Orange Chicken Air Fryer is a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried orange chicken. This article explores the benefits of cooking orange chicken in an air fryer and provides tips on how to achieve the perfect crispy and flavorful dish at home.
Orange chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish that typically involves deep-frying chicken pieces and then coating them in a sticky and tangy orange sauce. However, using an air fryer can significantly reduce the amount of oil used in the cooking process, resulting in a lighter and less greasy dish.
Additionally, the air fryer helps to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the chicken tender and juicy on the inside. Whether you’re looking to cut back on calories or simply prefer a healthier cooking method, using an air fryer for orange chicken is a game-changer. Learn how to make this tasty dish in your own kitchen with our helpful tips and recipe suggestions.
Healthier Alternative To Traditional Fried Chicken
Introducing a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken, Orange Chicken Air Fryer delivers the same crispy goodness minus the guilt. Enjoy the tantalizing flavors of this popular dish without compromising on your health goals.
Orange Chicken Air Fryer:
Enjoy the deliciousness of orange chicken without the guilt! With the help of an air fryer, you can indulge in the crispy, tangy flavors of this Chinese-American favorite while reducing oil consumption, lowering calorie content, and retaining its nutritional value.
Reduced Oil Consumption:
- Air fryers use hot circulating air instead of oil to cook food, resulting in a significant reduction in oil consumption.
- By using minimal oil or even none at all, you can achieve the same crispy texture and golden brown finish associated with deep-fried dishes.
- The air fryer’s cooking method ensures that the chicken is evenly cooked and retains its moisture, all while using up to 80% less oil compared to traditional frying.
Lower Calorie Content:
- Traditional fried orange chicken can be calorie-loaded due to the excess oil absorbed during the frying process.
- Air frying significantly reduces the calorie content by frying with little to no oil, making it a healthier alternative.
- By opting for air-fried orange chicken, you can decrease your calorie intake while still enjoying the same great taste and texture.
Retained Nutritional Value:
- Deep frying can lead to the loss of essential nutrients in food. However, air frying helps retain the nutritional value of orange chicken.
- The shorter cooking time and minimal exposure to high heat ensure that the chicken maintains its vitamins and minerals.
- With air frying, you can savor the goodness of orange chicken without compromising on its nutritional benefits.
Switching to air-fried orange chicken allows you to savor a healthier version of this popular dish without sacrificing taste. By reducing oil consumption, lowering calorie content, and retaining nutritional value, you can enjoy guilt-free indulgence while satisfying your cravings. Embrace this delightful alternative and savor every crispy, flavorful bite.
Revel in the goodness of orange chicken made in the air fryer, and discover a whole new level of healthier indulgence!
Step 1: Prepare The Chicken
For the first step in preparing orange chicken in an air fryer, carefully handle and season the chicken before cooking.
The first step in preparing delicious orange chicken in an air fryer is to get your boneless, skinless chicken thighs ready. Follow these simple instructions to ensure your chicken is in perfect bite-sized pieces that will cook evenly, resulting in a crispy and flavorful dish.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs:
- Start with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as they are the perfect choice for this recipe. They are more flavorful and tender compared to chicken breasts.
- Chicken thighs can be found easily in most grocery stores. Ensure that the thighs are fresh and free from any foul odor.
- Trim off any excess fat or connective tissue from the chicken thighs. This will help in achieving a lean and crispy texture.
- Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel. It’s important to remove any excess moisture before proceeding with the next step.
- Place the chicken thighs on a clean, cutting board and get ready to cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Cutting Into Bite-Sized Pieces:
- Using a sharp knife, cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Aim for uniformity in size to ensure even cooking.
- The size of the pieces depends on personal preference, but it’s recommended to cut them into 1-inch cubes. This size allows for an ideal balance between tenderness and crispiness.
- As you cut the chicken, transfer the pieces to a clean bowl or plate. This will make it easier to season and marinate them later.
- Repeat this process with all the chicken thighs until you have successfully cut them all into bite-sized pieces.
- Once you have finished cutting the chicken, make sure to wash your hands and any cutting surfaces thoroughly with soap and water to maintain food safety protocols.
Now that you have completed step one, you are one step closer to enjoying homemade orange chicken in an air fryer. Stay tuned for the next steps to make this mouthwatering dish a reality.
Step 2: Marinate The Chicken
To marinate the chicken for your orange chicken air fryer recipe, follow step 2 by combining the ingredients and letting them soak in the flavors. Simple and delicious!
Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in preparing delicious orange chicken in an air fryer. The marinade adds flavor, tenderness, and juiciness to the chicken. In this section, we will dive into the key ingredients that make up the marinade: orange juice and zest, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
Orange Juice And Zest:
- Freshly squeezed orange juice provides a tangy and refreshing flavor to the marinade.
- The zest of an orange adds a burst of citrusy aroma and enhances the overall orange flavor profile.
- Soy sauce brings a savory and umami taste to the marinade, adding depth of flavor to the chicken.
- It also acts as a tenderizer, making the chicken more succulent and juicy.
Garlic And Ginger:
- Garlic, with its pungent and aromatic qualities, infuses the chicken with a bold and savory taste.
- Ginger offers a hint of spiciness and subtle sweetness to complement the other flavors in the marinade.
By marinating the chicken with this flavorful blend of orange juice and zest, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, you’ll be ensuring that every bite of your air-fried orange chicken is bursting with deliciousness. Let’s move on to the next step and start marinating the chicken!
Step 3: Preparing The Coating
For step 3 of preparing the coating for orange chicken in an air fryer, follow these instructions carefully to achieve the perfect crispy texture. Don’t miss out on these crucial steps!
To create a crispy and flavorful coating for your orange chicken in the air fryer, you’ll need to follow these simple steps:
- Start by placing 1 cup of cornstarch in a shallow bowl.
- Cornstarch will help to achieve that desirable crunch while keeping the chicken moist on the inside.
- Its fine texture ensures an even coating and a deliciously golden finish.
- Cornstarch acts as a binding agent and helps the sauce adhere to the chicken as well.
Salt And Pepper:
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cornstarch in the bowl, to taste.
- This seasoning adds a savory touch to the chicken.
- Salt enhances the flavor of the dish, while pepper adds a slight kick.
- Adjust the amount of salt and pepper based on your personal preference.
Once you’ve prepared the coating mixture with cornstarch, salt, and pepper, you are ready to move on to the next step, which is dipping the chicken pieces and getting them ready for the air fryer.
Step 4: Air Frying The Chicken
Step 4: Air frying the chicken is a crucial step in making delicious orange chicken in an air fryer. This method ensures a crispy exterior while keeping the meat tender and juicy.
Now that you have prepared the delicious orange chicken mixture and marinated it to perfection, it’s time to cook it in the air fryer. This cooking method allows you to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender.
Follow these simple steps to air fry your orange chicken:
Preheating The Air Fryer:
- Before getting started, preheat your air fryer to the recommended temperature of 400°F. Preheating will ensure that your chicken cooks evenly and achieves that desired golden crispiness.
- Once your air fryer is preheated, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Placing The Chicken In The Air Fryer:
- Carefully arrange the marinated chicken pieces in a single layer inside the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding the basket, as this may lead to less crispy results.
- Make sure to leave space between each chicken piece to allow the hot air to circulate and cook the chicken evenly.
- If needed, you can cook the chicken in multiple batches to maintain optimal air circulation.
- Close the air fryer basket and set the timer.
Cooking And Flipping The Chicken:
- Cook the chicken for 10 minutes at 400°F, allowing the air fryer to work its magic.
- After the initial cooking time, flip the chicken using tongs or a spatula to ensure even browning on both sides.
- Continue cooking the chicken for another 10 minutes, allowing it to achieve that irresistible crispiness.
Checking For Doneness:
- To ensure that your orange chicken is cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F for safe consumption.
- If needed, cook the chicken for an additional few minutes until it reaches the recommended temperature.
Serve And Enjoy:
- Once your orange chicken is cooked to perfection, carefully remove it from the air fryer.
- Garnish with some fresh cilantro and sesame seeds for an extra pop of flavor and presentation.
- Serve your homemade orange chicken with steamed rice or your favorite stir-fried veggies for a complete and delicious meal.
With these easy steps, you can create a scrumptious batch of orange chicken using your air fryer. So go ahead, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the mouthwatering combination of tangy orange glaze and crispy chicken. Your taste buds will thank you!
Use Panko Breadcrumbs For Extra Crunch
Get an extra crispy coating on your orange chicken with the use of panko breadcrumbs in the air fryer. Enjoy a delicious meal with a satisfying crunch every time.
Benefits Of Panko
- Adds extra crunch: Panko breadcrumbs are coarser and larger than regular breadcrumbs, which results in a crispier texture when fried. By using panko, you can take your orange chicken to the next level and enjoy a satisfying crunch with every bite.
- Light and airy: Unlike traditional breadcrumbs that can make dishes heavy and dense, panko breadcrumbs create a light and airy coating. This helps to keep the chicken tender and moist on the inside while providing a crispy exterior.
- Excellent absorption: Due to their unique texture, panko breadcrumbs have a superior ability to absorb moisture. This means that when used in your orange chicken recipe, the panko will soak up all the flavorful marinade, making each bite burst with deliciousness.
How To Incorporate It Into The Recipe
To maximize the crunchiness of your orange chicken, here’s how you can easily incorporate panko breadcrumbs into the recipe:
- Prepare the chicken: Start by cutting boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs into bite-sized pieces. This ensures that each piece is evenly coated with the panko breadcrumbs.
- Create a marinade: Whisk together a combination of soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, ginger, and honey to create a flavorful marinade for the chicken.
- Dip and coat: Take each piece of chicken and dip it into the marinade, making sure it is well coated. Then, roll the chicken in panko breadcrumbs, pressing gently to ensure proper adherence.
- Air fry to perfection: Place the coated chicken pieces in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook at a temperature of 400°F (200°C) for about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is crispy and golden brown. Remember to preheat the air fryer for the best results.
- Serve and enjoy: Once cooked, remove the orange chicken from the air fryer and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve with steamed rice or noodles, garnish with green onions, and drizzle with extra orange sauce for an added burst of flavor.
By incorporating panko breadcrumbs into your orange chicken recipe, you’ll be able to achieve an irresistibly crispy exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender. It’s a simple yet effective way to elevate the texture and flavor of this classic dish.
Shake The Basket Or Flip Chicken Pieces
Shake the basket or flip chicken pieces halfway through cooking for perfectly crispy orange chicken in the air fryer. Enjoy this delicious and healthier version of a classic dish.
When it comes to cooking orange chicken in an air fryer, it’s crucial to ensure that your chicken pieces are evenly browned and have a crispy texture. One way to achieve this is by shaking the basket or flipping the chicken pieces during the cooking process.
Here’s why it is important and how to do it:
Ensuring Even Browning
- Shake the basket: By shaking the basket midway through the cooking time, you allow the chicken pieces to be exposed to the hot air evenly. This movement helps prevent any uneven browning and ensures that all sides of the chicken are cooked to perfection.
- Flip the chicken pieces: Another method to achieve even browning is by flipping the chicken pieces. This technique ensures that both sides of the chicken have an equal amount of time facing the heating elements. As a result, you get a nicely browned and crispy exterior on all sides of the chicken.
Promoting Crispy Texture
- Increased airflow: When you shake the basket or flip the chicken pieces, it helps increase airflow around the chicken. This circulation of hot air ensures that the chicken’s surface becomes crispy and golden, enhancing the overall taste and texture.
- Eliminating moisture buildup: By shaking or flipping the chicken pieces, you also reduce the chances of any moisture buildup. Excess moisture can lead to soggy chicken, but with proper movement, the air fryer can effectively evaporate the moisture, resulting in a delightful crispy texture.
Remember, for the best results, shake the basket or flip the chicken pieces only once or twice during the cooking process. Doing it too frequently may disrupt the cooking time and hinder the overall outcome. So, keep an eye on the chicken and give it a gentle shake or flip to ensure even browning and a crispy texture.
Adjusting Cooking Time And Temperature
Adjusting the cooking time and temperature is crucial when preparing orange chicken in an air fryer. Finding the right balance ensures a crispy exterior and juicy interior, resulting in a delicious meal.
When it comes to cooking orange chicken in an air fryer, adjusting the cooking time and temperature is essential to achieve the perfect balance of crispy, golden-brown exterior and juicy, tender interior. Here are the factors to consider and how to determine the optimal settings:
Factors To Consider
- Chicken Thickness: Thicker chicken pieces may require longer cooking times to ensure they are cooked through. Conversely, thinner pieces may require shorter cooking times to avoid overcooking.
- Air Fryer Model: Different air fryer models may vary in terms of heat distribution and cooking power. Familiarize yourself with your specific air fryer’s instructions and recommended cooking times for best results.
- Recipe Variations: Various orange chicken recipes may call for different cooking times and temperatures. Adjust accordingly based on the specific recipe you are using.
- Personal Preference: Adjust the cooking time and temperature based on your desired level of crispiness and doneness. Experimentation is key to finding your ideal texture.
How To Determine Optimal Settings
- Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating the air fryer helps ensure even cooking and prevents sticking. It’s recommended to preheat the air fryer for about 3-5 minutes before adding the chicken.
- Start with Recommended Temperature and Time: Begin with the recommended temperature and time provided in your recipe or air fryer manual as a baseline. This will give you a starting point to adjust from.
- Assess Crispiness and Doneness: After the initial cooking time, check the chicken for crispiness and doneness. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken, which should reach 165°F (75°C) for safe consumption.
- Adjust for Crispiness: If the chicken is not as crispy as desired, increase the temperature by 25°F (15°C) and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Repeat this process until you achieve your desired level of crispiness.
- Adjust for Doneness: If the chicken is not fully cooked through, decrease the temperature by 25°F (15°C) to prevent further browning and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
- Customize Based on Results: Take note of the adjustments made and the resulting texture and flavor. This will help you in future cooking endeavors and allow you to fine-tune the settings according to your preferences.
Remember, every air fryer is unique, and it may take a few attempts to find the perfect cooking time and temperature for your specific appliance and desired outcome. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different settings until you achieve the ideal balance of crispy and succulent orange chicken.
Pairing With Steamed Rice Or Noodles
Orange Chicken Air Fryer is the perfect dish to pair with steamed rice or noodles. Its crispy texture and tangy orange glaze create a delightful combination that will satisfy your taste buds.
If you’re looking for the perfect accompaniment to your delicious orange chicken made in the air fryer, look no further than steamed rice or noodles. The flavors of the orange chicken dish are beautifully balanced when paired with either of these options.
Whether you prefer the simplicity of steamed rice or the heartiness of noodles, both choices make for a satisfying and complete meal. Let’s explore how each option enhances the overall enjoyment of your orange chicken creation.
Balancing The Flavors:
- Steamed Rice: The light and fluffy texture of steamed rice is the ideal complement to the rich and tangy orange sauce of the chicken. It acts as a neutral base, allowing the flavors of the chicken to shine through. The mild taste of the rice helps balance out the sweetness and acidity of the orange sauce, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
- Noodles: Opting for noodles adds a delightful twist to your orange chicken dish. Whether you choose traditional egg noodles, rice noodles, or even udon noodles, they provide a satisfying chewiness that contrasts with the tender chicken. The noodles absorb the flavorful orange sauce, giving every bite a burst of tanginess. This pairing adds an extra layer of complexity to the overall taste, elevating the dish to new heights.
Adding Variety To The Dish:
- Steamed Rice: If you’re craving simplicity and a clean taste, steamed rice is the way to go. However, you can easily level up your rice by adding some diced vegetables, such as carrots, peas, or bell peppers. This not only adds vibrant colors to your plate but also introduces an additional touch of freshness and crunch to each bite. Feel free to experiment with different vegetable combinations to suit your taste preferences.
- Noodles: Noodles provide endless opportunities for customization. You can toss your orange chicken with stir-fried vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, or snap peas, creating a colorful and nutritious meal. Alternatively, you can even try incorporating different sauces or spices into your noodles to further enhance the overall taste. Your imagination is the only limit to the variety you can achieve with noodles and orange chicken.
Both steamed rice and noodles serve as fantastic partners to your orange chicken dish prepared in the air fryer. While steamed rice offers a simple and neutral base, noodles provide a more textured and adventurous experience. Whether you prefer the classic combination of rice or the creative flair of noodles, both options perfectly balance the flavors of your orange chicken, taking your meal to the next level.
So go ahead and explore these pairings, bringing a delectable twist to your air-fried orange chicken feast.
Garnishing For Visual Appeal
For an eye-catching presentation, garnish your orange chicken air fryer dish with vibrant sliced oranges, fresh parsley, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The mix of colors and textures adds visual appeal to this delicious meal.
When it comes to serving your orange chicken in the air fryer, garnishing plays a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal of the dish. Garnishing not only adds a pop of color but also adds extra flavor and texture to your orange chicken.
Here are some garnishing ideas that will take your orange chicken to the next level:
Freshly Chopped Green Onions:
- Sprinkle a generous amount of freshly chopped green onions on top of the orange chicken.
- Green onions add a vibrant touch of green, complementing the orange hues of the chicken.
- They also offer a mild onion flavor and a refreshing crunch that adds depth to every bite of your orange chicken.
- Toasted sesame seeds make an excellent garnish for orange chicken.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds over the chicken to give it an appealing nutty flavor and a pleasant visual appeal.
- The slight crunch adds an interesting texture that perfectly complements the crispy exterior of the air-fried orange chicken.
By incorporating these garnishing ideas, you’ll not only elevate the presentation of your orange chicken but also add an extra layer of taste and texture. Experiment with different combinations and find the one that suits your preferences. Enjoy the delightful experience of devouring a visually stunning and delicious orange chicken from your air fryer.
Frequently Asked Questions Of Orange Chicken Air Fryer
How Long To Heat Up Orange Chicken In Air Fryer?
Preheat orange chicken in air fryer for 10-12 minutes to achieve a crispy and evenly heated result.
How Long Do You Cook Mandarin Orange Chicken From Trader Joe’S In The Air Fryer?
Cook Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken in the air fryer for 12-15 minutes until crispy and cooked through.
Why Is My Chicken Tough In Air Fryer?
Cooking chicken in an air fryer can make it tough because of the dry heat.
How Long Should I Put My Chicken In The Air Fryer?
To cook chicken in the air fryer, the recommended time is usually around 20-25 minutes.
The Orange Chicken Air Fryer is a game-changer when it comes to preparing delicious and healthier versions of this popular dish. With its ability to cook food using significantly less oil, it offers a guilt-free indulgence for those who crave the crispy goodness of orange chicken.
The air fryer’s versatility allows you to experiment with different flavors and textures, creating a personalized twist on the classic recipe. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, the user-friendly functionality ensures consistent results with minimal effort. The convenience of the air fryer allows you to enjoy restaurant-quality orange chicken in the comfort of your own home, saving you time and money.
So, say goodbye to greasy takeout and hello to a healthier, tastier alternative with the Orange Chicken Air Fryer. Elevate your cooking experience and savor every bite!