Orange chicken is a Chinese takeaway staple. Bite-sized and crispy with a sweet and spicy sauce, it is an absolute must-have. While it’s still an acceptable leftover when eaten cold, you don’t have to resign yourself to soggy breading and chilled white meat.
You can reheat orange chicken by crisping it in the air fryer, baking it in the oven, or zapping it back to life in the microwave.
What is Orange Chicken?
Orange chicken is made from chopped chicken breast, battered in a corn starch slurry, deep-fried, and tossed in a thick sweet and spicy sauce made from orange juice, chilies, and soy sauce. It is typically served over rice and sometimes garnished with sesame seeds.
Reheating Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer
A significant part of orange chicken’s appeal is the crunch, and one of the best ways to restore that crunch is by tossing your leftovers in the trusty air fryer. To do this, you will need a paper towel to pat the chicken dry and a microwave-safe bowl to heat the sauce.
How to Reheat Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer:
- Set your air fryer to 390F, pat the orange chicken dry with a paper towel and place it in the air fryer’s basket, discarding the paper towel.
- Warm chicken in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes. While chicken is cooking, heat leftover sauce in the microwave for 20 seconds.
- Remove chicken from the air fryer, toss in warmed sauce, and enjoy over rice.
Reheating orange chicken in the air fryer is quick and simple enough; just make sure you heat the chicken and the sauce separately.
Reheating Orange Chicken in the Oven
It takes a little bit longer to reheat orange chicken in the oven than in the air fryer or microwave; however, the end results are worth the wait. If you’re reheating frozen orange chicken, the oven is your best option; just make sure to let the chicken thaw for 2-3 hours before proceeding to step 1.
How to Reheat Orange Chicken in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Place orange chicken in an oven-safe dish and cover the top with aluminum foil.
- Heat chicken in oven for 6-8 minutes.
- Remove foil, store, and heat for an additional 4 minutes.
- Carefully remove dish from oven and serve over white rice.
This method requires a little more attention than the others, but the results will be well worth the effort.
Reheating Orange Chicken in the Microwave
The microwave is often every home chef’s first stop when it comes to bringing life back into leftovers, especially if you’re pressed for time. Unfortunately, sometimes the microwave can have the opposite effect, leaving leftovers mushy or dried out. Fortunately, a method exists that will yield much tastier results.
How to Reheat Orange Chicken in the Microwave
- Place orange chicken in a microwave-safe bowl, ensuring the pieces are not too crowded.
- Dampen a paper towel and drape it over the top of the bowl, and place the bowl in the microwave.
- Microwave the chicken for a total of 3-4 minutes, making sure to stop every minute to stir it.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the microwave once it has reached your preferred temperature.
When microwaving dishes that include a crispy breading, reheating them in the microwave often leads to that breading getting soggy. Sogginess is avoided in this method by placing a damp paper towel over the top of your cooking vessel, making your leftover orange chicken as close to fresh as possible
How to Store Orange Chicken
It’s always important to think ahead. Whether you’re meal-prepping or simply trying to preserve the shelf life of your leftovers, there is a proper way to store orange chicken for the best reheating results.
Storing Orange Chicken in the Refrigerator
Temperature matters when storing previously-hot food. Hot foods need to be cooled to 70F before being placed in the fridge or freezer to mitigate the risk of illness-carrying bacteria forming. Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, which will last for an additional three days.
Storing Orange Chicken in the Freezer
If you’ve been left with more than you anticipate eating in the next three days, you should consider storing your leftover orange chicken in the freezer. As with all hot leftovers, allow the chicken to cool to room temperature before storing. Once it has cooled to room temperature, place orange chicken in an airtight container and freeze. Frozen orange chicken can last for up to 6 months.
Orange chicken is a popular Chinese takeaway dish and an excellent leftover when properly stored and reheated. Though many people may enjoy it cold, orange chicken can be reheated in the air fryer, the oven, and the microwave with equally-delicious results regardless of the method used.