By popular demand, super easy Chinese-style gluten free orange chicken! If you’ve ever wished that Panda Express would make their orange chicken gluten free, this is the recipe for you.
To make Chinese-style chicken recipes, you’ve got two choices for preparing the chicken itself: bake it, or fry it. Sometimes I fry it (gluten free lemon chicken I’m looking at you), but more often I bake it.
Not only is baking the chicken neater (I love easy clean-up) and healthier (shallow frying, unlike deep frying, always means that the food will absorb a fair amount of the frying oil), but I can even prep the chicken the night before I intend to bake it.
In this recipe for gluten free orange chicken, instead of just baking the chicken and then flavoring it with sauce afterward, the sauce is made first. Just dip the chicken pieces in the cooled sauce, and then in the bread crumbs.
When you use Panko-style gluten free bread crumbs, the chicken is still super crispy. And dipping the chicken in the sauce before baking makes for the juiciest little bites of chicken you’ve ever had—without an ounce of fat added!
Ingredients and substitutions
Egg-free/Dairy-free: This recipe is already egg-free and dairy-free, naturally! Love when that happens.
Soy-free: In place of tamari or gluten free soy sauce, try coconut aminos. It isn’t quite as salty, but it has that nice rich, deep umami flavor that we get from soy sauce and tamari.
Oven-free: Make the sauce as indicated, and then make these Air Fryer chicken nuggets in place of the chicken in this recipe. Voila!
Chinese-Style Gluten Free Orange Chicken
For the sauce
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed orange juice, strained of pulp (from about 4 medium oranges)
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) chicken stock
2 tablespoons (18 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (or try an equal amount sweet white rice flour)
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) tamari or gluten free soy sauce
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) unseasoned rice vinegar (or white balsamic or white wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons (63 g) honey
For the chicken
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups gluten free Panko-style bread crumbs (or gluten free corn flakes coarsely ground in a blender or food processor)
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving
Chopped scallions, for serving
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the orange juice, chicken stock and flour, and whisk vigorously to combine, making sure the flour doesn’t clump at all. Add the tamari, rice vinegar, garlic powder, chili powder, ground ginger and honey, whisking to combine after each addition. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to simmer. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is reduced by about 1/4 and has begun to thicken (about 6 minutes). Remove the sauce from the heat and transfer it to a large heat-safe bowl. Allow the sauce to cool, whisking occasionally, until no longer hot to the touch. The sauce can also be made, cooled, sealed tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days before proceeding with the recipe.
Place about 1/2 of the cooled sauce in a separate, medium-size bowl. Place the raw, cubed chicken next to it, and a bowl with the bread crumbs next to that. Dip the chicken pieces, one at a time, in the sauce on all sides, then in the bread crumbs on all sides, and place about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown all over and opaque throughout.
Remove from the oven and toss the cooked chicken pieces in the remaining sauce. Serve over rice, garnished with scallions.