Learn the BEST way to cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken! This Trader Joe’s orange chicken air fryer recipe makes deliciously crunchy orange chicken you’ll love. Plus, air fryer frozen orange chicken is so easy to make- air fry it in 10-12 minutes in air fryer preheated to 400F (200C)! Try it and see why Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken is consistently voted a customer favorite at Trader Joes!
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Why is Trader Joe’s orange chicken so good? Judging by its popularity, Trader Joe’s Mandarin Chicken (AKA Trader Ming’s Mandarin Chicken) might be the best frozen orange chicken around. (Sorry, Costco!)
It really is just as good as takeout from your favorite Chinese restaurant. (Though definitely not an authentic Chinese dish.)
Lucky us, we don’t even need to leave the house to enjoy this indulgent comfort food. This frozen orange chicken air fryer recipe cooks up to crispy perfection. The hot circulating air does an amazing job getting our Trader Joe’s Chinese food from freezer to plate FAST.
The air fryer typically takes less time to preheat than the oven. Additionally, your chicken will be done in 10-12 minutes (versus 20 minutes in the oven). It’s super convenient!
Table of Contents
- ⭐ Trader Joe's Orange Chicken (Air Fryer)
- ➕ How to Make Trader Joe's Orange Chicken in Air Fryer
- ⏲ Trader Joe's Orange Chicken Air Fryer Time and Temperature
- ️🤔 Is Trader Joe’s orange chicken pre-cooked?
- 🌡️ How to Reheat Orange Chicken in Air Fryer
- 📋 Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken (Air Fryer) Nutrition Facts
- 🍗 Trader Joe’s Air Fryer Orange Chicken Ingredients
- 🍊 Mandarin Orange Chicken Sauce
- ️🥗 Side Dishes for Trader Joe's Orange Chicken
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🍳 More Trader Joe’s Air Fryer Recipes
- 💬 Comments
⭐ Trader Joe's Orange Chicken (Air Fryer)
Here are the ingredients you need to make Trader Joe’s orange chicken in the air fryer:
- One package Trader Ming’s Mandarin Orange Chicken
Get a printable recipe card at the end of the post!
You don’t even need cooking spray this is so simple! You get the frozen breaded chicken and two packets of orange sauce in the bag.
You'll also need an air fryer and meat thermometer for this recipe. Air fryer cook times can vary depending on the air fryer you use (i.e., if you’re using a Ninja Foodi, Pampered Chef Air Fryer, Actifry, Cosori, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, Philips, Power Air Fryer, etc. your cooking times may vary slightly).
➕ How to Make Trader Joe's Orange Chicken in Air Fryer
Here are the step-by-step Trader Joe’s Mandarin orange chicken instructions:
- Preheat your air fryer to 400F (200F) for 5 minutes.
- Fill a medium-sized bowl with water and put the frozen sauce packets in there. The sauce will thaw out while the chicken cooks. (There’s no need to mess up a pot or pan!)
- Carefully remove the hot air fryer basket or trays from the air fryer. Spread the chicken out in the basket or in a single layer on the two heated air fryer baking trays. (You may need to cook the chicken in multiple batches if you have a small air fryer basket.) Put the basket or trays back in the air fryer.
⏲ Trader Joe's Orange Chicken Air Fryer Time and Temperature
How long do you cook Trader Joe’s breaded chicken in the air fryer? What temperature do you cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken? Air fry Trader Joe’s orange chicken for 10-12 minutes in an air fryer preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C).
Flip the chicken or shake the basket (and switch the position of the racks in the air fryer oven, if applicable) halfway through cooking time.
Check the chicken with a meat thermometer after cooking. It should have reached a safe minimum internal temp of 165F (74C).
The chicken pieces come in varied sizes; air fry the larger pieces a little longer if needed. (I didn’t need to do this.)
Clip the thawed sauce packets and toss the chicken pieces with the sauce AFTER your air fryer Trader Joe’s chicken has finished cooking. The orange sauce looks very watery initially, but the battered chicken will absorb a lot of it. Now it’s ready to enjoy!
Note: You do not have to defrost Trader Joe’s orange chicken first. You can cook it from frozen!
This orange chicken works well as an appetizer or a main dish. To make it an appetizer, put the chicken on a platter with toothpicks for picking up individual pieces. Alternatively, make a Trader Joe’s orange chicken bowl by adding rice and veggies for a delicious meal.
️🤔 Is Trader Joe’s orange chicken pre-cooked?
Is Trader Ming’s orange chicken fully cooked already? I could not find a credible source regarding whether TJ’s Mandarin chicken is fully cooked. Unfortunately, this information is not provided on the bag either.
Though the breading on TJ’s orange chicken appears cooked, there is a chance the chicken underneath could be undercooked or raw. (It’s the same with frozen chicken nuggets, BTW.)
To be safe, you should cook your frozen orange chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74C). Use a meat thermometer to check a couple of the larger pieces of chicken. There’s no reason to risk food poisoning if you can prevent it, IMO.
🌡️ How to Reheat Orange Chicken in Air Fryer
How to reheat Trader Joe’s orange chicken leftovers? Reheat cooked chicken in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 400F (200C) if it hasn’t been coated in sauce. If it has sauce on it, reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. The sugary orange sauce on the chicken may burn if reheated in the air fryer.
Leftover cooked orange chicken will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. However, the chicken may lose some crispiness if it’s been covered in sauce.
If you know you won’t be finishing the bag, try air frying half of it at a time. Since the frozen orange chicken comes with two sauce packets, you can use one on a half batch. Keep the uncooked frozen orange chicken and the other sauce packet in the freezer until you are ready to cook and eat it.
📋 Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken (Air Fryer) Nutrition Facts
One serving of Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken has 533 calories, 38 grams net carbs, and 35 grams protein. Nutrition information is for one-third of the chicken with one-third of the sauce. If you only eat one-fifth of the package (as suggested on the label), you’re getting 320 calories, 23 grams net carbs, and 21 grams protein.
🍗 Trader Joe’s Air Fryer Orange Chicken Ingredients
What are the ingredients for Trader Joe’s frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken? Here is the ingredients list for TJs Mandarin Orange Chicken from the package:
- Chicken dark meat
- Corn starch
- A blend of unbleached enriched flour and barley flour
- Whole eggs
- Vegetable oil
- White pepper
- Green onion
Is Trader joe’s orange chicken white meat?
No, Trader Joe’s orange chicken uses dark meat chicken.
Does Trader Joe’s orange chicken have MSG?
There’s no added monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Trader Joe’s orange chicken. However, a small amount of naturally occurring MSG may (or may not) be present. IMVHO, this is not a big deal.
We know there’s no added MSG because it’s not in the ingredients list for Trader Joe’s Mandarin orange chicken or the Mandarin chicken sauce. However, MSG naturally occurs in many ingredients (including healthful foods like cheese and tomatoes). Foods that naturally contain MSG may not claim “no MSG” or “no added MSG” on the packaging.
🍊 Mandarin Orange Chicken Sauce
What's in the orange sauce for Trader Ming’s Mandarin Orange Chicken? Here is the ingredients list from the package:
- Light soy sauce
- Modified food starch
- Dark soy sauce
- Green onions
- White pepper
- Mandarin orange peel
- Orange juice
- Red chile
- Soybean oil
️🥗 Side Dishes for Trader Joe's Orange Chicken
What to serve with Trader Joe’s frozen orange chicken? My two favorite sides for orange chicken are jasmine brown rice and steamed broccoli. Here are a few more ideas for orange chicken side dishes:
How much does Trader Joe’s orange chicken cost?
At the time of writing, a bag of Trader Joe’s orange chicken costs $4.99 in stores. Price may vary by location. (And whoa baby- it is really overpriced on Amazon. Lol)
Is there Trader Joe’s vegan chicken?
Does Trader Joe’s sell vegetarian orange chicken? Yes! Trader Joe’s Chickenless Orange Chicken is a (vegan) plant-based alternative to Trader Joe’s Mandarin chicken. Both the regular Trader Joes orange chicken and the vegan one are delicious and dairy free.
Is Trader Joe’s orange chicken gluten free?
No, Trader Ming’s Mandarin Chicken is not gluten free. The chicken is battered in wheat flour and the sauce contains wheat as well. If you don’t want to make it from scratch, you could try pairing gluten-free orange sauce with your favorite GF breaded chicken.
How to cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken in skillet?
You can cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken on the stove top in a heated skillet with some oil. If you’re wondering whether it’s better in oven or skillet, my vote goes to oven. Baked orange chicken needs no oil and requires less tending than stove top orange chicken.
Can you microwave Trader Joe’s orange chicken?
You can heat the Mandarin orange chicken sauce in the microwave (remove it from the plastic packaging first). The chicken, however, should be air fried or oven baked. It will lose much of its crispy texture in the microwave.
Does Trader Joe’s orange chicken expire?
How long does Trader Joe’s orange chicken last in the freezer? According to the FoodKeeper App, frozen entrees last about 12 months in the freezer before deteriorating in quality.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Recipes
Looking for more air fryer recipes with frozen chicken? Here are instructions to air fry frozen chicken from Trader Joe’s or your favorite store:
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings (with Trader Joe’s frozen chicken wings)
- Chicken Nuggets in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Tenders
Watch How to Make It!
Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken (Air Fryer Mandarin Orange Chicken)
- 22 ounces Trader Joe's Frozen Orange Chicken (624 grams)
- sesame seeds, orange zest, sliced scallions (optional, for garnish)
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°F) for 5 minutes.
- Fill a medium-sized bowl with warm water and put the frozen sauce packets in there. The sauce will thaw while the chicken cooks.
- Spread the chicken out in a single layer on two heated air fryer baking trays or in the air fryer basket. Put the trays or basket back in the air fryer.
- Air fry frozen orange chicken for 10-12 minutes at 400°F (200°C) in the preheated air fryer. Flip the chicken (and switch the position of the trays in the air fryer oven, if applicable) halfway through cooking time.
- Check the chicken with a meat thermometer after cooking. It should have reached a safe minimum internal temp of 165°F (74°C). Air fry some of the larger chicken pieces a little longer if needed.
- Clip the thawed sauce packets and stir them into the air fried chicken. Garnish your air fryer Trader Joe's orange chicken if desired.
💭 Expert Tips from a DietitianThis is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Is Trader Joe’s orange chicken healthy? In full disclosure, this frozen popcorn orange chicken isn’t the most nutritious thing we could be eating. Air frying really doesn’t make it any healthier than baking in the oven, though it is lower fat than deep frying. (But do we need to squeeze maximum nutrition out of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. we eat to enjoy overall good health? Nope!) The bag of Trader Joe’s orange chicken states it contains 5 servings. IMVHO, it realistically serves more like 2-3, and the nutrition info I’ve provided reflects this. This product is an ultra-processed food with that sweet and fat combo that can be difficult not to overeat. If you want a healthy orange chicken, I highly recommend checking out my homemade Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe. It’s sweeter than Trader Joe’s version but has no added sugar. Additionally, it has no refined grains, more chicken, and a (deliciously) more pronounced orange flavor. YUM If you don’t want to make orange chicken from scratch, there are a few ways to make Trader Joe’s orange chicken taste even better. First, I’d consider adding some fresh orange zest, sesame seeds, or scallions for garnish to give the flavor a boost. Second, make sure to add some veggies to your plate like broccoli or cauliflower. Trader Ming’s frozen orange chicken really isn’t meant to be a complete meal. Adding some high-volume, low-calorie veggies to your plate is a good way to help you feel full on a smaller portion of orange chicken. Nutrition information is for one serving (one-third of the package of Air Fryer Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken and sauce).
nutrition info disclaimer
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
👩🍳 More Trader Joe’s Air Fryer Recipes
- Trader Joe’s Beef and Broccoli (Air Fryer)
- Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma Thighs (Air Fryer)
- Air Fryer Trader Joe’s Fish Nuggets
- Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Zig Zags (Air Fryer)
- Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower (Air Fryer)
- Air Fryer Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi
Hello! I'm Summer, a registered dietitian and home chef who loves to cook, eat, and create high quality content for you! Every recipe on this site has been tested by me to help ensure your success in the kitchen. All eaters are welcome here 🙂