Sweet and just a bit spicy, this healthier Instant Pot Orange Chicken is an absolute joy to eat. Serve it over rice to soak up the sauce and top it with a glorious Mango Black Bean Salsa. This is the kind of dinner you start looking forward to at breakfast!
This sweet Instant Pot Orange Chicken gave me a run for my money. I can't even recall how many times I tested it, tweaked it, fed it to the cat, gave up on it, then came running back begging for forgiveness only to mess it up all over again.
Reminds me of a roller coaster college relationship I had . . . minus the cat part, unless you're thinking hypothetically.
It basically all came down to this: I wanted a knock out chicken that would perfectly compliment this heartthrob Mango Black Bean Salsa.
Yes, I could have just advised eating it with an entire bag of chips, but it deserved so much MORE!
I'm happy to report that attempt 86 (slight exaggeration) was the winner and got a 5 out of 5 stars from my kids, husband, sister, and mom. That NEVER happens, well outside of the dessert recipe section anyways.
This dish is truly special, I could talk about it's unfolding all day.
This recipe has 3 key elements that all come together to make it magnificent:
Naturally Sweet Chicken
- I wanted a sweet and spicy chicken minus all the sugar, but that's hard to find. I happened upon a bottle of this Kumquat Marmalade, checked the label, and sure enough, no added sweetener! Kumquats aren't bitter like lemons, limes, and oranges, so the sweet flavor can shine through all on its own.
Mango Black Bean Salsa
- I carried a bit of that orange flavor into the salsa by adding a splash of both orange and lime juice. I used a batch of my homemade Instant Pot Black Beans, combined it with sweet mangos, corn, jalapenos, and chopped tomatoes, and oh. my. goodness. You are just gonna die!
Instant Pot Rice – Pot in Pot Method
- To make this a magical one pot dinner, I used the good ol' pot in pot method of cooking rice in a pan above the chicken. This is such a great trick, especially if you only own one pressure cooker. More details on this in the recipe.
This combination is perfection!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS ORANGE CHICKEN AND RICE
- One pot wonder. Cook the chicken and rice while you make the salsa, efficiency at it's finest
- Fresh, bright, wholesome food that makes healthy eating an absolute joy
- Every bite is unique! It's like opening a birthday present every 30 seconds!
HOW TO MAKE ONE POT ORANGE CHICKEN
- Cut chicken into thirds (I'll explain why in a sec)
- Put chicken and sauce ingredients into the pot. Top chicken with marmalade
- Top chicken with a trivet and pot of rice and water; cook
- Fluff the rice
- Set chicken aside and thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry
- Shred or chunk chicken and stir it back into the sauce
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST MANGO BLACK BEAN SALSA
- Add all the ingredients into a bowl
- Toss together, taste and season with more salt or lime juice if needed
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST HEALTHY ORANGE CHICKEN AND RICE
- Cut the chicken into thirds. I've been doing this a lot lately and so far, I have not had a single dry, chewy piece of chicken using this method. From my experience, large, thick chicken breasts just do not cook well in a pressure cooker.
- As much as I am team brown rice, the cook time for it is much too long for this pot in pot method. I typically make it in a second pressure cooker while I prep the chicken.
- To keep this sweetener free, use St. Dalfour Kumquat Marmalade. I bought this 6 pack. It's amazing on toast and with yogurt as well. Regular orange marmalade will work, but it does contain quite a bit of added sugar to counter the bitterness of regular oranges.
- Don't stir the marmalade into the sauce before it's cooked. It's sweet and sticky and increases the chance of getting the dreaded BURN message.
- Also, use lite coconut milk. Regular is thicker and also increases the chance of the BURN warning.
- The salsa can be made a few days in advance, the colors get a little muddled but the flavor gets even better. I tend to make it about an hour before dinner so it looks pretty, then happily eat it with tortilla chips over the next few days, muddled colors and all.
MEAL PREP OPTION
I absolutely love these Microwavable Glass Containers and they are perfect for this dish. Divide the rice, chicken, and salsa into individual compartments, then store them for up to 5 days in the fridge for easy meals all week.
I truly wish I could sit at your table when you take your first bite of this meal! That sounds totally creepy, but you'll 100% understand after you make it. I live for unique, flavorful, party in your mouth recipes like this and would absolutely love to hear back from you in the comments after you make it for your loved ones.
TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT HEALTHY ORANGE CHICKEN
Instant Pot Healthy Orange Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa
Sweet and Spicy Citrus Instant Pot Chicken served over rice and topped with an incredible Mango Black Bean Salsa
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Asian
For the Chicken
- 2 – 3 chicken breasts, each cut horizontally into thirds
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1–3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (1 for mild, 3 for SPICY!)
- ½ cup lite coconut milk
- 10 ounce jar of kumquat marmalade (about ¾ cup), can substitute with orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
For the Rice
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Pinch of salt
Mango Black Bean Salsa – can be made a day or two ahead
- 2 large mangos, chopped
- 1 cup rinsed and drained black beans
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup corn (canned, fresh, or frozen)
- ¼ cup minced green onions
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and minced (leave seeds in for a spicier salsa)
- Juice of 1 lime
- Juice of 1 orange
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, ginger, chili garlic sauce, and coconut milk into the pressure cooker pot, whisk to combine.
- Add chicken to the pot.
- Scoop marmalade on top of the chicken – see note for why I don’t stir it in.
- Place trivet over the chicken and place a metal pan on top (like a cake pan or a leak proof springform pan).
- To the cake pan add rice, chicken broth, and salt.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- Fluff rice and set aside.
- Place chicken on a plate and shred into large chunks.
- Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water.
- Press saute to bring orange sauce to a light simmer, then whisk in cornstarch slurry until it thickens, about 1 minute.
- Return chicken to the sauce and stir to coat.
- To serve: Scoop rice onto a plate and top with chicken and sauce. Finish with a large scoop of Mango Black Bean Salsa.
- Optional serving suggestion: serve orange chicken with salsa in lettuce wraps for a lighter meal or fancy appetizer
- To give the chicken an extra boost of flavor, marinate it overnight in the sauce ingredients (minus the marmalade)
- Use LITE coconut milk, regular may be too thick to come to pressure
- I use St. Dalfour Kumquat Marmalade for natural, no sugar added sweetness (I ordered it on Amazon). Orange marmalade can be substituted
- Don’t stir in the marmalade, scooping it on top of the chicken keeps it off the bottom surface of the pot so it doesn’t burn
- Rice can be omitted from the recipe or cooked in another pressure cooker. The cook time is too short for brown rice
- If time is short, you can release the pressure after a 10 minute natural release, but I find that the chicken is more tender and the rice more soft with a full natural release
- Salsa tastes best on the second day, but the colors aren’t as vibrant
Keywords: Sweet and Spicy chicken, healthy orange chicken, one pot meal
this recipe looks amazing. Thank you for putting in all the work in time to create it. I do have a couple of questions, because I am not at all a fan of the taste of coconut. Does the coconut milk bring a decidedly coconut flavor to the dish? And if so, is there some other substitute I can try? Or is the coconut milk important to the chemistry of the dish in some way?
Nikki, I can honestly say the coconut flavor does not come through for me with all the other stronger ingredients. It just gives a luscious, creaminess to the sauce. I’m sure you could just use extra orange juice or water if you like though! Let me know if you try it.
When I first read this recipe I thought “wait, is she mixing Asian and Mexican flavors in one bowl? Should I try this fusion of flavors?” Well, I finally made the recipe and think it’s really good. The black bean salsa balances the orange chicken perfectly. Thank you for another delicious recipe!
Candice, haha, I know, I know, I went through the inner battle when I made them, but it tasted so good, I just went with it 🙂
Marci, I just made this and it was AMAZING!! It’s the first time I made two different items in the same pot. Everything was superb! I only had frozen mangos on hand, but it all was absolutely delicious. Thank you for all the tips of the trade (got the 6 pack of marmalade on Amazon), and for all the hard work that goes into perfecting these recipes for us. You’re a top chef in my book!
Lisa, I’m so glad you liked this one! I thought it would take me forever to get through that 6 pack, but I use it up so fast. That marmalade is incredible! Your compliment made me tear up, I’m sending you a big hug as we speak, thank you a million times 🙂
Really excited to try this, and so grateful for the time and energy you spent honing it so we don’t have to! One question though–what is chili garlic sauce? Do you mean like sriracha? Is there a particular brand you are referring to? I’m in canada so maybe this is a ubiquitous condiment that I’m just not familiar with. Thanks!!
Erin, I think it’s a fairly common ingredient around here in the Asian aisle of any grocery store, so check there for sure. Here is a link to show you exactly what I’m talking about though. https://www.thekitchn.com/good-product-chili-garlic-sauc-112133
You will love this meal, it’s so so good!