Air fryer orange chicken is a delicious Chinese-American cuisine that is usually deep-fried and served with a sweet orange sauce. However, thanks to the air fryer, you can now enjoy this classic dish in a healthier and quicker way. Air fryer orange chicken is a perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors, and the crispy texture of the chicken makes it even more mouth-watering. In this article, we will discuss how to make air fryer orange chicken, the ingredients required, tips to consider while making it, the health benefits of the dish, its variations, and serving suggestions. So, let’s dive right into it!

Introduction to Air Fryer Orange Chicken

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy-to-make meal, look no further than air fryer orange chicken. This dish combines juicy chicken with tangy orange sauce for a flavor explosion that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Plus, cooking in the air fryer makes it healthier than traditional fried chicken. So dust off your air fryer and get ready to make a dish that’s sure to become a household favorite.

Overview of Air Fryer Cooking

Air fryers have been all the rage in recent years, and it’s no surprise why. They use hot air to cook food, which cuts down on the amount of oil needed and produces crispy results. Air fryers are easy to use and can cook a variety of foods, from chicken wings to veggies to desserts. Plus, they’re a healthier option than traditional frying.

Why Air Fryer Orange Chicken is a Great Dish

Air fryer orange chicken is a great dish for several reasons. First, it’s a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken. Second, it’s easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of prep time. Third, the combination of sweet and tangy flavors in the orange sauce is irresistible. And finally, it’s a crowd-pleaser – everyone loves a good plate of orange chicken.

Ingredients Required for Air Fryer Orange Chicken


Chicken Ingredients

– 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp onion powder
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
– cooking spray

Orange Sauce Ingredients

– 1/2 cup orange juice
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1/4 cup honey
– 2 tbsp rice vinegar
– 1 tbsp cornstarch
– 1 tbsp grated orange zest
– 1 tsp minced garlic
– 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Steps to Prepare Air Fryer Orange Chicken


Preparation of the Chicken

1. In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
2. In another shallow dish, beat the egg.
3. In a third shallow dish, place the panko breadcrumbs.
4. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg, and finally the panko breadcrumbs.
5. Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray on both sides.

Preparation of the Orange Sauce

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the orange juice, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, cornstarch, orange zest, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using).
2. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until the sauce thickens and bubbles.

Cooking the Chicken in an Air Fryer

1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
2. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
3. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

Combining the Chicken and the Orange Sauce

1. Toss the cooked chicken pieces in the orange sauce until coated.
2. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli, if desired.

Tips to Consider While Making Air Fryer Orange Chicken


Using the Right Chicken Cut

Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs is the best option for this dish as it stays juicy and tender when cooked in the air fryer.

Marinating the Chicken

Marinate the chicken in the orange sauce for 30 minutes before coating with flour to add an extra flavor punch.

Coating the Chicken

For a crunchier texture, double coat the chicken by dipping it in the egg mixture and breadcrumbs a second time.

Cooking the Chicken to Perfection

To ensure that the chicken cooks evenly, don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Cook in batches if necessary.

Health Benefits of Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Air fryer orange chicken is not only delicious but is also a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken. Here are some of the health benefits:

Low in Fat

Air fryer orange chicken is lower in fat compared to deep-fried chicken. The air fryer uses hot air to cook the chicken instead of oil, reducing the fat content significantly. You can enjoy the crispy texture of the chicken without worrying about the excess fat.

High in Protein

Chicken is a great source of protein, and air fryer orange chicken is no exception. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, and it also helps keep you feeling full for longer. Air fryer orange chicken is a delicious way to increase your protein intake.

Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Orange juice, the key ingredient in this recipe, is a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts immunity, and improves skin health. Chicken also contains essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, phosphorus, and selenium, which are important for overall health.

Variations of Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Air fryer orange chicken is a versatile dish that you can customize to suit your taste. Here are some variations you can try:

Sweet and Sour Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Add pineapple chunks and rice vinegar to the orange sauce to give it a tangy twist. The sweetness of the pineapple pairs perfectly with the savory chicken.

Spicy Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the orange sauce to make it spicy. If you’re a fan of spicy food, this variation is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Garlic Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Add minced garlic to the orange sauce to give it a garlicky flavor. The garlic complements the sweetness of the orange sauce and adds a depth of flavor to the dish.

Serving Suggestions for Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Air fryer orange chicken is a complete meal that goes well with many side dishes and beverages. Here are some serving suggestions:

Side Dishes to Serve with Air Fryer Orange Chicken

– Steamed broccoli: The crisp-tender texture of the broccoli pairs perfectly with the tender chicken.

– Fried rice: This is a classic side dish that is easy to make and pairs well with the sweetness of the orange sauce.

– Egg rolls: The crispy texture of the egg rolls complements the tender chicken, making it a perfect appetizer or side dish.

Beverages to Serve with Air Fryer Orange Chicken

– Iced tea: The sweet and citrusy flavor of the tea pairs well with the orange chicken.

– Lemonade: This refreshing drink complements the sweet and tangy flavor of the orange sauce.

– Beer: If you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage, a light beer pairs well with the savory chicken.In conclusion, air fryer orange chicken is a must-try dish that is easy to prepare and tastes amazing. With the versatility of the air fryer, you can enjoy a healthier version of this classic dish without sacrificing its flavor and texture. So, whether you are a fan of Chinese-American cuisine or just want to try something new, air fryer orange chicken is definitely worth a shot. We hope this article has been helpful in guiding you through the process of making this delicious dish. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Can I use boneless chicken breasts instead of boneless chicken thighs?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken breasts instead of boneless chicken thighs. However, chicken thighs are more flavorful and moist than chicken breasts, so keep that in mind when making substitutions.

Can I make air fryer orange chicken ahead of time?

Yes, you can make air fryer orange chicken ahead of time. However, for the best taste and texture, we recommend making it fresh and serving it immediately.

How do I reheat air fryer orange chicken?

To reheat air fryer orange chicken, preheat your air fryer to 350°F and then cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes or until it’s heated through.

Can I freeze air fryer orange chicken?

Yes, you can freeze air fryer orange chicken. However, we recommend freezing the chicken and sauce separately to maintain the texture and flavor of the dish. To reheat frozen air fryer orange chicken, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the instructions for reheating.