Take-out Inspired Baked Orange Chicken Meatballs
Make these meatballs big to serve over rice or with a side of steamed broccoli or cauliflower rice to keep your meal Whole30/Paleo, or heap alongside a skillet of fried rice for a hearty supper that even the kiddos will love. You can even make and bake them small as a savory snack or appetizer. However you serve them, these tender chicken meatballs are a healthier, fresher upgrade to classic orange chicken with all the deliciousness, and they’re gluten-free!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: November 1, 2022
Please note that some ingredient links in this post may have been removed or changed from our original recipe published to reflect new affiliate partnerships.
Baked Orange Chicken Meatballs is a Great Weeknight Go-to-Meal and a Healthier Option
Not getting “glutened” is always top of mind when eating out for me and I think for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but that’s not to say that we don’t crave the signature tastes of iconic restaurant take-out foods.
One of those foods and personal guilty pleasures from before my diagnosis was take-out orange chicken. So instead of playing Russian roulette with the “can-I-trust-it” version, it became essential for me to find a recipe with those rich flavors from the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, orange, and spices that filled my cravings. And honestly, this recipe fits those requirements perfectly.
The bonus is how easy and quick it is to make, so it scores right up at the top of weeknight go-to-meals with only a little prep work required!
Because these meatballs bake, they’re a healthier option, and it cuts down on both the calories and the mess of the favorite take-out fried version without the breading.
Getting That Signature Taste
To get the signature taste, we finish these meatballs off by tossing them in an easy-to-make sweet and tangy glaze made with orange marmalade and a few on-hand pantry staples for a super easy dish that’s delicious and quick.
The Secret Ingredient to Make the Incredible Sauce
We chose a jar of orange marmalade from one of our gluten-free affiliate partners, but any jar of prepared gluten-free orange marmalade will work.
Do You Prefer Them Zesty?
We’ve kept the sauce pretty mild for this recipe, but if you want to bump up the heat a little bit to make the orange chicken sauce spicier, I suggest adding about ½ tablespoon of Siracha mixed in during the simmering to kick it up a notch or two.
Will You Be Short on Time Later in the Week?
Make Them In Advance
This recipe works great for prepping! Make the meatballs ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also make the sauce in advance for saucing the meatballs when reheating them. And everything freezes well too!
To freeze, transfer the cooled meatballs to an airtight container, vacuum seal bags, or freezer-safe zipper-top bag. Close, seal, and remove as much air as possible. Next, freeze the sauce in a small airtight container leaving about ½-inch headspace at the top. Both will freeze beautifully for up to two months.
Just 20 minutes is all the time you’ll need to make these Orange Chicken Meatballs the star of your table, whatever route you decide to take for eating them.
To make them look fancy before serving, garnish with a sprinkle of freshly chopped scallions and sesame seeds, and enjoy!
P.S. When you give this recipe a try, let us know how you like it! Leave a comment below, share it, and rate it – it’s super helpful for other readers and us. Just click the blue-green comment bubble on the bottom left of your screen to jump to the comment area below.
For more healthy recipes that you can meal prep, check out the round-up of ideas in the Meal Prep Collection!
Baked Orange Chicken Meatballs
- SheetpPan or Mini Muffin Pan
- Small saucepan
- Cutting Board
- Utensils (Cooks Knife, Whisk, Measuring Cups & Spoons, Rubber Spatula or Large Spoon)
- 1 ½ pounds ground chicken
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 3 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced (divided)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons low sodium gluten-free soy sauce, divided
- ¾ cup Orange Marmalade
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Seasoning Blend
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons Natural Grapeseed Oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Sliced Scallions and a sprinkle of Sesame Seeds for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a sheet pan. Thoroughly combine ground chicken, milk, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons ginger, garlic, scallions, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Shape into meatballs —Bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked through to 165°F. 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, 3 teaspoons ginger,, 2 cloves garlic,, 1 scallion,, 4 tablespoons low sodium gluten-free soy sauce,
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Add Orange Marmalade, Garlic Seasoning Blend, sesame oil, Natural Grapeseed Oil, crushed red pepper flakes, remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until simmering.3/4 cup Orange Marmalade, 2 teaspoons Garlic Seasoning Blend, 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons Natural Grapeseed Oil, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 3 teaspoons ginger,
- Transfer the cooked meatballs to a bowl. Add sauce and toss gently to coat. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds if desired.Sliced Scallions and a sprinkle of Sesame Seeds for garnish
This recipe works great for prepping. Mix up and bake the meatballs ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also make the sauce in advance for saucing the meatballs when reheating them. And everything freezes well too! To freeze, transfer the cooled meatballs to an airtight container, vacuum seal bags, or freezer-safe zipper-top bag. Close, seal, and remove as much air as possible. Next, freeze the sauce in a small airtight container leaving about ½-inch headspace at the top. Both will freeze beautifully for up to two months.
(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
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