Air Fryer PF Chang’s Orange Chicken — Are you ready to take your Orange Chicken game up a notch? This flavor-packed Air Fryer PF Chang’s Orange Chicken recipe is just the ticket!
Every bite of this crunchy, tangy orange chicken will send taste buds soaring. Not only is it cooked in the air fryer instead of deep fried—so you can enjoy it guilt free—it’s also loaded with all the incredible flavors of a classic Chinese restaurant favorite. Give it a try tonight, and imagine getting all that deliciousness from the comfort of your home.
What Is PF Chang’s?
P.F. Chang’s is a popular American-based, Asian-themed casual dining restaurant chain. The “P.F.” stands for Paul Fleming, the co-founder, and “Chang’s” is for Philip Chiang, his partner. The first P.F. Chang’s opened in Scottsdale, Arizona 1993.
The restaurant is known for its modern take on traditional Asian cuisine, providing various dishes, including favorites like Mongolian Beef, Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and Kung Pao Chicken. Its menu spans several different styles of Asian cooking, from Chinese dim sum and Korean BBQ to Japanese sushi.
Beyond the food, P.F. Chang’s is recognized for its unique interior design, which often features a pair of larger-than-life, stone-clad horses at the entrance and an open-concept kitchen where guests can see the chefs at work.
What Is Orange Chicken
Orange chicken is a popular dish in North American Chinese cuisine. The dish features bite-sized pieces of chicken that are battered and deep-fried until golden and crispy, then coated in a sweet and tangy orange-flavored sauce.
The sauce typically includes ingredients like orange zest, orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and sometimes ginger, garlic, and red chili flakes, creating a complex flavor profile that is sweet, sour, salty, and a bit spicy. Some versions may also include a bit of cornstarch to help thicken the sauce.
Despite its name, orange chicken does not have a strong citrus flavor; instead, the orange lends a subtle sweetness and tang to the dish. The dish is often served with steamed rice and steamed vegetables on the side. It’s a staple on the menu at many Chinese-American restaurants.
Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer PF Chang’s Orange Chicken
Cravings for restaurant-style Chinese food can be hard to resist, especially when it’s one of your favorites. Today, we have a fantastic recipe that will surely surprise and delight you – Orange Chicken made with an air fryer! We’ll walk you through the ingredients step-by-step so you can make this delicious meal without visiting a PF Chang’s restaurant. So sharpen your kitchen skills and prepare for a flavor journey – Air Fryer PF Chang’s Orange Chicken!
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts: Both cuts work, but thighs often yield a more tender and juicy result. They need to be cut into bite-sized pieces.
- All-Purpose Flour: Coats the chicken pieces before air frying, giving them a crisp exterior.
- Cornstarch: Combined with flour for the coating, cornstarch helps achieve an extra crispy and golden exterior.
- Eggs: Beaten eggs will serve as a binding agent for the flour and cornstarch mixture.
- Salt and Pepper: These basic seasonings are used to taste to enhance the flavor of the chicken.
For the Orange Sauce:
- Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed is best for a vibrant citrus flavor, but store-bought can also be used.
- Orange Zest: This comes from the outer peel of an orange and adds a concentrated orange flavor.
- Granulated Sugar: Balances the tanginess of the orange with sweetness.
- Soy Sauce: Adds umami and saltiness to the sauce.
- Rice Vinegar: This gives the sauce a tangy note. If unavailable, you could use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic provides a nice aromatic undertone.
- Ginger: Fresh ginger gives a warm, spicy kick to the sauce.
- Red Chili Flakes (optional): These add a touch of heat. Adjust the quantity based on your spice tolerance.
- Cornstarch: Mixed with a bit of water to create a slurry, thickening your sauce.
- Water: Used to create a slurry with cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
- Green Onions, chopped (for garnish): Adds a pop of color and a mild, sweet onion flavor when sprinkled on top before serving.
- Sesame Seeds (for garnish): These add a nice visual touch and a subtle nutty flavor.
How To Make Homemade PF Chang’s Orange Chicken In Air Fryer
Are you tired of going to PF Chang’s every time you crave their delicious Orange Chicken? We’ve got the solution: now you can make this restaurant’s favorite dish right at home and in an Air Fryer! This simple recipe will help you recreate the takeout classic with ease.
With a few simple ingredients and guidance, you’ll be dining on your rendition of P.F. Chang’s famous Orange Chicken in no time. So whip out that Air Fryer, and let’s get cooking!
Marinade The Chicken: In a large bowl, add orange juice, white vinegar, soy sauce, and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Prepare the Chicken: In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Dip each piece of chicken into the beaten egg, then dredge it in the flour mixture, ensuring each piece is fully coated.
Air Fry the Chicken: Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F (200°C). Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they do not overlap (you may need to do this in batches). Cook for about 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through, until the chicken is golden brown and crispy.
Prepare the Orange Sauce: Prepare the sauce while the chicken is air frying. In a saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, ginger, and red chili flakes (if using). Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
Thicken the Sauce: Make a slurry by mixing cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Gradually add this slurry to the saucepan, stirring continuously. Simmer the sauce until it thickens.
Combine Chicken and Sauce: Once all the chicken pieces are air-fried, and the sauce is thickened, add the chicken to the saucepan and toss until each piece is fully coated in the sauce.
Garnish and Serve: Transfer the orange chicken to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and sesame seeds for garnish. Serve hot with a side of steamed rice or noodles.
Enjoy this delicious homemade version of P.F. Chang’s Orange Chicken!
Pro Tips For Making Homemade PF Chang’s Orange Chicken In Air Fryer
Here are some pro tips to help you make the perfect Air Fryer P.F. Chang’s Orange Chicken at home:
- Cut Consistently: Cut your chicken pieces into equal sizes to ensure they cook evenly in the air fryer.
- Do Not Overcrowd the Basket: Make sure to cook the chicken in batches if needed. Overcrowding the air fryer basket can lead to uneven cooking and the chicken pieces sticking together.
- Shake or Turn the Chicken: Halfway through the air frying process, turn the chicken pieces over or give the basket a good shake. This will help achieve a more even, golden-brown crust.
- Fresh is Best: Use fresh orange juice and zest in your sauce for a more vibrant, citrusy flavor.
- Adjust to Taste: Don’t be afraid to adjust the ingredients in the sauce to suit your taste. If you prefer a spicier kick, add more red chili flakes. If you like it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
- Coat the Chicken Well: Make sure each piece of chicken is thoroughly coated in the sauce before serving. The more the chicken is coated, the more flavorful each bite will be.
- Thickening the Sauce: If your sauce isn’t reducing as much as you’d like with the cornstarch slurry, you can add more slurry. Just remember to mix the cornstarch with cold water before adding it to avoid lumps.
- Garnish: Don’t skip the garnish! The green onions and sesame seeds add visual appeal and a nice textural contrast and flavor to the finished dish.
Homemade Air Fryer Orange Chicken Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?
Yes, you can use chicken breast instead of thighs. However, remember that chicken thighs are generally juicier and more tender. If you use chicken breast, be sure not to overcook it as it can become dry.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend and tamari or a gluten-free soy sauce. Make sure also to use gluten-free cornstarch.
My sauce isn’t thickening. What did I do wrong?
If your sauce isn’t thickening, it may be that you didn’t use enough cornstarch or the sauce hasn’t simmered long enough. You can add a bit more of a cornstarch-water slurry and continue simmering. Remember to always mix cornstarch with cold water before adding it to your sauce to avoid lumps.
Can I store and reheat leftovers?
Yes, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can reheat your air fryer at a low temperature, a stovetop skillet over medium heat, or your microwave. Note that reheating in an air fryer or a skillet will help maintain the chicken’s crispiness better than in a microwave.
Can I use bottled orange sauce instead of making my own?
While making your own orange sauce gives you control over the flavors and sweetness, you can use a bottled sauce for convenience. You’ll still get a tasty dish, but the flavor may not be as fresh or vibrant.
Can I use frozen chicken?
For best results, use fresh or wholly thawed chicken. If the chicken is frozen or partially frozen, it may cook unevenly, and the batter may not stick correctly.
What can I serve with the orange chicken?
Orange chicken pairs well with steamed white or brown rice, fried rice, chow mein, or stir-fried vegetables. For a low-carb option, you can serve it with cauliflower rice.
More Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer PF Chang’s Orange Chicken
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, Or Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 stalks green onions, chopped (for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, optional
- In a large bowl, add orange juice, white vinegar, soy sauce, and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
- In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Dip each piece of chicken into the beaten egg, then dredge it in the flour mixture, ensuring each piece is fully coated.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F (200°C). Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they do not overlap (you may need to do this in batches). Cook for about 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through, until the chicken is golden brown and crispy.
- Prepare the sauce while the chicken is air frying. In a saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, ginger, and red chili flakes (if using). Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
- Make a slurry by mixing cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Gradually add this slurry to the saucepan, stirring continuously. Simmer the sauce until it thickens.
- Once all the chicken pieces are air-fried, and the sauce is thickened, add the chicken to the saucepan and toss until each piece is fully coated in the sauce.
- Transfer the orange chicken to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and sesame seeds for garnish. Serve hot with a side of steamed rice or noodles.
- Enjoy this delicious homemade version of P.F. Chang's Orange Chicken!
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray
- Parchment Paper, optional