How to Reheat Orange Chicken: Ensuring Crisp & Flavorful Results

Orange chicken, with its delightful blend of sweet and savory flavors, is a crowd-pleaser that often ends up as leftovers. Reheating orange chicken properly is crucial to enjoy its flavors to the fullest on the second go-around. Attention to the reheating process ensures that the chicken remains juicy and that the sauce retains its characteristic tang without becoming overly sticky or drying out. In this article we’re going to tell you how to reheat orange chicken without sacrificing any deliciousness.

orange chicken

Various methods can be employed to reheat orange chicken, each with its own set of steps to best preserve the dish’s quality. Using an oven, a stovetop, or an air fryer can yield a crispy texture, while a microwave offers convenience and speed. Each technique has its advantages, and choosing the right one depends on the tools available and the desired outcome.

The goal of reheating is to bring back the orange chicken’s initial warmth and crispiness as if it had just been cooked, while keeping the sauce flavors intact. Reheating should revive the dish so that it matches the fresh taste as closely as possible, making it an enjoyable meal with the same appeal as when it was first served.

Reheating Fundamentals

microwave orange chicken

Reheating orange chicken effectively requires precise temperature management to avoid sogginess and to restore its original crispiness. Here’s how to maintain quality during reheating.

Importance of Temperature Control

Temperature control is pivotal to reheat orange chicken while preserving its flavors and texture. Oven reheating should be done at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes. It is essential to heat the chicken to the point where it is steaming hot but not dried out.

Avoiding Sogginess

To prevent the orange chicken from becoming soggy, covering it with foil can help retain moisture without compromising its texture. When using a microwave, reheating should be done sparingly and at a reduced power to avoid overcooking. Adding a small amount of water or sauce can provide moisture that prevents dryness.

Restoring Crispiness

Restoring the crispiness of orange chicken can be accomplished by a few minutes in the air fryer at 390°F or by finish-reheating it in a skillet. These methods can recreate the crispy exterior that might be lost during refrigeration.

  • Remove foil or covering a few minutes before completion when reheating in the oven.
  • For skillet reheating, ensure that the chicken is flipped occasionally for even crispness.

Microwave Reheating Method

When reheating orange chicken in a microwave, the primary goals are to preserve the chicken’s moisture while attempting to maintain its crispy texture. The process is quick and convenient.

Step-by-Step Microwave Instructions

  1. Preparation: Place the leftover orange chicken in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Paper Towel Technique: Cover the dish with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  3. Reheat: Microwave the chicken on high for about one to two minutes.
  4. Check and Stir: Check the chicken’s temperature and stir the pieces for even heating.
  5. Additional Heating: If necessary, continue to heat in 30-second intervals until the desired warmth is reached.

Pros and Cons of Microwaving


  • Quick and convenient for reheating.
  • It retains the moisture of the orange chicken if done correctly.


  • May not maintain the crispy texture as effectively as other methods.
  • It can heat unevenly, requiring the chicken to be checked and stirred.

Oven Reheating Technique

Reheating orange chicken in the oven can preserve its crispiness and flavor. An oven provides even heating that can help maintain the desired texture of the chicken.

Steps for Oven Reheating

  1. Preheat: Set the oven to a temperature of 350°F (175°C) to ensure a gentle reheating process.
  2. Prepare: Place the orange chicken in an oven-safe dish and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. This will protect the sauce from burning and help retain moisture.
  3. Reheat: Put the dish in the oven and let it reheat for about 10-15 minutes. Check that the chicken is heated through.
  4. Uncover: A few minutes before the end of reheating, remove the aluminum foil to allow the surface of the chicken to become crisp.

Maintaining Texture and Flavor in the Oven

  • Crispy Texture: Allowing the orange chicken to finish reheating uncovered in the oven helps to restore the crispy texture that can be lost when it is refrigerated.
  • Flavor: To keep the chicken from drying out and to ensure the entree retains its robust flavor, one can add a tablespoon or two of water or chicken broth before covering it with foil.
  • Oven Method: The oven method of reheating ensures that the heat is distributed evenly and doesn’t make the orange chicken soggy, as might happen with microwave reheating.

Stovetop Reheating Strategy

Reheating orange chicken on the stove can preserve its flavor and crispiness when done correctly. Precise heat control and a bit of oil are crucial for preventing the chicken from becoming soggy.

Reheating on the Stove

To reheat orange chicken on the stove, one should begin by placing a skillet on the burner at medium heat. Adding one to two tablespoons of oil into the skillet is recommended to aid in distributing heat evenly and maintaining the crispy texture of the chicken.

  • Heat the skillet on medium heat.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet (amount depends on chicken quantity).

Once the skillet is heated, carefully add the orange chicken to the oil, ensuring pieces are spread out evenly. Stir the chicken occasionally to allow all sides to get exposure to the heat and prevent burning. Usually, it takes about 5-7 minutes for the chicken to be fully reheated, but ensure to check by cutting into a larger piece to see if it’s heated through to the center.

  • Place orange chicken in the skillet, spread out evenly.
  • Stir occasionally, heat for about 5-7 minutes until heated through.

Key Tips for Stovetop Reheating

There are several tips to consider when using the stovetop method to ensure the orange chicken retains its desirable qualities.

  • Sauce: If the chicken is coated with sauce, it’s essential to heat it just until it’s warm to prevent the sauce from drying out or burning.
  • Crispiness: To keep the chicken crispy, refrain from covering the skillet with a lid, as trapping steam can make the coating soggy.
  • Monitoring: Stay attentive and monitor the reheating process carefully to adjust the heat as needed and prevent overheating.

By following these guidelines, one can successfully reheat orange chicken on the stovetop, ensuring it remains both flavorful and crispy.

Using an Air Fryer

When it comes to reheating orange chicken, an air fryer is an excellent tool that allows for even heating and can help maintain the dish’s delicious crispy texture. Below are specific instructions and benefits for using this method.

Air Fryer Instructions

  • Preheat: Begin by setting the air fryer to preheat at 350°F (175°C) for about 5 minutes. Preheating the appliance ensures the chicken will reheat evenly.
  • Placement: Next, place the leftover orange chicken pieces into the air fryer basket. Spread them out in a single layer, without overcrowding, to allow hot air to circulate freely, aiding in an even and crisp result.

Reheating Time: Depending on the quantity and desired crunch, the chicken should be heated at 375°F (190°C) for about 8-10 minutes. It’s important to check the internal temperature to ensure the chicken is heated through.

Benefits of Using an Air Fryer

  • Crispy Texture: The rapid air circulation in an air fryer not only reheats the chicken but also revives its crispy and crunchy exterior which is often lost with other reheating methods.
  • Even Heating: An air fryer provides consistent heat distribution, reducing the chances of hot and cold spots within the chicken, resulting in a uniformly warmed meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, readers will find clear and concise answers to common queries about reheating orange chicken and other similar Chinese food items, ensuring the best possible flavor and texture retention.

What is the best way to heat up leftover orange chicken in the microwave?

To reheat orange chicken in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a damp paper towel to keep the moisture in, and heat on medium power for 90 seconds. Check if it’s heated through and if necessary, continue heating in 30-second intervals to avoid overcooking.

Can you reheat orange chicken and rice together, and if so, what is the method?

One can reheat orange chicken and rice together in a microwave. They should be placed side by side in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a damp paper towel, and heated on medium power. Stir every minute or so to ensure even heating, typically for about two minutes or until hot.

Is it possible to reheat orange chicken in an air fryer to maintain its crispiness?

It is possible to reheat orange chicken in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), place the chicken in the basket, and heat for 3-4 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature and crispiness. This method helps maintain the chicken’s texture better than the microwave.

How can you properly reheat General Tso chicken on the stove without drying it out?

To reheat General Tso chicken on the stove, add a small amount of oil or water to a pan over medium heat, place the chicken in the pan, and cover. Stir occasionally and reheat until the chicken is warmed thoroughly. This prevents it from drying out and helps maintain its original flavor.

For best results, reheat Panda Express or similar Chinese food in the microwave on medium power. Separate items on a plate and heat for 1-2 minutes. If the food isn’t heated through, continue microwaving in 30-second bursts, checking the temperature each time.

Is it safe to eat reheated orange chicken, and are there any tips for ensuring its quality?

Reheated orange chicken is safe to eat if heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (73.9°C) as recommended by food safety guidelines. For best quality, it should be stored in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking and consumed within three to four days. When reheating, ensure that it’s heated evenly to maintain its flavor and texture.