Cardamom Honey Chicken

Roast chicken marinated first in honey, sherry, cardamom, and pepper, then browned on the stovetop and baked to doneness in the oven.

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Years ago I had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand and picked up a wonderful cookbook from BeesOnline, a local café and honey factory right outside Auckland (sadly no longer in business).

This Cardamom and Honey-Glazed Chicken recipe is from that book with some minor adjustments. I don’t usually think of cardamom as a spice for chicken, but the result is fragrant and delicious!

The issue of cooking with honey, whether for savory or sweet dishes, is that honey burns at high temperatures. It will help the chicken brown quickly, but you have to watch it carefully or it will burn.

Cardamom Honey Chicken Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Marinating time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

If a recipe calls for ground cardamom, it is best to start with whole pods. Break open the pods to release the tiny brown and black cardamom seeds. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind the seeds.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns, ground

Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts, skin-on, bone-in (cut in half if large), or one whole chicken, cut into parts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Method

1 Marinate the chicken: Warm the honey slightly (in microwave or on stovetop), stir in the sherry, cardamom and peppercorns.

Place marinade and chicken in a large bowl, coat chicken with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2 Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C).

3 Sear the chicken pieces: Heat olive oil in a large frying pan at medium heat. Sear the chicken for 20 to 30 seconds, skin side down, until golden. Watch carefully, since the chicken skin goes from browned to charred quickly.

4 Bake in oven: Place lemon slices in a roasting pan. Lay the chicken pieces on top. Brush with the marinade. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until a thermometer registers 165°F (75°C) when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.

Check often. If the chicken starts to get too dark (this can happen when using honey), tent with foil.

5 Let rest: Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Pour out drippings from the pan into a gravy boat for gravy.

6 Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or couscous.

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Showing 4 of 56 Comments

  • Cindy lau

    If one uses ground cardamom, how much would you suggest?

  • Donna

    Made this tonight – liked everything except the lemon, it gave a distinct “pledge” flavour, was disappointed. Will try without the lemon next time. A

  • Cherie Harper

    Made this last night with a very few modifications. I used 1Tb apple juice & 1 Tb apple cider vinegar since I didn’t have Sherry, and I used 1/2tsp ground cardamom. Will try with whole cardamom some time, I’m sure the flavor is even better! Also I tried what a few users had & used sliced oranges in place of the lemons, and had no bitterness issues. I served it with an orange & spinach couscous (just simmered orange zest with broth, and added froz spinach with the couscous), and an apple spiced bread. Family happy!

  • Autumn

    I made this for some guests in my home recently along with your yukon gold goat cheese and sage mashed potatoes. Both were divine!

  • Sarah V.

    The sherry called for – is it okay to use cooking sherry? I’ve read elsewhere that you should buy quality sherry for cooking, from a liquor store… I wondered whether cooking sherry would be okay for this, or if it would ruin it?

    Cooking sherry should be fine, though in the future you should just use good sherry for cooking. My recommendation is to only use liquour in recipes that you would be willing to drink. ~Elise

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