Healthy Mandarin Chicken

healthy mandarin chicken recipe-delicious

In college, Mandarin Chicken was my weakness. I loved Chinese food and ate Mandarin chicken from a local chinese restaurant many a late night of studying. Healthy… not so much…. Delicious…. absolutely.

As with practically all foods, I’ve found that healthy versions can actually taste better even without the MSG and chemical flavoring agents. Served over some cauliflower rice or fresh steamed broccoli, this Mandarin Chicken is delicious, filling and nutritious. If you like Chinese food, try this recipe!

healthy mandarin chicken recipe-delicious

2 votes


Healthy Mandarin Chicken

A delicious orange mandarin chicken that rivals the best restaurant versions.


  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breast but thighs are used in restaurant versions)
  • 1 cup of coconut oil, tallow or lard for cooking
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 organic oranges (organic is important since you'll use the zest and juice)
  • 1 organic lemon (organic important!)
  • 1/4 cup naturally fermented soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (optional but good)- You can also just add a teaspoon of garlic powder but the texture and flavor isn't quite as good.
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional, adds sweetness and thickness)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder


  1. Cut chicken thighs into bite sized pieces with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Mix the almond flour, arrowroot, salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger in a bowl. Beat the egg with water in another bowl.[ Note:You can completely skip the flour and egg steps if you don't want to bread the chicken and can just stir fry the bite-sized pieces of chicken in 2 tablespoons coconut oil until cooked.]
  2. Heat the coconut oil, tallow or lard in a large skillet. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture and shake to remove excess flour. Carefully drop the breaded chicken pieces into the hot oil, cooking about 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Do not stir or move chicken except to flip once during cooking as it can remove the breading. Carefully remove and place on a plate to cool. Repeat with all the chicken until cooked. (alternately, you can bread the chicken this way and place on a well oiled baking sheet or baking dish and bake at least 30 minutes or until cooked through in the oven).
  3. While chicken is cooking and cooling, zest the oranges and lemon into a medium sized pan. Squeeze the juice of the oranges and lemon into the pan and add the soy sauce/coconut aminos, chili garlic sauce and honey. Stir well and slowly add the tablespoon or arrowroot powder. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering over medium/low heat for 15-20 minutes or until desired thickness. Do not let boil or burn! If you want a thicker sauce, add a little more arrowroot.
  4. If you are serving with cauliflower rice (can use this one without the shrimp) or steamed broccoli, cook it while sauce is thickening. When all are done, pour the sauce over the chicken and lightly toss to incorporate.

Courses Main

Cuisine Asian

Ever made healthy versions of your favorite foods? How did they turn out?

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Reader Comments

  1. I made this the other night, it was great, but it was super sweet. What can i do to tone down the sweetness?  I did use the honey which i’m sure made it sweet, but it helped to thicken it up as well.

    • You could omit some of the orange or just use more arrowroot to thicken instead of the honey.

  2. Made this tonight. Followed recipe exactly but used my fry daddy to fry chicken. Wow, this was a knockout! Served it over spaghetti squash and a side of steamed broccoli. Plan to make this sauce in bulk and freeze it so it’s ready at a moment’s notice!

  3. Hi there, I have some Registered Dietitian colleagues thinking that the “Healthy” here in the title may be trumped by the 1 cup of saturated fat (coconut oil – about 1900 calories and 220gm fat-, tallow, or lard) that the recipe calls for. While the recipe looks DELICIOUS, what do you think could substituted here to make it healthy?  Thanks for any feedback

    • I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I’m of the mindset that saturated fats from good sources (coconut oil, grassfed meats, etc) is healthy and good and fats like Canola oil and vegetable oil should be avoided at all cost. If you consider those franken oils healthy, by all means, you could sub vegetable oil.

  4. This was amazing! I think I got too much pith in it or too much rind as I had to add more honey.

  5. Love love love this recipe. I skipped the breading and my whole family loved it. I had left over sauce so we used it as a dip for bacon wrapped shrimp the next night!! AMAZING!!!

  6. At what temperature if I want to bake them in the oven?

  7. Could I use coconut flour instead? I’m allergic to almonds. Thanks for the recipe@endlesswellness:disqus

    • Yes, but the texture will be slightly different…

      • Thanks. Yeah almond flour sounds great here! I’m bummed since my pregnancy I have developed an allergy to almonds and various other things. I always appreciate your recipes. 🙂

  8. How many does this serve?

  9. Just made this for lunch. Only had one orange in hand, so I used 5 lemons. Wow! Tart and delicious! Sautéed snow peas from the garden and tossed it together. Will make this version again!!

  10. This was amazing!!! My husband who doesn’t usually love the healthier version of popular dishes loved it!!

  11. Hi!
    Wondering how I find out the calorie content per serving, trying really hard to watch my intake on food!

  12. This is delicious!!!!!! We poured it over steamed purple kale and broccoli. Delicious. Delicious. Whole family satisfied in their fried chicken craving, but healthy. Thank you.

  13. Made this for dinner tonight. Very good but if your oranges are on the larger side be careful with how much of the zest you use. Mine were slightly larger than a baseball and it was a bit much in my opinion. I also added minced garlic instead of the chili garlic sauce since I didn’t have any.