Our AIR FRYER ORANGE CHICKEN recipe is the perfect take-out fake-out meal you’ve been craving! The chicken cooks quickly in the air fryer, the sauce is a breeze to whisk together on the stove, and the whole meal is ready in 20 minutes!
You can bet that if we order Asian for dinner, someone in our family is going to order the Orange Chicken. It’s a definite favorite with that bright, sweet sauce, juicy chicken…mm, it’s so good!
Of course, homemade is usually best and I’m not going to lie…this homemade orange sauce is outrageous. Everyone in the family agrees that it’s better that the goopy stuff we get at our local Asian restaurant.
A little sweet, a little tangy. A hit of garlic and soy. What’s not to love about orange chicken sauce?
We’re using the air fryer for a healthy orange chicken…we’ve skipped the breading and deep frying to keep calories and fat on the lower side.
Ingredients Notes for Orange Chicken:
- Chicken – You can use breasts or thighs. The breasts will be a little more dry and consistent. The thighs will be more tender and provide more chicken flavor than the breasts will.
- Orange Juice– I used a low pulp orange juice. Sunny delight and drinks like that will sweeten it up more than “normal” orange juice, but you can use them in a pinch.
- Orange Zest-See below how easy it is to make your own orange zest!
How to make orange chicken:
- Cut your chicken breast into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Coat the bottom of your air fryer basket with olive oil and place your strips in an even layer in the basket. Cook these for 10 minutes shaking halfway through.
- While the chicken is cooking, get a medium saucepan and saute the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch.
- Stir this and allow the sauce to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes while stirring, then remove from heat.
- Add in a cornstarch slurry and whisk until the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency. We like ours a bit on the runnier side, but you can make this nice and thick, if that’s what you like.
- Toss the chicken into the orange sauce and it is ready to serve.
- You can garnish with green onions or sesame seeds if desired.
How to zest an orange:
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The best way to zest your citrus is with a microplane grater. Hold the microplane in one hand and the orange in the other hand. Run the orange back and forth over the grater to remove the bright orange peel. Rotate the orange to get all of the zest.
If you don’t have a microplane, you can also use a grater with small holes. You use this the same way you would grate cheese by pushing the orange into the grater and going back and forth. You’ll have larger chunks of zest, but it’ll work the same.
No matter which method you choose, it is important to only get the orange colored portion of the peel. The white part of the peel is more bitter.
Freezing Orange Chicken:
This air fryer orange chicken can be frozen ahead of time. Make the sauce as directed, let cool, and then place in a ziptop freezer bag. When you are ready to serve, boil some water and place the entire bag in the water to thaw it out rapidly. Then dump it into a saucepan and whisk well as it finishes heating through. Add additional orange juice if the sauce is too thick or a bit more cornstarch if it’s too thin.
For the chicken, you can freeze this after cooking through. Store the chicken in a ziptop bag and thaw in boiling water along with the sauce. Reheat at 350 degrees F in the air fryer for 5-10 minutes.
Then just mix the two together for a quick and easy orange chicken dinner!
More Asian inspired recipes using the air fryer:
Other Air Fryer Favorites:
Air Fryer Orange Chicken
For the chicken:
- 1-1 ½ pounds chicken breast cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
For the orange chicken sauce:
- 1 cup orange juice
- Zest from one orange
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken to a bowl and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil and stir well to coat the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the air fryer basket in an even layer. Cook chicken at 380 degrees for 10 minutes, shaking the basket or stirring the chicken halfway through cooking.
- While chicken is cooking, in a medium saucepan, prepare the sauce. Add the juice, zest, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and ginger and whisk well to combine.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes, while stirring, and then remove from heat.
- Add the cornstarch to a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and whisk to combine. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce and whisk well.
- Continue cooking the sauce until it has thickened to your liking.
- Toss chicken into the orange sauce and serve.
- Garnish with chopped green onions or sesame seeds if desired.