Craving Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken but can’t get out of the house or make it to a store? Luckily, we have just the thing for you! You’ll never believe how easy and delicious making orange chicken can be at home with an air fryer.
From crispy breading to moist chicken cooked in sweet and savory orange sauce – you won’t want anything else after trying our copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe. Not only does this dish come together quickly and easily, but your whole family will love it too! So put away those take-out menus, and let’s get cooking!
Panda Express Orange Chicken is a popular dish, and making it in an air fryer is even easier! You can make a delicious meal with the same great flavors of Panda Express but without all the fuss.
Panda Express Copycat Orange Chicken Recipe
Do you have a craving for Panda Express Orange Chicken? Imagine being able to make the perfect copycat version in your own kitchen! This tasty homemade feast has all of the classic flavors you know and loves crunchy deep-fried chicken covered in a zesty orange sauce.
With its sweet and tangy flavor, this dish will surely become a favorite at mealtime! Creating your own restaurant-quality entree couldn’t be easier with today’s do-it-yourself recipe. This recipe is famous, and there is o reason you can’t make it your air fryer basket!
This makes for a great meal that you can make in minutes! And it’s a great budget-friendly meal, so next time skip Chinese takeout and make this recipe! And don’t skimp on the orange chicken sauce. It’s amazing!
Why You Will Love Easy Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe
- Crispy Chicken Bites
- Chicken Cooks Amazing!
- Sticky Orange Sauce
- Healthier Alternative Than Takeout
- Better Than Your Local Chinese Restaurant
- Great For Busy Weeknights
It’s no secret that Panda Express’ Orange Chicken is a fan favorite! Spicy and sweet, this takeout classic tastes just like the one from your local Chinese joint. With its tangy orange sauce, succulent chicken chunks, and irresistible crunch of fried batter – it’s hard not to love it! So why not try making this beloved dish at home? All you’ll need are simple ingredients and basic kitchen tools. Gather up all the necessities listed below – let’s get cookin’!
Remember the step-by-step instructions are at the bottom of the page, the printable recipe card.
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken tenderloins
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour
- Potato Starch: You can substitute cornstarch
- Eggs: Use large, room-temperature eggs
- Panko Bread Crumbs: You can substitute pork rinds for a low-carb and keto-friendly option.
- Seasonings and Spices: Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Ginger Powder
- Orange Sauce Ingredients: Butter, Ginger, Minced Garlic, Orange Zest, Orange Marmalade, Orange Juice, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, and Cornstarch.
- Oil: use olive oil or sesame oil.
How To Cook Panda Express Orange Chicken In Air Fryer
Are you craving the Orange Chicken from Panda Express but don’t want to leave the house? Have no fear! With an air fryer, you can enjoy this delicious dish at home. By following these simple instructions and with just a few ingredients, you’ll be able to experience that takeoff on Chinese food with a kick of orange flavor in less than 30 minutes — what’s not to love? Plus, air frying your chicken helps to keep things healthy by avoiding deep-frying. So let’s get started!
Step One: Prepare The Chicken
Using a sharp knife, cut the chicken into 1” bite-sized pieces and place the chicken pieces into a bowl. Remove as much mixture as possible with a paper towel or kitchen towel.
Step Two: Prepare Your Breading Stations
Add the all-purpose flour and potato starch (or corn starch) in a large bowl, and divide the mixture in half between the two bowls. Whisk the egg mixture, eggs, and cold water in a third bowl. The fourth bowl combines panko bread crumbs, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and ginger powder.
Step Three: Bread Chicken
Working in batches of 4-5, coat chicken in cornstarch mixture, then dip into eggs. Allow excess egg to drip off, then dip into the 2nd flour bowl. Dredge in eggs again, then roll chicken in the panko bread mixture.
Step Four: Air Fry Chicken
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Then, line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil or parchment paper (placed after you preheat your air fryer) and spray foil or parchment paper with non-stick spray. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the basket. Spray the chicken batter with cooking spray, or brush with olive oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn. Remove when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F and the chicken is golden brown.
Step Five: Prepare The Famous Panda Express Orange Sauce
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the orange sauce. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the garlic, ginger, and orange zest and cook for 1 minute until the tangy sauce comes to a slow boil. In a medium bowl, combine the orange marmalade, orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth, then add the mixture to the saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until boiling, then lower to a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Step Six: Toss The Chicken
Remove the chicken from the air fryer and toss in the sauce. Garnish with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and orange zest. If you want to return the coated chicken back into the air fryer, you can air fry it for a couple of minutes.
Pro Tips The Best Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Air Fryer
- Crispy Chicken: Make sure to brush a little oil over the chicken’s coating to crisp up; otherwise, you may be left with a white spot or traces of the flour mixture.
- Cooking Time: The Cook time will vary from air fryer to air fryer. The only true way to ensure your chicken is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer.
- Spiciness and Heat: If you want to increase sauce heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper or garlic powder. Add a teaspoon of brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, or white vinegar to make the orange sauce sweeter.
- Cut Your Chicken: Dry your chicken with paper towels in similar-sized pieces.
How To Thicken The Orange Sauce
If you want to thicken your orange sauce, you can use a cornstarch slurry. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to a tablespoon of water into a small bowl, mix well, slowly fold the cornstarch into the sauce, and mix well.
How To Store Leftover Orange Chicken
Storing orange chicken is a breeze! Start by transferring the leftovers to an airtight container. Ensure only one layer of chicken is in the container, and it covers the bottom completely. If you have more than one layer, separate them with wax or parchment paper.
For best results, refrigerate the orange chicken for up to four days.
How To Reheat Orange Chicken In Air Fryer
Reheating orange chicken in an air fryer is a great way to get the same delicious flavor and texture as when it was freshly cooked. The air fryer circulates hot air around the food, creating a crisp outer layer while keeping the inside juicy. It’s much faster than other methods like microwave or oven, so you can have your favorite Chinese takeout in minutes. Here’s how to do it:
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (176°C).
- Place the desired amount of orange chicken into the air fryer basket and spread them out evenly so they cook evenly on all sides. For best results, don’t overcrowd the basket.
- Set the timer for 4-5 minutes and let it cook. Check on the chicken after a few minutes and give it a shake to ensure even cooking.
- When it is done, remove it from the air fryer.
What To Serve With Air Fried Orange Chicken
Air-fried orange chicken is a delicious and healthy alternative to the traditional deep-fried version. The air fryer helps lock in all flavors while reducing fat and calories. Serve your air-fried orange chicken with some of these tasty accompaniments:
- Air Fryer Fried Rice: Fried rice is an easy side dish that pairs perfectly with sweet and savory orange chicken. Try a classic version with egg, onions, and peas, or add some peppers and carrots for extra flavor. You can also serve it with white rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice.
- Noodles: Whether you prefer lo mein, pad Thai, or chow mein noodles, they are all perfect accompaniments to air-fried orange chicken. You can even drizzle the sauce from your orange chicken over the noodles for an extra flavorful dish.
- Veggies: Roasted or steamed vegetables make a great side to air-fried orange chicken. Try broccoli, green beans, snap peas, bell peppers, or Instant Pot Carrots for a healthy yet delicious meal; I love serving fresh ginger along with the dish.
- Salad: For a lighter option, try serving your air-fried orange chicken with a green salad. This will help balance the sweetness of the orange chicken and give your meal some extra nutrients. You can also top your salad with crunchy nuts or seeds for added texture and flavor.
- Fruit: Air-fried orange chicken is especially delicious when served with fresh fruit such as fresh oranges, pineapple chunks, or other citrus fruits. This is a great way to add some sweet notes to your meal and make it even healthier!
No matter which accompaniments you choose, the air-fried orange chicken will surely be a hit. With just a few simple ingredients and some tasty sides, this dish makes for an easy and delicious meal that everyone will love!
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Crack Chicken
- Air Fryer Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
We hope you have enjoyed this delicious Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe as much as we have! On top of being incredibly tasty, this dish is so easy and convenient to make that you’ll be able to impress friends and family any day of the week. So the next time you want to try your hand at deep frying this recipe, reach for your air fryer instead!
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Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon potato starch, or cornstarch
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger root, minced
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1 large orange, jucied
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Cut chicken into 1” bite-sized pieces and place into a bowl.
- Prepare a dredging station. Add the all-purpose flour and potato starch in one bowl, and divide the mixture in half between two bowls. In a third bowl, whisk to combine eggs and water. The fourth bowl combines panko bread crumbs, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and ginger powder. Working in batches of 4-5, coat chicken in flour, then dip into eggs. Allow excess egg to drip off, then dip into the 2nd flour bowl. Dredge in eggs again, then roll chicken in the panko bread mixture.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400* for 5 minutes.
- Line the air fryer basket with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray. Arrange chicken in a single layer in the basket. Cook for 10 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare orange sauce. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the garlic, ginger, and orange zest and cook for 1 minute. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange marmalade, orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth, then add mixture to the saucepan. Cook on medium high heat until boiling, then lower to a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and toss in the sauce.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and orange zest and enjoy!
- Air Fyrer
- Cooking Spray