This quick Air Fryer Orange Chicken is incredibly delicious and easy to make at home. It is full of flavor, sweet and spicy. And it is gluten-free. All you will need is boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, an orange, sesame seeds, and a little bit of corn starch. You will get a divine tasty.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- This recipe is healthier and tastier than the takeout.
- Your kids will love these juicy meat bites because of the sweet orange taste.
- For this recipe, you will need ingredients that you have at hand or that are easy to find.
- It’s a quick and easy dish. It will take you less than 30 minutes to put it on the table.
🏆 Tips for Success? How to Make It Better?
- Avoid the excess of corn starch. Shake all the excesses from the chicken because you risk obtaining gummy or burned chicken meat.
- If you have a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of the meat. It should be 165°F (75°C).
- Use fresh and high-quality oranges that will give a rich taste to the meat.
- Keep an eye to your air fryer. As we know, the power may differ from air fryer to air fryer. Because of that, keep an eye on the dish, and check from time to time the meat to avoid burning it.
- If you want it spicy, add more red chili flakes or fresh chili peppers.
- Don’t cut the meat too big or too small. In the first case, it will take you too long to cook it. In the second case, you risk obtaining dry meat.
🤔 How to Scale the Recipe Up and Down?
This is a simple recipe where you can increase the ingredients proportionally, but be careful not to load the air fryer basket too much because the meat will not be evenly browned. The air needs to circulate easily between the meat bites. If you need to cook a larger amount, consider frying the meat in a few batches.
🔥 What Air Fryer Do I Use?
As Air Fryers may differ from one manufacturer to another, I think is worth mentioning that I used for this recipe the Cosori 5.8Q Air fryer.
🥘 Ingredients Needed for This Recipe?
To Prepare the Chicken You Will Need:
- 1 medium Chicken Breast.
- 1 Garlic clove.
- 2 tablespoons of Starch.
- 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) of Orange Juice.
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil.
- Black pepper to taste.
To Prepare the Orange Sauce You Will Need:
- 5 tablespoons (100 ml) of Orange Juice.
- Orange Peel.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce.
- 1 teaspoon of Starch.
- 1 teaspoon of Ginger.
🥦 Ingredients Substitutions?
- Chicken Breast. You can also replace it with chicken thighs or turkey breast.
- Starch. I used cornstarch but you can also replace it with other starch substitutes.
- Orange juice. You can replace it with orange marmalade. If you opt for marmalade, you will need to add water to get the right consistency needed for the sauce. The amount of water depends on the consistency and the amount of sugar in the marmalade.
- Orange. You can replace them also with clementines, mandarines, or blood oranges.
- Soy sauce. You can use teriyaki sauce instead.
- Garlic. I used fresh garlic, but you could also replace it with a dried option.
- Ginger. As with garlic, if you do not have fresh ginger, you could replace it with dried ginger.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
You can enjoy it as a main course and eat it as is. If you want to combine it with a side dish, this recipe goes wonderful near some plain white rice or steamed or sauteed vegetables.
You could also serve the orange chicken with rice noodles, with smashed potatoes, baked or fried cauliflower in an air fryer, and last but not least, you could also serve the orange chicken with zucchini.
🤔 Can I Make the Orange Chicken in the Oven?
Sure, it just will take a little longer. For the oven variant, take a baking sheet, cover it with baking paper or just spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220 °C) and cook the meat for about 10 minutes.
Flip the chicken on the other side, and put the meat back for another 5-7 minutes. The rest of the steps will remain the same.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
Making the Marinade
For the best results, I’ll recommend making a marinade for the chicken and to leave the meat to marinate for at least one hour on the table at room temperature.
If you have time, leave the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator, so you will get an even more intense taste.
If you are pressed by time, just skip this step and go to the next one.
I went with chicken breast, but you can also use chicken thighs or turkey breast. It is important to cut the meat into similar cubes in sizes because this will allow the meat to cook evenly.
Quick note: If you use the chicken breast, cut the meat into 1″ size, and if you chose to go on chicken thighs, you should cut the meat even smaller. The size of the meat differs because the chicken breast will cook faster and you risk drying the chicken breast if you will cut it too small.
As I used chicken breast, I cut the meat into small cubes of about 1″.
After you have the meat ready, in a bowl, pour over it the oil, crushed garlic, orange peel, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to make sure that the meat is covered on all sides with the marinade.
Now we should form a thin coat of starch on the meat. If you have a Ziploc bag near you, you can place the meat bites into the bag, pour over the starch, and mix or shake well the bag (before doing that, double-check if you closed well the bag).
Our goal here is to cover the meat with starch just enough, without any excesses.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have a Ziploc bag near you, you can pour the starch and chicken bites into a bowl and cover well with a lid or plate. (Make sure the contact is tight to avoid spreading the starch in the entire kitchen). Shake the bowl well.
Next, we should get ready the Air Fryer.
Preheat the air fryer to 380°F (190°C) and add the coated chicken meat into the air fryer.
Cook the meat for about 7-10 minutes. After that time, remove the basket from the air fryer and shake the basket to mix and rotate the meat pieces. This will allow them to cook evenly.
If a few pieces of the meat, got stuck together, try to separate them.
After that, return the basket back to the air fryer and cook the meat for another 5-10 minutes.
🍊 How to Make the Orange Glaze?
In the meantime, while the chicken is still in the air fryer, you can start doing the orange sauce. I recommend doing the sauce on the hob.
For that, take a small saucepan and pour in it the soy sauce, orange juice, orange peel, starch, ginger and put it on the hob on low heat. Optionally, you could add also the meat marinade leftovers to the sauce.
Let the mixture simmer for about 7-10 minutes. Don’t forget to mix occasionally to avoid the sauce sticking to the pan.
When you will have the orange sauce ready, the timer on the air fryer should also expire and you should have good-looking golden chicken meat. If you have a meat thermometer, check the meat temperature. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165°F (75°C).
Now, put the meat in a large bowl, and pour over the orange glaze that we just did. Use a sieve to filter the spice pieces and possible starch humps.
Mix well all the components and we are ready to go. Optionally, you can serve the orange chicken with sesame seeds and/or green onions.
Enjoy your meal!
♻️ Make Ahead, Storage, and Heating:
Can I Prepare It Ahead?
Yes, you can. Cook the meat and orange sauce separately and refrigerate them without mixing them together. When you want to serve them, heat the meat and sauce separately, and then mix them together before serving them on the table.
How Long Does the Orange Chicken Last in the Fridge?
You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can You Freeze Orange Chicken?
Yes, you could. But for an even better result, I would advise you to freeze the uncooked marinated meat. So when you need to cook it, you will put it directly in the air fryer and you will get delicious fresh food.
How to Heat the Air Fried Orange Chicken?
You can heat it on the heat, microwave and surely, you can heat it into the air fryer. If you love doing everything in the air fryer (like myself), then preheat it to 350°F (175 °C), and cook the heat chicken for about 2 minutes.
How to Make the Orange Chicken Crispy Again?
If you have some leftovers of the orange chicken and it is not as crispy as in the beginning, you can place the meat again into the air fryer for about 2-3 minutes. They should become back crispy. Be careful not to overcook the meat because it will become dry.
🤔 Answering Your Questions:
Can You Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken With Flour?
Yes, you could. If you will go with flour instead of starch, the meat won’t be as crunchy.
How to Make Frozen Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer?
You can find it in many stores frozen orange chicken. All you will need is to put them into the air fryer for about 10-15 minutes. For the best results, double-check the instructions on the back, because the temperature and timing may differ from one manufacturer to another.
What Is the Difference Between Tso Chicken and Orange Chicken? Are They the Same?
Generally speaking, the only difference between them is the sauce. In the sauce for the Tso Chicken usually is not added any orange flavors like orange juice and orange peel. Usually is used hoisin sauce. But, the chicken meat is cooked in the same way.
What Happens if I Used Too Much Starch?
If you will use too much starch on the meat, you will get a raw starch taste, which is not very pleasant. And if you use too much starch in the sauce, it will have a thicker consistency than needed.
Can I Adjust the Thickness of the Orange Sauce?
Yes. If you prefer a thicker sauce, just add an extra teaspoon of starch and an extra teaspoon of water to the sauce and mix well. Let them cook for another extra minute and you can remove the sauce from the heat. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken a little more after it will cool down. So, be careful.
I’m in Love With Orange Flavor. Can I Intensify the Taste?
Sure. If you want to obtain a richer orange flavor, just add more orange peel. This is the secret ingredient that gives this delicious taste to our dish.
📋 Recipe Card:
Easy and Juicy Air Fryer Orange Chicken
To Prepare the Chicken You Will Need:
To Prepare the Orange Sauce You Will Need:
- 5 tablespoons Orange Juice
- Orange Peel
- 1 ½ tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Starch
- 1 teaspoon Ginger
- Marinate the meat.1 Chicken Breast, 1 clove Garlic, 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce, 2 ½ tablespoons Orange Juice, 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, Black Pepper
- Cover the meat in a thin layer of starch.2 tablespoons Starch
- Preheat the air fryer and cook the meat for 7-10 minutes.1 Chicken Breast
- Remove the air fryer basket, and shake it well to change the position of the meat and put it back for another 7-10 minutes.
- In the meantime, we need to make the orange glaze. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer them for 7-10 minutes. Stir from time to time to avoid sticking and burning the sauce.5 tablespoons Orange Juice, Orange Peel, 1 ½ tablespoons Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon Starch, 1 teaspoon Ginger
- Once you have both components ready, take a larger bowl. Put the meat in it and pour the orange sauce over it. Mix well.
- You can decorate the dish with sesame seeds or finely chopped green onions.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- Cut the meat into similar pieces making sure that all the meat pieces will be cooked evenly.
- Avoid the starch excess. Use starch, just to cover the meat with a thin layer.
- As the meat is cut into small pieces, and the way the air fryer works can differ from one manufacture to another, keep an eye on the meat so you don’t burn it.
- If you have a meat thermometer at hand, I’ll suggest you check the meat temperature. The meat will be ready when the internal temperature will reach 165° F (75° C).