Air Fryer Orange Chicken

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This recipe for Air Fryer Orange Chicken is an easy way to satisfy your Chinese food craving. The easy homemade sauce is sweet and savory, while the chicken stays nice and crisp from the air fryer. It’s so delicious and every better than take-out!

Orange chicken garnished with green onions on top of white rice.

Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe

Ordering takeout can get expensive, especially when you have a family. Having the option to make your favorites at home can make life much easier – and cheaper! I love this recipe because it utilizes the air fryer perfectly. It’s there to save time and effort, and that is exactly what it does in this case. The result is perfectly cooked chicken that is juicy on the inside and crunchy on the outside – just like Panda Express. Orange chicken in the air fryer still captures the sweet, savory, and sticky sauce you know and love!

I love the flavors of orange chicken. The fresh squeezed orange juice lends a bright and fresh flavor while the brown sugar sweetens it up, and the soy sauce adds the salt it needs. This sauce is wonderfully balanced. In just over a half hour, you will have dinner prepared with minimal effort. This gives me time to hang out with my kiddos while the air fryer does all the work.

For other Orange Chicken recipes and cooking methods, try our: 4-ingredient Orange Chicken and Instant Pot Orange Chicken.

What You’ll Need

Most of the ingredients needed are to make the sauce. They are fairly common ingredients. Even the rice wine vinegar can be found at your local grocery store.

Ingredients to make Orange Chicken.
  • Chicken Thighs: I use boneless and skinless to save time. Cut them into bite-sized pieces before cooking them. I don’t recommend using chicken breasts for this recipe.
  • Cornstarch: This is key for the outside of the chicken to become crispy and golden.
  • Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed tastes best here. Plus, I also use orange zest anyway to amp up the flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: Make sure the light brown sugar is packed when measuring. 
  • Soy Sauce: Use a low sodium soy sauce if you are sensitive to salt.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Fresh Ginger: Using fresh ginger adds a little kick.
  • Garlic
  • Red Pepper Flakes: This is optional; you can adjust the amount you use to your liking.
  • Orange Zest
  • Green Onions: Chopped green onions make the perfect garnish.
  • Sesame Seeds: I also love using toasted sesame seeds as a garnish as well.

How to Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Enjoying tasty Chinese food at home is easier than you think! This recipe for a simple orange sauce takes only a few minutes to prepare, and you can make it while the chicken cooks in the air fryer.

  • Preheat Air Fryer. First, you will need to preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F. This will ensure even cooking.
  • Prepare Chicken. Add your chicken pieces to a mixing bowl and pour in corn starch. Toss to coat and shake off any excess.
  • Cook Chicken. Place the chicken into the air fryer in an even single layer. Air fry for 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through. It should be golden brown when fully cooked.
  • Make Sauce. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the orange chicken sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  • Coat Cooked Chicken. Transfer the cooked chicken to a large mixing bowl and pour the orange sauce over the top. Toss the mixture gently, you may want to do this in batches to coat it evenly.
  • Garnish and Serve. Serve your orange chicken with your favorite side dish and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Orange chicken garnished with green onions on top of white rice.

What Do I Serve With Air Fryer Orange Chicken?

There are a couple of different ways that I like to enjoy orange chicken. Here are my favorite side dish ideas.

  • Rice: Simple and classic white rice is always my go-to. It goes great with the sauce and is quick to make. You can also make brown rice if you prefer.
  • Vegetables: Steamed vegetables are also a tasty option. Bell peppers, squash, broccoli, and snap peas pair so well.
  • Noodles: Not a rice fan? Cook up some lo-mein noodles instead!
Orange chicken garnished with green onions on top of white rice on a dark plate sitting in front of a white air fryer.

What is the Difference Between General Tso Chicken and Orange Chicken?

The biggest difference is the orange flavor. You don’t use any orange juice or zest when making general Tso sauce. Plus, general Tso chicken is known for its spice. It is often made with chili peppers or hoisin sauce.

Can I Thicken the Sauce?

Yes! Make a cornstarch slurry using 1 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Stir this into the sauce while it cooks on the stovetop. If it becomes too thick, add a little water, a tsp at a time to thin it out.

A fork picking up a piece of Orange chicken garnished with green onions on top of white rice.

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover orange chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Orange Chicken feature
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Air Fryer Orange Chicken

This recipe for Air Fryer Orange Chicken is an easy way to satisfy your Chinese food craving. The easy homemade sauce is sweet and savory, while the chicken stays nice and crisp from the air fryer. It’s so delicious and every better than take-out!
Servings: 4 Servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes adjust to taste
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Green onions sliced (for garnish)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • Cooked rice for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a medium-sized bowl, toss the chicken thigh pieces with cornstarch until fully coated.
  • Place the coated chicken in the preheated air fryer basket, making sure to shake off any excess cornstarch.
  • Air fry the chicken for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway through cooking for even browning.
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the orange sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, grated ginger, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the prepared orange sauce over the cooked chicken in the mixing bowl. Gently toss to coat the chicken evenly with the sauce.
  • Serve the Air Fryer Orange Chicken over cooked rice.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seed, enjoy!

Last Step:

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Notes

Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your desired level of spiciness.
Feel free to add additional vegetables such as broccoli or bell peppers to the dish for added flavor and nutrition.
Leftover Air Fryer Orange Chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 738mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 4mg

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