This Easy Keto Low Carb Orange Chicken is the perfect meal for healthy take-out at home! This sugar-free version can be made with either juicy chicken thighs or breasts and is drizzled with a decadent sauce and tossed with sesame seeds.
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Healthy take-out at home? Yes please! No need for Panda Express or takeout when you have this recipe!
Are Oranges Keto?
Oranges have a good amount of sugar, which makes it hard to keep them keto friendly. Most orange chicken recipes are made with orange juice. So are a lot of the restaurant versions. Orange juice has more sugar than the actual fruit. An 8 oz glass of orange juice is the equivalent to about 4 oranges. Yup, lots of sugar!
The actual zest from the orange peel has a small fraction of the sugar and carbs you will find in the actual orange and in orange juice. That’s what I use in the recipe. You still get the same great flavor of using an orange.
What Type of Chicken to Use
I love to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they are loaded with so much flavor, they are also super juicy. You can also use chicken breasts or any cut of chicken you wish. It will not alter the cook time.
What Type of Sweetener to Use
To lighten up this recipe, I use granular monkfruit sweetener (to substitute white sugar). These sweeteners are natural, zero-calorie, zero-carb, and won’t spike blood sugar. I love that sweetener doesn’t have an aftertaste.
If you use something like stevia, you can follow the standard method you use for converting refined sugar to stevia. Monkfruit sweetener measures 1:1 like refined sugar.
How to Make Keto Orange Chicken
- Add chunks of chicken to a large bowl. Add a beaten egg to the bowl and stir. Add baking powder, salt, and pepper and stir. Ensure the chicken is fully coated.
- Bake or air fry.
- While the chicken cooks, add sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sweetener, soy sauce, fresh ginger, orange zest, water, and vinegar to a saucepan on medium heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly until the sweetener has melted and the zest disintegrates.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl with xanthan gum and stir. When it thickens, add the mixture to the sauce and stir continuously. It will take several minutes to thicken.
- Coat the cooked chicken in the orange sauce.
How to Thicken the Sauce
I use xanthan gum. You only need 1/4 of a teaspoon. Once you have all of your ingredients combined for the sauce, add 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl with the xanthan gum and stir. When it thickens, add the mixture to the sauce and stir continuously. It will take several minutes to thicken.
If you aren’t concerned with the carbs you can use a tablespoon of either flour or cornstarch along with 1 tablespoon of water. Combine the two in a small bowl and add it to the mixture.
How Many Carbs
The dish has 7 net carbs per serving. 4.5 net carbs in each of the servings is from the orange zest. You can reduce the carbs by using something like orange extract. I prefer to use the real thing, and have not tested it. You will have to experiment with how much is appropriate to use.
What to Pair with the Dish
- Cauliflower Rice (my favorite way): I buy the frozen cauliflower rice in stores and follow the instructions on the package.
- Roasted veggies like Air Fryer Broccoli or Air Fryer Garlic Green Beans.
- Side Salad
How Long it Will Last in the Fridge
It will last in the fridge tightly sealed for 3-4 days.
How to Reheat
The best way to reheat it is using the air fryer. I recommend 350 degrees for a few minutes until it’s warm. You can also use the microwave.
The chicken will last in the freezer for 3-4 months, tightly sealed. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
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Easy Keto Low Carb Orange Chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts Cut into 1 inch chunks.
- 1 egg Beaten
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar Unseasoned and unsweetened.
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Liquid Aminos or Coconut Aminos
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger If using ground ginger start with 1/8 teaspoon and add more/adjust to taste if necessary.
- 2-3 garlic cloves Minced
- 1/3 cup zero calorie sweetener
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest This is typically one orange, but will vary based on size. The zest should be very fine.
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum See notes for substitution.
- sesame seeds
- chopped green onions
- Add the chunks of chicken to a large bowl. Add the beaten egg to the bowl and stir. Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and stir. Ensure the chicken is fully coated.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil.
- Place the coated chicken in the air fryer.
- Air fry on 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Open the air fryer basket and flip the chicken. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the coated chicken on a sheet pan and in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. (Flip the chicken halfway through.)
- While the chicken cooks, add all of the ingredients (except for the xanthan gum) for the sauce to a saucepan or skillet on medium heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly until the sweetener has melted and the zest disintegrates.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl with the xanthan gum and stir. When it thickens, add the mixture to the sauce and stir continuously. It will take several minutes to thicken.
- Coat the cooked chicken in the orange sauce. Serve with sesame seeds if desired.
- Since orange juice isn’t used, the dish may look more brown than orange. This is fine.
- Taste the sauce repeatedly and adjust to suit your taste. The first time you make it, I recommend starting with half of the sweetener noted in the recipe. Continue to taste and adjust as needed. The same goes for the other ingredients like the ginger and soy sauce. Add more or use less in order to fit your preference.
- Double the ingredients for 4 servings. I would start with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and adjust to taste if necessary. Start with 1/3 cup of sweetener (as noted in the recipe) and adjust to taste if necessary.
- Monkfruit sweetener measures 1:1 like refined sugar. If you want to use table sugar you can use the same amount noted in the recipe.
- Another low carb substitute for xanthan gum is the Keto Wheat Flour from King Arthur Baking. Combine one tablespoon with 1 tablespoon of water and add the mix to the sauce. Stir to thicken.
- If you aren’t concerned with the carbs you can substitute xanthan gum for either flour or cornstarch along with 1 tablespoon of water. Combine the two in a small bowl and add it to the mixture.
- I recommend using a citrus zester to zest the orange. You want the zest to be super fine so that it easily disintegrates within the sauce mixture. You can also use the fine side of the cheese grater. If your zest isn’t fine enough and you run into trouble getting it to incorporate with the sauce, you may need to strain it. Ensuring it’s fine in texture prevents this.
- You can reduce the carbs by using something like orange extract. I prefer to use the real thing, and have not tested it. You will have to experiment with how much is appropriate to use.
- Macros use chicken thighs. Feel free to use a calculator of your choice and adjust as necessary.