Throw away that takeout menu because I’m showing you how to make orange chicken in the air fryer in just 3 simple steps.
Zesty air fryer orange chicken pairs juicy chicken nuggets with a fresh orange citrus sauce for a delicious takeout-style meal at home.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase, this site may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Air fryer frozen chicken nuggets are my favorite meal-time shortcut. I always keep a few bags of my favorite nuggets in the freezer to cook up any time we need a quick and easy meal.
Chicken nuggets are delicious on their own, but they can also easily be transformed into one of my favorite Asian take-out dishes – orange chicken!
To make air fryer orange chicken, crispy fried chicken nuggets are tossed into a sweet and spicy orange sauce and served over rice or noodles.
This easy air fryer chicken recipe is ready in just 13 minutes! You can’t even get your whole family to agree on what to order from a local restaurant that quickly.
It’s the perfect easy dinner for a busy weeknight.
Ideas for what to serve with orange chicken:
Easy Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe
I love Chinese takeout but the restaurant recipes often rely on sauces that are full of sugar and preservatives. Not to mention, take-out is just plain expensive.
Learning to make a few of our favorite Asian recipes at home has been easy to do and this orange chicken is probably one of my favorites.
Frozen chicken nuggets are cooked crispy in the air fryer and then tossed with a simple-to-make orange sauce made with ingredients I keep in my pantry.
Air frying the chicken nuggets is super easy, and you can prepare the sauce while the chicken cooks, making this a super delicious meal that comes together quickly.
It’s fresh and flavorful, protein-packed and can be served with rice or noodles to keep the cost of a full meal low.
Skip Panda Express and make your own takeout favorite at home!
Add some steamed veggies like green beans or broccoli to really round out this meal.
More Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Love:
How to Make Orange Chicken In The Air Fryer
It’s really easy to make orange chicken in your air fryer.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the Chicken:
- Frozen Chicken Breast Nuggets, such as Just Bare brand
For the Sauce:
- Orange Juice
- Brown Sugar
- Rice Vinegar
- Soy Sauce
- Ground Ginger
- Sweet Chili Sauce (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
- Rice or Noodles
How to Make It:
(Full printable recipe card is available below)
Add the chicken nuggets. First you’ll preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F and add frozen chicken nuggets to the air fryer basket, keeping them in a single layer.
Cook the chicken. Next, you’ll cook for 8 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cook time, until they’re nice and golden brown.
Prepare the sauce. Next, you’ll combine orange juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ground ginger, and sweet chili sauce (or red pepper flakes) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
Let the sauce ingredients simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. If it starts to boil, reduce to medium heat.
Thicken the sauce. Next, you’ll whisk together cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Stir the corn starch slurry into the sauce, stirring well.
Simmer for one minute so the cornstarch mixture can thicken the sauce, then remove from heat.
Toss chicken with sauce. Last, you’ll remove the crispy chicken pieces from air fryer and toss with sauce.
Serve over rice or noodles for an easy family favorite meal!
Notes and Adaptations:
- I served with Instant Pot white rice, but you could also use brown rice or lo mein noodles.
- If you have some fresh oranges on hand, feel free to add a teaspoon or two of orange zest to your orange chicken sauce.
- You can use regular soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce in this recipe. I haven’t tried coconut aminos, but I’m sure it would work fine!
- There’s no need to spritz the chicken nuggets with oil or cooking spray, as most frozen nuggets already have some oil on them for optimum crisping.
- The amount of nuggets you can fit in your basket will depend on the size of your air fryer.
- Feel free to garnish with some sliced green onions or sesame seeds if you’d like.
- The cook time may vary slightly for different brands of frozen chicken nuggets or air fryers. We love the Just Bare brand of nuggets, which can be found at Costco, Kroger, and other grocery stores.
- For the Chicken:
- 1 lb frozen chicken breast nuggets, such as Just Bare brand
- For the Sauce:
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp sweet chili sauce (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 TBSP water
- For Serving:
- Rice or Noodles
- Preheat the air fryer to 350F.
- Once preheated, add frozen chicken nuggets to the air fryer basket, keeping them in a single layer.
- Cook for 8 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cook time.
- While the nuggets are cooking, prepare the sauce. Combine orange juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ground ginger, and sweet chili sauce (or red pepper flakes) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Let sauce simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- In a small bowl or cup, whisk together cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Stir into the sauce, stirring well. Simmer for one minute and remove from heat.
- Remove chicken from air fryer and toss with sauce. Serve over rice or noodles.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 441mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 40g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is not guaranteed for accuracy.
Get the Instant Pot Meal Plan Jumpstart
Join the free community and you'll learn simple ways to easily create tasty food for your family, as well as immediate access to the FREE Instant Pot Meal Plan Jumpstart to help you get a tasty dinner on the table in a flash!
"Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience in such a friendly and delightful way!!! So far, I'm very impressed with the results...thanks again for your guidance into this new realm of cooking!" -Margaret
Enter my free resource library for my latest printables and resources! Password is 'IHEARTMARGIN' -- please copy and paste that in at the link above. Thanks for being a subscriber!!