Orange Ginger Chicken

These orange ginger chicken thighs are an easy meal made by marinating chicken in a mixture of ginger, oranges, and soy sauce, then roasting to crispy-skinned perfection.

A white plate filled with orange ginger chicken thighs and orange wedges.

This is not the orange ginger chicken that’s an Americanized riff on Chinese food that comes in a white box with rice on the side. This is a surprisingly simple marinade that lets you toss an orange and some ginger root in a blender–peel and all–along with a little soy sauce and ginger. So unexpectedly easy. So impressively good.–Renee Schettler

Orange Ginger Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 2 H, 10 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
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Ingredients


Directions

In a blender, puree the orange, juice, soy sauce, ginger, and sugar until smooth. (Yes, you toss both the orange and ginger in unpeeled. Trust us. )

Transfer to a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, add the chicken, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).

Place a wire rack in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the chicken, with some of the marinade still clinging to it, skin side up on the rack. Roast until the internal temperature registers 170°F (77°C), 35 to 45 minutes.

Tester tip: You want a little—but not a lot—of the marinade to still coat the chicken when it goes in the oven. If there’s too much marinade smothering the skin, it won’t crisp properly.

Turn the oven to broil and keep the chicken in the oven until the chicken is deep golden brown and lightly charred, about 2 minutes.

Serve the chicken with orange wedges and sliced scallions, if desired.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe was a winner through and through. The thighs turned out moist and delicious and they browned beautifully. The ginger-heavy marinade produced a delightful, tingly spicing. It amazed me how much the ginger flavor from the marinade came through but then again 7 oz is a whole lot of ginger root!

Skinless boneless thighs seem popular with contemporary recipe writers, but I personally prefer chicken that hasn’t been skinned and deboned. The flavor is far more complex when the chicken is cooked intact.

The marinade was very thick and had a lot of texture, presumably from the ginger and orange. I have an ancient blender so things don’t get pureed as finely as they would in a Vitamix or other newer, high-powered blender. From the description of marinade clinging to the chicken, I gather that the texture I got might not be what was intended, though it worked out just fine.

I try not to eat too much chicken skin, but I couldn’t help myself with this on the plate. It was hard to limit myself to only one piece of chicken, period.

When I peeked, the chicken looked gorgeous as it was baking. Using foil on the pan was a good idea that I, unfortunately, rejected. That brown sugar left quite a blackened crust on the pan. I should have turned the pan in the oven partway through, as well, as the browning was somewhat uneven front to back on the racks. I did turn the pan front to back and side to side before turning the broiler on, and the coloring pretty much all evened out during that final step.

For probably the first time ever, my result didn't look like the photograph only because mine looked better. I served the chicken along with a combination of fried rice, green beans, and broccoli.

When I think of “orange ginger chicken”, the Chinese takeout staple that kept me well-fed during my college days immediately comes to mind. Along with white rice, the sticky, overly glazed, perfectly fried, meaty chunks I’m accustomed to could feed a family of four. I, however, would be determined to eat it all in one sitting because my dorm lacked a working microwave and oven. The good old days!

This...is not that. Instead, this modern reimagining takes flavor inspiration from my young adulthood staple and the classic chicken a l’orange, plus some extra texture and juiciness from the superior chicken thigh and full-bodied marinade.

When making the marinade, I was initially thrown off by keeping the skin on both the orange and ginger. Strangely, though, I could barely tell I kept the peel on both in the final product. My boyfriend, the pickiest of eaters, could identify the pithiness from the orange, though. This texture may be offputting to some, so it might be worth considering whether the marinade could be better translated as a sauce or glaze.

The chicken itself is pretty damn good with the thigh meat being extremely juicy and some of that tangy marinade flavor being absorbed into the thigh. But it could be truly perfect with a few tweaks. First, I found that the thighs with more marinade ended up a little burnt than the rest, especially after it came out from under the broiler. Even with that extra char, I didn’t find the skin to be all that crispy. If it was under the broiler’s flames for another minute or two, I think it’ll have the texture I was initially envisioning it having.

I only had regular soy sauce on hand, so I cut the amount down by a third. And instead of using a large bowl, I marinated the chicken in a large freezer bag to consolidate space in my fridge.

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

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