Spicy Orange Marinated Chicken

Chicken thighs, pounded thin, marinated in mixture of orange juice, onion, garlic, herbs, and chipotle, then quickly pan fried. Delicious!

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

The trick to quickly prepared meals is just a little foresight and planning.

In this case you marinate the chicken pieces overnight, but once you take them out of the marinade, they take less than 20 minutes to cook.

My father adapted this recipe from one on a local sausage maker’s calendar, of all places. We futzed with it a bit, pounded the chicken thighs for more even cooking, used olive oil instead of vegetable spray, and served it with some of my mother’s awesome Spanish rice. Loved it!

Spicy Orange Marinated Chicken Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Marinating time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice from 3 to 4 large navel oranges, or 6 small oranges, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 of a 7-ounce-can of chipotle chili peppers in adobo (3 1/2 ounces total)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh marjoram or oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried of either
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 pounds if buying bone-in)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley and orange slices for garnish

Method

1 Make the marinade: In a blender or food processor, combine the orange juice or chopped oranges, onion, chipotle in adobo, garlic, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and salt.

Pulse a few times to make a coarse purée. Transfer to a large bowl.

2 Trim the fat from the chicken thighs: With scissors, snip off the excess fat from the thighs.

3 Pound the chicken thighs to even thickness: Put the chicken thighs between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until an even thickness of about 1/2-inch.

4 Marinate the chicken: Add the chicken to the bowl of marinade (or transfer both to a zipper freezer bag). Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

5 Cook the chicken: Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron pan or heavy skillet on medium high heat.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, blotting off the excess (but not all) with a paper towel.

Working in batches, cook the chicken pieces for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through.

6 To serve: Sprinkle the chicken with chopped cilantro or parsley, garnish with orange wedges and serve with Spanish rice.

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Recipe adapted from one by the National Chicken Council

Spicy Chicken with Orange Marinade

Showing 4 of 14 Comments

  • Jackie

    Delicious! This turned out hotter than I expected. But that was great for us! (Maybe I used more than half a can of chipotles.) You may want to add carefully and taste BEFORE you add the chicken. I purchased the Goya brand. Last time I bought these – different brand – they weren’t hot, but they were spicy.

  • Marie-Claire (uk)

    this dish was fantastic, the best thing i have eaten since being diagnosed with coeliac disease. Keep up the good work and keep the recepies coming x

  • Jilly

    I made this the other night and it is simple and wonderful!! Will be making this again. Thanks Elise for posting!

  • Anna H

    Hi Elise!

    I have been really enjoying your recipes! It’s fun to hear about your family and their part in it as well. In regards to the recipe, I cooked down a whole chicken and thighs to have the meat ready ahead. I was wondering if I could still use the recipe? Maybe marinate still and then just cook to heat up? Thanks so much for a great resource to have available. I started with the Chicken Tarragon sandwich recipe (first one I made) it’s yummy! I work at sbux and it is good!

    Hi Anna, the key to this recipe is the marinating of the chicken, so if you’ve already cooked the chicken, it won’t really work with this one. ~Elise

  • rick of temecula

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. So easy to do and tastes great. Thanks Elise.

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