This Sticky Asian Blood Orange Chicken is a fantastic twist on the classic Chinese take-out, Orange Chicken. Drumsticks or thighs are marinated and then basted with a sweet, spicy, sticky sauce infused with Blood Orange juice, garlic, ginger, chili, honey, and jalapeno. An explosion of flavor does not even cover it!
Updated with new pics 1/14/19! Enjoy!
I feel like I only really discovered Blood Oranges this year and I’m not quite sure why that is. Part of it has to do with the fact that they are only available from around December to May. Part of it is that I tend to primarily buy oranges only for the kids and they prefer the little, easy-peal cuties. And I think I always assumed they would be grapefruitish. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
But this season, there were several things about them that drew my notice. First, my grocer featured them and offered samples. The flavor profile was quite eye opening and the color is stunning! Yes, they still taste like an orange, but also very distinctly different. They seem slightly less acidic, have a very noticeable raspberry or strawberry overtone, and just a more potent flavor if that makes sense. Of course, immediate impulse buy occurred. The kids have had a lot of fun with both the ‘blood’ name and the corresponding blood-red interior with the added benefit of being an extremely tasty orange.
I also came across an article full of Blood Orange recipes. It was very inspiring! So, after about the fourth bag of Blood Oranges I bought for our house to enjoy, I really started to think about how I would use them in a recipe. Since Chinese carryout is one of our favorite guilty pleasures, I decided to use that at my inspiration. And that’s how this Sticky Asian Blood Orange Chicken came to be.
The first time I made this, I really wanted to do these with chicken thighs, but the ONE time I asked my hubby to stop by the grocery on his way home, he swore they were out and came home with chicken legs instead. I have to say, nobody was disappointed with the result!
Preparing this recipe is really quite simple, but make sure to leave enough time for the chicken to marinate. It’s a perfect weeknight meal if you can put them in the marinade in the morning and them come home from work and toss them in the oven. Dinner is served with minimal fuss in 30-40 minutes of roasting time. The last 10 minutes of cook time, I often will add a second cookie sheet to the oven and roast asparagus for an easy but really delicious side choice.
A few of the kitchen tools I use and love for this recipe.
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How to make Sticky Asian Blood Orange Chicken
Start by juicing 3-4 oranges to create 3/4 cup of juice. I used the pulp in my 3/4 cup and it is not noticeable in the finished product for people who usually prefer none.
Whisk the blood orange juice in a small bowl with brown sugar, rice vinegar, minced garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, honey, red pepper flakes, and water to create a mixture that will be both marinade and sauce.
Marinate the chicken legs or thighs in 2/3 of the mixture for 2-8 hours. The longer it marinates, obviously, the more intense the flavor will be on the interior of the chicken.
I first time I made this, you know the night the grocery was out of thighs, I marinated for 2 hours and received unanimous rave reviews all around. The second time, with 8 hours to marinate, was even better in my opinion.
The recipe card at the bottom is for roasting in the oven, but this recipe is also fantastic cooked on the grill and there are a few notes about that.
Baste 3-4 times throughout the cooking process with the remaining sauce used to marinate the chicken.
While the chicken is cooking, simmer the untouched, remaining 1/3 of the sauce mixture, thin jalapeno slices, and the white parts of sliced green onions for about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced, thickened, and sticky.
I like to save a few jalapeno slices and the green parts of the onions to use as a garnish. Removing the ribs and seeds takes away the majority of the heat from the jalepeno. My kiddos did not complain about the heat, and trust me, they would have if they thought it was too spicy. The slight spiciness of the jalapeno really does amazing things to the sticky, sweetness of the sauce. Cilantro leaves are also a great garnish for this dish.
Place the Sticky Asian Blood Orange Chicken over a bed of rice and drizzle with the sauce.
As a perfect aperitif while-cooking, cocktail while-dining, and as an after-dinner digestif, prepare a vodka tonic with slices of blood orange squeezed and dropped into the drink for an outside the box, but perfect accompaniment. OK, I admit it. I might have been sipping one (or two?) of these before, during, and after dinner. So good! Enjoy!
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Have you tried this recipe? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
If you LOVE Asian flavors, make sure you check out my Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Asian Shrimp Cakes, and Sticky Chinese Pork Belly.
For other recipe ideas featuring Blood Orange from some of the top recipe creators around, click on over to this recipe roundup 11 Unique Blood Orange Recipes.
Sticky Asian Blood Orange Chicken
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs
- 3/4 cup blood orange juice fresh squeezed
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 jalepeno thinly sliced ribs and seeds removed
- 6 green onions sliced spring onions
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves whole or chopped aka coriander
- 1-2 blood oranges thinnly sliced
- Juice 3-4 Blood Oranges to create 3/4 cup of juice. Including the pulp in the 3/4 cup is ok.
- Whisk the blood orange juice in a small mixing bowl with the brown sugar, rice vinegar, minced garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, honey, red pepper flakes, and water to create both marinade and sauce.
- Marinate the chicken in 2/3 of the sauce mixture in the refrigerator for 2-8 hours.
- Make sure to reserve the remaining 1/3 for the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use cooking spray on a large cookie/baking sheet that has an edge.
- After the first 15 minutes of cook time, place a thinly sliced piece of blood orange on each drumstick or thigh.
- Baste 3-4 times throughout the cooking process with the remaining sauce used to marinate the chicken.
- Cook 30-45 minutes, depending on choice of drumsticks or thighs, until interior temperature is 165 degrees.
- Simmer the untouched, remaining 1/3 of the sauce mixture, the majority of the jalapeno slices, and the white parts of the sliced green onions for about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced, thickened, and sticky.
- Serve chicken over rice if desired and drizzle with sauce.
- Garnish with the greens of the green onions, jalapeno slices and/or cilantro leaves.
Mother, Gardener, Book Devourer, and Food Obsessor. I love being inspired with fresh, seasonal ingredients and relish every opportunity to elevate my home cooking. Join me!
Ohhh yum!! My husband and I love making our own sauces. I might even try this on tempeh or tofu!
You definitely should! It’s pretty versatile. Great on chicken wings as well.
I have never had a blood orange, but you’ve inspired me to go out and buy some! I can’t wait to try this dish.
Thanks, Emily. I hope you enjoy!
Oh my, this looks fantastic! my family will love this.
I hope they do. Thanks Andrea!
Such a hit with my dinner guests, thank you!
So glad you enjoyed!
I love using blood oranges this time of year. This chicken dish looks amazing.
This sounds and looks absolutely dreamy. What a delicious and beautiful blend of ingredients and flavors. I will be bookmarking this for sure.
Thank you so much!
Any thoughts on the use of Chicken breast rather than thighs or drumsticks?
I have not tried it with breasts, but would love to hear back from you if you do! I would probably choose bone-in, skin on breasts just because they tend to stay juicier when you cook them. Use a meat thermometer only cook until 160 degree and then let the chicken rest for a bit before serving.
Absolutely Declicious!! First time cooking with Blood Oranges.
I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
I stumbled on this and made a few tweaks – but what an amazing recipe. Thank you so much.
I included breasts but sliced, egg/mixture coated, and fried in peanut oil. It was an awesome blend with the roasted drum and thigh. I also made a coconut quinoa, with 1C 3-color quinoa and a can of coconut milk (plus 1/4C water)., plus some broccolini.
Next time I make this I will use extra oranges and cut them up to mix in tot he rice. so good!
Great idea! I’ll try that as well! Thanks Rob.
I made the marinade on December 16, 2021 and kept it in the refrigerator. Is this still ok to use today, April 21, 2022?
I do not like wasting and throwing it away,
Please inform soonest. Thank you.
I would throw it away, I’m sorry to say. Some of the ingredients would no longer be safe to consume.
Ben, love this collection of grilling recipes! Thanks for including me:)