Air Fryer Orange Chicken is tangy, sweet, savory, and the ultimate Chinese takeout copycat recipe. The air fryer makes cooking a delicious Orange Chicken meal easy!

a white plate full of white rice, topped with orange chicken, garnished with orange wedges and sesame seeds

Recipe Overview

In my house, we have a few different food preferences and needs, so I like to make my own Chinese food so I can be sure that everyone is happy. Homemade Air Fryer Orange chicken is healthier than anything you’ll order out, and just as delicious.

If you’re used to cooking Asian meals, you probably have all of these ingredients already. Otherwise, take a trip to the store and get ready to use your air fryer to create the perfect orange chicken recipe.

Ingredients you’ll need

ingredients for air fryer orange chicken, all in separate bowls on a countertop.
  • Chicken – Chicken breast, cut into 1-2 inch pieces is my preference when making this, but trimmed, boneless chicken thighs will work as well.
  • Cornstarch – Used often in Asian cooking, cornstarch acts as a thickener for sauces and a crispy breading for meat and vegetables.
  • Orange Juice – This is what gives the orange chicken its orange flavor! Fresh or store-bought is fine.
  • Orange Zest – use a microplane or fine grater to pull the orange-colored zest from the outside of an orange. This holds the orange’s essential oil and gives lots of flavor to the dish.
  • Brown Sugar – You can decide how sweet you want your sauce to be. I usually add 2-3 tablespoons, depending on my mood.
  • Honey – This adds sweetness, but also a sticky, thick texture to the sauce.
  • Soy Sauce – The ultimate salty, umami flavor enhancer, soy sauce is the base of most Chinese dishes.
  • Rice Vinegar – This can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. If you don’t have it, substitute your favorite vinegar instead.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Dried crushed red peppers can add a lot of heat! Add as much as you like, depending on how hot you like things.
  • Garlic Powder – While fresh garlic could be used, I am simplifying the process a bit by using dried.
  • Ground Ginger – Again, using powdered ginger saves a couple of steps, making this air fryer recipe quick and easy!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP!

How to make this orange chicken

photo collage showing 8 steps needed to make air fryer orange chicken
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. This will take about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, tossing to coat and combine well.
  3. Place the chicken in the air fryer. Spray with oil and cook as directed, shaking the basket once during cooking.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce on the stove. In a saucepan, whisk together the orange juice and zest, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger. Set over medium-high heat.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking as directed and whisking occasionally. While simmering, whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with cold water in a small bowl.
  6. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce, stirring well, and cook until the sauce is thick. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  7. Remove the chicken from the air fryer and combine with the sauce.
  8. Serve the saucy orange chicken over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and orange slices.
a plate of orange chicken over rice, a pair of chopsticks is grabbing a piece of chicken

How to serve this orange chicken

All this dish needs is a fork or a pair of chopsticks! I wouldn’t blame you for eating this up, right out of the bowl, but it will be extra good with some sides too. Want to eat with chopsticks at home, to really enjoy the takeout experience? I like this set on Amazon.

White or Brown rice, to soak up all of this delicious sauce, plus a veggie side dish would be the simplest and most delicious way to serve Air Fryer Orange Chicken.

You can use your instant pot to make Jasmine Rice or Brown Rice, super quickly while your air fryer is cooking the chicken. Or, make some Fried Rice in the Air Fryer! If you have more than one air fryer, this is super easy. Otherwise, I’d make the fried rice first, then make the chicken while you keep the rice warm.

Air Fryer Green Beans, Air Fryer Broccoli, or Air Fryer Zucchini are simple and quick-cooking veggies that will make a delicious side dish with this meal.

Want a thicker sauce?

If your sauce isn’t as thick as you like, you can add more cornstarch/water to it. Start with an additional 1/2 tablespoon of each, and cook each in the sauce before adding more.

a white plate of rice and orange chicken next to a black air fryer, a bowl of oranges, and a kitchen towel.

Recipe FAQs

How do I make more sauce?

Maybe you want a little extra sauce to add to your rice, or you’re making extra chicken. No problem! Double all of the sauce ingredients to make a double batch.

Can I make this orange chicken without cornstarch?

The cornstarch is a key ingredient here, as it crisps up the chicken and thickens the sauce. If you can’t have cornstarch, you may need to get creative. I haven’t tried it myself, but I would think you could skip the cornstarch on the chicken and then use arrowroot as a substitute thickener. If you try it, let me know how it turned out!

Is there a way to make this with less sugar?

If you’re watching how much sugar you eat, or just prefer a less sweet dish, you can adjust the amounts of both brown sugar and honey in the recipe. You can also substitute the sugar with a low-carb sweetener of your choosing.

More Chinese Air Fryer Recipes to Try

Yep, there’s more! Air Fryer Sticky Ginger Chicken is a healthy and flavorful Asian-inspired meal that is completely simple to make in the air fryer and great for meal prep.

Air Fryer Pork Belly is an amazing recipe that uses an Asian marinade to make pork belly into a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece.

Looking for a vegetarian option? This recipe for Tofu Manchurian is quick and delicious in the air fryer, and everyone loves it.

Want to do some grilling instead? These orange chicken kabobs sound pretty good! Or try this Tofu Pad Thai that’s made on the stovetop.

a plate of orange chicken over rice, a pair of chopsticks is grabbing a piece of chicken
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5 from 7 votes

Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Air Fryer Orange Chicken is tangy, sweet, savory, and the ultimate Chinese take out copycat recipe. The air fryer makes cooking a delicious Orange Chicken meal easy!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 229kcal
Ken

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken breast cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp Cornstarch divided
  • 1/2 cup Orange juice
  • Zest from one Orange
  • 2-3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2-1 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Cold water

Instructions

  • Preheat an air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
  • Place the chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, tossing to coat and combine well.
  • Put chicken in the air fryer. Spray with oil and cook for 8-9 minutes, shaking the basket once during cooking.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Add and whisk together the orange juice and zest, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and ginger to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 4-5 minutes, whisking occasionally. While simmering, whisk together the remaining cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry, whisking well, and cook for 1 additional minute until the sauce is thick. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Remove chicken from the air fryer and combine with sauce.
  • Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds.
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Video

Notes

  • The amount of sugar and pepper can be adjusted to your personal taste preferences. 
  • To make the sauce thicker, add additional cornstarch slurry, 1/2 Tablespoon at a time until it’s the thickness you want. 
  • Either chicken breast meat or trimmed chicken thighs can be used. 
  • Pro Tip: This recipe can be made in the air fryer unit with a basket or the air fryer oven. If you are using the air fryer oven, use the middle rack and select the “Air Fry” function.
  • Pro Tip: Check your food as it cooks. Each air fryer runs a bit differently. Sometimes air frying is a trial and error process. Check your food as it cooks to learn your air fryer better!  When cooking a new recipe or food items be sure to check your food often to help avoid over/under cooking.
Have oven recipes that you’d like to convert to an air fryer recipe? Use our Air Fryer Calculator to help you estimate cooking times and temps! Calculator here: https://airfryereats.com/air-fryer-conversion-air-fryer-calculator/
 

Nutrition

Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 642mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
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Air Fryers can vary greatly. Please take the time to learn your specific air fryer. You may need to adjust times and temperatures based upon your air fryer. All though this website attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, the information should only be considered an estimate. Varying factors such as different product types, different brands, etc. can change nutritional information. It is your responsibility as a consumer to read all labels to make sure the ingredients fit your dietary needs as well as calculate your own nutritional information as a double check.
Images of air fryer orange chicken with text overlay

5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    oh my gosh, I can’t wait to make this! Orange chicken is a favorite around here, but the takeout place is so expensive and definitely not very healthy. This is going to be perfect!!

5 from 7 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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