Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Air Fryer Orange Chicken is a flavorful dish that combines crispy, air-fried chicken pieces with a savory-sweet orange sauce. The chicken is typically seasoned with spices like garlic and onion powder before being lightly coated in cornstarch.

Why you’ll love this Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe:

  • Healthier Alternative: This recipe uses an air fryer, which significantly reduces the amount of oil needed compared to traditional frying methods. This makes the dish lower in fat and calories without sacrificing taste.
  • Crispy Texture: The Air Fryer Orange Chicken achieves a crispy exterior on the chicken pieces, giving you the satisfying crunch of fried food without the extra grease.
  • Delicious Flavor: The savory-sweet orange sauce, made with fresh orange juice, zest, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, creates a delicious coating that enhances the taste of the Air Fryer Orange Chicken.
  • Quick and Easy: Air frying is faster than traditional frying, and this recipe is straightforward, making it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Versatile: You can pair this dish with rice, noodles, or vegetables, making it a versatile meal that fits various dietary preferences and side options.
  • Kid-Friendly: The sweet and tangy flavor profile is appealing to both kids and adults, making it a great family-friendly meal.

Ingredients for this beloved recipe:

To make this recipe of Air Fryer Orange Chicken, you’ll need the following ingredients:


  1. Chicken Breast or Thighs: 1-2 pounds, cut into bite-sized pieces.


  1. Garlic Powder: 1 teaspoon.
  2. Onion Powder: 1 teaspoon.
  3. Salt: To taste.
  4. White Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon.


  1. Cornstarch or Flour: 3 tablespoons, divided.

Orange Sauce:

  1. Orange Juice: 1/2 cup.
  2. Orange Zest: From one orange.
  3. Soy Sauce: 1/4 cup.
  4. Rice Vinegar: 2 tablespoons.
  5. Brown Sugar: 2-3 tablespoons.
  6. Grated Ginger: 1 teaspoon.
  7. Minced Garlic: 2 cloves.
  8. Cornstarch: 1 tablespoon (to thicken the sauce, mixed with 2 tablespoons of water).

These ingredients combine to create a delicious, crispy, and flavorful Air Fryer recipe.

Equipment required:

To prepare Air Fryer Orange Chicken, you will need the following equipment:

  1. Air Fryer: Essential for cooking the chicken pieces to a crispy texture without deep frying.
  2. Mixing Bowls: For marinating the chicken and mixing the sauce ingredients.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons: To ensure the correct proportions of ingredients.
  4. Whisk: For mixing the sauce to a smooth consistency.
  5. Zester or Grater: To zest the orange for the sauce.
  6. Knife and Cutting Board: For cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Tongs or Spatula: For turning the chicken pieces in the air fryer.
  8. Small Saucepan: If you prefer to cook the sauce separately before mixing with the chicken.
  9. Serving Dish: To present the finished dish.

How do you make it? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making Air Fryer Orange Chicken:

  1. Prepare the Chicken:
    • Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs into bite-sized pieces.
    • In a bowl, season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
    • Optionally, coat the chicken pieces with a thin layer of cornstarch to enhance crispiness.
  2. Air Fry the Chicken:
    • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
    • Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
    • Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Prepare the Orange Sauce:
    • While the chicken is cooking, combine orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and orange zest in a saucepan.
    • Add minced garlic and ginger for extra flavor.
    • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it thickens slightly.
  4. Combine and Serve:
    • Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl.
    • Pour the orange sauce over the chicken and toss to coat evenly.
    • Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds and chopped green onions if desired.

This method ensures crispy chicken coated in a flavorful, tangy orange sauce, making a delicious meal that’s healthier than traditional deep-fried versions.


Nutrition information for Air Fryer Orange Chicken can vary slightly depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used. Typically, a serving of air fryer orange chicken (about 1 cup) contains approximately:

  1. Calories: Around 300-400 calories per serving, depending on the amount of sauce and chicken used.
  2. Protein: Provides about 20-25 grams of protein, mainly from the chicken.
  3. Fat: Contains 15-20 grams of fat, primarily from frying the chicken and any added oils.
  4. Carbohydrates: Typically has 25-35 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the breading and sauce, which may include sugars from the orange sauce.
  5. Fiber: Minimal to no fiber content unless served with vegetables or whole grains.

It’s important to note that these values can vary based on portion size, specific ingredients, and cooking methods. Adjustments like using less oil or opting for leaner cuts of chicken can impact the nutritional content.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Happens If I Use Too Much Cornstarch?

Using too much cornstarch in the Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe can have several effects:

  1. Thick and Gummy Coating:
    • Cornstarch is often used to create a crispy coating on the chicken. However, using too much can result in a thick and gummy texture instead of a light and crispy one.
  2. Overly Thick Sauce:
    • If you use too much cornstarch in the orange sauce, it can become excessively thick and pasty. This might make the sauce clump and not coat the chicken evenly.
  3. Taste and Texture Issues:
    • Excess cornstarch can give the chicken a floury taste and an unpleasant mouthfeel. The texture might feel powdery or chalky.
  4. Difficulty in Air Frying:
    • A thick layer of cornstarch can prevent the chicken from cooking evenly in the air fryer. The outer layer might brown too quickly while the inside remains undercooked.
  5. Uneven Crispiness:
    • Instead of a uniformly crispy exterior, the chicken might have unevenly cooked patches where the cornstarch clumps.

To avoid these issues, it’s best to use cornstarch sparingly. A thin, even layer is sufficient to achieve the desired crispiness without compromising the overall quality of the dish. If you’re unsure, you can always start with a smaller amount and adjust as needed.

Do I Need to Use the Orange Zest?

Using orange zest in Air Fryer Orange Chicken is not strictly necessary, but it is highly recommended. The zest of an orange contains essential oils that add a bright, fresh, and concentrated orange flavor to the dish. Without the zest, the orange flavor may be less pronounced, making the sauce taste flatter and less vibrant.

Here are a few reasons to consider using orange zest:

  1. Enhanced Flavor: Orange zest provides a stronger, more intense orange flavor compared to just using orange juice.
  2. Aromatic Qualities: The zest adds a fragrant aroma that enhances the overall sensory experience of the dish.
  3. Balanced Sweetness: It helps balance the sweetness of the orange sauce by adding a slight bitterness and complexity.

If you do not have orange zest or prefer not to use it, the dish will still be tasty but might lack some of the depth and brightness that the zest provides.

How Do I Reheat the Chicken in the Air Fryer?

Reheating chicken in an air fryer is quick and easy. Here’s a simple method to get it right:

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Set the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and allow it to preheat for a few minutes.
  2. Prepare the Chicken: Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. If the chicken is breaded or has crispy skin, it’s best to reheat it uncovered for optimal crispiness.
  3. Reheat: Cook the chicken in the air fryer for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Flip halfway through to ensure even heating.
  4. Check Temperature: For safety, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165°F (74°C).
  5. Serve: Once heated through, remove the chicken from the air fryer and serve immediately.

Using an air fryer helps retain the crispy texture of fried or breaded chicken while reheating efficiently.

Is General Tso Chicken the same as Orange Chicken?

General Tso’s chicken and orange chicken are similar but distinct dishes:

  1. Flavor Profile: General Tso’s chicken is known for its spicy and tangy flavor, often featuring whole dried chilies for heat, while orange chicken tends to have a sweeter, citrusy flavor from orange juice and zest.
  2. Sauce: General Tso’s chicken sauce is typically darker and richer, made with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sometimes vinegar. In contrast, orange chicken sauce is lighter in color and emphasizes the flavors of orange.
  3. Ingredients: Both dishes feature battered and fried chicken, but General Tso’s chicken often includes a mix of dark and white meat, while orange chicken is commonly made with white meat.

In summary, while both dishes share similarities as crispy fried chicken in a sauce, their distinct flavor profiles set them apart.

Akara Karimi

Chef Akara, a culinary virtuoso with a penchant for innovation, crafts dishes that marry tradition with modern flair. Her journey from culinary school to renowned kitchens forged her expertise.

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