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Exactly How To Reheat Orange Chicken – I Test 3 Methods [Pics]

We’ve all fallen into the trap of ordering too much Chinese food at some point.

My personal weakness is orange chicken.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about the best way to reheat it, you’re in luck.

In an effort to reinvigorate its signature sauce (and avoid soggy chicken), I’ve tried three different reheating methods to varying levels of success.

There’s a lot to be said for how you store it, too, so I’ll detail some tips and tricks below.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

A note on my experiment

The other day I ordered my usual: too much orange chicken.

Of course, I ended up with leftovers, which I decided to store and reheat for lunch the next day.

I was determined to retain my orange chicken’s crispiness, citrusy flavor, and delicious glaze.

I experimented with three ways to reheat it and found the best method for keeping the chicken crispy and the sauce fresh, spicy, and tasty.

These reheating techniques included:

  • Reheating orange chicken using both the microwave and air fryer/oven (best results by far)
  • Reheating orange chicken in the oven (okay if you don’t mind losing the chicken’s crunch)
  • Reheating orange chicken in the microwave (would not recommend)

Hands down, the best way to reheat orange chicken is to separate the chicken from the sauce.

Crisping up the chicken in the air fryer while reheating the sauce in the microwave left my orange chicken tasting almost as good as new.

The results from the oven method were edible, but nothing to write home about.

The chicken didn’t crisp up at all. Under the broiler, I achieved slightly better results.

And don’t get me started on the microwave method. While it’s convenient, it turned the chicken pieces soggy to the point that the dish just wasn’t appetizing anymore.

Note: Orange chicken is often more glazed than saucy, in which case you may need to add some additional sauce or glaze upon reheating.

Did you know you can buy Panda Express Orange Sauce by the bottle? A complete game-changer…

Reheating orange chicken using both the microwave and air fryer/oven

Reheat your orange chicken’s components separately. Remove the chicken from the sauce and pat it dry with paper towels. In your air fryer, warm the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes at 390°F (200°C). Heat your sauce in the microwave for 20 to 40 seconds on full power. Reassemble the dish and serve immediately.

If you don’t have access to an air fryer, you can reheat your chicken pieces in the oven instead.

Spread them out on a baking sheet, and warm them in a preheated oven at 390°F (200°C) for 3 to 5 minutes.

Alternatively, grill them under your broiler until they are warm and crispy.

Method:

  1. Separate the chicken pieces from the sauce.
  2. Place the sauce in a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap pierced with small holes.
  4. Pat the chicken dry with a piece of paper towel.
  5. Preheat your air fryer to 390°F (200°C) and place the chicken pieces in the fryer basket.
  6. Heat them for 2 to 3 minutes, and then rest them on a wire rack for 1 minute.
  7. Warm your sauce in the microwave on high for 20 to 40 seconds or until piping hot.
  8. Reassemble the dish.
  9. Serve immediately.

If you’re using your oven rather than an air fryer, make sure not to cover the chicken pieces with foil, as this will prevent them from crisping up.

Once the chicken is hot, it’s important to let it rest for a moment after you take it out of the air fryer or oven.

This allows the crispiness of the chicken to settle, whereas immediate submersion can turn it soggy.

If your orange chicken is homemade, keep a bit of sauce aside to reheat for your leftovers later.

My verdict

I was blown away by how effective this method was.

My chicken was so crunchy and delicious, even though it had been standing in its orange sauce.

While it may be a bit of effort, I definitely recommend this as the ultimate way to reheat orange chicken.

It’s the closest you’ll get to it tasting freshly made.

Related: Reheating Mcdonalds Chicken Mcnuggets

Reheating orange chicken in the oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Place your orange chicken in an oven-safe dish and cover the dish with tin foil. Allow the chicken and glaze to warm for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is piping hot. Remove it from the oven and serve immediately.

Alternatively, remove the chicken from the sauce and heat it separately on an uncovered baking sheet under your oven’s broiler.

How to reheat orange chicken in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place your leftover orange chicken in an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil.
  3. Allow your orange chicken to warm for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Once heated to your satisfaction, remove it from the oven and serve immediately.

Optional Alternative:

  1. Remove the chicken from the sauce and spread it out on a baking sheet.
  2. Warm it simultaneously, uncovered, under your broiler, until crisp.

Covering your dish with foil will stop the orange chicken from drying out during the reheating process.

If you’re warming your chicken and sauce components separately, take care not to burn the chicken under the broiler.

Check it at the halfway mark.

The oven method is a good way to reheat large quantities of orange chicken in one go.

As with the microwave and air fryer method, if you make your orange chicken at home and have some extra sauce, keep it and use it when reheating with your leftovers.  

My verdict

This method isn’t bad, but it doesn’t restore the crunch of the chicken, which is disappointing.

No one wants soggy chicken pieces, although the orange sauce itself tasted perfect.

I must say, separating the chicken was a good compromise.

It wasn’t as crisp as out the air fryer, but it was better than when I heated it in the sauce.  

Reheating orange chicken in the microwave

Place your orange chicken in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pierced with small holes. On full power, microwave your leftovers in 30-second intervals, stirring at each stop. Remove from the microwave when it is piping hot, and rest for a minute before serving.

Be mindful when handling the dish, as it may get very hot during the reheating process.

How to reheat orange chicken in the microwave:

  1. Place your leftover orange chicken in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pierce it with small holes.
  3. On high (100% power), microwave your orange chicken in 30-second increments.
  4. Stir the dish thoroughly at each stop.
  5. Once it is piping hot, remove it from the microwave and allow it to rest for 60 seconds.
  6. Serve immediately for best results.

Covering the dish with plastic wrap locks in steam and helps to keep the chicken moist.

It does, however, obliterate any chance of a crunch.

My verdict

The only time it makes sense to reheat orange chicken in the microwave is if you have absolutely no other option.

This method leaves the chicken soggy and lifeless, as well as unnecessarily chewy.

How to keep orange chicken crispy

To keep your chicken pieces crispy and give them a good chance of heating up well, try storing the components of your dish apart. Remove the chicken from the sauce and pat it dry with a paper towel. Once you’re ready to serve up your leftovers, warm the chicken and the glaze separately.

If you use the air fryer and microwave reheating method, you have a good chance of restoring some of your chicken’s crunch.

Making orange chicken at home

Double fry your chicken pieces for an extra delicious crunch if you’re making orange chicken fresh at home. This also makes them less likely to soak up too much sauce.

In addition, keep the chicken separately from the sauce until you’re ready to serve up your meal.

Ordering orange chicken as take-out

When ordering orange chicken from a restaurant, ask them to package the chicken pieces and the glaze separately. This way you can combine your components as you need them and preserve the leftovers for later use.

How to store orange chicken

To store orange chicken, first allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, place it in an airtight container, where it will last for up to 3 days in the fridge. If possible, separate the chicken and the glaze and store each component in its own container.

If your chicken is already submerged in sauce, you can remove it and pat it dry with a paper towel.

It won’t be perfect, but this does help when it comes to restoring the chicken’s crunch during reheating.

Can you freeze orange chicken?

To freeze orange chicken, start by separating the chicken from the sauce. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Then, place each component in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag, and press out any excess air. Orange chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months.

For additional preservation of your chicken pieces, flash freeze them first by spreading them out on a baking sheet and popping it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours.

Lay your sauce package flat when freezing it so that it thaws up more easily when you’re ready to reheat it.

How to freeze orange chicken:

  1. Remove the chicken from the sauce and pat it dry.
  2. Place the sauce and the chicken in separate freezer bags
  3. Remove excess air before sealing them tightly.
  4. Use within three months.

To thaw your orange chicken, place both components in the fridge overnight.  

If you don’t have much sauce to work with, you may need to add some more once you reheat your chicken.

You can now buy Panda Express Original Orange Sauce by the bottle if you don’t fancy making a homemade variation. So good!

How long does orange chicken last?

The guidelines below will assist you in knowing how long your orange chicken can keep for:

Room temperature: Orange chicken should only be left at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours.

Refrigerated: In an airtight container in the fridge, you can safely store orange chicken for up to 3 days.

Frozen: Orange chicken stored in the freezer can last for up to 3 months.

The Best Way To Reheat Orange Chicken

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to reheat your orange chicken.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 1 person
Calories 262 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion orange chicken
  • 1 portion extra orange sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Separate the chicken pieces from the sauce.
  • Place any salvaged sauce in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap pierced with small holes.
  • Pat the chicken dry with a piece of paper towel.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 390°F (200°C) and place the chicken pieces in the fryer basket.
  • Heat them for 2 to 3 minutes, and then rest them on a wire rack for 1 minute.
  • Warm any remaining sauce/glaze in the microwave on high for 20 to 40 seconds or until piping hot.
  • Reassemble the dish and serve immediately.

Notes

If you’re using your oven rather than an air fryer, make sure not to cover the dry chicken pieces with foil, as this will prevent them from crisping up.
Once the chicken is hot, it’s important to let it rest for a moment after you take it out of the air fryer or oven.
This allows the crispiness of the chicken to settle, whereas immediate submersion can turn it soggy.
If your orange chicken is homemade, keep a bit of sauce aside to reheat for your leftovers later.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 262kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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