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Tips for Making the Perfect Orange Chicken in Your Slow Cooker

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Orange chicken is a dish that's sure to please even the pickiest eaters. It's filling, packed with protein and has a great citrus flavor that's perfect for the warm weather. One of the only downsides to this crowd favorite is that it's usually packed with sodium and processed ingredients when you order it from a Chinese food restaurant, and it can be challenging to cook yourself when your strapped for time.

Fortunately, there are many ways to tweak some of the ingredients for more balanced meal and prepare it in record time. All you need to do is make a trip to the grocery store and get out your Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker with iStir™ Stirring System.

Pan Sear Chicken Beforehand
There are many great slow cooker orange chicken recipes that don't call for this step, but pan searing the meat for a few minutes beforehand can make a major difference in the end result. The chicken will come out crispier and it will require less time to cook in the long run. Consider cutting the meat into bite sized pieces, then covering them with cornstarch rather than flour. This will leave a lighter shell around the chicken that helps you avoid the heaping amounts of batter that can end up covering your meat when you use flour. Just frying chicken in a pan for 2-3 minutes on each side before placing in your slow cooker should be enough to give it a crispy texture.

Homemade marmalade makes all the difference.Homemade marmalade makes all the difference.

Make Your own Marmalade
It wouldn't truly be orange chicken without a thick, zesty orange marmalade. With the time your slow cooker saves you waiting by the stove, you can quickly make your own marmalade with this quick recipe. Simply cut up one full orange and, with skin intact, place pieces in a food processor. Pulse until all of the peel is chopped up into fine pieces. Combine the processed orange, 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over high heat and boil for 15 minutes, continuously stirring. Allow it to cool before placing in a glass jar, closing the lid and storing in the fridge. Once it's cold, it's ready to be included in your orange chicken recipe. 

"Let your slow cooker do all the work for you."

Use a Digital Slow Cooker
Once you have all of your ingredients together, you'll want to make sure you have your slow cooker. With the right tools, you can actually have your slow cooker do all the work for you. With a digital device, like the Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker with iStir™ Stirring System, you can place all of the ingredients in the stoneware, set it and forget it. While you're off running errands or cleaning the house, the slow cooker will stir all of its contents, ensuring that your dish is evenly cooked and perfectly done. 

The slow cooker also switches to a warming mode once the set cooking time is up. You won't have to worry about coming home to an undercooked or cold meal. You can cross off the other items on your to-do list, or simply sit back and relax while your dish is prepared.



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