Make your favorite chicken and rice dinner at home in the crockpot! This delicious Crockpot Orange Chicken and Rice recipe is served as a stir-fry with zucchini and peppers.
Is orange chicken Chinese food?
Many Chinese restaurants in North America serve a dish they call, “Orange Chicken.” While this dish has become very popular in the western world, it’s not common to eat orange chicken in China. The Americanized orange chicken is battered and breaded bite-sized chicken, with a sweet caramelized orange flavored sauce.
My kids love the orange chicken they’ve tried at various Chinese restaurants, so we attempted to make our own at home! As long as we had the breaded chicken and orange sauce, we could get creative from there for the perfect veggies to add to it.
How to make orange chicken in the crockpot
The tricky part about doing orange chicken in the slow cooker is getting that crispy texture. So instead, we lightly cooked the chicken first, to get the outside of the chicken crispy. We did this by tossing the chicken with a bit of corn starch. Then, we pan fried the chicken in a little oil to lock in the moisture. Finally, we finished the cooking process in the slow cooker. This allows the sauce to develop and thicken, and still gives the chicken flavor from the orange sauce.
What’s in the sauce for Orange Chicken?
Most people don’t know what’s in the traditional orange sauce you get when you purchase orange chicken from a restaurant. But many copycat recipes have a lot of things in common. Generally, they include:
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- an orange flavor (orange juice, marmalade, or oranges)
- a variety of spices
To sweeten our chicken, we decided to go with orange marmalade. We love how thick it is, making it easy to get a nice thick sauce. We also used chicken thighs because they stay moist and work well in a crockpot, without getting over-cooked.
The best stir-fry vegetables
Common stir-fry vegetables include:
- green onions
We chose zucchini and peppers for this stir-fry because they are in season right now, and they add a nice fresh taste.
You can also include rice or noodles with your stir-fry, and we’ve tried both!
So, there it is! Our favorite crockpot orange chicken and rice. It’s such a great healthy dinner that we know your family will love.
For more of our popular stir-fry or Asian dinners, check out these!
Crockpot Orange Chicken & Rice
- 1 teaspoon vinegar, rice
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/8 cup soy sauce, low sodium
- 3/4 cup Marmalade, orange
- 3 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1 pound chicken thigh, boneless, skinless
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup brown rice, raw
- 1 medium bell pepper, red
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 4 medium orange
- Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, marmalade, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cut chicken into small pieces, and toss into a large zip-lock bag along with the corn starch; shake to coat.
- Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once hot (oil will shimmer) add chicken. Brown on all sides and then toss into slow cooker. Pour the vinegar mixture over the chicken; stir, cover, and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
- Cook rice as directed on package. Cover and set aside.
- Dice pepper and zucchini and sauté in a large skillet over medium-low heat until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve chicken over rice, with veggies and orange wedges on the side.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie