Summertime is all about the grill. I mean, nothing hits the spot quite right like flame-kissed skewers do. Add in a rich, citrus-based marinade and we have juicy and tender, sticky and saucy, grilled orange chicken skewers, bursting with a tangy orange flavour in every bite. The best part? They take only about 10 minutes of actual prep work and 20 minutes to grill. Summer weeknight dinner has never been easier.
This post was originally published in August 2018. It was completely updated in July 2020.
The quick and easiness of this recipe makes it perfect for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner. And thanks to the citrus flavours, it is a total twist on basic, run-of-the-mill chicken dinner. Plus, you can grill these any which way you desire: over a barbecue grill, an electric grill or on a grill pan. You can even make orange chicken in the oven or air fryer.
What is in Orange Chicken?
These orange chicken skewers are all about the marinade. To make this, you will need chicken breast (obvs) and then the following ingredients for the marinade:
- chicken breasts - boneless and skinless, cut into 1.5-inch cubes.
- Maggi sauce - soy sauce can be substituted for this.
- orange juice - I find freshly squeezed is best. If you are going to substitute for store-bought, purchase one that is 100% orange juice, vs. one that has added sugar.
- orange zest
- vegetable oil
- white pepper - optional.
- black pepper
- cornstarch - we use this later to thicken up the marinade and turn it into a sauce. No waste in this recipe.
How to Make the Best Grilled Orange Chicken Skewers (Three Ways)
First marinate the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine Maggi sauce (or soy sauce), orange juice, orange zest, vegetable oil, garlic, white pepper (optional), and black pepper. Stir well until combined. Add chicken breast and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Next, remove the chicken from the marinade, and reserve the marinade. Thread the chicken onto skewers, adding about 6-7 pieces of cubed chicken breasts for each skewer. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before you thread the chicken on and grill to stop them from burning.
Now, we are ready to grill. Lightly brush olive oil over grill or grill pan. Preheat the grill over medium high heat for 3 minutes until the oil starts sizzling and shimmering. Place the skewers spaced evenly apart on the grill and grill for 8-10 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature for the chicken reaches 165 F. Do not overlap the skewers at any time to ensure even cooking for all the skewers.
Finally, prepare the orange chicken sauce. Place the reserved marinade into a small cooking pot and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes, until it starts to boil. Add cornstarch and stir continuously with a spoon to dissolve, until the sauce starts to thicken and forms a smooth and thick sauce. You don’t need much sauce, a tablespoon is plenty for coating the chicken.
Let's eat! Transfer the skewers onto a plate and drizzle with the orange chicken sauce.
How to Make Orange Chicken in the Oven
To bake in the oven, place the chicken skewers on a baking tray and roast at 480 F for 12-13 minutes, or when the internal temperature reaches 165 F. You can add some charring by then placing under the broiler on high for 1 minute. Keep a close eye on them, because they can burn quickly.
How to Make Orange Chicken in the Air Fryer
To cook orange chicken in the air fryer, do not thread them and place about 10 marinated chicken pieces in the air fryer basket at a time. Cook at 350 F for 25 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. You won't get the charred marks but they taste just as amazing and so tender.
How to Serve Orange Chicken
I like to serve these orange chicken skewers with a side of 10-minute vegetarian fried rice or easy coconut rice. They also pair really nicely with an Asian cold noodle salad. And if you feel like it, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and dig in.
Tips for Making Orange Chicken
- Marinate the chicken. It is so important to allow the chicken marinate at least for an hour. This will let the flavours to really infuse into the chicken and make it juicier. I would recommend letting it marinate for as long as you can, up to overnight.
- Use a digital thermometer. A digital meat thermometer is very useful when grilling chicken skewers to check for doneness, so that you never end up with undercooked or overcooked meat. Simply insert halfway inside the meat to get a quick reading.
- Double up the recipe. This recipe that makes about 6-8 skewers. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd (or if you just want to make sure you have leftovers for lunch the next day).
- How to store. Unthread the orange chicken from the skewers and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Equipment used: skewers, tongs for grilling, an indoor grill pan, and a digital meat thermometer.
More Grilled Skewer Recipes
- Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce
- Greek Lamb Souvlaki Skewers
- Teriyaki Chicken Skewers with Pineapple
- Easy Greek Chicken Souvlaki Skewers
- Souvlaki Beef Shish Kebabs
- Spicy Cumin Lamb Skewers
- Persian Saffron Chicken Kebabs (Joojeh Kabob)
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.