This flavourful gluten free orange chicken may be gluten free, but you'd never know it. Great for the whole family - whether they're gluten-free or not!
Note: This recipe was first posted on my original blog, Celebration Generation, on January 29, 2013. It was transferred over to this blog - existing comments and all - on 3/4/2021. Updated on 4/25/2022.
I KNOW. I'm sorry! Sometimes, you just need it, you know? I’ve yet to come across any Chinese restaurants that make everything gluten-free, though... so we’re on our own.
One day - about a decade ago - I decided to craft a gluten-free version of.. something. What was I in the mood for, though?
Sometimes, being able to make anything gets a bit daunting - so many options.
General Tso's Chicken?
Kung Pao? Maybe some Mongolian Beef?
I wanted something a bit spicy, but wasn't quite sure which way I wanted to go.
Gluten-Free Spicy Orange Chicken
In the end, I decided to wing it and came up with a gluten-free orange chicken recipe ... and it was DAMN good.
It really hit the spot! IMHO, this gluten free orange chicken tastes just like the real thing... but my full-gluten husband even *preferred it* to actual, non-gluten-free takeout.
This Orange Chicken recipe has since gone on to be one of the most popular recipes from my “Beyond Flour” gluten-free cookbooks, and was a favorite recipe to demo at gluten-free trade shows.
I’ve also since done up a Keto Version of Orange Chicken recipe, wherein I had to get pretty weird on both the batter and sauce, to make this low carb. We serve that one over cauliflower rice, it’s awesome.
Anyway, let’s talk about what you need to know to make this gluten-free orange chicken recipe ...
Deep Frying Gluten Free Orange Chicken
For best results - most accurate to the restaurant version - you’ll want to deep fry the battered chicken. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you’ll want to use a heavy bottomed pot, ideally fairly large.
Alternately - and this would make it more of a healthy orange chicken recipe - you can use an air fryer. (More info further down in this post.)
Gluten Free Orange Chicken Ingredients
I look at the ingredients for this recipe as being 3 groups: The crispy chicken , the tangy orange sauce, and the oil for frying the chicken in.
In addition to those main ingredients, I like to have some green onions and/or sesame seeds on hand, for garnish.
Deep Fried Chicken
As with all of my recipes, I combine certain types and gluten free flours in ratios specific to each recipe - rather than use an “all purple” gluten-free flour - for the best results.
In this case, my batter is made from:
... Unlike many of my recipes, this one does NOT use any Tapioca starch or xanthan gum. That’s not an error - it really isn’t needed in this batter!
As for the chicken, I tend to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces.
That said, you can swap all or part of the chicken out for boneless skinless chicken thighs - cut up - if you prefer.
Sweet Orange Sauce
My spicy homemade orange sauce is super easy to make, but requires a few ingredients to bring the flavour to the level it does:
Oranges - you’ll use them for both fresh orange juice and orange zest.
Gluten-free soy sauce - regular soy sauce is made with wheat flour, so be sure to get a gluten free variety. You can also use coconut aminos, if you prefer.
Rice Vinegar - You can use white vinegar or apple coder vinegar if you prefer.
Corn Starch - you can use arrowroot starch / arrowroot powder if you prefer.
Freshly grated ginger
Fresh garlic cloves
Crushed red pepper flakes
Oil for Frying
If you’re deep frying this recipe - I HIGHLY recommend it - you’ll want to use one of the vegetable oils, like canola oil or sunflower oil. Peanut oil is another great option.
These are all great oils for frying - neutral flavours, high smoke point, low cost.
Olive oil is NOT appropriate for deep frying, but can be used as a spray if you’re air frying these (more on that in a bit).
Coconut oil and avocado oil also aren’t great for deep frying, but work well as sprays for use in the air fryer.
How to Make Gluten-Free Orange Chicken
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, this walk through has some additional info and tips
Start heating your oil to 375F – You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy bottomed pan.
If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy pot, filled to at least 3" deep.
I’ll usually heat the oil over medium-high heat, then turn it down to medium heat - or lower - when the oil reaches temperature.
Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of paper towel, set aside.
Orange Chicken Sauce
In a medium saucepan, whisk all sauce ingredients together until smooth. Heat over medium heat, simmer until it thickens slightly.
Remove from heat, set aside while you prepare the chicken.
In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and vegetable oil. Add water to this flour mixture, stir well to form a VERY thick batter.
Allow batter to sit for 5 minutes or so, to soften the bean flour.
Toss chicken pieces with additional garbanzo flour, then dredge in the batter.
Carefully transfer a few battered chicken pieces to the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer cooked chicken to the sheet pan you lined with paper towels.
Once all chicken is fried, toss with spicy orange sauce, serve immediately.
If you anticipate not using all the chicken you fry up, it’s best to store the extra fried/drained chicken in an airtight container in the fridge, separately from the leftover sauce.
While you can reheat the chicken in the microwave before saucing it, it’s usually best to heat it in an air fryer. No air fryer? Spread it out on a pan and bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.
What to Serve Gluten Free Orange Chicken Within
Generally speaking, we’ll serve this recipe on a bed of white rice - simple and traditional.
Other times, I’ll cook up some brown rice and use that instead - I love the flavour of it.
Want some veggies? Steam up some broccoli florets or green beans, both go really well with this recipe!
Air Fryer Orange Chicken
Air frying is the easiest way to get a good approximation of deep fried chicken, without all of the oil. It “fries” up more crisp than the baked version.
The thing is, you have to get a bit more ornate with your method, to make it work:
As you coat your chicken, arrange each piece on parchment lined baking sheets, after allowing the excess to drip off. Leave space between each piece, you don’t want them touching.
Once all of the chicken is battered and on the prepared baking sheets, freeze it. You’ll want it frozen through, so give it a few hours at least.
To cook it, preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees F.
Once heated, spray the air fryer basket with oil, and arrange frozen chicken pieces in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between each.
Air fry for about 15 minutes. About halfway through, re-spray the chicken, flip each piece, spray the new “top” side, and continue cooking.
Note: the actual air frying time will depend on your air fryer and the size of your chicken pieces.
Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
More Gluten-Free Main Dish Recipes
Looking for more delicious gluten free recipes for dinner ideas? I’ve got you covered...
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
Gluten-Free Bacon Poutine Pizza
Gluten-Free Beef Stroganoff
Gluten-Free Beet Gnocchi
Gluten-Free Chicken Mushroom Tourtiere
Gluten-Free Coconut Shrimp
Gluten-Free Cod Au Gratin
Gluten-Free Cod Cheeks & Dressing
Gluten-Free Crab Cakes
Gluten-Free Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Gluten-Free Creamy Creole Pasta
Gluten-Free Creamy Creole Soup
Gluten-Free Fish Fingers & Custard
Gluten-Free French Onion Soup Tart
Gluten-Free Fried Chicken
Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken
Gluten-Free Square Root Tart
Gluten Free Tuna Casserole
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Spicy Gluten Free Orange Chicken
- Oil for deep frying – we used vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ Cup Garbanzo / Chickpea Flour
- ¼ Cup White Rice Flour
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Oranges, Juice and Zest of
- 2 tablespoon Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves
- 1+ teaspoon Crushed Pepper Flakes
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- ½ Cup Honey
- 2 teaspoon Corn Starch
- 3 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
- ¼ Cup Garbanzo / Chickpea Flour
- Start heating your oil to 375F – you’ll want at least 2-3″ of oil in your pot or deep fryer.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk all sauce ingredients together until smooth. Heat over medium, simmer until it thickens slightly.
- Remove from heat, set aside while you prepare the chicken.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and vegetable oil. Add water, stir well to form a thick batter.Allow batter to sit for 5 minutes or so, to soften the bean flour.
- Toss chicken chunks with additional garbanzo flour, then dredge in the batter.
- Carefully transfer a few battered chicken pieces to the preheated oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer fried chicken to paper towels.
- Once all chicken is fried, toss with spicy orange sauce, serve immediately.
We’ve recently overhauled the photos on this post, here are the original photos from the earlier version of this post: