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Air Fryer Orange Chicken

This flavor-packed Air Fryer Orange Chicken is incredibly easy, delicious, and perfect when paired with a side of rice. You only need 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to make this easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love!

Easy Air Fryer Orange Chicken

If you’re a fan of orange chicken, and you’d normally order it from your favorite takeout restaurant, you’re going to love this easy air fryer recipe. Instead of ordering out and spending more money, you can make a restaurant-inspired meal at home with just 5 ingredients in 15 minutes!

This recipe is not for an authentic orange chicken, but is a quicker version that you can make at home easily with common ingredients. Combining the flavors of orange marmalade with a bit of BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and sriracha leaves you with a heavenly sauce that will keep you coming back for more chicken! Bonus: you also use frozen chicken nuggets/tenders for simplicity.

So, if you love orange chicken, or at least have 15 minutes and some frozen chicken nuggets in your freezer, let’s get busy! We know your family will love this no-fuss, knock-off takeout version of orange chicken as much as ours does!

(Looking for some more easy air fryer chicken recipes? Try this hot honey chicken or these crispy chicken cutlets!)

Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Orange Chicken Recipe

There are a whole bunch of chicken dinners that you can whip up in no time in the air fryer, it’s true. But, here’s why we love this one in particular:

  • Crispy and juicy. These chicken nuggets coated in orange sauce are perfectly juicy on the inside, but lightly crispy on the outside!
  • Sweet and spicy. This homemade orange sauce is made with sweet orange marmalade, spicy sriracha, savory soy sauce, and tangy barbecue sauce. Yum!
  • Kid-friendly. What kid can turn down a plate of chicken nuggets for dinner? (Although, we’ve found that adults tend to get pretty excited about this meal as well!)
  • Quick and easy. As mentioned above, this orange chicken recipe only takes 15 minutes to make from start to finish.
Ingredients to make Air Fryer Orange Chicken.

What You’ll Need

When preparing air fryer orange chicken, there are just 5 ingredients to round up total. For the exact amounts and the full set of directions, check out the recipe card below!

  • Chicken Nuggets – Be sure to get a two-pound bag of frozen chicken nuggets that are already fully cooked. The brand of the chicken nuggets doesn’t matter too much. If you have a brand you already like, go for that one.
  • Orange Marmalade – Any brand of orange marmalade will do the trick. You can also swap it out with apricot marmalade if need be.
  • BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite brand and style of BBQ sauce. If you’re not sure which one to choose, Sweet Baby Ray’s provides several excellent BBQ sauce flavors.
  • Sriracha – Add as much or as little as you’d like, depending on the level of heat you’re going for with this dish. Start with a single tablespoon and then take it up a notch.
  • Soy Sauce – You’ll only need a tablespoon of the soy sauce to add a slightly salty tang to the orange chicken sauce.
Overhead image of frozen chicken nuggets in an air fryer basket.

How to Make Air Fryer Orange Chicken

This recipe goes very quickly, so pull out your 5 ingredients and have them ready. Once the air fryer is done heating your chicken, you toss the crispy chicken into the warm orange flavored sauce and dinner is served!

  • Air fry the chicken nuggets. Follow the air fryer directions given on the bag of chicken nuggets/strips to cook the chicken until warmed through and nice and crispy on the outside.
  • Make the sauce. While the chicken is cooking, you will want to make the sauce. In a medium bowl, that is microwave safe, add the marmalade sauce, BBQ sauce, sriracha, and soy sauce.
  • Heat the sauce. Microwave the sauce for one minute, stir it, and then cook it for an additional minute. (Just enough to get it nice and hot.)
  • Taste the sauce. Always taste the sauce to make sure it’s the perfect flavor for your family. Add additional soy sauce or sriracha, to taste, if needed.
  • Toss the chicken in the sauce. Once the sauce is done, you’ll want to add the chicken to the sauce, toss it completely, and then serve!

Tips for Success

Increase your chances of having success with this recipe by following some of these helpful tips.

  • Start with a mild sauce, then make it hotter little by little. Begin with a tablespoon of sriracha and taste the sauce. A single tablespoon won’t make the sauce too spicy, so it is a good starting point. If you’re trying to achieve a spicier sauce, you’re likely going to need to add at least two more tablespoons of the sriracha to give it some real kick!
  • Don’t stack the chicken nuggets in the air fryer. The chicken may not warm through evenly if the nuggets are stacked on top of each other. It’s okay if the sides touch, but don’t be afraid to warm them up in batches if needed.
  • Use nuggets or tenders. You can use any frozen chicken tenders or nuggets you like. Be sure to check the packaging for the correct cook time and temperature and follow those directions.
Air fryer orange chicken on a white plate with rice behind it.

Substitutions & Recipe Variations

This air fryer orange chicken recipe is super easy to customize! Here are some possible ingredient swaps that you could make:

  • Add sriracha or red chili flakes. While orange chicken typically has a sweeter taste to it, you can make it spicier by adding more sriracha or red chili flakes to your sauce. If you’re a spice lover, extra tablespoons of sriracha with some red pepper flakes will really increase the heat, leaving you with an incredibly hot and sweet chicken to enjoy!
  • Switch up the type of chicken. Instead of using nuggets, you can use chicken sticks or chicken tenders for bigger pieces of meat. You might also want to consider using popcorn chicken if you like smaller pieces of meat.
  • Feel free to use non-breaded chicken. If you don’t want your chicken breaded, you can use pre-cooked chicken without the breading. While it won’t have that crisp texture, it’ll still taste great with the orange sauce you’re creating using the marmalade, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, and other ingredients.
  • Swap the chicken for shrimp. If you don’t eat chicken, don’t worry because you can still enjoy this flavorful sauce on something else. The orange sauce that you’re preparing with soy sauce, BBQ sauce, and other ingredients goes great with shrimp. So, if you want to make the dish without the chicken, use jumbo shrimp instead.
  • Try apricot marmalade instead of orange. If you’re unable to find orange marmalade, or want to try something different, apricot marmalade is an excellent choice known for its pungent, sweet taste. It pairs very well with the barbecue in the sauce.
Orange chicken on a wooden spoon with orange sauce on it.

Serving Suggestions

This recipe makes enough food to feed up to 4 people. It’s the perfect 15-minute meal that you can make for the family when you want to prepare a quick dinner that everyone will love. If you have more mouths to feed, double the recipe to have up to 8 servings!

Here are some of our favorite sides to go with orange chicken:

  • Broccoli: Steamed, roasted, or sautéed. Broccoli is always a great side with orange chicken.
  • Rice: White rice, sticky white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, etc. Pick your favorite!
  • Stir-Fried Vegetables: You can use peppers, onions, snow peas, you name it!
Orange Chicken on a white plate with rice with chopsticks picking up a piece of orange chicken.

Can I Make This Air Fryer Orange Chicken Ahead?

If you are looking to save time, you can prep the sauce ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for a week in there, or you can freeze the sauce as well.

However, the chicken must be cooked fresh. Once the chicken is air fried and coated in the sauce, it will eventually become soggy in the fridge. This is just one of those recipes that is best served fresh!

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

While your chicken will taste best when served fresh, leftovers can still happen! It’s still tasty the next day, just not as good as it was.

  • To store. Keep leftover orange chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
  • To reheat. You can reheat leftovers by adding the chicken back into the air fryer for about 3-4 minutes. You can even microwave the chicken if you don’t mind the fact that it won’t be as crispy.
Air fryer chicken on a bed of rice with an orange slice in a brown bowl.

More Air Fryer Recipes

We love our air fryer and how easy it has made dinner time. Here are a few more of our favorite air fryer recipes that we make over and over again:

4.5 from 23 votes
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Yield: 4

Air Fryer Orange Chicken

This air fryer orange chicken can be made in just 15 minutes – it's the perfect dinner for a hectic weeknight! Made with sweet orange marmalade, tangy BBQ sauce, and more, it's packed with flavors that the whole family will love.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 2 pound bag frozen, fully cooked chicken nuggets/strips
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce


  • Follow the air fryer directions on the bag of chicken nuggets/strips.
  • While the chicken is cooking, make sauce. In a medium microwave safe bowl add marmalade, bbq sauce, sriracha and soy sauce and mix well. Taste test the sauce to see if you would like extra sriracha for heat.
  • Heat in microwave for 1 minute, stir well and heat for an additional minute.
  • Remove from microwave and add cooked chicken to sauce and toss to fully coat the chicken in sauce. Serve immediately, as desired, with rice!


  • To store. Keep leftover orange chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. (It is best served fresh, though!)
  • To reheat. You can reheat leftovers by adding the chicken back into the air fryer for about 3-4 minutes. You can even microwave the chicken if you don’t mind the fact that it won’t be as crispy.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 281kcal, Carbohydrates: 70g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 857mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 61g

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