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Air Fryer Orange Chicken (Copycat Panda Express)

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Air Fryer Orange Chicken is cooked crispy and topped with a tangy homemade orange glaze. Make this is a Panda Express copycat version at home in about 30 minutes.

Do you ever get a hankering for Chinese takeout, but just don’t want to leave the house? Or maybe you’ve been trying to make orange chicken similar to Panda Express and just can’t seem to get the recipe right? 

Or maybe you’re like me and the closest location is over 3 hours away (seriously!!)?

Closeup view of clear bowl filled with white rice and air fryer orange chicken garnished with sesame seeds.

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I Heart Air Frying to the rescue! Today I am going to show you how to make my secret air fryer orange chicken recipe with a flavorful orange sauce. And the best thing about it? It’s budget-friendly and you don’t have to leave the house.

I love trying new recipes in my air fryer. It’s almost like I am on a mission to NOT use my stove and oven (haha!). And I love it when the recipes turn out just as good in a fraction of the time compared to traditionally cooking methods.

Like these easy air fryer recipes for chicken tenders, boneless chicken thighs with honey glaze and drumsticks.

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New to air frying? Get the low down on maximizing your usage of this amazing small appliance, including easy clean up tips, with our best air fryer tips for beginners.

Ingredients, with text labels, needed to make Panda Express orange chicken in the air fryer.

Ingredients to Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken

For the Chicken:

  • Chicken Breasts – these are going to be cubed so you can substitute chicken tenders
  • Flour – all purpose works best with this recipe 
  • Cornstarch – the secret ingredient for perfect breading 
  • Spices: Paprika, cayenne pepper, Nature’s Seasons Seasoning Blend
  • Eggs

For the Orange Sauce: 

  • Orange – we are going to use fresh orange juice and a little zest 
  • Soy sauce – I recommend using the reduced sodium version
  • White vinegar – keeps the sauce from being too sweet
  • Brown sugar 
  • Cornstarch – to thicken the sauce
  • Minced Garlic – mince fresh garlic or grab a jar from the store

How to Make Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer 

To make the orange sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the temperature and simmer. Be sure to stir occasionally as the sauce thickens. Keep it warm until the chicken is ready. 

Combine the flour, cornstarch, and other chicken spices into a bowl. Then crack and beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Dip the chicken into the flour mixture, then the eggs, then back into the flour mixture. 

Three photo collage of the step by step dredging process to batter the chicken pieces for air fryer orange chicken.

Prepare your air fryer basket by coating with a thin layer of oil or use a parchment paper liner for easy cleanup.

Add the coated chicken to your air fryer basket. Mist the chicken with a little bit of oil. 

Cook the chicken at 380 degrees F in a single layer for 10 minutes. 

Once you’ve finished cooking the chicken, reheat the sauce and toss to coat the chicken. 

The uncooked, battered orange chicken pieces placed inside an air fryer basket.

Serve immediately over white or brown rice, lo mein noodles or a side of veggies. Cauliflower rice is a good low carb option. 

Tips for Making Panda Express Orange Chicken in Air Fryer

  • Don’t overload the air fryer basket – cook the chicken in batches if needed. 
  • If you are cooking in batches, keep the cooked chicken warm in your oven. 
  • Like more sauce? Simply make a double batch. 
  • If you’re not planning to eat the full batch, reserve some of the unsauced chicken and store separately from the sauce until you’re ready to serve.

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes:


Grab the free guide to Air Fryer Cooking Times Cheat Sheet & say goodbye to the guesswork.

Need more help? Check out our favorite air fryer accessories, best oils to use and tips for choosing the right air fryer. This is the air fryer model I’m currently using.

Closeup view of copycat Panda Express air fried orange chicken recipe and white rice garnished with sesame seeds with text overlay.
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Closeup view of clear bowl filled with white rice and air fryer orange chicken garnished with sesame seeds.

Air Fryer Orange Chicken

Our copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe combines a sweet and tangy orange sauce with tender chicken and is cooked crispy in the air fryer. Make your favorite takeout dinner at home in about 30 minutes.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Lori @



  • 2 chicken breasts, about 1 pound, cubed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon Nature’s Season Seasoning Blend
  • 2 eggs


  • 1 orange, you’ll need the juice (about ½ cup) and zest
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water


  • Add all the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sauce from sticking. Keep on warm setting while the chicken cooks.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine spices, flour and cornstarch.
  • Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
  • Coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then dip in the eggs and do a final dredge in the flour to fully coat.
  • Prep the air fryer basket by coating with a thin layer of oil. Place breaded chicken in the prepared basket, being careful not to crowd the pieces. Spritz the chicken with oil.
  • Cook on 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
  • After the chicken is cooked, reheat the sauce on low medium and add the fried chicken. Stir until chicken is completely coated.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions or sesame seeds if desired.
  • Serve over cooked rice.


  • Substitute Spike or Mrs. Dash for the Nature’s Season Seasoning Blend.
  • For a saucier dish, double the sauce recipe.
  • Can be served as an appetizer or main dish.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.
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Nutritional Estimate

Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 602mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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