This healthy crispy orange chicken can be made a variety of different ways, all just as delicious! All varieties are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free & paleo! I have an egg-free version as well.
Make meal prep fun again
I don’t know about you guys, but if I don’t mix up my meals from week to week, I get super bored. Although I can’t see myself getting tired of this recipe anytime soon. But if you want a healthy recipe to add to your meal prep line up… this is the one.
I love making a big batch of a couple recipes or ingredients on the weekend to have to the busy week ahead. Being in school & then working on my blog on the side leaves me little free time to just hang out. Having delicious, yet healthy meals helps me stay fuelled through my busy weeks & takes a lot of stress out of figuring out what I am going to eat each day. Not to mention, cooking from home can save a lot of money.
I store my meal prepped meals in glass containers. You can purchase some from Amazon here.
Paleo + Gluten, grain & dairy-free
We are using wholesome gluten, dairy & grain-free ingredients to not only make a healthier “fried” chicken but also a delicious & flavourful orange chicken sauce. You will never be able to tell this orange chicken is actually made with better-for-you ingredients.
These can easily be made egg-free by simply subbing out the egg & coating the chicken, evenly, in a bit of avocado oil & then continuing the process (dip the chicken into the flour mixture & cook). I did find the egg-free version slightly less crispy than the egg version but they still had a good crisp & were so delicious!
Fried or baked?
I tested the chicken two different ways. I will say the fried version was definitely my favourite but that’s not to say the baked version wasn’t a close second. Both were full of flavour, rich & crispy on the outside. If you aren’t into frying, have no fear that this recipe will still be incredible.
I did use avocado oil for the fried version as it is my go to cooking oil for high heat (as well as butter or ghee). I do not use refined vegetable oils (i.e. canola oil) in my cooking. You can see why I am not a fan of a canola oil on this post.
What you will need
Crispy paleo chicken
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- Tapioca flour (or arrowroot powder should work as well)
- Cassava flour
- Eggs (unless you’re making the egg-free version)
- Avocado oil (Costco has the best price for this but you can also grab some here)
- Avocado oil spray
Orange Chicken Sauce
- Gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
- Fresh garlic
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh orange juice
- Ground ginger
- Sesame oil
- Fresh pepper
- Tapioca flour
- White vinegar
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This healthy & delicious crispy orange chicken will not disappoint! It is paleo, gluten, grain, & dairy-free!
- 1 large package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (~ 1kg)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (plus 2–4 tbsp more if needed)
- 1/2 cup cassava flour (plus 1/4–1/2 cup more if needed)
- 2 eggs (omit for egg-free version)
- 1/4–1/2 cup avocado oil (for fried version only)
- Avocado oil spray
Orange Chicken Sauce
- 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2–1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/3 cup + 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 4 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- Fresh pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- Sesame seeds
- Green onions
- Orange rind
Crispy Chicken (2 ways)
Fried version (egg-free option):
- If using the eggs, gently beat in a small bowl. Omit this step for the egg-free version.
- Add the tapioca & cassava flour in a separate medium sized bowl. Start with 1/4 cup tapioca flour & 1/2 cup cassava flour & then you can add 2 tbsp of tapioca flour + 1/4 cup cassava flour as needed to finish coating all of your chicken.*
- Coat the chicken pieces in the egg (if using) OR evenly cover them in a bit of avocado oil for the egg-free version.
- Then dip the chicken in the flour mixture to evenly cover each piece. Dust off the excess & place them on a baking tray to get ready to fry.
- In a medium or large saucepan, add 1/4-1/2 cup avocado oil so that there is about 1/4 inch of oil covering the bottom of the pan. Note that the smaller the pan, the less oil you will need to cover the bottom, however, the more batches you will need to do to cook all the chicken.**
- Heat the oil over low-medium heat. Test that it is ready by sprinkling with a little water. When the oil is ready for frying the water will sizzle.
- Place each piece of prepared chicken into the pan. I used a pair of tongs for this & an oven mitt to prevent any burns from the splattering oil.
- Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. You might need to do a couple extra minutes on each side again as you want them to be thoroughly cooked & there should be not pink in the middle when you cut into them. You can also test them using a meat thermometer as well. I cut open a few pieces when they were golden brown after cooking 5 minutes on each side & then about 3-4 more minutes on each side again.
- Remove the chicken using your tongs & place them on some paper towel to cool off.
- Continue with the rest of the chicken pieces, until all the chicken is fully cooked throughout.
- You can top them with a bit of pink salt & enjoy like this or set aside while you prep the sauce.
Baked Version (egg-free option)
- Follow all of the steps above from 1-4.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking tray with a wire rack & spray with avocado oil.
- Place the prepared chicken onto the wire rack on the baking tray & coat with a little avocado oil spray.
- Bake for 15 minutes & then flip, baking for another 15 minutes until crispy & golden brown.***
Orange Chicken Sauce
- In a medium bowl add the gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos), garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger, fresh orange juice, honey, sesame oil, & pepper. Mix well.
- Add this mixture to a medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- In the same bowl add the water & tapioca flour, mixing well.
- Add this into the saucepan, stirring to allow it to thicken.
- Add the vinegar.
- Mix in the prepared chicken.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer until everything is warm & evenly coated.
- Top with sliced green onions, sesame seeds & fresh grated orange rind, if desired. Serve with cauliflower rice, zoodles, rice or base of choice & enjoy!
*I used a total of 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp tapioca flour, and 3/4 cup cassava flour for mine.
**You can save oil by using a smaller saucepan, but you will need to do a few more batches to cook all the chicken.
***I like to flip them with tongs but you can also use a fork, careful not to burn yourself as the chicken will be very hot.
Keywords: meal prep, dinner, orange chicken, chicken dinner, healthy dinner, healthy recipe, paleo, gluten free, dairy free