Chinese Citrus Roasted Orange Chicken
This Chinese Roasted Orange Chicken is inspired by my love for roasted whole chicken and the famous Chinese take-out orange chicken.
Traditionally orange chicken is breaded with flour and then deep-fried to create that slightly crispy and sticky texture.
But this Chinese roasted orange chicken is a much healthier take and much more suitable for the entire family to enjoy during the winter and holiday season.
It’s savory and citrusy. What a perfect way to celebrate the winter and holiday season !
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Chinese flavor brining
I first brine the bird with sea salt, fresh ginger, dates, and other good stuff for 24 hrs to allow the bird soak up all the goodness.
My Chinese flavor brining is mild, and it will make the entire bird nice and fragrant without being overpowering.
If you can’t find Chinese red dates, you can substitute medjool dates or Himalayan dates.
Please refer to the quantities in the recipe below.
Making the Chinese Roasted Orange Chicken
The baking process is extremely easy since the brining does most of the heavy lifting to make the bird fragrant and juicy.
Make sure that you pat-dry the chicken with a paper towel before sending it into the oven so that the skin will be crispy.
I stuffed the bird with sliced orange and lemon and made a very simple orange dressing I can brush onto the bird during baking.
This orange dressing is sweet and tangy. You can also use it for salad dressing. Yum !
To enjoy the Chinese Roasted Orange Chicken
I roasted some potatoes and made a salad to go along with the chicken. If you have any orange dressing left and want to intensify the orange/citrusy flavor, you can boil the dressing to reduce the liquid and use it as a dipping sauce for the chicken.
Are you a visual learner?
I filmed a quick tutorial on how to roast a perfectly juicy and tasty Chinese Roasted Orange Chicken so if you are a visual learner, watch the short demo below!
Chinese Citrus Roasted Orange Chicken
- 4 lbs whole chicken, giblets removed inside cavity
- Quarter one whole Orange, California orange
- Half one whole Lemon
- 2-3 cloves small garlic
- 1 tbsp melted ghee or duck fat
- Sea salt & black pepper
Orange chicken skin coating sauce:
- Quarter one whole California orange juice
- Half one whole lemon juice
- ½ tsp grated ginger
- ½ tsp grated garlic
- ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
My Chinese flavor brining combo (for 4 lbs chicken. Recipe can be easily doubled)
- 1 in head garlic, halve half
- 8 Chinese red dates, alt. 6 medjool or Himalayan dates
- 3 star anise
- ¼ cup fresh sliced ginger, unpeeled
- 2 bay leaves, dry
- Half one whole lime peel
- ¼ cup coarse sea salt
- 7 cups water
A day before:
- Combine the ingredients listed under “My Chinese flavor brining combo” in a 5 liter size large soup pot. Bring it to boil and then wait until the liquid is cool to room temperature before submerge the whole chicken in the brining liquid. Breast side down. Cover the soup pot with a lid and store in the fridge for 24 hours.
Baking the chicken:
- Whisk ingredients under “orange chicken skin coating sauce” in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400/410 degrees F
- Drain and pat dry the chicken. Rub melted ghee or duck fat all over the chicken and underneath the skin. Be careful not to break the skin.
- Sprinkle the entire chicken and cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with orange and lemon wedges and 2-3 garlic cloves. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string.
- Position a rack in a large roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the rack in the pan. Roast the chicken first for 40 minutes then rotate the roasting pan to bake another 30 minutes, basting occasionally with the “orange chicken skin coating sauce”.
- Continue roasting the chicken until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees F without touching the bone.
Got extra sauce in the baking pan ?
- If you like, place the same roasting pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in any remaining orange coating sauce and simmer until the sauce is reduced, stirring often, about 2-3 minutes. Strain into a glass measuring cup and discard the solids. Spoon the fat from the top of the sauce. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.
More holiday recipes and side dish !
French petite green beans with crispy bacon !
A lovely spatchcocked herbal rotisserie chicken