Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe for the Slow Cooker

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So, you’re going to love this Mandarin Orange Chicken recipe for the slow cooker! It’s not easy to find healthy meals that are easy and quick to prepare. In my pre-Paleo days, quick meant pizza or take out and neither of them were particularly healthy.  But, this recipe is!

Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe for the Slow Cooker

Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe

When we first found out Sarah was gluten intolerant, we made changes to how we ate. I switched to the Paleo diet and eliminated grains and dairy (along with other things) after I started having health issues.  While these changes have certainly made us healthier, they’ve brought along some challenges in the kitchen. I lost most of my quick meal options because I couldn’t make them healthy easily.

You can toss this Mandarin orange chicken recipe in the slow cooker for busy days.  It’s quite easy to make and is a family favorite. We love Chinese take out but it can get quite expensive. And, there’s the added concern about whether or not it contains MSG. This recipe has no MSG and tastes just as good as take out.

Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe for the Slow Cooker

Is Mandarin chicken the same as orange chicken?

It depends on the recipe you’re looking for. When you make orange chicken, you will batter dip and deep fry it. I don’t do a lot of deep fried recipes. So, this Mandarin chicken recipe is a nice alternative.

What is Mandarin sauce made of?

You can make Mandarin sauce with brown sugar or honey, orange juice, and soy sauce.  You can use Mandarin orange juice or a part pineapple/part orange juice mixture.

Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe for the Slow Cooker

Do they have orange chicken in China?

Orange chicken, Mandarin chicken, and General Tsao’s chicken are all Americanized versions of the Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken. They aren’t really like traditional Chinese cooking.

How was orange chicken invented?

The best I have been able to figure out, Panda Express invented orange chicken back in 1987. Now, it’s so popular that you can find it almost everywhere.

To keep the recipe close to Paleo, serve it without rice. If you are not Paleo, and simply want the recipe to be gluten-free (or not worried about either), you can serve it over a bed of Jasmin rice. Or, you can use traditional rice if that’s what you have.

This recipe is very similar to a Mandarin chicken stir fry since it isn’t batter dipped and fried. But, it’s just as delicious. Finally, if you’re looking for fresh Mandarin orange recipes, you can always stir in a few slices of orange into the final dish before you serve it. You might want to learn how to make Mandarin orange marmalade.

If you enjoy Chinese food, try my shrimp in coconut milk sauce or why not try a Chinese New Year banquet. Or, try my Korean BBQ Stir Fry because it’s one of my favorites.

Finally, you might want to pick up chopsticks and fortune cookies to complete the experience.

So, do you need more quick suppers? Check out these. I always keep a few easy recipes on hand for busy nights. You can use the slow cooker to make almost anything. It’s one of my favorite small kitchen appliances.

Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe for the Slow Cooker

Yields 4

Serves 4 bowls

Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe for the Slow Cooker

You're going to love this easy Mandarin Orange Chicken recipe with Clementines!

10 minPrep Time

4 hrCook Time

4 hr, 10 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup mandarin orange juice (or regular orange juice)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, unseasoned
  • ¼ cup liquid aminos
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or about 2 teaspoons xantham gum


  1. 1. Coat the bottom of the slow cooker crock with olive oil. Add cubed chicken breasts.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice and all other seasonings EXCEPT the cornstarch (or xantham gum, if using). Pour over chicken and toss to coat.
  3. 3. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. 4. Remove about 2 tablespoons of the liquid and mix with cornstarch (or xantham gum, if using) to create a slurry. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency. To speed up the process, you can remove the sauce from the slow cooker, place in a medium saucepan, and simmer over medium-high heat until thickened. Then, return to coat the chicken.
  5. 5. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onion, or dried orange zest, if desired.

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  1. I've never had chicken with clementines, but I've always like the orange chicken from chinese restaurants, so I bet this would be great too!
  2. I love quick and delicious meals. Chicken and citrus is a favorite flavor combination too.
  3. This sounds delish! I love anything with chicken and mandarin oranges, but have never had them in a dish together. Great idea!
  4. Amber Edwards says
    I have never thought to cook chicken with orange flavor before. But this sounds absolutely delicious. I need to try this. 
  5. Joanna Sormunen says
    This looks like it would melt in your mouth, it's so yummylicious! I pinned it and I'm definitely trying it out as soon as I get a chance. Thank you, Ellen, for posting this!
  6. looks tasty...except the mushrooms :) not a fan of those. But, does look good!
  7. tara pittman says
    My husband uses oranges to stuff our turkey so I can see this tasting yummy.  Next time he cooks chicken I will tell him to try this.
  8. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
    This sounds divine!  I love chicken with orange - I think it's a totally under-rated combination!  I must try this.
  9. Kelsey Apley says
    I have never had mandarins with chicken, I have seen it paired a lot but been too afraid to try it, haha. I might have to venture out and give it a whirl!
  10. i LOVE orange chicken. and i have some clementines that have to be used up over the weekend. sunday dinner here we come!
  11. This is such a nice combination of flavors. Looks great!
  12. This looks tasty. I have never used clementines in a recipe but I can imagine that the medley of flavors is delicious. I am game for anything citrus added to my meat.
  13. Liz @ Lizzie Jane Baby says
    I love the mushrooms in this dish!
  14. It is hard to find quick meal options when you have to accommodate special diets. I don't have any either. I am definitely going to try this one!
  15. Brandy at MVL says
    This sounds and looks delicious. I bet my family would love to try it. Seems simple enough too.
  16. Wendy | Around My Family Table says
    My family loves Clementines- orange chicken sounds zesty and delightful!
  17. Mama to 5 BLessings says
    sounds good and the citrus sounds like a  refreshing twist!
  18. i may just make this over the weekend.  sans mushrooms, though.  think brocolli would be a good addin?
  19. Debi@TheSpringMount6Pack says
    This looks fantastic. I started to make my recipe this week, and I did make it, then I realized I forgot the baking powder and it was awful.
  20. I love chicken and oranges. This looks like an easy and delicious meal!
  21. Yum!  This would be really popular in our house!
  22. That looks so good. I love Clementines. Never thought of adding them to chicken. Thanks for the recipe.
  23. Janeane Davis says
    This recipe seems like a good one for several reasons. It is easy, fast and flexible.
  24. I LOVE orange chicken, I always go for that at Chinese restaurants. I've never tried to cook it, though. Thanks for the recipe!
  25. Nancy Lustri (StyleDecor) says
    I've never cooked chicken with mandarins before. (or an orange sauce of any kind). Wow! Looks wonderful. I'm not too familiar with Greek dishes and would probably serve it as an Asian dish over rice. Yummy! :) 
  26. Candy @ Candypolooza says
    I've never had citrus in any of my food.. I will have to give this recipe a try! Thanks Ellen! 
  27. Elizabeth Norton says
    I have never had this but maybe it would be something my boys would like to eat
  28. Amy Desrosiers says
    I am a huge fan of citrus inspired chicken. I have never cooked with leeks or intentionally eaten one before so when I make this it will be a first!  
  29. Amy @ Marvelous Mommy says
    You always have the best recipes! This looks delicious! 
  30. What a simple chicken recipe! It looks like it has a lot of flavor.
  31. katherine bartlett says
    I am addicted to clementines so I will have to try this!
  32. This looks super tasty! My kids would even eat this!
  33. Looks delish! We are literally addicted to Mandarin Oranges lately. They are like nature's candy - so sweet and delicious!
  34. Lolli @ Better in Bulk says
    This sounds so tasty and healthy, Ellen! Thanks for the recipe!
  35. Liza @ Views From the 'Ville says
    Mandarin Orange Chicken sounds yummy!  I love that it's a 15 minute or less recipe - something I can use as a go-to on those busy nights.
  36. I love a citrus with my meals. I'll have to try this since we eat a ton of chicken and no red meat. thanks for another quick and healthful recipe! 

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