anyway, I leave work at 7:30 and don’t come home til about 4 how would I be able to make this in a regular slow cooker? If I put it on before I leave?

  13. Avatar photo
    Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

    200 calories?!?! Sold!! This sounds absolutely amazing! Sometimes my best recipes come from random mess-ups like grabbing the wrong ingredient accidentally, lol! Love this!

  14. Avatar photo
    Sharon @ Savormania

    Ah this looks incredible! I’ve never had orange chicken before but your photos make me want to run to the kitchen and get cooking!!!

  15. Avatar photo
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    I don’t know what I would do without my slow cooker on busy weeks like this one! This looks crazy good, Kate! Pinned!

  16. Avatar photo
    Laura | Petite Allergy Treats

    An easy chicken dinner that looks this good should be on every mom’s list! Beautiful!

  17. Avatar photo
    Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven

    Ahhh! I love those beyond-delish accidents! This was definitely one of those. Holy moly, this chicken is absolutely stunning, Kate! I love how perfectly glazed it is and crockpot FTW! 🙂 Pinned.

      1. Avatar photo
        darlene bergman

        I had received a little gift box with orange marmalade so I made this recepie. It was awesome. My husband actually went out next day and bought more marmalade

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