How To Make Paleo Sesame Orange Chicken (Grain-Free)

Sesame orange chicken is a delicious dish that is sure to please those who love classical orange chicken. However, it can be a little hard to find a version of the dish that isn’t chock-full of refined sugars and grains.

How To Make Paleo Sesame Orange Chicken (Grain-Free)

That’s where we come in! We have got the perfect sesame orange chicken recipe for you that is not only paleo-friendly but also grain free. 

Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at orange chicken, in general, to find out a little more about this popular dish. 

What Is Orange Chicken?

Orange chicken is one of those dishes that has its origins in China, but it has been somewhat taken over by the American fast-food industry, becoming synonymous with North American Chinese restaurants.

In fact, it is much more likely to be found in North America than in China! 

One of the most well-known takes on orange chicken comes from the Panda Express fast food chain, where it is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. 

What Is Sesame Orange Chicken?

As the name suggests, sesame orange chicken is an orange chicken recipe that only has a slight variation in the recipe, that being the inclusion of sesame seeds and- sometimes sesame oil. 

This addition to the recipe offers a sweet and nutty taste on top of the orange chicken flavors. 

Grain-Free, Paleo Sesame Orange Chicken Ingredients

Let’s now do a quick rundown of the ingredients that we need before we look at some of these ingredients a little more closely. 

  • Chicken Breast or Thighs
  • Arrowroot Starch
  • Garlic
  • Avocado Oil
  • Orange Zest and Juice
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Honey


When it comes to stir-fries like this recipe, cubed chicken thighs are the easiest choice. However, you can switch out the thighs for skinless chicken breasts. 

Whichever type of chicken meat you choose, all the ingredients, measurements, and techniques will remain the same. 

Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice Wine Vinegar

The acid of rice wine vinegar will add a delicious tanginess to your sesame orange chicken while also balancing the sweetness from the ingredients such as honey and coconut aminos.

 It is important to remember that with rice wine vinegar, a little can go a long way, so try not to overdo it. If you do put in too much by accident, add an extra dash of honey to regain that sweet and tangy balance. 

Orange Zest And Juice

Whilst the juice does its job, the zest of the orange is what makes the taste pop with this dish. 

You can use a regular grater to get the zest, but you can also use a vegetable peeler to create thin strips of orange peel if you would rather. 

Arrowroot Starch

This is where the grain free nature of the recipe comes from, as arrowroot starch is a natural grain free alternative to flour as well as a replacement for cornstarch that is used in various Asian inspired recipes. 

The arrowroot starch in this recipe not only makes it grain free, but it also used to drudge the chicken so that it will develop a tasty, crunchy crust. It will also thicken the sauce once the chicken is added to it. 

Be careful to get the amount of arrowroot starch that you need correct, though, as too much can lead to your sauce getting clumpy. 

Bell Peppers

These are great for flavor but also color and texture, offering a touch of sweetness and a beautiful aroma. 

If you need a substitute for bell peppers, consider anything that is low in moisture, such as celery, carrots, or bok choy.

Toasted Sesame Oil

Though packing a great sesame taste, this oil can overpower your dish if you add too much. Overcooking it can also lead to the flavor becoming muted, so it can be a tricky ingredient to get right. 

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds add a nice bit of crunch whilst emphasizing that sesame flavor, making for a perfect way to finish off the dish. 

Grain-Free Paleo Sesame Orange Chicken Recipe

Let’s now get into the recipe so that you can try and make this dish for yourself at home. 

  • Step One: Begin by preheating a quarter of a cup of avocado oil in either a non-stick skillet or a cast iron pan (see also “How To Render Lard In A Cast Iron Skillet“). Preheat the oil on medium heat and do so until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Step Two: Season the chicken on both sides lightly with your salt, then add it to a bowl alongside the arrowroot starch and toss the bowl until the chicken is completely coated. 
  • Step Three: Shake off any excess starch, and do so by working in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. 
  • Step Four: Begin adding the chicken to the hot avocado oil and fry them until they turn golden brown, which should take around three minutes. Flip the chicken to brown the other side once the first side is done. When both sides are nice and brown, transfer it to a plate and sit it aside whilst you fry the other chicken pieces. 
  • Step Five: Grab yourself a separate pan, put heat it on medium-high heat and add avocado oil to it. Heat it well until it simmers. 
  • Step Six: Toss in your peppers or chosen veggies with the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook it. Make sure to stir as you do until the onions become slightly translucent. 
  • Step Seven: Add in your orange juice and zest with your rice wine vinegar, coconut aminos, and honey. Cook these, too whilst stirring occasionally to ensure that the liquid reduces.
  • Step Eight: Once the liquid has reduced in volume by about half, toss in the black pepper, sesame oil, and the cooked chicken, then toss everything together until well coated. 
  • Step Nine: Put everything on a serving platter, sprinkle on your sesame seeds, and voilà! Your sesame orange chicken is ready to eat!

Final Thoughts

So there you have a paleo-friendly, grain-free sesame orange chicken dish that is sure to tantalize your taste buds! 

Not only is this is a friendly dish for those with certain dietary restrictions, it is also a delicious one that the whole family can enjoy.

Lindsey Morgan
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