BETTER THAN TAKEOUT! This easy air fryer orange chicken is crispy on the outside and so juicy on the inside. Plus, it’s ready in just 20 minutes flat! Thanks to one secret ingredient it taskes JUST like your fave Chinese takeout.
Why This Recipe Works
I LOVE Chinese takeout. My husband and I don’t order it often simply because of budgeting purposes but man.. when we do I’m in LOVE. The most recent time we ordered it I said I as finally going to do it… I was finally going to start to build out my own copycat Chinese takeout recipes. First up: orange chicken!
This recipe is for air fryer orange chicken because, well, if you know me at all you know I love my air fryer! (I have a 6qt Instant Pot air fryer and highly recommend it!) It makes the food SO crispy yet juicy on the inside, so perfect for orange chicken! (Don’t worry I also have oven directions for you below!)
Now, the other key piece to this recipe is oyster sauce. This is SUCH a key flavor to make your dish taste just like takeout, trust me. I NEVER used to have this on hand but now I can’t live without it. If you don’t have it on hand don’t worry I have a simple sub for that! (Although it tastes better with it, I won’t lie!)
This orange chicken is so so fabulous for the whole family and also makes great meal prep. I’ll have a big batch on the weekend and have it on hand to add to salads for a little asian chopped salad during the week. For those I combine the air fryer orange chicken with lettuce, rice, orange slices, green onion and cashews. Easy and delicious!
- Oyster sauce: If you don’t have oyster sauce on hand don’t worry. You can actually sub bbq sauce. Now this won’t give you the SAME flavor and I DO highly recommend getting the oyster. However, in a pinch I’ve totally done this. It adds a little more sweetness and a little of that more pungent flavor like the oyster will. But I will stress again… HIGHLY recommend having oyster sauce on hand!
How To Make This Recipe
To start, you’re going to want to preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees. If you don’t have a preheat function just set it to 375 and let it run for about 5 minutes to get up to temperature.
Slice your chicken breast into bite sized, ~1″ cubes. Then, drizzle some sesame oil over them followed by tossing them with 3 tbsp of your cornstarch.
When your air fryer is ready you’re going to cook the chicken for ~12-15 minutes, shaking once halfway through. I like to check on mine because if you cut your chicken pieces on the smaller side and let them go to 15 minutes they’ll be rock hard.
While the chicken is cooking in a medium saucepan NOT on heat whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, orange marmalade, oyster sauce, grated orange rind, 2 tsp cornstarch and garlic powder.
Now, when your chicken has about 5 minutes left you’re going to start to simmer this until it just starts to thicken, ~2-3 minutes.
When your chicken is done add it right into the saucepan with your orange sauce and toss to coat.
Add sesame seeds on top if you like (it makes me feel fancy!)
Voila! Copycat takeout air fryer orange chicken awaits you!
I like to serve it with some steamed broccoli and rice.
Your orange sauce will get clump for a couple reasons: Firstly, if you don’t FULLY whisk it together and leave clumps of cornstarch those will… stay clumps. Secondly, if you add the cornstarch AFTER you start to heat the sauce ingredients you can wind up with clumps.
The more you heat your sauce the thicker it will get. This is why I recommend starting it within the last ~5 minutes of the air fryer orange chicken bites cooking. If yours gets too thick just add a bit of water to it to thin it out. No biggie! You can also do this if you like saucier orange chicken VS thicker sauced orange chicken.
You can make this orange chicken in the oven if you don’t have an air fryer. Simply follow all of the same directions and cook your chicken in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes.
Your chicken likely won’t be AS crispy. However, if your oven has a convection setting I’d recommend using that. Essentially an air fryer is a small convection oven, which just means the air is being circulated. So if you can use that it will help get your chicken crispy just like air fryer orange chicken!
You can microwave it for a few minutes if you’re in a rush to re-heat. Or, you can add a little aluminum foil to your air fryer (to prevent the sauce from getting messy) and cook it at 370 for 3-5 minutes. Be sure to spray the foil with non-stick spray to prevent it from getting stuck!
To cook frozen orange chicken in the air fryer, like you’d get from Costco, you can cook this for ~8-10 minutes at 400. Increase the temp here because it’s frozen. Heat the sauce separately (You can just microwave this for about a minute) and then toss to combine!
- If you’re not sure if your chicken is done cooking you can use a meat thermometer to see if it’s reached 165 degrees to ensure it’s safely cooked chicken.
- When making air fryer orange chicken for meal prep I usually store it with the sauce added. Sometimes it will get thick so when I heat it back up I’ll toss it in a bowl with a touch of water to thin out the sauce.
If you love this recipe, be sure to leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below!
Don’t forget to pin it on your Pinterest board for later, or tag me on IG @no.food.rules if you try the recipe and love it!
Easy Air Fryer Orange Chicken
- 1 lb chicken breast cut into bite sized ~1″ cubes
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp + 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 Orange
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- To start, you’re going to want to preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees. If you don’t have a preheat function just set it to 370 and let it run for about 5 minutes to get up to temperature.
- If you haven’t yet, slice your chicken breast into bite sized, ~1" cubes. Then, drizzle some sesame oil over them followed by tossing them with 3 tbsp of your cornstarch.
- When your air fryer is ready you’re going to cook the chicken for ~12-15 minutes, shaking once halfway through. I like to check on mine because if you cut your chicken pieces on the smaller side and let them go to 15 minutes they’ll be rock hard.
- While the chicken is cooking in a medium saucepan NOT on heat whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, orange marmalade, oyster sauce, grated orange rind, 2 tsp cornstarch and garlic powder.
- Now, when your chicken has about 5 minutes left you’re going to start to simmer this until it just starts to thicken.
- When your chicken is done add it right into the saucepan with your orange sauce and toss to coat.
- Serve with rice and veggie of choice for a delicious air fryer orange chicken dinner! For an extra flair, top with sesame seeds!
click To display nutrition info