This orange roasted chicken is tasty, juicy and very easy to make. If you’re having a small celebration it’s an excellent option. It also takes a lot less time to cook than turkey and looks equally impressive at the table.
Honey Orange Roasted Chicken
This Honey Orange Roasted Chicken recipe is based on my honey-roasted turkey but I simplified it quite a bit. The idea behind this is to give you a quicker recipe to make. This focuses on those of us who don’t have much time to spare at the end of the year. Also, it’s a great alternative if your celebration involves only a handful of people. Usually, a whole chicken would be ideal for 4 people, but with several side dishes, this chicken can feed up to 8 people. Here are the ingredients we use for this roast chicken:
- Whole chicken: Cooking a whole chicken can seem daunting but it’s actually really simple and a great way to make a statement at the table. This Honey Orange Roasted Chicken is just stunning!
- Unsalted butter at room temperature: Fat is a great way to transfer flavour and in this case, we’re using butter. You could also use olive oil but the thing is that olive oil is too liquidy so it will inevitably fall off the chicken. On the other hand, soft butter sticks to the chicken to let it absorb the flavours.
- Seasoning: onion powder, paprika salt and black pepper. The spices, salt and pepper will really bring a nice touch of flavour to the chicken. They also pair really well with the orange taste and aromas.
- Chopped fresh herbs: rosemary and thyme. Herb sprigs always get that lovely freshness to chicken and I adore how they go with the rest of the flavours.
- Honey: Honey makes for the most glorious golden exterior in chicken and turkey. You can also swap it for brown sugar instead.
- Orange zest: Most of the aroma of oranges comes from the skin so getting the orange zest in there really makes it taste orangy.
- Garlic: Life itself is made of garlic so I had to include it in this recipe, of course!
- Orange juice: The orange juice we’re going to add to the pan drippings to make the sauce.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is going to be the thickening agent that we use to get a syrupy sauce.
How to make the best Honey Orange Roasted Chicken
Making this Honey Orange Roasted Chicken is really simple. Here’s a summary version of the recipe so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. In a small bowl, you will mix the ingredients for the marinade: butter, honey, spices, herbs honey, zest and garlic. Make sure that the whole chicken is nice and clean on the inside and place it on a roasting pan. Rub the chicken with the butter marinade and let the chicken rest like this overnight ideally.
Otherwise, you can roast straight away. Roast the chicken in the oven at medium-high heat. Check it as it cooks and if any part becomes too golden, cover it with aluminum foil. When the chicken comes out of the oven, remove it from the baking sheet and let it rest as you prepare the sauce. Take the juices from the roasting dish and place them in a small saucepan through a sieve or colander. Add the orange juice and thicken the mix with cornstarch. And just like that, you’re done!
Increasing the flavour of this chicken
The butter marinade is key to getting the most flavorful orange chicken recipe. If you have more time and are organized, here’s a recommendation. I recommend that after rubbing the chicken with the butter on and under the skin, leave it to marinade overnight. In this way, the meat in the Honey Orange Roasted Chicken will have more time to absorb all the flavours in the butter. Make sure to rub the butter inside the chicken cavity, under the skin of the chicken and all around the outside of the chicken including the top of the chicken as well. Butter and fat in general are good vehicles for flavour. That’s why creamy desserts start tasting like “fridge” after a couple of days.
Tips for the cooking point
You want this Honey Orange Roasted Chicken to be cooked to perfection. The cooking time needs to be precise! We’re all scared (and if you’re not, you should be) to under or over-cook chicken and have it dry. We hate dry chicken breasts! Here are two tips to get it right every time:
- The best way to avoid dry chicken is to use a meat thermometer. The chicken is ready when the internal temp of all its parts has reached 73C/163F. Then you know that there are no live bacteria left and the chicken will still be extremely juicy. You want to especially try the thickest part of the breast which tends to take longer to cook.
- Let the chicken rest: When the Honey Orange Roasted Chicken first comes out of the oven and is still very hot, the juices are loose in the meat. If you let it rest for at least ten minutes, it will reabsorb into the meat. The good news is that that’s about the time you will need to make the sauce anyway!
Orange Roasted Chicken
For the chicken
- 1.6 kg whole chicken
- 100 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 oranges zest only
- 1 garlic clove purée, grated or finely minced
For the sauce
- 150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Salt to taste
For the chicken
- Make sure that inside the cavity of the chicken there are no interiors in a bag. Also, cut off the neck and tail if they're still attached.
- In a bowl, mix the butter with the rest of the ingredients.
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper all around.
- Carefully, separate the skin from the flesh of the chicken using your hands. You want to separate it on the breast and also as far as your hand can go into the legs.
- Rub the chicken with the butter inside the skin, on top of the skin and also on the inside of the cavity.
- If you have time, you can marinade it overnight. Otherwise, it goes straight into the oven.
- Roast the chicken in a baking dish or tray that's somewhat deep in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for approximately 1 hour or until the temperature at the centre of all pieces of the chicken has reached 73°C/164°F. Baste it every 15 minutes with its juices. If at any point a section of the chicken becomes golden enough, cover it with aluminium foil.
- Remove it from the dish it was baked in and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
For the sauce
- Pour the juices and butter that was left behind in the tray into a saucepan through a colander.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of the orange juice and reserve.
- Add the orange juice to the saucepan and mix. Add the dissolved cornstarch too, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
- Let it boil at medium heat. From the moment it boils, let it boil for an extra minute, always stirring constantly.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the level of salt if needed.