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Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken


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Skip the takeout and make this air fryer orange chicken at home instead. This is my take on the famous Panda Express orange chicken that everyone loves. 

If you love making takeout favorites at home, then this is a recipe that you are going to enjoy. It’s crispy chicken coated in a tangy flavorful sauce.

Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken in a white bowl with rice  next to a halved orange with an air fryer an another bowl of chicken blurred in the background

Panda Express Orange Chicken 

The original orange chicken we all loved that Panda Express released in 2016 was inspired by Hunan province’s flavors. It is a crispy chicken covered with savory orange sauce. You can taste all these flavors in this amazing copycat Panda Express orange chicken. 

Why I Love This Recipe

I used to buy Chinese takeout a lot, especially when I’m by myself. However, I find it really costly to buy takeout every time I want it. So I found a way to make one at home that is healthier and just as yummy as the one I buy from Panda Express. 

  • Easy to make
  • Always a hit at parties
  • Perfect for picky eaters
  • Fills the house with a delicious aroma

If you love making Chinese Takeout recipes at home give this Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli recipe a try.

Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken in a white bowl with rice  next to a halved orange with an air fryer an another bowl of chicken blurred in the background

Ingredients

You only need a handful of basic ingredients to help you make this air fryer orange chicken. Most of these ingredients can be found in your kitchen pantry. 

  • chicken breast, cubed
  • flour
  • cornstarch 
  • paprika 
  • cayenne
  • Nature’s Seasoning 
  • eggs

For the sauce

  • orange, you’ll need the juice and zest
  • soy sauce
  • white vinegar
  • brown sugar, packed
  • minced garlic 
  • cornstarch, mixed with 1 tbsp water
Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken ingredients

Substitutions

Brown sugar: The best substitute for brown sugar is white sugar mixed with molasses since this is what brown sugar is mainly made of.

Nature’s seasoning: To make your own nature’s seasoning, mix together salt, pepper, parsley flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder. These seasonings are basically what make up nature’s seasoning. 

Vinegar: You can use rice vinegar if you want to since most Asian cuisines use this kind of vinegar.

Equipment Needed/Helpful Tools

You only need a handful of kitchen tools to make this dish. These are all things that you probably already have in your kitchen. 

How To Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Make your own orange chicken from Panda Express at the comfort of your own home with these simple steps. You will be so glad that you made this tasty dinner recipe.

Step 1: Make the sauce

In a saucepan over medium heat, add all sauce ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Once slow boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent the sauce from sticking. Let sit on warm while the chicken cooks.

Air Fryer Orange Chicken sauce in a pan.

Step 2: Mix together the dry ingredients

In a mixing bowl, mix spices, flour and cornstarch.

spices, flour and cornstarch in a white bowl.

Step 3: Whisk the egg

In a separate bowl whisk egg.

Step 4: Dredge the chicken in flour and egg

Coat the chicken in the flour, and then dredge in egg.

cut up raw chicken pieces in a bowl of flour mixture
coated chicken pieces being dipped in the beaten eggs in a bowl

Step 5: Repeat the flour dredge

Return chicken back to flour and fully coat.

the coated chicken being coated in flour mixture again

Step 6: Add the chicken to the air fryer basket

Place breaded chicken in an oil sprayed air fryer basket. Spray chicken with oil.

coated chicken pieces being cooked in an air fryer

Step 7: Air fry the chicken

Cook on 380 for 10 minutes.

Step 8: Coat the chicken in the sauce

Once all the chicken is cooked, increase sauce heat to low medium and add fried chicken. Stir until chicken is completely coated.

a closeup of Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken in a white bowl with rice

Variations

This recipe is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. However, there are a few variations that you can do to make this Panda Express inspired dish your own.

Add some vegetables: You can add some veggies to this dish to make it more filling and nutritious. Some good options include broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots. 

Make it spicier: If you want a little more heat, you can add more cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the dish. 

Add some crunch: To add some crunch and texture, you can top the dish with chopped peanuts or cashews.

Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken in a white bowl with rice and chopsticks.

Toppings

I find this Panda Express copycat orange chicken better with a bit of garnish when serving. Here are some suggestions:

  • Green onions
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sesame seeds

FAQs

Do you have questions about this air fryer orange chicken recipe? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions for this recipe.

How to store

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.

How to reheat

To reheat, place in the air fryer at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave. Just heat on high for about 1-2 minutes or until warmed throughout.

Does this dish freeze well?

I do not recommend freezing this dish as the sauce can separate when thawed.

Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken in a white bowl with rice and chopsticks.

More Chinese Recipes

If you like Chinese food, give these recipes a try:

Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe

Ready to get cooking? Print off the recipe card below or toggle on Cook Mode to keep your screen from going dark while you follow along on your phone or tablet.

Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken

Crispy chicken coated in a tangy flavorful sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 390 kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Saucepan
  • bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients
  

  • 1 chicken breast cubed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon Natures Seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • Sauce
  • 1 orange you’ll need the juice and zest
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

Instructions
 

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add all sauce ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Once slow boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent the sauce from sticking. Let sit on warm while chicken cooks.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix spices, flour and cornstarch.
  • In a separate bowl whisk egg.
  • Coat the chicken in the flour, and then dredge in egg.
  • Return chicken back to flour and fully coat.
  • Place breaded chicken in oil sprayed air fryer basket. Spray chicken with oil.
  • Cook on 380 for 10 minutes.
  • Once all chicken is cooked, increase sauce heat to low medium and add fried chicken. Stir until chicken is completely coated.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 390kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 19gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 1482mgPotassium: 405mgFiber: 2gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 385IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken in a white bowl with rice  next to a halved orange with an air fryer an another bowl of chicken blurred in the background with title text reading Air Fryer Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken

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