This baked gluten free orange chicken tastes just like your favorite Chinese takeout while also being better for you! Chicken is coated in a mixture of arrowroot and rice flour then baked to crispy perfection and tossed in a perfectly sweet and tangy orange sauce.

baked gluten free orange chicken

This recipe is…

I have been bursting to share this recipe with y’all! In fact, I think this baked gluten free orange chicken may be one of my favorite recipes we’ve EVER created – and after nearly 8 years that’s saying something! In my pre-gluten free days, I had a real love for Panda Express orange chicken and chow mein, and while we nailed a spaghetti squash chow mein a few years ago, it had been years since I’d gotten to eat anything close to that crispy orange chicken.

Even though we’ve successfully converted many takeout favorites before, like Mongolian Beef and Kung Pao Chicken, this baked gluten free orange chicken was a tall order. We knew we wanted a classic crispy orange chicken, but we wanted to avoid deep-frying it if we could so we could avoid the mess and oil waste. I’m happy to say that we nailed it!

For more Asian-inspired recipes, check out our honey sesame chicken, oven baked General Tso’s chicken, Instant Pot bourbon chicken, and our sheet pan sweet and sour chicken recipes!

glass bowl filled with sticky orange chicken sauce on a marble surface

Because it’s made up of fresh orange juice, coconut sugar, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes, the orange chicken sauce is equal parts tangy, sweet, and salty, with just a hint of (optional) spice. 

THIGHS! Always thighs. When it comes to Asian-Inspired dishes, we say that chicken thighs (vs. breasts) are best. Because they have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, they have the magical ability to get nice and crispy on the outside while still staying juicy and delicious on the inside!

Orange Chicken Marinade Ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll start by marinating your chicken, so let’s talk marinade ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need to get this recipe going:

  • Egg White – to start, you’ll need 1 egg white.
  • Arrowroot Starch – to help the chicken to really crisp, you’ll need 3 tablespoons of arrowroot starch.
  • Coconut Aminos – 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos adds a bit of really delicious flavor here.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar brightens everything up!
  • Sea Salt – to season, you’ll need a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.

Once you’ve marinated your chicken, you’ll create a flour coating on the outside of your chicken, and then bake it! While it’s baking, you’ll make the delicious orange chicken sauce!

crispy coated chicken pieces on parchment paper

How to Make Baked Orange Chicken

It’s easier than you think! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Prep – preheat the oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then lightly spray (or brush) it with avocado oil.
  2. Whisk the Marinade Together – in a large bowl, whisk together the egg white, arrowroot starch, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat.
  3. Combine the Flour Coating Ingredients – in a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot starch, white rice flour, and sea salt.
  4. Dredge the Chicken in the Flour Mixture – remove the chicken from the marinade, then dredge in the flour mixture, shake off the excess flour, and lay the chicken on the baking sheet. Lightly spray or brush the chicken with avocado oil. 
  5. Bake – bake the chicken for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the chicken, then bake for an additional 15 minutes, until browned and crisp.
  6. Make the Sauce – while the chicken is baking, whisk together the water, orange juice, coconut sugar, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then whisk together 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch with 2 tablespoons water. Pour the arrowroot mixture into the sauce, then bring to a boil. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
  7. Coat the Chicken, Garnish, and Enjoy – toss the chicken with the orange sauce, then garnish with white sesame seeds. Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice and enjoy!

Typically, the only way to get really crispy orange chicken is to fry it, BUT, after some trial and error, we were able to get BAKED gluten free orange chicken that was crisp on the outside and still tender inside. Because we cracked the code, we say that baked orange chicken is best! Here’s what makes this recipe work:

  • A coating of half arrowroot starch and half rice flour: we found that regular gluten free flour was too dense to produce a crispy texture, but the combination of arrowroot and rice flour created a light and crispy coating.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: since the chicken needs to bake at a high temperature for a fairly long amount of time to get the coating crisp, we recommend using chicken thighs to avoid drying out the chicken.
  • Avocado oil spray: While you can brush the chicken with avocado oil if you’re in a pinch, avocado oil spray is really key in this recipe for making sure that the chicken is evenly coated.
Baked Gluten Free Crispy Orange Chicken on parchment paper with a bowl of sauce beside it in a glass bowl

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Use half rice flour + half arrowroot starch – this is the key to crispy chicken, y’all! Don’t go all arrowroot OR all rice flour. Use half and half!

Use chicken thighs – while the chicken breast has its place, this recipe is all about chicken thighs! Trust us on this one.

Flip the chicken halfway through – you’ll bake the chicken for 15 minutes, then flip it, and bake it for another 15 minutes. This is key in helping the chicken to get nice and crispy on all sides!

Don’t overlap the chicken – when laying the chicken on the sheet pan to bake, be sure that none of the pieces are overlapping. In fact, if you need to use more than one sheet pan in order to not overlap, do that!

How to Serve

We love this gluten free orange chicken alongside white or brown rice (or cauliflower rice for low carb) and a green veggie like broccoli or green beans. If you’d like a veggie, some simple steamed broccoli or snow peas work great here!

Make-Ahead and Storage

While this recipe really is best right out of the oven, it’ll store just fine too! We recommend storing the chicken separate from the sauce, though, to keep it from getting soggy in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to enjoy, either microwave the chicken, or lay it back out on a sheet pan to crisp up in a 350°F oven until warmed through, toss it with the orange sauce, and then enjoy!

Baked Gluten Free Orange Chicken

4.77 — Votes 17 votes
By Cassy Joy Garcia
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
This gluten free crispy orange chicken is everything you’ve ever been looking for in healthier Chinese food!

Ingredients  

For the marinade:

For the flour coating:

For the sauce:

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then lightly spray it with the avocado oil spray, or brush it with half of the avocado oil.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white, arrowroot starch, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot starch, white rice flour, and sea salt.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade then dredge in the flour mixture, then shake off the excess flour and lay the chicken on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the chicken with avocado oil, or brush it with the remaining oil, then bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the chicken then bake for an additional 15 minutes, until browned and crisp.
  • While the chicken is baking, whisk together the water, orange juice, coconut sugar, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then whisk together 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch with 2 tablespoons water. Pour the arrowroot mixture into the sauce, then bring to a boil. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
  • Toss the chicken with the orange sauce then garnish with white sesame seeds. Serve over white rice or cauliflower rice and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1014mg | Potassium: 581mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 320
Keyword: baked orange chicken, gluten free orange chicken, orange chicken

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About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.


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52 Comments

  1. This was phenomenal and so easy. I didn’t have the rice flour or arrow root starch, so I subbed paleo flour and it worked out perfectly! And subbed agave syrup instead of coconut sugar. Delicious!

    1. We are so glad to hear you loved this recipe, Laura! Thank you for sharing your thoughtful subs with us. We really appreciate you! -Team FF

  2. my first time making this. It was yummy. Kept my thigh cutlets while to save on time. But still baked in the oven. Also made fried rice for the side. It was a hit!!!

    1. We are so glad you enjoyed, Lori! What a great idea to keep your chicken thighs whole. -Team F&F

  3. The sauce was underwhelming. At minimum use all OJ instead of water, maybe even cook some down or use concentrate and up the aminos a bit.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us, Shauna! We will take those notes into consideration when reviewing the recipe. -Team F&F

    2. I enjoyed the sauce on the lighter side, but was worried at first. I get it, if you’re expecting it to be like orange chicken from take out…you would want a stronger sauce.

  4. Could the arrowroot and rice flour be subbed with regular all purpose for non-GF? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda! You can certainly use regular, AP flour in this recipe, but we found that it is a bit more dense than the arrowroot and rice flour, so doesn’t get quite as crispy. Enjoy! -Team F&F

  5. 5 stars
    This chicken is amazing. My fiancé says it’s the best chicken he can remember having! Thank you for another fabulous recipe!

    1. Oh, I forgot to mention that we cooked it in the air fryer! 400 degrees for 12 mins, flipped halfway through!

    2. Amazing! That’s so great, Rachel. Thank you for letting us know!

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!! Great recipe. Even my non gluten free family members love this recipe. 🙂

    1. Wahoo! So glad to hear that, Annette. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  7. 5 stars
    The chicken reminds me of chicken nuggets from when I was a kid – in the best way. Amazing fish!

  8. 4 stars
    This is very good! Even my husband liked it who doesn’t love anything gluten free. Do you have the nutritional info on it?

  9. 5 stars
    Made with Natalies Orange Mango juice… OMG. So good. Family favorite. Typically I avoid these dishes at restaurants because they tend to leave chunks of fat on their chicken thighs, which totally grosses me out. With this, I get to trim the thighs to my liking and it is SO MUCH BETTER!