Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer: 10 Min Meal

Enjoy a takeout favorite right at home with Trader Joe’s orange chicken in the air fryer! It cooks up crispy and delicious with a sweet and tangy orange sauce in only about 10 minutes, for a quick and easy meal that doesn’t require leaving home to enjoy.

trader joes orange chicken in the air fryer recipe dinners done quick featured image

What is Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken?

Trader Joe’s orange chicken features chunks of breaded dark meat chicken that’s been fully cooked and frozen. It includes a mandarin orange ginger sauce for tossing the chicken in after heating up, making it similar to the orange chicken you would get at a Chinese takeout joint.

You’ll find it in Trader Joe’s stores in the frozen foods section, sold in a 22 ounce bag (equal to about 5 servings). TJ’s orange chicken contains soy and wheat products, so it is not safe for those looking for gluten free options.

I pair mine with some rice and broccoli for a complete meal, but you can use your personal favorite sides!

holding up a piece of trader joes orange chicken on chopsticks

What You’ll Need

bag of trader joes orange chicken
  • Trader Joe’s frozen mandarin orange chicken
  • Sides as desired (optional)

Ingredient Tips and Notes

  • Trader Joe’s orange chicken comes with included sauce packets so you don’t need to add any sauce. There are two packets, so you could divide the bag in half if you want to cook for 1-2 people and save the rest for later!
  • You could add some toppings like sliced green onions or sesame seeds for texture before serving
  • Note that Trader Joe’s orange chicken is fully cooked already, which allows it to be ready to enjoy faster!

Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Air Fryer Directions

  1. Remove the sauce packets and set aside, then dump the frozen chicken pieces into your air fryer’s basket or rack in a single layer. If you have a very small air fryer, you may need to cook in batches, as overcrowding can lead to soggy spots
place frozen trader joes orange chicken in air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fry setting at 400°F for 8 minutes, then shake the basket or stir the chicken pieces around gently. Cook another 2-5 minutes, until the center of the largest pieces reaches 165°F
  2. While the chicken is cooking, add the sauce packet to a glass or bowl filled with hot water to defrost it. Once liquid, add it to a large bowl (large enough to add the chicken to and toss it)
while chicken is cooking defrost the orange sauce packet
  1. Once the chicken is done cooking, add it to the bowl with the sauce, and gently toss to coat thoroughly
when chicken is cooked toss the air fried chicken pieces in orange sauce
  1. Serve immediately, with your favorite sides!
overhead view of air fryer trader joes orange chicken on a plate with white rice and steamed broccoli

What to Serve With Orange Chicken

Side Dishes

  • Lo mein
  • White rice
  • Fried rice
  • Potstickers
  • Egg rolls
  • Cucumber salad
  • Snap peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Stir fry
  • Edamame
  • Bok choy
  • Mango salad
  • Hot and sour soup
  • Egg drop soup

Try some Frozen Fried Rice in the Air Fryer, spicy garlic Frozen Edamame in the Air Fryer, crispy Frozen Egg Rolls in the Air Fryer, or quick Air Fryer Bok Choy for some great side dishes with your TJ’s orange chicken!

Desserts

  • Ginger cookies
  • Matcha ice cream
  • Coconut sticky rice

My Microwave Sticky Rice with coconut and mango is a great accompaniment!

Drinks

  • Riesling 
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pale ale
  • Lager
  • Citrus cocktails
  • Iced tea
  • Lemonade

Try my Orange Strawberry Tequila Fizz or Blood Orange French 75 for some delicious pairings!

Recipe FAQs

Can I Cook Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer?

Yes, you can absolutely cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken in the air fryer.

It’s a quick and convenient method that results in crispy and delicious chicken.

How Long To Cook Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken in an Air Fryer?

Cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken in the air fryer at 400°F (200°C) for about 10-12 minutes, shaking the basket about ¾ of the way through the time to ensure even cooking.

If you preheat your air fryer, you may be able to take 2-3 minutes off of total cooking time, but this isn’t absolutely necessary.

Should I Thaw the Orange Chicken Before Air Frying?

No, you do not need to thaw the orange chicken before cooking.

You can cook it directly from frozen, which saves time and simplifies the process.

How Can I Ensure the Chicken Is Crispy?

To ensure your orange chicken is crispy, avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket.

Cook in a single layer, and make sure to shake the basket to flip the chicken around at least once during cooking.

Do I Need to Shake the Basket While Cooking?

Yes, shaking the basket halfway through cooking ensures that all pieces of chicken are evenly cooked and crispy on all sides.

This is even more important if you do not preheat you air fryer, as it helps to relieve cold or wet spots forming on the bottom of the chicken.

Can I Cook the Entire Bag of Chicken at Once?

It depends on the size of your air fryer, but in many cases, yes, you can cook the entire bag of chicken at once. My 8-qt air fryer comfortably fits the entire 22-ounce bag of chicken.

Avoid overcrowding the basket; if necessary, cook the chicken in batches to ensure it cooks evenly and crisps up properly.

Can I Cook the Orange Chicken in the Oven Instead?

Yes, you can cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken in an oven preheated to 400°F for 18-20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

However, the air fryer method is faster and results in a crispier texture. Plus, it’s much faster to heat up, and a great alternative for the summer.

What is the Best Way to Cook Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken?

When it comes to the best way to cook Trader Joe’s orange chicken, the answer is a bit subjective, but air frying is generally considered the best method. This is because it cooks very fast, simple, and delivers very crispy chicken, which is texturally the best option.

Trader Joe’s themselves actually recommends a traditional oven for preparation, which delivers a pretty crispy result but takes nearly double the time of the air fryer. The least popular option is skillet preparation, which requires more tending, and doesn’t come out as crispy overall.

Recipe Pro Tips for Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken

  • You do not need to add any oil for cooking, there is plenty already present in the breading. In fact, you’ll see it come out during cooking!
  • I did not preheat my Ninja air fryer and my chicken was perfectly cooked (verified via instant read thermometer) after 10 minutes total cooking time. If you do preheat, you can reduce cooking time by 2-3 minutes generally. Other air fryers may vary slightly, so adjust as needed for your specific appliance
closeup view of air fryer trader joes orange chicken on a plate with rice and broccoli

Orange Chicken Storage and Reheating

  • Store leftover orange chicken in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not refreeze after it has been cooked
  • To reheat orange chicken, air fry at a lower temperature of 350°F for 5-7 minutes, until warmed through and re-crisped. Time can vary slightly based on size of chicken chunks and between air fryers. This works for both TJ’s orange chicken, as well as restaurant leftovers. I recommend using some parchment or foil under the chicken for easier cleanup when reheating, since it should already be sauced at this point (and note that it won’t be quite as crunchy as it was the first time due to this)!

More Trader Joe’s Air Fryer Recipes

Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Review

I prepared Trader Joe’s frozen orange chicken in my air fryer and enjoyed it for lunch, so I want to give you my overall thoughts and review in case you find it helpful!

First, the air fryer is definitely the way to go for preparation. It was hot and ready in my Ninja air fryer in just 10 minutes, and the breading was super crispy! It also required almost no effort on my part (I shook the basket once) so that was convenient too.

Even once sauced, the chicken chunks surprisingly maintained their crispy bite – they didn’t get soggy even after sitting for 15-20 minutes, which I was really impressed by.

The sauce itself is not at all over-sweetened like many Chinese takeout joints. In fact, I found ginger to be the most prominent note in the sauce (not orange) and it was a little more tangy (though not sour) overall. I really liked it, but if you want that really sugary sauce you may be disappointed.

My biggest complaint personally is that TJ’s makes their orange chicken with dark meat. I’m just not a fan of dark meat, and found myself hesitating to bite into pieces because of the chicken itself. The really small pieces which were mostly breading were my favorites.

If you, like me, dislike the taste of thigh or leg meat, then I’d skip this one. However, if you do enjoy dark meat, and want a quick and easy meal option, then you’ll probably enjoy this!

For me, it’s a pass for next time. I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s chicken nuggets instead!

Final Thoughts

Trader Joe’s orange chicken comes out perfectly crispy in the air fryer in only about 10 minutes! That’s quick and easy enough for a lunch, or a dinner even on a busy weeknight.

I pair mine with some white rice and steamed broccoli for sides, but there are lots of great options to choose from (think Chinese takeout) to really make it your own!

The flavorful orange sauce isn’t too sweet, and adds a nice flavor to the dish (and it’s also tasty on rice to soak up whatever extras there are)!

For some other TJ’s frozen Asian style chicken options, make sure to check out my recipe for Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Chicken in the Air Fryer, or crispy Trader Joe’s Chicken Karaage in the Air Fryer too!

trader joes orange chicken in the air fryer recipe dinners done quick featured image

Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Air Fryer Recipe

Cook frozen Trader Joe’s orange chicken in your air fryer in only about 10 minutes! It comes out hot, crispy, and perfect for a simple meal even on your busiest days.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 5
Calories 320 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 22 ounce bag Trader Joe's frozen mandarin orange chicken (Trader Ming's label)
  • Sides if desired (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Remove the sauce packets and set aside, then dump the frozen chicken pieces into your air fryer’s basket or rack in a single layer. If you have a very small air fryer, you may need to cook in batches, as overcrowding can lead to soggy spots
    22 ounce bag Trader Joe's frozen mandarin orange chicken
  • Cook on the air fry setting at 400°F for 8 minutes, then shake the basket or stir the chicken pieces around gently. Cook another 2-5 minutes, until the center of the largest pieces reaches 165°F
  • While the chicken is cooking, add the sauce packets to a glass or bowl filled with hot water to defrost them. Once liquid, add them to a large bowl (large enough to add the chicken to and toss it)
  • Once the chicken is done cooking, add it to the bowl with the sauce, and gently toss to coat thoroughly
  • Serve immediately, with your favorite sides!
    Sides if desired

Notes

  • There are two packets included, so you could divide the bag in half if you want to cook for 1-2 people and save the rest for later!
  • You do not need to add any oil for cooking, as there is plenty already present in the breading. In fact, you’ll see it come out during cooking!
  • I did not preheat my Ninja air fryer and my chicken was perfectly cooked (verified via instant read thermometer) after 10 minutes total cooking time. If you do preheat, you can reduce cooking time by 2-3 minutes generally. Other air fryers may vary slightly, so adjust as needed for your specific appliance
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on size of pieces eaten, any toppings or sides added, and quantity consumed, so please consider these Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken nutrition facts to be a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 140gCalories: 320kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 21gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3.5gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 330mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin C: 3.6mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1.44mg
Keyword frozen orange chicken air fryer, mandarin orange chicken trader joe’s, orange chicken air fryer, trader joe’s orange chicken air fryer directions, trader joe’s air fryer recipes, trader joe’s orange chicken air fryer, trader ming’s orange chicken air fryer
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Katie Vine

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