Air Fryer Orange Chicken is a delicious and crispy chicken that is coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. This healthy orange chicken makes for an easy dinner.
A while back, Ken and I took a trip down to Buffalo for some shopping. While we were in New York, we stopped for lunch. We ended up stopping at Panda Express. I ordered Orange Chicken and Ken ordered Honey Walnut Shrimp. We both enjoyed our meals so much!
When we got home, I decided I wanted to recreate the recipes that we enjoyed, so that we can have the taste of Panda Express without having to drive so far to get it. we also figured we could make it healthy or at least healthier.
That’s where this Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken comes in.
I whipped up this Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe a couple weeks ago, and I’ve already made it several times more since I first created it. This Panda Express Orange Chicken copycat recipe is so simple to make but still tastes delicious.
Even though it’s healthier and made inside your air fryer.
It’s easy to make a full meal for one or more people at home using ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. You can reduce the amount of sugar used per serving by half, but I would suggest tasting it before adding any additional sweetener.
This healthy orange chicken just doesn’t need any more sugar, in our opinion, and how cool is that?!
What is Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken is a popular Chinese dish that typically consists of lightly breaded deep-fried chicken pieces, covered in a sticky orange sauce.
This Copycat Panda Express version contains bite size chunks of white meat chicken that are coated in a light batter and air fried until crispy, then served over steamed rice.
The sweet tangy taste of the orange sauce, coupled with the crispy air fried chicken makes this Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe healthy and unforgettable.
You’ll enjoy every bite of this dish, knowing it’s homemade and so much healthier than ordering takeout!
What is the History of Orange Chicken
The history of orange chicken is not specific. Some recipes suggest that the dish was created by a Taiwanese chef who immigrated to the US. Other reports indicate that it originated in a California restaurant during the 1970s or 1980s.
Regardless of where this recipe first surfaced, what we do know is it’s absolutely delicious! Especially this healthy air fried version of orange chicken. Just wait until you try it.
How to zest an orange
An orange is a citrus fruit that contains an outer peel or skin called the zest. To get to the tasty fruit, you’ll need to grab a tool like an apple zester or grater and remove pieces of the orange’s zest until you’ve accumulated about 1 tablespoon of it.
How do I juice an orange
An orange is a citrus fruit that contains an inner fruit called the juice. To extract fresh orange juice, first wash and dry an orange thoroughly. Next, cut the orange in half to form two equal halves. Grab a hand juicer or reamer and squeeze each half over a small bowl until all of the orange juice has been extracted into the bowl.
Panda Express Orange Chicken Calories
Calories in Panda Express Orange Chicken, with oil. A serving size is about three ounces or 100 grams. Calories: 241 per serving.
Can I freeze Healthy Orange Chicken
Yes, absolutely. To freeze this recipe, put the cooked dish in the freezer one it has completely cooled. Put it in a hermetically sealed container or wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This should keep well for up to three months.
Can I use a different cut of chicken for Healthy Orange Chicken
Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe. You will not even need to adjust the cooking time if you do so. Just be sure to use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
What oil is best for Air Fryer Orange Chicken when spraying your air fryer basket
While any cooking oil would work in an air fryer, it is best to use a neutral flavored oil so as not to affect the taste of the dish. I would suggest trying vegetable oil or canola oil.
How do you reheat Orange Chicken in the air fryer
There are multiple ways to reheat this healthy orange chicken dish. If you have some leftover orange chicken that has already been cooked, then it really just needs to be rewarmed.
Reheat in your air fryer for around 3 to 5 minutes. At 350 degrees. There’s no need to preheat your air fryer. Be sure to check your Air Fryer Orange Chicken to see if it’s warm after three minutes so that you don’t overcook it.
Remember you are just warming your chicken, not cooking it.
Or you can reheat your leftover Panda Express Orange Chicken in the oven by placing your dish in a casserole dish and heating it at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes.
How to store Air Fryer Orange Chicken
Store the dish in a covered container, or wrapped tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store in your refrigerator for up to five days.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Orange Chicken
- chicken broth
- rice wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- brown sugar
- soy sauce
- garlic cloves
- fresh ginger
- sesame oil
- chicken breasts or thighs
- all-purpose flour
- egg whites
- baking powder
- Spray oil
How to Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken
Using vegetable peeler, remove eight 2-inch strips of zest from 1 orange. Using a rasp-style grater, grate 1½ teaspoons zest from the remaining orange. Halve both oranges and squeeze to get ¾ cup juice. Combine orange zest (strips and grated) and juice, broth, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oil in a medium saucepan and whisk to dissolve cornstarch.
Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until dark brown and thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Combine chicken, egg whites, and salt in a bowl.
Place cornstarch, flour, and baking powder in a zip top bag, shake gently to combine. Add chicken mixture to cornstarch mixture in the bag, zip the top of the bag to seal, and shake vigorously to thoroughly coat chicken; set aside.
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.
Spray the basket or tray of your air fryer with oil.
Fill your basket or tray with a single layer of the chicken. Make sure to shake the excess cornstarch off before adding it to the basket/tray.
Spray the chicken with oil, then place in the preheated air fryer.
Cook the chicken for 6 minutes, then flip all of the pieces over, spray with oil, then place back in the air fryer for another 5-6 minutes.
Chicken is done when it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Repeat steps 6-10 until all of the chicken has been cooked.
Toss sauce and chicken in a large bowl until chicken is evenly coated. Serve, garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
This is one of my favorite recipes, and I’ve gotten nothing but compliments whenever I’ve made this for friends and family. Give it a try and let me know what you think! If you are trying this tasty Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe, come back and leave me a comment, and let me know how it turned out for you.
More Delicious Recipes:
Air Fryer Orange Chicken Video
Air Fryer Orange Chicken
- 2 oranges
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups cornstarch
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Spray oil
- 2 Scallions Chopped
- Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
- Using vegetable peeler, remove eight 2-inch strips of zest from 1 orange. Using rasp-style grater, grate 1½ teaspoons zest from the remaining orange. Halve both oranges and squeeze to get ¾ cup juice. Combine orange zest (strips and grated) and juice, broth, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oil in a medium saucepan and whisk to dissolve cornstarch.
- Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until dark brown and thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside.
- Get out ingredients for chicken.
- Combine chicken, egg whites, and salt in bowl.
- Place cornstarch, flour, and baking powder in a resealable bag, shake gently to combine.
- Add chicken mixture to cornstarch mixture in the bag.
- Slide the top of the bag to seal, and shake vigorously to thoroughly coat chicken; set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Spray the basket or tray of your air fryer with oil.
- Fill your basket or tray with a single layer of the chicken. Making sure to shake the excess cornstarch off before adding each piece to the basket/tray. I usually dump chicken out of bag to allow each piece of chicken to be shaken and excess cornstarch removed.
- Spray the chicken with oil, then place in the preheated air fryer.
- Cook the chicken for 6 minutes, then flip all of the pieces over, spray with oil, then place back in the air fryer for another 5-6 minutes.
- Chicken is done when it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Repeat steps 6-10 until all of the chicken has been cooked.
- Toss sauce and chicken in a large bowl.
- Stir until chicken is evenly coated.
- Serve, garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
- Enjoy every bite!