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5 from 11 votes

Orange Chicken (Air Fryer)

This Orange Chicken (Air Fryer) is the easiest weeknight dinner and it is much tastier (and healthier) than takeout. The lightly breaded crispy chicken is tossed in the most vibrant orange soy flavored sauce. Serve this air fryer orange chicken over steamed or fried rice and dinner is served!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time17 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 2 people
Author: Brianna May

Ingredients

Chicken

  • cup panko bread crumbs*
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chicken breasts cut in 1 inch pieces
  • spray oil*

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil*
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • cup fresh orange juice*
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Garnish

  • sesame seeds
  • green onions

Instructions

  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
  • In a plastic sealable gallon bag, add the panko, cornstarch, and salt. Seal tightly and shake. Use your fist to break up the panko into smaller bits.
  • Place the chicken in the bag. Seal tightly. Shake until all of the chicken is well coated. Use your hands to press the panko mixture onto the chicken while shaking.
  • Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Spray the basket with oil. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Spray the top of the chicken with more oil.
  • Air fry at 400 for 10-11 minutes or until golden and at least 165 degrees (it should be well over). Do not flip or shake the basket during the cooking process.
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the sesame oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add in the orange juice, soy, vinegar, zest, chili flakes, and sugar. Stir and bring to a light boil. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add to saucepan and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat immediately.
  • In a large bowl, toss the chicken and sauce together.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, and enjoy!

Notes

Panko Bread Crumbs: Do not substitute regular breadcrumbs. 
Spray Oil: I like to use avocado oil, but any spray oil will work.
Toasted Sesame Oil: This is crucial for the flavor of the sauce. Be sure to use toasted sesame oil and not regular sesame oil. The flavor is very different. 
Fresh Orange Juice: I have only tested the sauce with fresh orange juice. It is best for this recipe. I imagine store-bought would give the sauce a more intense flavor as fresh is much more mild.
Use fresh orange zest. This ingredient is what gives the sauce its vibrant orange flavor. You definitely do not want to skip out on it. I use this grater to easily grate the orange. 
Be generous with the oil. Liberally spray the chicken so that it is coated in oil. This will help with browning and crisping. 
Do not shake. Shaking or flipping the chicken will loosen the breading too much. 
Cook in batches if needed. You do not want to stack the chicken or it will not become crispy. Hold cooked chicken in the oven at 200 degrees while the other batches finish cooking. Toss in sauce right before serving.
Mahe Ahead: The sauce can be made the day before and stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheating: Reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals until warm before tossing it with the air fried orange chicken.
Refrigerator: The orange chicken tossed in sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. However, it is best to store them separately. Reheating: The orange chicken tossed in sauce will not be crispy leftover. You can reheat it in the microwave if it is already tossed in the sauce. Reheating it in the air fryer is too messy because the sauce becomes sticky and drips through the basket. Chicken without sauce can be reheated in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.