Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

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Bite-sized pieces of chicken are drenched in a sweet and savory orange sauce and cooked to tender perfection in the crockpot to make this delicious Slow Cooker Orange Chicken recipe. Skip the delivery fees by making your favorite takeout dish at home!

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken over fried rice on a white plate.

In a hurry? For a takeout-inspired dish you can whip up quickly instead of using a slow cooker, try this irresistible Honey Sesame Chicken or Sweet and Spicy Chicken. Or look for the stove top instructions for this crockpot orange chicken recipe further down in the post.

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Are you craving that sweet, tangy, oh-so-satisfying orange chicken from your favorite takeout spot, but don’t feel like leaving your cozy house? Say hello to your new go-to meal! This copycat takeout orange chicken recipe is an easy slow cooker meal that the entire family will love. A great recipe for busy weeknights when you’re shuffling the kids to all their activities.

Orange chicken in the slow cooker garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Why is it a go-to for our family? We’re talking tender, juicy chicken pieces that are smothered in a delicious, sticky orange glaze, offering that perfect balance between sweet and tangy. It’s restaurant-style orange chicken that could give even Panda Express or your favorite Chinese restaurant a run for their money.

Taking a few extra minutes to bread and brown the chicken is what takes this delicious orange chicken recipe from good to great, giving it the same taste and texture you’d expect from takeout.


This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredients in bowls on countertop: boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed, orange marmalade, rice vinegar, minced garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, vegetable oil, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, sesame seeds, and fresh scallions.

This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts — Chicken breasts cook up super tender in the slow cooker, making them the perfect meat for this dish. Or you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you have them. Whether using breasts or thighs, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces before beginning.
  • Cornstarch — to coat the chicken pieces before browning them. It helps give the chicken a nice, light crust and helps thicken the sauce later on when slow cooking.
  • Vegetable Oil — Any vegetable oil, such as olive oil, is fine. You’ll use it to brown the chicken before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • Orange Marmalade — This gives the dish its signature sweet, citrusy taste and makes a glossy glaze that coats the chicken beautifully.
  • Soy Sauce — Soy sauce provides umami flavor, which is savory and salty, to balance out the sweet marmalade. Use the low sodium variety so that the salt doesn’t overpower the dish.
  • Rice Vinegar — The vinegar helps brighten up the sauce and adds a bit of a tangy kick to contrast the sweetness. Rice vinegar is sometimes called rice wine vinegar so either one will work for this recipe.
  • Sesame Oil — A little bit of sesame oil goes a long way. It adds a delicious, nutty undertone to the dish.
  • Ground Ginger — Ginger is a warm spice that pairs beautifully with the orange flavor.
  • Garlic — Use freshly minced garlic cloves for the best flavor. In a pinch, you can substitute 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove the recipe calls.
  • Red Pepper Flakes — It adds a nice, subtle kick without being too spicy. You can always add more spice if you’d like!
  • Sesame Seeds — These add a bit of crunchy texture and a nice, toasty flavor. Plus, they make a perfect garnish!
  • Scallions — They add a fresh, oniony touch and a pop of color. Scallions (or green onions) are the perfect finishing touch to make your dish look like it came out of a restaurant kitchen.

How to Make Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below. 

Four image collage of steps to making orange chicken in the crockpot. 1: toss chicken pieces in cornstarch. 2: brown chicken and place in slow cooker. 3: Whisk sauce ingredients together in bowl. 4: Add sauce to slow cooker and toss to coat.

This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below. 

  1. Toss the chicken. Add chicken pieces and corn starch to a shallow bowl. Toss until all the pieces are coated. You can also use a plastic bag to shake up the chicken and cornstarch, if you prefer.
  2. Brown the chicken. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the coated chicken pieces in the skillet and let them brown a bit. Remember, we’re not fully cooking the chicken just yet — we just want a nice color on it. Add the browned chicken to the slow cooker.
  3. Make the sauce. In a mixing bowl, combine the sauce ingredients: sweet orange marmalade, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Coat chicken with sauce. Pour the orange sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker. Give it a gentle stir to make sure all the pieces are coated.
  5. Cook it low and slow. Pop the lid on the crockpot and cook the chicken on the LOW setting for about 3 hours, or until chicken is cooked through. Stir halfway through cooking.
  6. Garnish and serve. After the chicken is done, spoon the sticky sauce over the chicken, and sprinkle some fresh scallions and extra sesame seeds on top.
Wooden spoon stirring orange chicken in crock pot.

Do I have to brown the chicken first?

You might be wondering why the recipe calls for browning the chicken before adding it to the slow cooker.

While not 100% necessary, I highly recommend taking the few extra minutes to brown your chicken. Searing the chicken helps to lock in the juices and gives the chicken a delicious, slightly crispy exterior. It also adds depth of flavor to the overall dish.

Serving Suggestions

Serve over a bed of fluffy, steamed white rice, brown rice, or fried rice. Or serve over a sizzling platter of vegetable stir-fry instead.

For those of you who love noodles, pile it high on a nest of Chinese noodles or ramen for a tasty twist.

If you’re keeping an eye on the carbs, you can’t go wrong with a side of broccoli, steamed veggies, or a bed of cauliflower rice. Next time I might try serving the chicken in lettuce wraps.

Crock pot orange chicken served over bed of vegetable fried rice.

Storage and Freezing

Refrigerator: Store leftover orange chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezer: For longer storage, store leftover chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Tips for the Best Orange Chicken

  • All slow cookers cook differently. Check halfway through to make sure your crockpot isn’t running too hot and burning the sauce.
  • Because crockpot temperatures vary, it’s a good idea to keep meat thermometer on hand when using your slow cooker. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F, according to the USDA.
  • Be careful not to overcook the chicken in the slow cooker. Overcooked chicken can become tough and dry; that’s why it’s important to check on the chicken during the cook time.
Bite-size pieces of take-out style orange chicken.

Additions and Variations

Spice it up. Add more red pepper flakes or a splash of Sriracha to the sauce to kick up the heat more. Just remember, it’s easier to add heat than it is to take it away, so start small and add more to taste.

Add veggies. Red bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, or snow peas would all be delicious with orange chicken. Add the veggies about 30-60 minutes before the dish is finished cooking in the crockpot.

Try a different sweetener. Instead of the orange marmalade, try apricot or peach preserves for a slightly different, yet still sweet, dish.

Add barbecue sauce. For a barbecue take on this dish, use half BBQ sauce and half orange marmalade. Fusion recipes are fun to try!

How to Make Orange Chicken on the Stovetop

Brown the chicken, then remove it from the pan and set aside. Add your sauce to the pan, and let it simmer until it begins to thicken. Return the chicken to the pan, stirring to coat all the pieces in the sauce. Cover the pan and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (reaches an internal temperature of 165°F). Remember to stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan and burning.

More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

If you love chicken but are getting bored with your regular dishes, try these easy chicken crockpot recipes.

Slow Cooker orange chicken in bowl of a crockpot topped with sesame seeds and scallions.
5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
Craving your favorite takeout but don’t want to leave home or blow your food budget? You’re going to love this easy Slow Cooker Orange Chicken. The chicken is super tender and coated in a sweet and tangy orange glaze. Serve it over a heaping pile of fried rice for a dish that’s restaurant-worthy. It’s a total crowd-pleaser—the whole family’s gonna love it!


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups orange marmalade
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds more for garnish
  • fresh scallions thinly sliced, for garnish


  • Place the cornstarch and chicken pieces in a shallow bowl and toss to coat.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coated chicken and lightly brown; do not cook through. You may need to work in batches.
  • Place the browned chicken in the slow cooker.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk to combine the marmalade, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir gently to coat.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 2 ½ – 3 hours, stirring halfway through.
  • Garnish with scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds before serving, if desired.


  • All slow cookers cook differently. Checking and stirring halfway through the cook time helps make sure your slow cooker isn’t running too hot and burning the sauce.
  • Be sure to fully cook the chicken. It should reach an internal temperature of 165.
  • Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet or the microwave.
  • For more heat add extra red pepper flakes.
  • You can add veggies to this while cooking if you like. Chopped red bell pepper, onions, or mushrooms would be great additions.


Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Slow Cooker orange chicken in bowl of a crockpot topped with sesame seeds and scallions.

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