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Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Leah Cohen
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins
Servings:
2
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(14)

Chef notes

The air fryer is undeniably my closest ally in the kitchen, a trusty companion that sees daily use in my culinary adventures. Its presence is particularly invaluable when I cook for me and my family, especially when it involves reimagining recipes that traditionally call for deep-frying. While not every deep-fried classic seamlessly translates to the air fryer, the magic of this appliance truly shines through in my beloved orange chicken recipe.

Orange chicken is a Chinese American classic that my whole family loves. The chicken gets nice and crispy in the air-fryer — you can barely taste the difference from the deep-fried version. The key is double “frying” the chicken: first, cook it at a lower heat in the air fryer, then raise the heat at the end of the cooking process to ensure that the chicken is super crispy. While the chicken cooks in the air-fryer, make the sweet orange sauce so that everything can come together seamlessly. You can even make a big batch of the orange sauce and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It also freezes very well and can be used as a marinade. Brush it on salmon before air frying, then drizzle more on top.

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it. 

Technique Tip: The double fry technique isn't limited to deep-frying; it can also be used with an air fryer. The initial cook is carried out at a lower temperature for an extended period, ensuring that the protein cooks without becoming overly brown. The second frying step is completed at a high heat to achieve a crispy finish.

Swap Option: You may use cornstarch in place of potato starch for the chicken.

Ingredients

For the Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2- inch pieces
  • cups potato starch
  • cooking spray, for coating
  • cooked jasmine rice, for serving
For the Sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon msg (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the Garnish
  • orange slices
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, dark greens only
Fulfilled by

Preparation

1.

Preheat the air fryer to 350 F.

2.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, egg white, salt and white pepper until combined. Add the chicken, toss to coat and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

3.

Lightly coat the chicken pieces in potato starch. Spray the air fryer tray with cooking spray, then arrange the chicken in a single layer. Spray the top of the chicken and cook at 350 F for 10 minutes. Shake the chicken to loosen any pieces that are sticking, then air fry again at 400 F for 8 minutes or until the chicken is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165 F.

4.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, water, orange juice, orange zest, salt, msg and vinegar.

5.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons water with the cornstarch; stir until well combined to create a slurry.

6.

In a large wok set over high heat, add the oil, garlic and ginger and cook until light golden brown, 15 to 30 seconds. Immediately add the sauce and bring it up to a simmer, 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the sesame oil and stir to combine.
Add in the air-fried chicken and toss to combine. Serve the chicken immediately over jasmine rice. Garnish with orange slices and sliced scallions.