Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Orange

Roast chicken, fennel, and orange come together in this makes a bright, flavorful one-pot skillet dinner. Serve it with rice, farro, quinoa or barley for an easy meal.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 bulbs fennel (about the size of your fist)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 navel orange, scrubbed clean and sliced into quarter-inch rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane or finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 whole sprigs (optional)

Special equipment:


1 Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

2 Prepare the chicken: In a large bowl, combine the garlic, thyme leaves, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Remove any excess moisture from the chicken by patting it dry with paper towel and add the chicken thighs. Toss to coat evenly, using your hands to massage the garlic-thyme mixture into the chicken.

Set aside to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. while you prep the vegetables. You can also do this step a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate to infuse with more flavor.

2 Prepare the fennel and put in skillet: Trim the stalks to just get the bulb; remove the outermost layers (which tend to be dry and scuffed up). Cut each bulb into 8 wedges. Toss the fennel wedges with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Evenly layer the fennel wedges in a large cast iron skillet or baking dish. Top with the orange slices.

Skillet Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Orange arrange the fennel in the pan Roast Chicken with Fennel and Orange layer the oranges

3 Bake the chicken: Place the chicken on top of the fennel and orange slices. Scatter the thyme sprigs around, if using. Place in the oven and bake until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced and the chicken is at least 165°F in the thickest part, 35 to 45 minutes.

Serve the fennel, on or two orange slices, and chicken over rice (or another grain) and spoon any pan juices over top.

Roast Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Orange Roast Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Orange

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  • CG

    I loved this so much and it was far superior to a similar NY Times recipe for chicken thighs and fennel. I added a splash of white wine and the juice from half of an orange in the last ten minutes of cooking because I wanted lots to drizzle over the millet I served on the side. Excited to have this in rotation!


  • JL

    I just made this dish. I let the chicken marinate for about two hours in the fridge, but the chicken still came out a bit bland. Also, the fennel and oranges came out tasting a little bitter. Does anyone have an idea of where I went wrong? I’m new to cooking and I’m trying to learn as I go! I would love to try this recipe again because oranges and fennel are two of my favorite flavors!


    • Aaron Hutcherson

      Sorry the chicken came out bland! That’s often a sign that your palate is trained for more salt. The fennel should have been sweet, so maybe you got a bad batch? As far as the orange, I like the mellow bitterness of the peel, but some people prefer to eat around that. I hope this helps!

  • Marisa Paz Lopez

    Really easy and delicous, full of flavor!!! I did it with chicken breasts as I did not had thighs.


  • jmr

    How or could I incorporate the fennel seasoning in place of the plant?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, JMR! Emma here, managing editor. Fennel seasoning is quite different than the vegetable and is used in different ways, so using it in this recipe isn’t a direct swap. This said, I think you could add some fennel flavor by sauteing a half teaspoon of fennel seeds in some of the olive oil and then using that to coat the chicken. Instead of the fennel veggie, you could cook the chicken on top of another vegetable that has roughly the same cooking time, like wedges of onion or cauliflower florets. Good luck!

  • Sheila

    I made this recipe tonight, using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It was absolutely delicious and the chicken breasts were not dry. It also made for a pretty presentation on my taupe colored dishes –white chicken, with the orange slices. The fennel was phenomenal! Highly recommend. This is also a great dish to serve to company!


  • Brian C.

    Made this dish last night. Fabulous!


  • Eric

    Made this for dinner tonight but had to change it up just a bit. Used herbs d province in stead of thyme and blood orange instead of regular but the results were very tasty. Will make this again as the family liked it a lot.


  • julie

    I love fennel & oranges, so I will definitely be making this soon! Sounds so quick & easy; it’s beautiful, too.

  • Sandy S

    This looks and sounds great! Will be giving it a try soon.


    Bland! And once the bones are removed there is about 3 oz of chicken which really isn’t a portion.


    • Nancy

      Made this tonight. Chicken was good and tasty but there was no juice and the quartered (2x) fennel and oranges (over 1/4″ slices) were waaaaaay too caramelized. Hardly any fennel to put on the plate. Methinks turning down the oven to 425 once you put the chicken in would help. Also, adding some juice of another orange (1/4 cup) and a Tbsp of water in the pan would allow the fennel and oranges to simmer in juice making a tasty sauce. Yes, I’ll make it again with the above modifications.

      • Nancy

        Jacquie: 1.5 pounds is 24 ounces to start. Dividing by 4 servings yields 8 ounces per serving. Giving a generous estimate, skin is about an ounce, a thigh bone is about an ounce per thigh… maybe. Your yield is 5 oz meat, 6 oz tops. Shrinkage I’ll go another .5 ounces. Nowhere near 3 ounces you claim. A digital food scale and a cooking thermometer might be a good investment.