Go Back Email Link
+ servings
air fryer orange chicken

Sweet Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe

Summer Yule
This easy air fryer orange chicken has a sweet orange sauce with no sugar added. Get ready for the citrus-packed flavor explosion!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 3
Calories 337 kcal

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb. boneless and skinless raw chicken tenders (454 grams)
  • 1 cup spelt flour (can substitute whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • cooking oil spray (non-aerosol)

For the orange sauce:

  • ¾ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (from about 3 navel oranges)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons Swerve, granular
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional for heat)
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
  • 1 scallions, sliced (optional for garnish)

Instructions

To make the chicken:

  • With the kitchen shears, cut each chicken tender into about 5 pieces. You should get 40-50 chicken pieces in all.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, stir flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt together. In a second bowl, whisk two large eggs. 
  • Spray two air fryer trays with cooking oil spray.
  • Dip the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, the egg, and then the flour again. Coat all the chicken pieces. 
  • Put the coated pieces of chicken on your prepared air fryer trays in a non-touching single layer. Mist the chicken well with cooking spray. Put the trays in the air fryer. 
  • Air fry the chicken for 5 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Then switch the position of the trays in the air fryer oven (no need to flip the chicken). Air fry 5 more minutes at 375°F (190°C).  
  • Flip the chicken pieces over and spray them well with the cooking oil spray. Switch the position of the trays in the air fryer and air fry a final 2-3 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Use a kitchen thermometer to ensure the chicken reached a minimum safe internal temp of 165°F (74°C). 

To make the orange sauce:

  • Make the orange sauce while you air fry the popcorn chicken pieces. Begin by juicing and zesting the fresh oranges, if you haven't already.
  • Whisk the orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, Swerve, orange zest, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes together in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the Swerve completely dissolves. This will take approximately 5 minutes. 
  • Stir in the xanthan gum and allow the mixture to thicken, whisking frequently. It will only take 2-3 minutes. Remove the orange sauce from the heat. 
  • Gently stir the orange sauce into the chicken right before serving. For the best texture, don't let the chicken sit in the sauce for too long.
  • Spoon the chicken and any extra sauce into bowls (preferably over a whole grain or riced cauliflower). Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions. Enjoy!

Notes

This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Chicken breast is a lean protein. However, the breading and the sauce really bump up the carbs and calories. If you have a fat loss goal, it’s generally going to be a better choice to stick with chicken with no breading. 
Even so, it’s not too difficult to create a low-fat meal in the 500-600 calories range with this orange chicken. Just serve it over brown rice (cooked from ¼ cup dry) with some green non-starchy veggies on the side. Voila! 
Macros aside, there’s something to be said for eating something because it satisfies a craving. I know if I’m craving orange chicken, simply squeezing some orange juice over plain chicken breast won’t cut it. I’ll probably eventually go get frozen or takeout orange chicken to satisfy the craving. 
For me at least, it seems to be a better strategy to recognize the craving and make something similar to what I want. It might not be “perfect” in terms of nutrition, but luckily we don’t have to be perfect to have an overall health-promoting diet. The taste of this dish is close enough to the sugary version that I won’t go order fast food later. 
IMVHO, an overall healthy diet should include foods that we enjoy. I don’t think I’d be able to stick to a lifetime of food drudgery, even if it meant a slightly longer lifespan. Overall quality of life (including food enjoyment) is at least important to me as longevity. 
I hope if you like orange chicken, that this healthier rendition is satisfying and enjoyable to you as well! :) 
 
 
Nutrition information is for one serving. Carbs listed are net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber and erythritol). Nutrition information was calculated for half of the flour mixture only (since you will probably not use it all for breading). 

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcalCarbohydrates: 20.6gProtein: 42.2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1.7gSodium: 785.5mgPotassium: 276.1mgVitamin A: 10.4% DVVitamin C: 51.9% DVCalcium: 4.2% DVIron: 9.9% DV
Want to watch a video?Subscribe to our YouTube channel!