This keto orange chicken is a quick and delicious dinner that takes less than 15 minutes to make! BETTER than Panda Express, the sticky keto orange sauce takes it to another level! 5 grams net carbs per serving.
Whenever I crave Chinese takeout while on a keto diet, I have a few go to recipes on hand. I sometimes make Hunan chicken and sometimes I make Hunan beef. However, when I’m feeling nostalgic, nothing beats some keto orange chicken.
What is orange chicken?
Orange chicken is an Americanized Chinese takeout dish, with origins from Hunan province. It’s made with battered chicken covered in a sweet and sticky orange sauce. Now, traditional orange chicken isn’t keto friendly, but you can easily make some switches to make it low carb!
Why this keto orange chicken recipe will be part of your weekly dinner plan-
- Uses real orange juice. Juices, unless it’s a keto juice, is not suitable for a low carb diet. However, we use a small amount to give the sauce an authentic flavor WITHOUT affecting the overall carbs!
- Sweet, salty, savory in one. This dish is truly a flavor lovers’ dream. It hits all the senses and leaves you completely satisfied.
- Ready in 20 minutes. From prep to plate, all you need is just 20 minutes, and that includes clean up time.
- Easily adaptable. While I like to keep the overall dish keto friendly by serving it over cauliflower rice, you can serve it with some steamed rice for the authentic take out fake out experience.
What I love about this dish is just how authentic it tastes. Coming from a half Asian background, I grew up eating Orange chicken, and it’s so comforting to know that, even with some low carb tweaks, it doesn’t compromise flavor or texture.
What you’ll need for this recipe
For the chicken.
- Chicken breast– Skinless chicken breast fillets chopped into bite sized pieces.
- Eggs– Mixed with the heavy cream to create a ‘batter’ to cover the chicken in, minus the carbs!
- Heavy cream– Also known as double cream or thickened cream. When mixed with the eggs, you want the cream to be room temperature.
- Coconut flour– To create a ‘batter’ before frying the chicken.
- Salt and pepper– To taste.
- Oil– To fry everything together. Use an oil with a high smoke point, like peanut oil or vegetable oil.
For the keto orange sauce.
- Orange juice- While orange juice on its own is not keto friendly, it is suitable when used in a recipe like this one. The amount of orange juice per serving comes to just 3 grams of net carbs, so you won’t be kicked out of ketosis!
- Sugar substitute– Either a brown sugar substitute or powdered sugar substitute.
- White vinegar– Brings out the tang of the orange juice and balances out the sweet and salty flavors.
- Soy sauce– Gluten free or tamari can also be used.
- Garlic– Freshly minced garlic.
- Xanthan gum– A fantastic cornstarch substitute without the excess carbs. This thickens the sauce and helps it stick to all the chicken.
How do you make orange chicken?
Start by preparing the keto orange sauce. In small saucepan, add all the sauce ingredients, except for the xanthan gum. Bring it to a boil, before reducing the heat to low. Add in the xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to ensure there are no clumps. Let the sauce simmer until it has thickened and becomes sticky.
Next, prepare the chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream, then add the chopped chicken to it. On a large plate, add the coconut flour, salt, and pepper. Moving quickly, dip the chicken in the coconut flour mixture, ensuring all sides are coated.
Now, add oil to a large pan or skillet. Once hot, add the chicken in batches and fry for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway through. Repeat the process until all the chicken is fully cooked.
Finally, toss the chicken through the orange sauce until completely coated and serve immediately.
Tips to make the best recipe
- If you prefer a thinner sauce, omit the xanthan gum completely.
- The batter and ‘breading’ for the chicken is completely optional. If you’d like a healthier orange chicken, omit it completely.
- For a spicy kick, add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes into the sauce.
Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: Place the cooled orange chicken in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Either microwave the chicken and sauce in 30-second spurts or reheat it in a non-stick pan.
More keto chicken recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Panda Express orange chicken keto friendly?
No dish at Panda Express is keto friendly. While some of their dishes are lower in carbs than others, they contain far too much sugar, and will kick you out of ketosis.
Oranges aren’t one of the lower carb fruits, but are perfectly fine to enjoy on a keto diet. Per one large orange, there is 12 grams of carbs. While they shouldn’t be enjoyed in abundance, a small amount is fine on a daily basis.
Traditional orange chicken typically contains over 40 grams of carbs per serving. However, this keto version has just 5 grams of net carbs per serving.
How To Make Orange Chicken
For the chicken
- 1 1/2 lbs skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons oil to fry
For the keto orange sauce
- 1 cup orange juice no added sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar substitute or granulated sweetener of choice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum optional * See notes
- Start by preparing the sauce. In a small saucepan, add the orange juice, brown sugar substitute, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. Heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the xanthan gum and whisk vigorously, ensuring there are no clumps. Let everything simmer for 5-6 minutes, until thick and sticky.
- In a bowl, combine the eggs and heavy cream then add the chopped chicken. On a large plate, add the coconut flour, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined.
- Individually, dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture until fully coated.
- Add the oil to a large pan and place over medium heat. Once it reaches around 350F, add enough chicken to fill the pan without overcrowding. Fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further minute. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat the process until all the chicken has been fried.
- Once all the chicken has been cooked, toss it through the orange sauce until covered, then serve immediately.
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