Frozen food isn’t typically something we rave about, let alone write a how-to blog post entirely dedicated to. The one exception to the rule is Trader Joe’s orange chicken. At just under $5 per bag, Trader Joe’s orange chicken is a weeknight dinner dream. It’s sweet and a little spicy, thanks to the accompanying orange sauce made with ginger and real mandarin orange peel and juice. The back of the bag is going to tell you to cook your orange chicken in a skillet or bake it in the oven. Bypass all of that and follow along for the crispiest, non-greasy, addictively delicious orange chicken made in the air fryer.
Don’t have an air fryer? This is your sign to get one. It can’t be beaten for reheating just about anything and is the best way to get a reliably crispy crust on foods like breaded chicken, french fries, and even French toast sticks or chicken pot pie.
Tips for Air Fried Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken
While every air fryer is a little different, following these tips will give you an orange chicken to rival any takeout.
- Preheating is important. We get it, you’re hungry now, and preheating the air fryer seems unnecessary. Cooking the chicken in an air fryer that’s not preheated will lead to overly crispy, tough chicken that’s still cold in the middle. Not what we’re looking for.
- Check-in halfway through. Halfway through the cooking time, give the basket a little shake to prevent uneven browning. Every piece of chicken deserves equally crispy, crunchy outsides.
- Prep the sauce. While the chicken is cooking, thaw the unopened sauce packet under warm running water. Don’t worry about heating it up, it just needs to be pourable.
- Sauce and serve. Toss the crispy chicken with the thawed mandarin orange sauce and cook in the air fryer for an additional 1-2 minutes. This is where things get wonderfully sticky and the magic that is Trader Joe’s orange chicken truly unfolds.
What to Serve with Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken
Keep things classic by serving TJ’s orange chicken with a side of rice. To really maximize that air fryer you just bought, air fry Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or carrots along with the chicken for a well-rounded meal that seems to appear out of thin air. Or have an appetizer night and serve the orange chicken (each piece skewered with a toothpick, of course) with grilled edamame, dumplings, and egg rolls.
Want More Trader Joe’s? Check These Out
- 10 Best Trader Joe’s Chocolates
- Best Trader Joe’s Ice Cream
- The Complete Guide to Trader Joe’s Yogurt
- 17 Best Trader Joe’s Snacks
- 100 Best Things To Buy at Trader Joe’s
Air Fryer Orange Chicken
- 1 package Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken
- Steamed Rice, for serving
- Green Onions, for serving
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F. Place the chicken into the air fryer basket and cook for 8-10 minutes. Halfway through, give the basket a little shake to help the chicken brown evenly. Meanwhile, thaw the sauce under warm running water.
- Once the chicken is crispy and cooked through (internal temperature of 165 F), remove it from the air fryer and toss with the orange sauce in a large bowl.
- Add the chicken back to the air fryer, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve alongside steamed rice. Enjoy!
- Air Fryer
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