This easy Whole30 Chinese orange chicken is the best takeout fake-out ever. Sometimes you just need some orange chicken in your life, and this version is much healthier and there’s no delivery fee! It’s also a Paleo orange chicken recipe, which makes it gluten free and made from real ingredients, so you can skip the MSG!
In a past life, it was not uncommon of me to order Chinese delivery at least once a week. It was my favorite go-to. I’d almost always order the orange chicken. It still remains one of my favorite flavors. Which is why I knew I needed to figure out how to make it Paleo and Whole30. This Whole30 Chinese orange chicken obviously isn’t the real thing, but, I will say, it’s a really great takeout fake-out.
When I started making this for myself and my boyfriend, he prompted me to add it to the blog to go along with the other Chinese inspired recipes I have here. It took a little refining and tweaking to get it blog ready, but hey, neither of us complained about having to eat it multiple times!
In the Whole30 orange chicken recipe, I do suggest using cassava flour. However, you can make it with alternatives like coconut flour. You could use almond flour, but it won’t have exactly the same consistency once cooked and be more gritty.
Cassava flour has become my favorite for breading things. In this case, it gives it a lighter more “fried” taste than coconut flour does, in my opinion. Cassava can be found at many health food stores nowadays, like Whole Foods. But it’s also available on Thrive Market and Amazon.
Chinese 5 spice is another spice you’ll need for the Whole30 orange chicken. I’m not sure how common it’s included in most of our spice cabinets. If you don’t already have it, you can pick it up at Target, Whole Foods, Amazon, Hy-Vee, and a number of other grocery stores. It’s sometimes called just “5 spice” on the label, if you can’t find Chinese 5 spice. They’re the same thing though, not to worry!
You can serve this Paleo and Whole30 Chinese orange chicken over cauliflower rice, roasted or sautéed broccoli or throw it into a stir fry!
Other Whole30 Chinese Inspired Recipes You’ll Love:
Sheet Pan Sweet and Sour ChickenPrint
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Easy Whole30 Chinese Orange Chicken: Paleo, Gluten-Free
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: One Pot
- Cuisine: Asian
- 1.5–2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 2–3 inch cubes
- 1 cup cassava flour (or coconut, tapioca or almond flour)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup orange juice, 1.5 tbsp zest
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos
- 1.5 tablespoons creamy almond butter
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Optional: 2 teaspoons arrowroot flour to thicken the sauce
- Mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder together in a large bowl. Add chicken cubes. Toss with your hands until equally coated.
- Heat avocado oil and ghee in a large skillet until melted and hot.
- Add some of the chicken cubes (do not overcrowd the pan) using tongs, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set on a plate. Repeat process with remaining chicken until all are cooked. Note: you may have to add additional ghee and oil to the pan if doing more than 2 batches, or replace the oil halfway through.
- For the sauce: in the same pan, add orange juice, zest, coconut aminos, almond butter, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, minced ginger, vinegar, 5 spice seasoning, pepper and dates. The dates will not be covered by the sauce but that’s okay. Just ensure to flip dates over as sauce comes to a simmer.
- Bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, until all ingredients are combined and dates are soft. Remove from heat and pour into a food processor or use immersion blender to blend dates into the sauce.
- Transfer the sauce back into the pan and add the chicken. Bring to a simmer again and stir frequently to evenly coat chicken. If you prefer a thicker sauce, at this time mix arrowroot flour with 1 tablespoon water in a small dish until dissolved and then pour into the pan. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes to thicken.
- Remove from heat and enjoy!
Optional: you can skip the breading step and just cook diced chicken and serve with the sauce, which makes the process much quicker
Keywords: Whole30 orange chicken, Paleo orange chicken
- Calories: 405
- Sugar: 9
- Fat: 21
- Carbohydrates: 20
- Protein: 35
This Whole30 Chinese Orange Chicken post may contain some links that are affiliate links, though products are ones I use personally and recommend. When you purchase anything using my links, it costs you absolutely nothing extra, but it does give wholekitchensink.com a little financial support which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you for your continued support, both with your dollars and your interest.
Reader Reviews & Comments
Jonna hatfield says
I freaking love this recipe!!! Thank you!
I’m so glad!! Thank you so, so much! <3 - B
Stacy Clinkingbeard says
This is DELISH! My 12-year-old birthday boy requested orange chicken for his dinner and with the results of his recent sensitivity test, I thought it would be a stretch. But this recipe fit the bill PERFECTLY and he is thrilled to bits with it. THANK YOU for saving the day!
Yum! This turned out really good and I’ll definitely be making it again. Some reviewers said it was too saucy, but ours was really thick. Mine had a little too much orange zest, but I also had a kid “helping” me. I’ll probably add jalapeno or something for a little kick next time. Thank you!
I’m so happy to hear this!! Thank you so much!
This recipe is 10/5 stars! The only thing I changed was blending the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring cup before heating them to cut out the step of pouring the liquid out and back into the pan. But wowowow this tastes incredible. Thank you for creating and sharing!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you so so much!
Delicious! I dont have a little zest tool so I didnt get enough zest but it was fantastic! I squeezed the juice straight from oranges and it was easy to make! Loved the sticky consistency the arrowroot gave felt very authentic.
Totally satisfied my Chinese food craving. Teenage son and husband approved too!
This was great, made it tonight with mushrooms and green beans , next time I will try the airfryer. I blended the sauce ingredients first as I didn’t feel like messing with it hot, seemed fine not sure if it would make a difference
Oh the air fryer sounds great!! Thank you so much for letting me know!
Lindsay Riefers says
I was hoping to make this next week but couldn’t find dates at the grocery store, can they be left out or is there anything I can substitute?
Hi, Lindsay! Here’s a Whole30 orange chicken recipe (that’s REALLY good, I’ve tried it!!) that doesn’t call for dates: https://iheartumami.com/paleo-orange-chicken/
I just haven’t tried it and would rather point you in the direction of a great recipe I *know* instead of just guess how this would turn out! 🙂
I made this last weekend and have been dreaming about it since! Breading and cooking the chicken was super easy, just took a little bit of time as these things do! I left out the almond butter and had to increase the orange juice, likely because the oranges I used were not the most flavorful. I like my orange chicken with a kick so I also added red pepper flakes. Yum! Thank you so much for making some of my favorite foods accessible while doing the Whole30! Every one of your recipes that I have made so far have been home runs!
Oh thank you SO much, Katelyn!! I’m so glad you love it, and I’m so grateful for your support! You’re the best!! <3 - B
This was amazing. I just started the Whole 30 a few days ago and this blew both my boyfriend and I away. He’s not even doing the program! I shouldn’t be surprised though, all your recipes are fantastic. Thank you for everything you put out there to make our lives a little easier, and a whole lot tastier!
I’m SO happy to hear this!! And you are so very welcome – thank YOU, this made my night <3 - B
This was DELICIOUS! I felt like I was cheating on my Whole30 (I’m on day 2). Added steamed broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower rice! HEAVENLY!!
I improvised on a couple of ingredients (cause I forgot to get) used powder ginger, and avocado oil for sesame oil. It was still delicious! Thank you for the inspiration on my journey!!!
Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know how you liked it and what you did, this feedback is so helpful! <3 - B
Not bad, but not even a little bit orangey. The almond butter totally overpowered the orange flavor, and I even used extra oranges & some orange zest. Any ideas?
Sorry to hear that! My guess is that maybe it depends on the brand of almond butter. The brand I use is really liquidy/thin and maybe it’s more mellow.