Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken that tastes just like takeout - but healthier, and cheaper! Perfectly air fried chicken is covered in the juiciest orange sauce, all done in under 30 minutes with a few simple steps.
In a saucepan, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce, except water and corn starch. Place over medium heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Take care that it does not burn and lower the heat if nedded to keep it at a slow simmer.
Crack the eggs on a deep plate or in a shallow bowl, and add the salt, pepper and oil. Mix well.
2 eggs, 2 teaspoon fine table salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 tablespoon cooking oil
On another deep plate or shallow bowl, mix together the flour and the corn starch for the chicken.
½ cup corn starch, 1 cup flour
Dip the chicken first in the egg mixture, and then the flour. In both instances, make sure the chicken gets completely covered. Repeat for all the chicken pieces.
1 lb chicken thigh filets
Preheat the air fryer by running it at 390°F (200°C) for 5 minutes.
Place the chicken in the air fryer basket, without creating multiple layers. You might need to fry the chicken in batches. Air fry for 3 minutes at 390°F (200°C).
After 3 minutes, bring out the air fryer basket and use kitchen forceps or another tool to mix the chicken and break apart any pieces that are stuck together. Then place back in the air fryer and air fry for 3 more minutes at 390°F (200°C).
Mix the cold water and corn starch for the sauce, then add to the orange sauce. Mix well and allow to simmer for a minute more, until thickened.
¼ cup cold water, 1 tablespoon corn starch
Check to make sure the chicken is done, then place fried chicken in a large bowl and pour over the sauce. Mix well, then serve!
Ingredient notes & substitutions
Oranges - we're using a bit of orange zest and a lot of juice. The juice canbe swapped for the bottled kind, but fresh is so much better.
Scallions are optional, and used for decorative purposes and to add a pop of freshness to the flavor profile. You can use green onions, spring onions or chives instead, or decorate with some sesame seeds.
Chicken thigh filets have more flavor than chicken breasts, but you can use any boneless type of chicken - we're cutting it up in small pieces anyway
Flour and cornstarch are combined for the chicken, for the best color and most crispiness. You can use just one, but with only flour it's not as crispy, and with only cornstarch the color is not as nice.
Japanese soy sauce can be switched for Chinese soy sauce but it will change the flavor slightly and the color a bit more
Cooking oil: choose a neutral kind, I use canola oil
Extra flavors can be added if you like: garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes are all delicious to add to the sauce just at the end
Tips & tricks
Keep an eye on the sauce - it should only simmer. If the heat is too high it might end up burning.
To save time you can bread all the chicken at once. It won't get as evenly breaded, but it definitely works. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and mix with the egg mixture, then pour over the flour mixture and mix again.
Preheat your air fryer for the best result - if not you will need to add some time to the cook time
Cook the chicken in a single layer - a little bit of overlap is fine
Mix the chicken halfway and make sure to break apart any pieces that are stuck together, for an even cook on all sides
Cook time can vary with your air fryer model
Make sure the chicken is done - it should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) and be white inside
Use a meat thermometer to get the temperature of the chicken just right
Prep ahead by cooking the sauce and chicken, then storing separately in the fridge. Reheat and combine just before serving.
Storeleftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 4 days
Freezeleftovers to keep them for up to 3 months
Reheat leftovers in the microwave in 30 second increments
Can I make this gluten free?
Yes, you can! Just use only cornstarch instead of cornstarch and flour, and make sure you're using a gluten free soy sauce.
Can I make this in the oven instead?
Yes, you can definitely cook the chicken in the oven instead. Just bake on a lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes at 400°F (200°C), turning halfway.