Chipotle Orange-Herb Chicken

chicken, chipotle chicken, asparagus 015If only I could find an excuse to put chipotle in everything. Okay, okay, not really, but I do love the stuff, in case you haven’t noticed. (See here, here, and here, just as a small sample) In fact, just about anytime I’m looking for an in-your-face, bold taste, chipotle does the trick. Smoky and spicy, it adds an unbelievable amount of dimension to a dish.

Take chicken, for example. Chicken is nearly a blank canvas, something one flavor with any combination of herbs and spices, and create a seemingly endless number of dishes. Soy, ginger, and garlic? Asian chicken. Oregano, basil, tomato, garlic? Italian chicken. But what about orange juice, chipotle, sage, thyme, and rosemary?

You get chipotle orange-herb chicken.

Not exactly a traditional mix of flavors, but who says we’re trying to be traditional here? Sweet, spicy, smoky, with a nice fresh background flavor from the herbs – this is a tasty chicken that’s sure to please. In addition, if you use cut-up chicken and marinade the night before serving, this dish bakes up quickly enough to make it a weeknight choice. I used a combination of thighs and drumsticks (they were on sale, and I prefer the flavor of dark meat), but of course, you could use any cut you wish. (you could even use boneless, skinless breasts – just lower the cooking time accordingly)

This recipe was inspired by a chipotle orange chicken that Elana shared at Elana’s Pantry. (Elana has a wonderful array of gluten-free recipes.) I increased the amount of chipotle a bit (we like spicy food at the Tasty Eats At Home residence), and I subbed the dried herbes de provence for fresh herbs, but largely left the original recipe in tact. If you have small kids, you might choose to lower the chipotle, but this should be a great family-pleaser, one that is easy on you, too! I served this dish with a generous helping of steamed asparagus with lemon zest (recipe to come soon, stay tuned!).

Chipotle Orange-Herb Chicken, adapted from Elana’s Pantry

4 lbs bone-in, cut-up chicken, or a combination of thighs and drumsticks

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 t chopped fresh rosemary needles

1/2 t fresh thyme leaves

1/2 t chopped fresh sage leaves

1/4 c agave nectar or honey

1 t kosher salt

2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced

juice of 2 oranges

Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a 9X13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, mix garlic, herbs, agave, salt, chipotle, and orange juice. Pour over chicken, turning chicken over to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for minimum of an hour, up to overnight.

Remove from refrigerator, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4-6.


  1. says

    If i could I’d put chipotle in most the dishes I could, But I share a household where the other’s are not into heat and spice. Grrr…lol. Yummy chicken.

  2. says

    This looks so good, Alta. Chicken is so hard to photograph – you did a great job. (Joe agress….) Joe loves spicy and I’m starting to come around. I bought chipotle once but they’re packed in sugar. If I use them I’d have to reconstitute and honestly, I don’t want them that badly.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Diana, Chris, TasteHongKong – Thanks!

      Divina – I found mine at a Latin grocery, but I’m assuming you don’t have a lot of those in your area. You could order on Amazon:

      Amy – Thank you! There’s also a chipotle chili powder available, I’ve found it at a lot of regular groceries, such as Kroger. You could use that instead, sugar-free, in this recipe. Just use about a tablespoon.

      Miranda – I did love the skin (I’m a sucker for good chicken skin…). Thanks!

      Jenn – I share your pain in certain dishes at our household! Thankfully, spicy is something enjoyed by everyone.

      Jessie – You can always add a little, and stir and taste your marinade prior to pouring it on the chicken, and add more if you like. We love the spice, so we added quite a bit.

  3. says

    Wow, 2-3 peppers. We are kindred spirits. I love adding Chipotle to dishes too. I use both the dried seasoning in the bottle and the ones in the can. I love smokey flavors so I make something like this but I add Cumin. I hope you’ll share this on Friday. Chicken is the secret ingredient. Love the way you cook! Oh, and I passed on your award today. Thank you again!

  4. says

    I, too, suffer from chipotle addiction. I always keep a can of adobo chiles in the pantry and if I could add it in anything, I would. Short of dessert, I almost have! I love the flavors here; I’m already thinking of Thanksgiving, and this would be great to flavor a turkey with!

  5. says

    This sounds like such a perfect balance of flavors. I love adding orange to savory dishes and chipotle is also a favorite flavor. Can’t wait to try this!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Diane – I think cumin would make a fine addition to this marinade! Yum! I’ll need to look into sharing this recipe on Friday, thank you!

      Wasabi Prime – Ooh, orange and chipotle on a turkey? Sounds wonderful! You could further that Thanksgiving flavor profile with some Southwestern-style cornbread dressing with peppers in it, maybe? Yum! My mouth is watering already with the idea.

      Duodishes – I agree, I need to remember to include those oranges more often!

      Natasha, Lisaiscooking, Debi, and Natalie – Thank you much!

      Chiara – I have not! I’ve tried chili dark chocolate before though (Lindt) and it was sublime. I can only imagine chipotle and dark chocolate would be just as wonderful.

  6. says

    Chipotle is one of my favorite heat inducers as well. It seems to have a lot more flavor with its heat than other peppers. Although, we use a fair amount of Piri Piri around here too.

  7. says

    Chipotle + chicken = culinary heaven. I love the addition of the rosemary, thyme, and sage too. Thanks for the great recipe – I will be trying this one soon!


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