This orange chicken on the griddle is just like your favorite takeout orange chicken, but without the thick fried coating. If you’re looking for a fantastic Asian chicken recipe to make on the Blackstone griddle or other flat top grill, try this easy orange chicken recipe!
Orange chicken is a family favorite in our house, and the classic sweet and savory Chinese dish is one of the few things that our kids will eat from our local takeout restaurant. So when I was brainstorming some griddle recipes to make with chicken thighs recently, I decided to try my hand at griddle orange chicken.
With the combination of citrus flavors from orange juice and my favorite orange marmalade, and the savory addition of soy sauce and garlic, this fantastic griddle chicken dinner is, dare I say, better than the fried and overly sticky chicken that you get from Chinese restaurants.
And my kids LOVED it, so that’s a huge bonus! I’m normally the short order cook of the family, preparing two or three different meals to accommodate the tastebuds of our daughters, so it was nice to make a griddle dinner that the whole family enjoyed!
If you’re looking for new Blackstone recipes to try at home, then read on for how to make orange chicken on the griddle!
Why You’ll Love this Griddle Orange Chicken Recipe:
- Easy to prepare. The homemade orange chicken sauce is super easy to make, and the chicken cooks up easily on the griddle.
- No frying involved. This griddle chicken recipe is a healthier take on the classic Chinese orange chicken, because the chicken is not deep fried. You still get all of the flavor of your favorite Asian takeout, without the added calories.
- Perfectly balanced flavors. This griddle orange chicken recipe is sweet, but not too sweet, with delicate orange flavors that don’t overpower the dish.
What is Orange Chicken?
Orange chicken is a sweet and savory dish featuring crispy chicken tossed in a delightful tangy sauce, typically encompassed of orange juice, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Traditionally, the chicken is deep-fried before being coated in sauce. However, our recipe offers a healthier and easier twist by using the Blackstone griddle and adding an array of optional veggies for added crunch and flavor.
Ingredients for Orange Chicken
Here’s what you need to make our fantastic orange chicken on the griddle:
For the Chicken:
This orange chicken griddle recipe calls for ingredients commonly found in most Asian recipes, so if you often make Blackstone lo mein or griddle beef and broccoli, then you probably have most of these items on hand:
- boneless skinless chicken thighs – Chicken thighs are a good choice because they are less likely to overcook than breasts, and their high fat content enables them to withstand high heat and still remain juicy. Of course, you can substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts if you wish.
- orange juice – We chose to use a small bottle of regular orange juice, since the recipe only calls for one cup of juice. You can substitute no pulp or Vitamin C added varieties if you wish, but I would caution against juices with artificial sweeteners, since they may not react well with the high heat of griddle cooking.
- orange marmalade – This store-bought orange marmalade is always in our fridge, because it is incredibly versatile and the perfect addition to marinades and dressings. We especially love it mixed with a few other ingredients as a topping for baked salmon.
- soy sauce
- ginger – The squeeze bottle of ginger, made by Spice World and found in the produce section of the grocery store, is incredibly convenient and perfect for a variety of Asian recipes. Much easier than peeling, chopping, and grating fresh ginger.
- garlic – We chose to use fresh chopped garlic, but you can substitute jarred minced garlic to save some prep time.
- granulated white sugar
- rice vinegar
- red pepper flakes – We added about 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes to our orange chicken sauce, but my wife (who isn’t a fan of spicy foods) commented that we could have added more. You can also substitute some siracha if you don’t have red pepper flakes on hand.
- salt, pepper, and avocado oil – These were used to season the chicken before adding it to the griddle. The avocado oil helps to create a nice crust on the chicken, which allows the orange sauce to adhere to the meat. Avocado oil is also my preferred cooking oil for griddle cooking and seasoning, because of its high smoke point.
Bell peppers and onions are not typically included in Orange Chicken that you get from Chinese takeout restaurants, but we decided to add the veggies for some extra color and texture. Not to mention, adding the peppers and onions is a great way to feed more people on a budget, since the vegetables are less expensive than the chicken.
You could also add broccoli or fresh sugar snap peas to your griddle orange chicken to stretch the recipe.
And I highly suggest serving your Blackstone orange chicken on top of white rice, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option. The excess sauce will seep down onto the rice, and it’s delicious!
After making about a hundred batches of rice (literally, we tested a variety of cooking methods and rice varieties for the best griddle fried rice), I discovered that the combination of butter and fresh minced garlic is a must! For the white rice side dish for our orange chicken, we just added these ingredients to a rice cooker and let the handy kitchen appliance do the work for us:
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 3 cloves fresh minced garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- pinch of salt and pepper
How to Make Orange Chicken on the Blackstone Griddle
Prepping the Ingredients for the Griddle
As with most griddle recipes, this orange chicken cooks up fairly quickly, so it’s helpful to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking the chicken.
To start, prep your vegetables by cutting the bell peppers and onion into bite-sized pieces. Keep the vegetable pieces uniform in size so they cook evenly on the griddle. You can also slice some oranges as shown in the photo below to sauté on the griddle with the vegetables. The combination of the sauce and the citrus fruit slices adds a yummy surprise to the finished orange chicken.
I also sliced a few green onions to use as garnish for my griddle dinner.
*While the addition of bell peppers and onions is not traditional, I really enjoyed the texture and flavor of the added veggies in this dish. And since the “healthy stuff” was coated in the orange sauce, it was a great way to sneak some extra vegetables into my kids’ diets!
Once the vegetables are done, prep the chicken by cutting it into bite-sized pieces. If you’re using boneless skinless chicken thighs like I did, then you may want to remove any excess fat from the chicken as well.
For the chicken thighs, I found it easiest to cut the thighs into 3 longer, equally-sized “strips”, and then cut each strip into 2-3 chunks, depending on the size of your thighs.
When all of the chicken is cut, add it to a large bowl and coat with a few tablespoons of avocado oil or your favorite cooking oil. Season with salt and pepper, and your chicken is ready for the griddle.
You’ll notice that for this recipe, I didn’t oil the flat top grill surface like I normally would for other griddle recipes. By adding just 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the chicken instead, you’re less likely to over-oil the dish.
Making the Orange Chicken Sauce
When I have made other Asian chicken recipes in the past, like this Japanese steakhouse-style hibachi chicken, I have added the sauce ingredients directly to the griddle top to cook and reduce with the chicken. However, since this orange chicken sauce has a higher sugar content, I wanted to be sure that the granulated sugar had a chance to fully dissolve in the sauce.
For that reason, I recommend adding a small sauce pan to the griddle top, and making the sauce for the griddle orange chicken separately like this:
Remember, you’re not looking to reduce the sauce at this point. You just want to make sure that all of the ingredients are incorporated nicely. This also helps to “open up” the garlic and red pepper flakes to become more fragrant and flavorful.
Just stir all of the sauce ingredients together, and heat over low to medium heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. This can be done while you are prepping your other ingredients, or even while the chicken is cooking on the griddle, to save time. When the sauce is done, you can set it to the side until it’s time to add it to the griddle.
Cooking the Chicken on the Blackstone
If you’ve watched any of our griddle cooking YouTube videos, then you know that I preach the idea of “landing zones” when cooking most proteins. This recipe feeds a hungry family, so it includes a lot of cut chicken. You want to add each piece to the griddle separately in its own “landing zone”, and then let the chicken cook untouched on the first side to create a nice crust before flipping or sautéing it.
Your griddle should look something like this:
If you were to just add all of the chicken in one pile to cook, then you would get more of a steamed effect and the chicken would be less likely to develop a crust. The crust is what helps the orange sauce to adhere to the chicken, and it also slightly mimics the crispy fried coating of traditional orange chicken.
After about 5-7 minutes of cook time, you should have a nice golden brown crust. Flip the chicken to the second side and continue to cook.
*The cook time of your chicken will vary depending on the griddle that you are using and the surface temperature. Different griddles have different recovery times after adding cold food to the surface, and different griddle brands have different temperatures when set to low, medium, or high.
After flipping the chicken to the second side, it should look something like this:
Continue to allow the chicken to cook on the griddle until it reaches about 150-160 degrees F. Then, it’s time to add the sauce. The chicken will continue to cook as the sauce reduces, creating a beautifully rich and delicious orange chicken.
Adding the Sauce to Make Griddle Orange Chicken
When the chicken is almost done cooking, or roughly 150 degrees F, pile it together and slowly pour about half of the sauce on top. The sauce will immediately start to bubble and reduce when it comes in contact with the hot surface.
Stir briefly, and continue to add the rest of the sauce.
*CHEF’S TIP – Be sure to add the sauce slowly, so that it doesn’t run directly into the grease trap. It also helps to know the natural “flow” of liquid ingredients on your griddle surface, like scrambled eggs and sauces. For instance, if you know that your griddle top is not level and that liquids run towards the back right corner of your flat top, then you’ll want to pour the sauce in the front left corner of the griddle surface.
When you’re counting on your griddle to reduce a sauce like this, it’s also helpful to understand zone cooking and cooking on a flat top grill. When you add a large volume of ingredients to your griddle (like a sauce), it’s going to zap the heat from the cooking surface. That’s why you don’t want to dump it all on at once.
Also, as you move the chicken and the sauce to a “fresh” area on the griddle top, you’ll notice that the sauce starts bubbling more rapidly and reducing more quickly. That’s because that area on the griddle is hotter because it did not previously have any food on it.
You can use that to your advantage… that’s part of zone cooking.
If you want your sauce to reduce more quickly, or if you want a thicker sauce, then move the orange chicken to the hotter area on your griddle. If you want more control over the cooking speed, use the lower temperature zones. *I demonstrate this process in my video for this griddle orange chicken recipe.
While your chicken is cooking, you can add the cut veggies and orange slices to a separate area on the griddle.
I didn’t want to add the vegetables to the griddle too early in the cook, because I wanted my vegetables to have more of a tender crisp texture.
Once the vegetables have reached your desired doneness and the chicken is cooked to the proper internal temperature, mix the vegetables and orange chicken together on the griddle and sauté for a few more minutes, or until the sauce is reduced to your liking and all of the vegetables are nicely coated.
Sprinkle on some sliced green onion for garnish, and your griddle orange chicken is done! Serve the orange chicken on top of white rice, cauliflower rice, stir fry vegetables, or noodles for a delicious and filling dinner.
I don’t know about you, but this easy griddle chicken looks WAY better than the dish that we get at our local Chinese restaurant:
And there you have it – orange chicken done griddle style. We added some vegetables, we added some color, we added some pop, and it came out absolutely fantastic!
The chicken is orangey, but not too orangey. Sweet, but not too sweet. Spicy, but not too spicy. Everything you want in a Chinese-style takeout chicken!
Want more Asian-style griddle recipes? Check out these posts for some more of our favorite Blackstone recipes:
- Bourbon Chicken on the Griddle – Easy Blackstone Chicken Recipe
- Hibachi Chicken on the Griddle (Easy Blackstone Hibachi Recipe)
- Pepper Steak with Rice – Easy Blackstone Griddle Recipe
- The Best Blackstone Fried Rice (Easy Griddle Recipe)
Orange Chicken on the Griddle
- 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 large bell pepper cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ small onion cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ medium orange thinly sliced and seeds removed
- salt and pepper
For the Orange Chicken Sauce:
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade *Like Smucker's orange marmalade
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger *I prefer the squeezable bottle of ginger from Spice World
- 2 garlic cloves diced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- cooked white rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles for serving
- sliced green onions for garnish
- Trim excess fat from boneless skinless chicken thighs. Cut thighs into bite-sized chunks. In a large bowl, add the cut chicken thighs, 1-2 tablespoons avocado oil (or your favorite cooking oil), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Heat griddle to about 375-400 degrees F.
- In a small sauce pan on the griddle top, add all of the orange chicken sauce ingredients. Stir to combine, and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Cook the chicken on the griddle. Place the chicken pieces on the heated griddle surface and allow to cook on the first side untouched for about 5-7 minutes, or until a nice golden brown crust develops. Then flip to the second side and continue to cook.
- When chicken reaches about 150-160 degrees F internal temp, move the chicken together on the griddle and slowly pour about half of the orange sauce on top. Stir briefly and add the remaining sauce.
- Allow the sauce to reduce and thicken to your liking, stirring the chicken occasionally. *If needed, you can move the chicken to a hotter zone on your griddle so that it reduces more quickly. Or adjust your griddle burners down or off if your sauce is boiling too much and your griddle is too hot. Remember, the sauce will thicken as it cools also.
- While the sauce is reducing, add the cut bell peppers, onion, and orange slices to a clear area on the griddle. Saute until tender crisp, or done to your liking. Then, add the vegetables and oranges to the chicken and sauce.
- Continue to cook the orange chicken on the griddle, stirring occassionally, until the chicken thighs are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Then remove the orange chicken from the griddle and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve orange chicken on top of white rice, cauliflower rice, stir fry vegetables, or noodles. Enjoy!
- For a spicier orange chicken, add more red pepper flakes to the sauce. Or serve your orange chicken with siracha.