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

  • 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.



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


  • 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


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?

  • Nikki

    The marinade started off great but, as mentioned above, the lemon made it unpalatably bitter. My suggestion, omit or cut the amount of lemon. However, I did manage to salvage the meat with extra honey and salt. YUM!

  • Melly

    I made this and it was AMAZING.
    I am not what you would call an experienced cook, and don’t enjoy complicated recipes that stress me out in the kitchen. This is so simple and delicious. Added bonus – my apartment smelled like cardamom and honey for a couple days. Yum!

  • Darlene

    Love the sweet, earthy and lemon flavor. Needed to double the sauce.

  • Lakeisha

    I really liked this recipe. It was much much simpler to make than I expected. The only problem I had was it turned out bitter and I can’t figure out where I went wrong. I did use lemons. I would like to make it again. Any suggestions?

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