Our homemade air fryer orange chicken will soon be one of your favorite air fryer recipes. Save money and calories on takeout and make your very own orange chicken in a savory sweet sauce. Serve over rice with green onions and toasted sesame seeds, it's a Whole Lotta Yum!
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Orange Chicken Air Fryer Recipe
One of my favorite take-out dishes is orange chicken with fried rice. Delicious and crispy chicken covered in a sweet & spicy orange sauce. When I have the chance to make a recipe I love at home that is easy, just as tasty, and without deep frying, I am excited.
I love air frying for the simple fact that you can make chicken that feels and tastes just like fried chicken while using very little oil. Homemade orange chicken lends itself to being seasoned to your liking. Add red pepper flakes for more spice, or orange zest for more tang.
Prepare some crispy egg rolls to serve alongside your orange chicken. Our sheet pan veggies and low carb fried rice with cauliflower are both great sides as well.
Why You'll Love This!
- Perfectly seasoned and coated in a sticky, tangy orange glaze.
- Bursting with bold flavors.
- It has a satisfying crunch
- Healthier version of the classic takeout dish.
🥘 Air Fryer Orange Chicken Ingredients
This combination of ingredients makes a tender and crispy chicken in a sticky orange sauce similar to the Panda Express orange chicken you love.
- Chicken: You can use chicken thighs instead of boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.
- Corn starch: You can use potato starch as well.
- Sea salt & Freshly ground black pepper: To taste
- Garlic: Use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder in place of fresh minced garlic.
- Sesame oil: This can be found in the international aisle of most local grocery stores.
- Soy sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce whenever you can, or Braggs liquid aminos.
- Orange juice: Fresh orange juice will yield the best flavor. For more orange flavor, add orange zest to the orange sauce.
- Chicken stock: Use water if you don't have access to chicken stock. A stock concentrate or bullion will work too.
- Brown sugar: Honey is a great substitute for brown sugar.
- Olive oil spray: I used olive oil cooking spray but you can use avocado oil, coconut oil spray, or your preferred vegetable oil spray.
- Sesame seeds and sliced green onions: These are optional, but a great way to take this dish to the next level.
** Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact quantities **
- Ziplock bag
An Air Fryer- We have a Cosori XL basket style air fryer, an Omni Plus oven style air fryer, and a Ninja Foodi pressure cooker air fryer combo. The Cosori was used in this recipe.
🔪 How to Cook Orange Chicken in Air Fryer
This Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe involves marinating chicken in a mixture of cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce, and then air frying them until they turn crispy and golden brown. A tangy orange sauce made with soy sauce, orange juice, chicken stock, and brown sugar is thickened with cornstarch, then tossed with the crispy chicken. The cooked chicken is served over rice and garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.
Marinate The Chicken
Add your cubed chicken pieces into a bowl and the chicken marinade ingredients, which are 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and combine.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or overnight to marinate.
Add ⅔ cup of cornstarch to a ziplock bag and add the chicken pieces to it. Close and shake the bag until all the pieces are evenly coated. Using tongs, transfer the coated chicken pieces to the air fryer basket and place them in a single layer.
Coat the chicken on all sides with olive oil cooking spray.
Air fry the chicken for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they turn crispy and golden brown, turning the chicken halfway through cooking.
Make The Orange Sauce
In a small saucepan whisk together 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, orange juice, chicken stock, and brown sugar. Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a simmer.
Combine water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to make a cornstarch slurry, add it to the orange sauce mixture and whisk it to combine. Set the sauce aside once it begins to thicken.
Transfer the crispy chicken to a medium bowl and toss them in the orange chicken sauce until each piece is evenly coated.
Serve the chicken over rice and garnish it with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Enjoy!
🥗 Dietary Substitutions
As written our air fryer orange chicken recipe is dairy free.
- Keto: Swap out cornstarch for a pork panko "breading".
- Gluten-free: A gluten-free soy sauce works.
- Whole30: Coconut aminos in place of soy sauce and tapioca or coconut flour in place of cornstarch.
💡 Recipe Tips
- Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, and cook the chicken in batches. Overcrowding will result in soggy chicken pieces.
- Marinade the chicken pieces for at least 20 minutes but for as long as overnight.
🥡 Storing and Reheating
- Storing: Leftover orange chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: If you know you might need to freeze the orange chicken, I would not mix the chicken and sauce together so you can store the chicken and sauce separately. If you need to freeze the orange chicken in the sauce, just know that you'll lose that crispy texture.
- Reheating: To reheat orange chicken in the air fryer, place the chicken in a makeshift foil pan or an air fryer safe pan and cook until heated through. Additionally, you can heat leftover chicken in the microwave.
Chicken tends to cook really fast in the air fryer. I recommend keeping a close eye on it while it cooks and checking its internal temperature close to the end of the cook. The chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overcrowding the chicken in the air fryer basket could be the reason why it didn't come out crispy. Cooking the chicken in batches will ensure that your air fryer chicken comes out crispy. You might also have to increase the temperature of the air fryer.
Adding a little cornstarch will help thicken the sauce. I would suggest starting with a teaspoon at a time.
Yes you can! Cook Trader Joe's orange chicken from frozen directly in the air fryer.
😋 More Air Fryer Recipes
If you're looking for more air fried chicken recipes, you'll love these!
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas
- Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Crispy Frozen Egg Rolls in Air Fryer
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