Air Fryer Orange Chicken

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Delicious easy orange chicken that tastes just like takeout – but lighter and healthier from the air fryer, so it isn’t deep fried!

An Air Fryer plate with Orange Chicken and oranges on it.
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A bowl of orange chicken from the air fryer, with a fork.

Healthier Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer

Air fryer orange chicken is a delicious and healthier alternative to the classic deep-fried takeout dish.

Tender pieces of chicken are coated in a sweet and tangy orange sauce, then air-fried to crispy perfection. The air fryer gives the chicken a delightful crunch without the need for deep frying, making it a guilt-free and flavorful meal.

This dish is a perfect balance of savory and citrusy flavors, making it a crowd-pleaser for both kids and adults.

Enjoy it as a tasty weeknight dinner or as a party appetizer served with steamed rice or noodles!

An appetizing plate of orange chicken with rice, prepared using an air fryer.

How to Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken

To make this recipe, we need the following ingredients:

Chicken Breasts (1 1/2 pounds, cut into bite-sized pieces): The main protein source of the dish, chicken breasts provide a tender and juicy base for the orange sauce.

Orange Juice (1/2 cup): Orange juice is the star ingredient for the sauce, lending a sweet and tangy citrus flavor that characterizes orange chicken.

Soy Sauce (2 tablespoons): Soy sauce adds a savory and salty component to the sauce, balancing the sweetness of the orange juice.

Honey (2 tablespoons): Honey contributes sweetness to the sauce, harmonizing with the orange juice and creating a well-rounded flavor profile.

Orange Zest (2 tablespoons): Orange zest enhances the citrusy aroma and flavor of the dish, providing a bright and refreshing note.

Rice Vinegar (1 tablespoon): Rice vinegar adds acidity to the sauce, balancing the sweetness and giving it depth of flavor.

Cornstarch (1 tablespoon): Cornstarch is used as a thickening agent for the sauce, helping it achieve the desired consistency and cling to the chicken.

Minced Garlic (1 teaspoon): Garlic infuses the sauce with a mild, aromatic pungency that complements the other flavors.

Grated Ginger (1/2 teaspoon): Ginger adds a subtle warmth and spiciness to the sauce, enhancing its complexity.

Red Pepper Flakes (1/4 teaspoon): Red pepper flakes provide a hint of heat, giving the dish a gentle kick. Adjust the amount to your preferred spice level.

Salt and Pepper: These seasonings are used to enhance the overall taste and ensure the dish is well-balanced.

All-Purpose Flour (1/2 cup): Flour is used to coat the chicken pieces before air frying, creating a crispy and golden exterior.

Cooking Spray: Cooking spray is applied to the chicken before air frying to ensure it becomes crispy and doesn’t stick to the air fryer basket.

Sliced Green Onions (for garnish): Green onions add a fresh and slightly sharp flavor while providing a vibrant garnish.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method:

  • Place the flour in a separate bowl. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for 5 minutes.
  • Lightly coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the coated chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they don’t overlap. You may need to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Spray the top of the chicken pieces with cooking spray to help them crisp up. Cook the chicken in the air fryer for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  • While the chicken is cooking, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, honey, orange zest, rice vinegar, cornstarch, minced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and set aside.
  • Pour the orange sauce mixture into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the cooked chicken to the saucepan and toss until the chicken is well coated with the orange sauce.
  • Transfer the coated chicken back to the air fryer basket and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the sauce to further caramelize.
  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer and garnish with sliced green onions.
  • Serve the Air Fryer Orange Chicken over steamed rice and enjoy!
A plate of Orange Chicken with rice.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Cut Chicken Uniformly: When cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces, try to make them as uniform in size as possible. This ensures even cooking and consistent texture.

Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before adding the chicken. This helps create a crispy exterior.

Use Cooking Spray: Lightly coat the chicken pieces with cooking spray before placing them in the air fryer basket. This helps achieve that golden and crispy texture.

Shake the Basket: During cooking, shake the air fryer basket every few minutes to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.

Don’t Overcrowd: Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. Cook the chicken in batches if needed to ensure proper airflow and even cooking.

Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Make Extra Sauce: If you enjoy extra sauce with your orange chicken, consider doubling the sauce recipe. You can use it for drizzling over the chicken and serving with rice or noodles.

Adjust Spice Level: If you prefer a spicier dish, increase the amount of red pepper flakes. Conversely, reduce it for a milder flavor.

Serve with Garnishes: Garnish the finished dish with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, or additional orange zest for added freshness and visual appeal.

Serve Immediately: Air-fried foods are at their best when served immediately. The longer they sit, the more they lose their crispiness.

Pair with Sides: Serve your Air Fryer Orange Chicken with steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles for a complete meal. Consider adding stir-fried vegetables as a side dish for extra nutrition and flavor.

Store Leftovers Properly: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes to restore the crispiness.

FAQs

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs if you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly as chicken thighs may require a few extra minutes in the air fryer.

How can I make the orange sauce thicker?

To thicken the orange sauce, you can increase the amount of cornstarch used in the recipe. Mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water to create a slurry, then whisk it into the sauce until it thickens to your desired consistency.

Can I use store-bought orange sauce or marinade instead of making my own?

Yes, you can use store-bought orange sauce or marinade if you’re looking for a quicker option. Simply coat the chicken pieces with the sauce and proceed with air frying.

Can I make this dish gluten-free?

Yes, you can make a gluten-free version by using gluten-free flour for coating the chicken and ensuring that the soy sauce you use is gluten-free. Also, check the labels of other condiments and sauces for gluten content.

How do I prevent the chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket?

Lightly coat the chicken pieces with cooking spray before placing them in the air fryer basket. This helps prevent sticking and promotes even crisping.

Can I use an air fryer oven for this recipe?

Yes, you can use an air fryer oven with similar settings and cooking times as a traditional air fryer. Just ensure that the chicken is arranged in a single layer for even cooking.

Can I double the recipe for a larger batch?

Yes, you can double the recipe as long as your air fryer has enough space to accommodate the additional chicken pieces without overcrowding. You may need to cook the chicken in batches for the best results.

How can I make this dish spicier?

If you prefer spicier orange chicken, increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a dash of hot sauce to the sauce mixture.

Can I make the orange sauce ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the orange sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it before coating the air-fried chicken for serving.

A white plate with orange chicken and rice on it.

What to Serve With Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Steamed Jasmine Rice: Fluffy white rice is a classic choice that soaks up the delicious orange sauce. You can also use brown rice or fried rice for added texture and flavor.

Noodles: Serve your orange chicken with cooked chow mein, lo mein, or egg noodles for a hearty and filling meal.

Stir-Fried Vegetables: A side of stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and snap peas adds color, freshness, and a crunchy texture to balance the dish.

Fried Rice: Prepare a batch of homemade fried rice with vegetables and scrambled eggs for a savory and satisfying side dish.

Steamed Vegetables: Lightly steamed vegetables like bok choy, asparagus, or baby corn offer a healthy and vibrant contrast to the orange chicken.

Cucumber Salad: A refreshing cucumber salad with sesame dressing or a simple vinaigrette provides a cooling contrast to the flavors of the chicken.

Asian Slaw: Coleslaw with an Asian-inspired dressing, featuring ingredients like sesame oil and rice vinegar, pairs well with the dish.

Spring Rolls: Serve crispy spring rolls or egg rolls as an appetizer or side dish for a delightful Asian-inspired meal.

Sliced Oranges: Fresh orange slices can be served as a refreshing palate cleanser and a nod to the citrusy flavors of the dish.

Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the chicken and rice for added texture and nutty flavor.

Chopsticks and Soy Sauce: Provide chopsticks and a small dish of soy sauce for a complete Asian dining experience.

Green Onions and Cilantro: Garnish the orange chicken with chopped green onions and fresh cilantro for a burst of color and herbal notes.

Try these other Asian recipes:

A white plate with Orange Chicken and oranges on it.

Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe

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Air Fryer Orange Chicken is a delicious dish that combines the convenience of using an Air Fryer and the tangy flavor of orange chicken.

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An orange chicken dish served on a white plate.

Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Delicious, easy orange chicken that tastes like takeout but healthier than deep-fried!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the flour in a separate bowl. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  2. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for 5 minutes.
  3. Lightly coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the coated chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they don't overlap. You may need to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  4. Spray the top of the chicken pieces with cooking spray to help them crisp up. Cook the chicken in the air fryer for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, honey, orange zest, rice vinegar, cornstarch, minced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and set aside.
  7. Pour the orange sauce mixture into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Add the cooked chicken to the saucepan and toss until the chicken is well coated with the orange sauce.
  9. Transfer the coated chicken back to the air fryer basket and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the sauce to further caramelize.
  10. Remove the chicken from the air fryer and garnish with sliced green onions.
  11. Serve the Air Fryer Orange Chicken over steamed rice and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 403Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 145mgSodium 640mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 1gSugar 11gProtein 55g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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