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This paleo orange chicken tastes incredible and it's good for you, too! Tender chicken thighs are simmered in a sweet and sticky homemade orange glaze and served over a bed of low-carb cauliflower rice. It's a simple paleo recipe the whole family will enjoy. Ready in just 25 minutes!
There's zero need to order take-out when you can make this paleo orange chicken at home in just twenty-five minutes!
Orange chicken has long been a favorite Chinese take-out item. We know it's not a traditional dish by any means, but there's something irresistible about the crispy chicken pieces that get smothered in that familiar sweet sticky orange glaze.
We won't pretend that this paleo take on orange chicken is similar to the take-out version, because it's not. It's a healthy chicken dish with a sticky sweet-tart sauce, served on a bed of low-carb cauliflower rice. It's tasty, satisfying, and you don't need to be paleo to enjoy it!
Just one taste of this paleo orange chicken and we're sure it will become a fast favorite. It's a quick, easy, and healthy dinner for weeknights that the whole family will love!
Paleo orange chicken ingredients
The amazing flavors in this paleo orange chicken recipe all come from natural ingredients. There are three elements to the recipe: the chicken, the sauce, and the cauliflower rice. The chicken is first seasoned with salt and pepper and then seared until golden. Then it's finished in this delicious glaze.
Here's everything you need for the sweet and sticky orange sauce:
- Orange juice – fresh orange juice will give this dish a bright citrusy taste but store-bought juice works, too.
- Honey – honey is a key ingredient for the sauce, making it sweet and sticky.
- Sesame oil – the nutty taste of sesame oil adds a hint of classic Asian flavor.
- Coconut aminos – coconut aminos is the perfect paleo substitute for soy sauce. If you're not paleo, feel free to use regular soy sauce or tamari.
- Tapioca starch – tapioca starch thickens the sauce, helping it stick to the chicken.
- Chili flakes – chili flakes add a hint of heat.
- Turmeric – turmeric tastes a little bit earthy and peppery, and adds an orange hue to the sauce.
- Ginger + garlic – for that classic punch of flavor.
How to make paleo orange chicken
This paleo orange chicken recipe is flavorful, family-friendly, and surprisingly easy to make. Here's how to make it in a couple of simple steps:
- Pat the chicken thighs dry, season them with salt and pepper, and sear them on both sides until well browned.
- Whisk the orange glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the seared chicken, and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes to fully cook, flipping the chicken thighs once halfway through.
- While the chicken cooks, make the cauliflower rice. Sauté it until it no longer tastes raw, then add the garlic and sea salt.
- Serve the orange chicken over a bed of cauliflower rice topped with sesame seeds, cilantro, and orange wedges. Dig in!
What to eat with paleo orange chicken
You can enjoy this paleo orange chicken with cauliflower rice as a complete meal on its own. If you're not paleo, feel free to serve it with regular rice or your favorite noodles. It also tastes great with some stir-fried veggies or a vegetable side like bok choy, garlic green beans, or carrots.
Some of our favorite paleo vegetable sides
- Sautéed Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic
- Spicy Honey Roasted Carrots
- Sautéed Green Beans
- Garlic Butter Sugar Snap Peas
If you love easy paleo dinners, also check out this egg roll in a bowl!
Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs?
Yep, you can. We find dark meat from chicken thighs to be more juicy and flavorful, but chicken breasts work well, too. Just keep in mind you may need to adjust the cooking time based on the size of your chicken breasts.
How long do leftovers keep in the fridge?
Store any leftover chicken and cauliflower rice in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.
I like crispy chicken skin. Can I still make this recipe?
Yes! Simply sear the chicken skin until it's crispy then flip the chicken over and add the sauce. If you're using chicken skin, don't turn the chicken over halfway through cooking or the skin will go soggy.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs (skinless)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
The orange sauce
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon EACH: sesame oil and coco aminos (can sub soy sauce for non-paleo)
- 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 pinch turmeric (for color)
- 1 inch piece of ginger (grated on a microplane or very finely minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (grated on a microplane or very finely minced)
- Toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, and orange wedges, to serve
The Cauliflower Rice
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 medium cauliflower (riced (a food processor makes quick work of this!))
- 1 clove garlic (very finely minced)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Dry the chicken with paper towels and then season them with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken thighs for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until both sides are well browned. Remove the pan from the heat.1 tablespoon avocado oil, 8 bone-in chicken thighs, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- While the chicken is searing, prepare the orange glaze. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the orange juice, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, tapioca starch, chili flakes, turmeric, ginger, and garlic.½ cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon EACH: sesame oil and coco aminos, ¼ teaspoon chili flakes, 1 inch piece of ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon tapioca starch, 1 pinch turmeric
- Pour the sauce over the seared chicken and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat so that the chicken is barely simmering, cover the pan, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the grated cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower no longer tastes raw. Add the garlic and sea salt and toss well.1 tablespoon avocado oil, 1 medium cauliflower, 1 clove garlic, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Serve the orange chicken with cauliflower rice and some sesame seeds, cilantro, and orange wedges.Toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, and orange wedges, to serve
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.