Tender sirloin in a tangy orange sauce, this Air Fryer Crispy Orange Beef is just as tasty as your favorite take-out. Made in the air fryer, this orange beef recipe is healthy and delicious.
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What Is Orange Beef?
Orange beef is a Chinese-American dish that consists of tenderized beef fried in oil with orange zest, and often times other vegetables. The flavor of the dish comes from just a few simple ingredients and is a real hit in many household because of its simplicity and great taste.
The dish is similar to many other orange flavored dishes such as orange chicken or Mongolian beef, but its deep fried nature makes it unique in its own way.
Why We Love CRISPY Orange Beef
I love my air fryer! In fact, it has been a life saver when it comes to busy weeknight dinners. This air fryer orange beef recipe is an easy Chinese take-out inspired dinner that we absolutely love, and here’s why:
- Ready in 30-minutes– Including prepping, I can have my main course ready in less than 30-minutes which is perfect for those busy evenings.
- Delicious sauce– The orange sauce is a sour flavor that is famous in Chinese take-out. Although its made for the steak, it’s just as delicious over veggies and rice, too.
- Kid-friendly– My kid loves orange beef, orange chicken, and well anything Chinese. But, if your kids don’t like the sauce, you can easily give them a few pieces of sirloin without it.
Air Fryer Orange Beef Ingredients
Most of the ingredients for this crispy orange beef recipe are going to be for your delicious orange sauce. Get our your shopping list and jot these ingredients down:
- Top sirloin– You’ll need 1 pound of top sirloin beef that’s cut 1/4 inch thick.
- Corn starch– This is coated on the beef and used as a thickening agent for the sauce. If you want a gluten free option, you can use Arrowroot starch, instead.
- Orange juice and Zest– You can get a container or orange juice, or use 4 clementine’s freshly squeezed. Additionally, you can use a cheese grater to grate 2 tablespoons of zest from the clementine peels.
- Fancy molasses– This is a lighter, sweeter molasses.
- Rice vinegar– This helps with the flavoring of the sauce. If you don’t have rice vinegar, you could also use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- Soy sauce-Soy sauce is sweet and salty giving your sauce a deliciously complex flavor.
- Sesame oil– This gives your sauce a nutty flavor. If you don’t have any, you can use sunflower oil, olive oil, or walnut oil. Keep in mind substitutes will change the flavor slightly.
- Minced garlic– I use minced garlic from a jar in the seasoning aisle, but fresh minced garlic is even better.
- Ginger powder-You can easily swap this out for allspice, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
- Garnish– we use chopped green onion to garnish this dish, but it’s totally optional.
Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for a full list of exact ingredients!
How to Make Air Fryer Orange Beef
Quick and easy, this air fryer orange beef is one of my favorite meals to make during the week. Follow the steps below for a quick, easy, and delicious take-out style dinner!
Step 1: Coat the steak
First, cut your steak into bite-sized pieces or strips. Then, place it in a bowl and mix it with 1/4 cup cornstarch. You want the steak to be fully coated.
Step 2: Put Steak in Air Fryer Basket
Put a layer of steak in your air fryer basket, and spray it with cooking oil. You do not want to overcrowd the steak. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you will need to do 3-batches.
Step 3: Air Fry to make your crispy beef
Cook your steak in the air fryer at 380°F for 6 minutes per batch.
Step 4: Make the orange Sauce
While the steak is cooking, mix all of the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Then, cook the sauce on medium heat for about 5-minutes.
Step 5: Mix Sauce and Steak
When all of your steak is done, transfer it to a large bowl. Then, pour the sauce over the steak and mix well to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds or green onions.
Serve and Enjoy!
Do You Need to Preheat the Air Fryer?
No, you don’t. Many recipes recommend preheating your air fryer, but that is not a requirement with this particular recipe.
What Type of Beef is Best for Orange Beef?
This orange beef recipe calls for sirloin steak, and I think it is the best for this recipe. You could also use flank steak. Thinner cuts of meat work best for these recipes, so no matter what steak you use, make sure it’s 1/4 inch thick.
What to Serve with Orange Beef
Eat this Air Fryer orange beef alone as a low carb option, or serve it over white rice or cauliflower rice. It also pairs well with other Asian cuisines and Chinese food recipes like:
- Instant Pot Chicken Lo Mein
- Instant Pot Chinese Lo Mein
- Low Carb Instant Pot Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Instant Pot Hibachi Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- 1-pound top sirloin beef, thinly sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/4 cup corn starch + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice or 4 clementine’s freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1.5 tablespoons fancy molasses
- 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup green onion, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- Mix your steak and 1/4 cup cornstarch together in a bowl. Mix well so that the steak is fully incorporated with the starch. Place in air fryer basket and spray with oil.
- Cook in the air fryer at 380°f for 6 minutes per batch, do not over crowd the meat.
- While your steak is cooking, mix all of the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook on medium for about five minutes allowing the flavors to simmer.
- Once your steak has finished cooking in the air fryer, transfer to a large bowl. Add your sauce over the steak and mix well.
- Serve over rice, or noodles. Top with sesame seeds or green onions and enjoy!
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Angela Milnes is a Qualified Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has studied nutrition for children and has also taught cooking skills to adults. Angela loves to share family meals and easy instant pot recipes here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!