Naturally sweet air fryer orange chicken nuggets that are healthy, gluten free, and paleo. This 15 minute Asian inspired dinner recipe is better than take out and is sure to be a family favorite!
The best healthy orange chicken
Say hello to your new favorite 15 minute dinner recipe! Because this air fryer orange chicken is out of this world delicious. It is naturally sweet, super flavorful, and perfect for families and meal prep.
I love my air fryer turkey burgers and crispy tofu, but when I am in the mood for something Asian-inspired, this gluten free orange is a must! Honestly, I think this is my new favorite air fryer recipe. The chicken nuggets are air fried to perfection, they are super moist, and the orange sauce is so easy to make.
Whether you are a great cook and a beginner, this recipe is for you. Make this on date night, for family dinner, or for yourself. Everyone will be impressed with your cooking skills!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Ready in under 15 minutes
- Healthy orange sauce
- Refined sugar free
- Gluten free & paleo
- Natural and simple ingredients
- Perfect for kids, athletes, and families
Ingredients in air fried orange chicken
This recipe calls for a handful of simple and healthy ingredients. If you are gluten free or paleo, you can enjoy this yummy recipe guilt free! You’ll need chicken breasts, oranges, and a handful of spices. Here is a list of exactly what you’ll need:
- Chicken: Grab 3 skinless and boneless pieces of chicken breast. You’ll need to cut them into bite sized nuggets before air frying.
- Arrowroot Starch: This is what makes the chicken nuggets get crispy in the air fryer without any oil!
healthy orange sauce:
- Arrowroot Starch: You are going to need 1 Tablespoon of arrowroot starch. You can also use cornstarch or tapioca flour.
- Water: To make sure the sauce is lump-free, you need to dissolve to arrowroot powder in cold water first.
- Orange Juice: Juice 2 to 3 oranges or measure out 2/3 cup of store bought fresh orange juice. I recommend using a brand with no added sugar.
- Chicken Broth: You need 1/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth to give this healthy orange sauce the best flavor.
- Soy Sauce: You will also need 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce or tamari (if you want to make this orange chicken gluten free).
- Rice Vinegar: A dash of rice vinegar adds flavor and some acidity to this sauce.
- Honey: To naturally sweetened this orange sauce, we will use 2 – 3 Tablespoons of honey. There are no added refined sugars in this recipe.
- Garlic: 2 cloves is the perfect amount.
- Ginger: There is something incredible about freshly grated ginger. It adds the best flavor to this paleo orange sauce.
- Orange Zest: The star of the show! Add in orange zest for the most natural and best orange flavor.
- Salt and Pepper: Add and adjust based on your taste.
Kichen tools needed
This gluten free orange chicken recipe comes together in under 15 minutes with these few kitchen tools:
How to make air fryer orange chicken
You are going to love how easy this air fryer orange chicken recipe is to make. It only takes 15 minutes and is sure to be a crowd favorite. Here are step-by-step instructions:
Step 1: Preheat your air fryer to 360°F and spray with non-stick spray.
Step 2: Next, in a large mixing bowl, toss the bite-sized chicken pieces with arrowroot starch. Once the air fryer is heated, spray with cooking spray and add the chicken to the basket. Make sure the pieces are spaced out and NOT overlapping. If your air fryer is small, do this in two batches.
Step 3: Air fry for 8 – 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
Step 4: Meanwhile, while the chicken is cooking, zest one orange and dissolve the arrowroot starch in the cold water. Set them each to the side.
Step 5: Then, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the fresh orange juice, chicken broth, low sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger. Bring sauce to a quick boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the arrowroot starch water. Add in the orange zest and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, making sure to continually whisk until the sauce has thickened. Carefully taste the sauce and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Step 6: Finally, Then add the cooked chicken nuggets into the pot with the orange sauce. Gently toss to coat and remove from heat.
Serve your paleo orange chicken warm on a bed of white or brown rice and a side of your favorite vegetable.
I love this recipe as is, but if you want to customize them to your preferences, be my guest! Here is a list of my recommended ingredient substitutions to help you out.
- Fresh orange juice: If you are out of fresh orange juice, you can use a store bought one just try to buy one that has zero added sugar.
- Rice vinegar: You can substitute rice vinegar with white wine vinegar one-for-one.
- Fresh ginger: You can use 1 tsp of dried ginger powder.
- Chicken broth: You can use vegetable broth instead.
- Honey: You can use coconut sugar, light brown sugar, or even maple syrup.
- Arrowroot starch: Feel free to use tapioca flour or cornstarch instead.
Fequently Asked Questions
What makes this recipe healthy?
The term “healthy” is relative to each person, but I consider this gluten free orange chicken to be very healthy and good for you. First, it is refined sugar free since the sauce is sweetened with fresh oranges and a dash of honey. Second, there is no added oil. Third, it is high in protein. Fourth it only uses simple, fresh, and good ingredients that will leave you feeling nourishing and full.
Is it paleo?
Yes, this orange chicken is paleo. That means that there is no gluten and no dairy in this recipe.
What to serve with healthy orange chicken?
You can serve so many things with orange chicken! Personally, I love serving it on a bed of brown or white rice with a side of steamed or roasted broccoli. You can also pair this paleo orange chicken with green beans, roasted cauliflower, sugar snap peas, or green peas.
How to store and reheat leftovers
Storing: Place leftovers into individual airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.
Reheating: Microwave in a safe container for 30 – 90 seconds until warm.
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Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Air Fryer Orange Chicken
- 3 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 ½ Tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch
- 3 Tbsp of COLD water
- ⅔ cup orange juice, 2 - 3 oranges
- ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce, or tamari if gluten-free
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 - 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 Tbsp orange zest, ~1 orange
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your air fryer to 360°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the bite-sized pieces of chicken with arrowroot starch.
- Once the air fryer is heated, spray with cooking spray and add the chicken to the basket. Make sure the pieces are spaced out and NOT overlapping. If your air fryer is small, do this in two batches.
- Air fry for 8 - 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
- While the chicken is cooking, zest one orange and dissolve the arrowroot starch in the cold water. Set them each to the side.
- Then heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the fresh orange juice, chicken broth, low sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger. Bring sauce to a quick boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the arrowroot starch water. Add in the orange zest and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, making sure to continually whisk until the sauce has thickened. Carefully taste the sauce and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Then add the cooked chicken nuggets into the pot with the orange sauce. Gently toss to coat and remove from heat.
- Serve warm on a bed of rice and a side of your favorite vegetable.
Recipe by Tati Chermayeff / Healthful Blondie + Photos by The Travel Palate
I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. In full disclosure, by purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. Thank you for supporting Healthful Blondie!
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