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Close up view of healthy orange chicken meatballs with rice

Orange Chicken Meatballs (Paleo-Friendly, Gluten-Free)

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4.3 from 3 reviews

  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: About 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Healthy Orange Chicken Meatballs – These yummy gluten-free chicken meatballs are smothered in our sweet and tangy orange stir-fry sauce to make a delicious dinner! (Paleo-Friendly)



For The Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken (93-96% fat preferred)
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Spray oil or 1 Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil, for cooking

For The Orange Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup orange juice (best quality)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (can sub cider vinegar if needed, though rice vinegar will give you the best flavor)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot + 1 Tbsp. water 

OPTIONAL GARNISH: minced cilantro, sesame seeds, or orange zest. 



  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cornstarch, tamari, garlic, ginger, and salt. Stir with a fork or your hands until everything is well combined. 
  2. Use a scoop or tablespoon to make 1″ meatballs. Then, you can bake, air-fry, or cook them on the stovetop using the directions below.


  1. In a medium bowl, combine orange juice, rice vinegar, syrup, tamari, garlic, and ginger.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water, to make a slurry (this mixture will thicken the sauce and prevent the cornstarch from forming clumps)
  3. Add the cornstarch slurry to the bowl with the sauce ingredients and whisk to combine well.
  4. Pour sauce mixture into a pan on the stovetop (I prefer using a skillet, since the sauce will come to a simmer more quickly). Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off the heat and add your cooked meatballs. Garnish with minced cilantro, sesame seeds, or orange zest, if desired. 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and mist or brush with a little oil.
  2. Add meatballs to baking sheet and mist with more oil.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees 8-10 minutes, or until meatballs are fully cooked through (165 degrees F. in the center)
  4. If desired, you can bake at 400 for 8 minutes, then broil for the last 1-2 minutes for a more golden top exterior.


  1. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Lightly mist the base of the cooking drawer with oil.
  2. Add meatballs, working in batches, if needed, so the meatballs aren’t touching. Mist the tops of the meatballs with oil.
  3. Air fry at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the meatballs are completely cooked through (165 degrees F.)
  4. Repeat process if needed with remaining meatballs and add to the thickened sauce.


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add meatballs, working in batches if necessary so the meatballs aren’t crowded. Cook 4-5 minutes per side or until the centers are fully cooked through (165 degrees F in the center).
  3. If your meatballs are browning too quickly, feel free to shake the pan or stir more often, if desired.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American