This easy Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe makes crispy chicken (without using cornstarch!) and coats it with a sweet and sticky fresh citrus sauce. It is bursting with fresh flavors and can be on your table in just 20 minutes.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy Recipe: If your family is anything like mine then they love Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken! And as the one who cooks most of our meals, I love that it is an easy dinner that I can get on the table quickly! That's why this has become a family favorite recipe. I can make it from scratch and still get it on the table in the same amount of time it takes me to cook Trader Joe's orange chicken!
- Fresh Ingredients: This homemade orange chicken uses fresh produce and pantry staples to make a flavorful orange sauce that isn't loaded with MSG and preservatives like the takeout version of this recipe.
- Juicy Chicken: The meat is coated and cooked in a similar way as my most popular recipe, Air Fryer Boneless Buffalo Wings. This method creates pieces that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
- Chicken: I prefer to use chicken breast for this recipe, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Flour: I have tested this chicken just using flour and also adding in cornstarch, There is just a very slight increase in crispiness with the addition of cornstarch so I don't think it's worth using. But you can add ¼ cup of cornstarch if you wish.
- Orange Juice: Fresh squeezed orange juice is the best option for this recipe. If you do not have oranges then you can use bottled orange juice.
- Soy Sauce: This adds lots of flavor to the sauce. I used low sodium soy sauce in this recipe, but coconut aminos or tamari can be substituted in equal amounts.
- Rice Vinegar: Vinegar gives a bite and acidity to the orange sauce while also tenderizing the meat.
- Ginger: No Asian recipe is complete without the light heat of fresh ginger. ½ teaspoon of ground ginger can be used instead of fresh, but it will have a different flavor.
- Garlic: Garlic is another "must-have" for many Asian dishes. If you do not have fresh garlic then you can substitute ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Fish Sauce: Fish sauce is a common ingredient in traditional orange chicken recipes. It adds umami flavor that really rounds out the dish. If you do not have fish sauce on hand then you can either replace it with a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce or leave it out completely.
Step One: Beat Eggs:
- Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
Step Two: Coat Chicken:
- Coat the pieces completely in the egg.
- Remove the chicken and allow the excess egg to drip off.
Step Three: Toss in Flour
- Place the flour in a shallow bowl or in a large Ziploc bag.
- Add the meat and toss or shake to coat completely.
Step Four: Cook in Air Fryer
- Place the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer leaving a little bit of space between each piece.
- Cook at 380°F (190°C) for 5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 2-5 minutes.
Homemade Orange Sauce
This sauce is tangy, sweet, and oh so delicious! And if you love it then you will also want to check out my Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken, which is made the same way with just a few different ingredients.
- While the meat is cooking in the air fryer place all of the sauce ingredients, except for the cornstarch and orange zest, in a medium saucepan.
- Mix the cornstarch with water and set it aside.
- Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat, then stir in the cornstarch slurry and orange zest.
- Cook an additional minute or so, until the sauce thickens.
Sauce the Chicken
- Once the chicken has finished cooking, transfer it to a large bowl.
- Immediately pour the orange sauce over the top.
- Toss in the sauce until each piece is completely coated.
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel so that the egg sticks well and holds the dry dredging nicely.
- If you like to add a little heat to the sauce then you can add ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the sauce, or sprinkle it onto the meat when serving.
- Use a cooking spray that is made of a high heat oil, such as olive oil spray or avocado oil spray, so that it doesn't scorch during cooking.
- Make sure to place the meat in one layer on the air fryer tray, and leave some space between the pieces. This helps them cook thoroughly and also allows for a nice golden brown crispy exterior.
- Make a cornstarch slurry with some water, as directed in the recipe instructions. Adding cornstarch to the sauce without it being in liquid form will create lumps instead of a smooth thickened sauce.
- Orange zest seems like a small ingredient that isn't important, but it adds a more robust citrus flavor and aroma to the sauce.
- You can serve the chicken just as it is, or sprinkle some green onions, sesame seeds, or red pepper flakes over the top for additional flavor and texture.
- Add steamed white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, or Asian noodles.
- Round out the meal with steamed broccoli or your favorite steamed vegetables.
- You can turn this recipe into bowls and wraps, or even add it as a salad topping to change up your options.
- Leftovers make a delicious burrito. Just add rice and shredded cabbage or lettuce.
Place the Orange Chicken in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. It will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can use a standard oven to make Orange Chicken. Just bake it at 400°F (200°C) for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F (74°C). Follow the recipe directions for the sauce.
Orange Chicken is sweet and tangy. If you want it spicy then you can add hot sauce (like sriracha) or chili flakes once you're done cooking the sauce.
The difference between air-frying and deep-frying is that it won't be heavy with oil. It has a similar flavor but is lighter overall and a little bit healthier.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Air Fryer Orange ChickenRecipe by:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs diced into 1-2 inch cubes
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (130 grams)
- avocado spray or olive oil spray
- ⅓ cup orange juice (70 ml)
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (45 ml)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water (59 ml + 15 ml)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (27 grams)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves (minced, about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce optional
- 1 tablespoon orange zest optional
- Preheat the air fryer to 380°F (190°C).
- Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel.
- Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Place the flour in a separate shallow bowl.
- Coat the chicken in the egg mixture.. Allow the excess egg to drip off then place in the flour and cover each piece completely with flour.
- Spray the air fryer basket with avocado oil spray. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket leaving some space between each piece. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your basket. Spray the chicken lightly with oil.
- Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 2-5 minutes, or until the outside is crispy and the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- While the chicken is cooking place all of the sauce ingredients, except for the cornstarch and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Whisk cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside.
- Cook the sauce over medium heat until it begins to boil, then stir in the cornstarch slurry and the orange zest. Continue cooking, while stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and cool slightly while the chicken finishes cooking.
- Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl. Pour the orange sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Serve immediately.