This easy Keto Orange Chicken is crispy and coated in a delicious low-carb orange sauce. Serve it up with riced cauliflower for a fun take-out-inspired meal.
Crispy keto-friendly fried chicken + low-carb orange sauce = the BEST Keto Orange Chicken! This super easy recipe is based off of our Keto Sweet and Sour Chicken and let us tell you, both are divine.
Yes, there’s a bit of natural sugar in the recipe from the fresh orange juice. However, it is minimal and the macros are still less than 10g per serving, 7g net carbs to be exact. Using orange juice instead of orange extract leads to a more classic dish with less artificial type tastes.
HISTORY OF ORANGE CHICKEN
One of our goals is to not culturally appropriate food, cultures, and cuisines. It’s definitely a problem in the food blogging world and we’re definitely guilty. By no means is this Keto Orange Chicken traditionally made but it is a low-carb version based on the classic.
If you didn’t know, oranges actually originated from Asia and made their way to the US in the 1400s. The original “Orange Chicken” had no breading. The sauce was made of orange or other citrus peels like lemon then cooked with soy sauce, chilis, and garlic. It was definitely more savory than sweet. Blame American’s love of sugar and Panda Express for the sticky-sweet orange chicken we’re all used to.
HOW TO BREAD THE CHICKEN
All you need is 3 simple ingredients:
- whey protein isolate
- sea salt
That’s it, really!
To coat the chicken you’re going to dip the chicken breast or thigh pieces into the beaten egg. Next, dredge through the whey mixture, then immediately place the chicken into the hot oil.
PRO TIP: Don’t dredge all of the chicken at once. BY placing it on a plate in between frying the breading will stick to the plate.
You’ll want to place the breaded chicken directly into the oil after dredging, does that make sense? Also, be sure to not overcrowd the skillet. You’ll need to cook the chicken in batches. Otherwise, the chicken may steam more than anything else.
The oil should be about 350° F but don’t fret if you don’t have an oil thermometer. Just heat the oil over medium-high heat then reduce to medium heat while frying. The oil should shimmer before you start frying. Another useful tip is to add a pinch of the whey to the oil and if it sizzles immediately the oil should be ready.
A note on oil: We choose to use avocado or algae oil for this recipe. They are the best oils for frying due to their high smoke-point. Coconut oil will also work but we find that it leads to a greasy final dish and less crispy chicken. Don’t attempt to use olive oil as the smoke point is far too low for deep frying. You can also use schmaltz or lard.
We find that the whey protein isolate works a million times better to fry fried chicken than coconut flour or almond flour. We also like pork rinds as we use in our Keto Schnitzel recipe. However, the whey protein isolate does a good job of mimicking tempura making it perfect for any Asian-inspired recipe.
INGREDIENTS IN KETO ORANGE CHICKEN RECIPE
- boneless skinless chicken thighs – you can also use chicken breasts
- unsweetened almond milk
- large eggs
- whey protein isolate
- sea salt
- algae oil or avocado oil for frying
For the sauce:
- fresh-squeezed orange juice – about 4 fresh oranges
- orange zest
- rice vinegar
- tamari (or regular soy sauce if not gluten-free) (or coconut aminos if soy-free)
- granulated erythritol
- freshly grated ginger
- garlic cloves – never pre-minced, always fresh
- sugar-free ketchup
- crushed red pepper flakes
- xanthan gum (optional) to thicken the sauce
HERE ARE THE STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- Beat the eggs with the milk in a small bowl. In another medium bowl combine the Whey Protein Isolate and the salt.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a 10” cast-iron skillet over medium heat. The oil should be 350° F.
- Once the skillet is hot, dip the chicken pieces one by one into the egg mixture then into the Whey mixture. Immediately drop into the oil and fry 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown – fry in batches making sure to not overcrowd the skillet.
- Once the chicken is fried transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil.
HOW TO MAKE NO-SUGAR-ADDED ORANGE SAUCE
- After frying the chicken, remove all but a tablespoon of the oil from the skillet.
- Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.
- The sauce should begin to thicken. Sprinkle in optional xanthan gum and whisk continuously to thicken.
- When the sauce is thick and glossy, add the chicken pieces back to the skillet to heat through, about 2 minutes.
- Serve with cauliflower rice and sliced green onions
WHAT TO SERVE WITH KETO ORANGE CHICKEN
Obviously, cauliflower rice is a go-to but broccoli rice works well as does shirataki rice. We also love stir-frying some zero-carb noodles in a bit of oil and a splash of tamari. This quick noodle situation to serve with the crispy orange chicken is SO GOOD!
As always, you can find the full nutritional breakdown including the carb count at the bottom of the recipe card. You can find the serving size/yield at the top of the recipe card. You should always double-check your specific ingredients. Especially since different brand’s ingredients, might have different values.
LOOKING FOR OTHER KETO ASIAN INSPIRED RECIPES? CHECK THESE OUT ↓
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Fried Rice + Japanese Shrimp Sauce
- Hibachi Chicken
- Hibachi Mushrooms and Onions
- Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
- Asian Green Beans
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
- Asian BBQ Meatball Noodle Bowl
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Mongolian Beef and Broccoli
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
If you made this Keto Orange Chicken, do us a favor and rate the recipe using the stars in the recipe card. You can also leave a comment here on the post or share a snapshot to your favorite platform. Be sure to use the hashtag #castironketo so we can see and share your creations!
Keto Orange Chicken
For the fried chicken:
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts or thighs cut into 2” cubes
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ounces whey protein isolate
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups algae oil or avocado oil for frying
For the sauce:
- 8 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice about 4 oranges
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- ½ cup granulated erythritol
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar-free ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum optional to thicken the sauce, added slowly
Beat the eggs with the milk in a small bowl. In another bowl combine the Whey Protein Isolate and the salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients except for the xanthan gum. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a 10” or larger cast-iron skillet over medium heat. The oil should be 350° F.
Once the skillet is hot, dip the chicken pieces one by one into the egg mixture then into the Whey mixture. Immediately drop into the oil and fry 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown – fry in batches making sure to not overcrowd the skillet. Once the chicken is fried transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan and place back over medium heat.
Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. The sauce should begin to thicken. Sprinkle in optional xanthan gum and whisk continuously to thicken. When the sauce is thick, add the chicken pieces back to the skillet to heat through, about 2 minutes.
Serve with cauliflower rice and top with green onions.