easy paleo recipe for orange chicken

Paleo Asian Orange Chicken

I was doing my usual Facebook scan the other day and saw a post for orange chicken. I looked at the recipe and thought too bad it’s not Paleo…

Then I thought, wait a minute, I bet I can make it Paleo!

One of my goals with this site is to pass along helpful information and to be a little different. I know many of you new to Paleo miss the foods you were used to eating before. So a big part of my mission is to try and turn some of those favorite foods we all love into healthy and delicious Paleo dishes with all the good stuff, and none of the bad.

Well, the other night I took up the orange chicken challenge. I reworked the original recipe, and also used raw honey. I normally try to limit honey to just the treats on my site, but in this case it was a perfect match and cooked-up beautifully. 

easy paleo recipe for orange chickenThis orange chicken dish isn’t something you’d put on the dinner table every night of course, but I guarantee if you serve this one up to your non-Paleo friends, they’ll love it and never know it’s not from a “traditional” cookbook. Just don’t mention the word “Paleo.” After a few bites, they’ll be asking you for the recipe!

We had this orange chicken with stir-fried veggies on the side and it was crazy good. Broccoli would also make a great side dish. But the real star on the plate is the Paleo orange chicken with its intense flavors. Awesome!

Gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and filled with that authentic orange chicken taste you love!

Enjoy…and let me know what you think!  :)

Paleo Asian Orange Chicken Recipe

Paleo Asian Orange Chicken Recipe


    Marinade Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp tamari* (organic, wheat free) or substitute with soy-free coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Chicken and Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water
  • 5-7 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts – skin on
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed juice from oranges
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp tamari* (or coconut aminos)
  • 1/3 c. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp arrow root powder whisked with a little water (just enough to make a slurry)


  1. Make your marinade with the 2 Tbsp tamari or coconut aminos, 1 tsp grated ginger and 1 tsp sesame oil
  2. Season your chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Put the marinade in a large ziplock bag, add the chicken, and coat well
  4. Marinade chicken 30 minutes in the refrigerator (or longer if you prefer)
  5. Next pan fry chicken pieces skin side down with 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil over medium- to medium-high heat until browned. About 7-10 min
  6. Once browned, place chicken on a roasting rack or cookie sheet in the oven for about 30 min at 350. Check to make sure the chicken is cooked through thoroughly before removing from oven
  7. Let the chicken rest while you make your orange sauce
  8. In a frying pan over medium- to medium-high heat, combine water, orange juice, honey, rice vinegar, tamari, orange zest, ginger, red pepper flakes, and garlic
  9. Whisk in the pan, stirring frequently
  10. Bring sauce to a boil
  11. Whisk in arrow root mixture.
  12. Sauce should start to thicken. If it doesn't, add a little more arrow root
  13. Reduce heat to simmer. The sauce should thicken even more as it cools
  14. Pour the orange sauce over the chicken
  15. Garnish with orange slices, sesame seeds, green onions or whatever you like
  16. Enjoy!


*Tamari is derived from soybeans. If you want to stay completely soy-free with this delicious recipe, in place of the tamari use 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos for the marinade and another 2 tablespoons for the sauce.


37 replies
  1. Julie
    Julie says:

    Would love to try this for something new, I have most of the ingredients and try to avoid going out to buy ingredients for a meal, I often play with a recipe. I have red wine vinegar, would this work in place of rice vinegar? I appreciate it will change the taste. Also could you please explain coconut aminos, you had me at coconut ( love anything coconut ). Being summer here and near 40.c I’m aiming for serving with salads

    • Trina
      Trina says:

      Hi Julie…I have not tried this one with red wine vinegar, so can’t say for sure how it will turn out. And the coconut aminos are a paleo sub for the soy sauce. Or you can also use tamari sauce in place of soy sauce – but tamari is not considered paleo.

  2. Eddy Cramm
    Eddy Cramm says:

    I tried this tonight. EXTREMELY flavorful. I think I might try to to straight to the oven next time because I felt the chicken came out too dry, But I agree with a previous poster. The marinade alone was very good. I also had trouble thickening the sauce so I will try some more arrowroot. Thank you for the recipe. This one is going into my rotation!

  3. Brigitte Everett
    Brigitte Everett says:

    this recipe sounds wonderful!!!! is there a way to by pass the first step? meaning to sautee the chicken before baking? I wonder if I could just do the marinade, then after it has marinated pour the rest of the ingredients on top of the chichen and then bake for one hour? any replies? I want to cook this for Xmas dinner for my son and self. Thanks!!!!!

  4. JustAli
    JustAli says:

    The marinade smelled so good that I decided the chicken didn’t need the orange sauce at all! It was very flavorful and will definately make again with the marinade alone. Used the orange sauce on a side of broccoli

  5. Italian daughter
    Italian daughter says:

    Amazing recipe. My husband is just started the paleo diet and he is a picky eater and he liked ths chicken dish. Thanks for making weeknight cooking easy.

  6. New Life ESL
    New Life ESL says:

    This is incredible! We’ve lived in China as English teachers for three years and try to stick to at least an 80% paleo diet. You’re definitely saving us from our cravings of all this amazing Chinese food we’re surrounded by

    • Trina B
      Trina B says:

      Wow, what a great experience for for you! I bet Paleo can be a challenge in China. I’m so glad you found us and hope we can help you out some great recipes you can enjoy! :)

  7. Tom
    Tom says:

    This was delicious! The sauce was just perfect! I mostly just tasted a little of it tonight, but tomorrow night I’m having leftover. I also made chicken chunks using the meat from two large bone-in chicken breasts. Tomorrow I’m going to add in some sauteed onion, mushrooms and carrot slivers, and put it on rice. To die for!

    • Trina B
      Trina B says:

      Hi Tom! Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Your ideas using the chicken breasts are a winner! winner winner chicken dinner? I know, I’m lame. But I appreciate you just the same ! :)

  8. Kate
    Kate says:

    Tamari is gluten-free but it’s not Paleo because it’s still soy. Most will substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.

    • Trina B
      Trina B says:

      Hi Kate, Thank you for reminding me to add that as an option to the recipe. This was one of my earlier recipes before I discovered Coconut Aminos. I use them for everything now! :)

  9. Melissa C
    Melissa C says:

    This was delicious, I cut up boneless chicken breasts into large chunks and used tapioca flour for thickening that I had on hand and it came out perfect. I will make this the next time we have a large gathering.

  10. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    The recipe link isn’t working. It just takes me back to this page. Can you fix it? I can’t wait to get this recipe. Thanks.

    • Trina B
      Trina B says:

      If you go to paleo newbie, then click on entrees, and then the orange chicken, it should come up. I see what you are saying, we have a glitch and will get it corrected. Thanks for letting me know. :)


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