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Air Fryer Orange Chicken
Air fryer orange chicken is lighter on the calories and SO much better than Panda Express. - Learn how to make the best orange sauce featuring real oranges and secret ingredient!
Servings 4 servings
- 3 large oranges
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (light brown sugar or coconut sugar also works!)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-in cubes
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Canola or vegetable pan spray
- Sliced green onions and hot cooked rice for serving
Use a paring knife to carefully remove peel from oranges (try to avoid cutting the white pith, you only want the orange zest) and place in a medium container. Juice oranges and reserve juice in fridge.
Sprinkle sugar over orange peel, seal container, and shake several times to infuse peel with sugar. Let sugar mixture sit at room temperature overnight or at least 8 hours (up to 24)
The next day, stir 1/4 cup water into sugar mixture until sugar is dissolved. Strain sugar mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Remove a few peels from sieve and finely mince into 1 tablespoons worth of peel. Add to orange sugar syrup and discard remaining peels.
Whisk 1/4 cup reserved orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch-water mixture into orange sugar syrup until smooth. Set aside for a moment.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmery. Add ginger, garlic, and jalapeno and saute 1-2 minutes until just fragrant. Reduce heat to medium and pour sauce mixture into pan. Cook stirring occasionally until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Cover sauce and keep warm on low.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. Add chicken and rice vinegar and submerge in egg mixture. Allow chicken to marinate 20 minutes.
In a separate large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture tossing several times until chicken is fully coated.
**Spray the grate of a 4-qt air fryer with pan spray and preheat 3 minutes to 400F. Lay chicken in a single layer on fryer grate (work in batches as necessary - we typically do 2 batches) Spray chicken well with pan spray and air fry at 400F 8 minutes, shaking basket once halfway through cooking. Repeat frying process with remaining chicken.
Toss hot chicken into warm orange sauce until evenly coated in sauce. Serve orange chicken over hot rice with green onions sprinkled on top. Enjoy!
*Sauce slightly adapted from Binging with Babish.
**For pan frying chicken instead of air frying, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or wok. Working in batches of two, pan fry breaded chicken in hot oil, turning occasionally until chicken is golden brown and registers 165F.
Serving: 4oz chicken (calucalted without rice) | Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.1g | Protein: 25.1g | Fat: 8.9g | Saturated Fat: 0.7g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 1741mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 23.4g | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg