Updated on January 28, 2019
Rosemary chicken is tasty and inspiring one pot dinner to make. Chicken thighs are baked in mandarin orange sauce. Sweet and sour taste of sauce, tender rosemary chicken thighs – this dish is perfect for winter gathering with friends and family. Perfect Christmas dinner. And the color of this mandarin orange sauce is so inviting and festive!
Moreover, these baked chicken thighs can be served for every day, or even for Easter dinner!
I used chicken thighs for this recipe with bones, as they get extra flavor to the sauce. However you can use skinless and boneless chicken thighs for easier eating. They are rich and fatty enough to make this delicious dish. You can also use turkey or chicken breasts or drumsticks if you wish so, but then you should regulate the baking time accordingly. However, if you are using chicken breasts, better choose skin-on and bone-in, as it may dry out fast in the oven. So if you are using breasts, better flip them during the baking and grease the both sides of the breasts.
Mandarin orange sauce for the chicken thighs
Mandarin sauce creates sweet and sour taste. It is perfectly combined with spices like cinnamon and rosemary. I also added a bit of sugar to balance the sauce, as my Clementine mandarins were quite tart. I recommend tasting the sauce every 10 minutes to figure out if more spice needed. Moreover, if you are a fan of chili, you can add it to the sauce too.
By the way, you can prepare this mandarin orange sauce ahead. I like to blend it for the smooth texture. Store the sauce up to 4 days in the fridge and use it when needed.
It is such an easy rosemary chicken recipe and flavorful one pan dish, especially if you have mandarin sauce already prepared!
How to serve rosemary chicken
To my mind, this rosemary chicken in mandarin sauce should be served exactly in the same dish, right from the oven! It is a centerpiece of the table, main dish that has all eyes on it. I love to add more rosemary for decoration.
This recipe is for 6 portions, but you can easily adjust it for the number of your guests.
I like to serve chicken thighs with Basmati or brown rice. Moreover, you can serve this rosemary chicken with our Cauliflower rice recipe. Don’t forget about tasty baked carrots and a spoon of delicious mandarin orange sauce for every plate! By the way, you can use baby carrots for this baked chicken dish too
How to use rosemary
Fresh rosemary is great for cooking and baking with poultry and vegetables. What’s great, it doesn’t loose its flavor during the cooking process. Rinse the rosemary under cold water, then dry with paper towel. For the mandarin orange sauce, I cut an inch of rosemary and cooked it with other ingredients, then remove. For baking, stem fresh rosemary, or tear the leaves with your hands and sprinkle on top of the dish! By the way, don’t through away the stems, you can use them for broth or stock later!
How long to bake chicken thighs
Baking time really depends on the size of the chicken thighs. Mine were cooked through in 50 minutes. Usually it takes not more than 1 hour to bake chicken thighs. You can check the temperature with food thermometer, if you have one. The temperature of the cooked chicken thighs should be 165 F / 74 C. But be sure not to touch the bone, as the temperature will be higher there. Moreover, there is another method that all our moms and grandmas used for years and centuries. Press the chicken thighs with the fork and if the juices come clear and their flesh is no longer pink, it is ready. If you are not sure, bake a couple minutes more. The sauce will make sure the chicken thighs will not be dry, if you bake it more.
If you want to make chicken thighs extra crispy, broil them for about 2-3 minutes more.
If you never cooked chicken with mandarin sauce, this is the perfect time to make this lemon rosemary chicken recipe! This is one of the quick healthy meals everyone will love. Beautiful comfy dinner for your family.
In case you have any leftovers, cover the dish with cling film and store in the fridge for about 4 days. You can reheat the dish in the oven at any time!
Rosemary chicken – Baked chicken thighs
Mandarin orange sauce:
- 500 g mandarins without skin /18oz
- 1 inch fresh rosemary stick
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 carrots
- 6 chicken thights (with or without bones)
- 1 stick rosemary
- 1/2 lemon
- salt pepper
For greasing chicken:
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 2 tsp curry spice
- 1 tsp turmeric spice
- 1 tsp chili spice
- Make the sauce. Put all ingredients in a pan and cook on a low heat, stirring for 20 min. Remove rosemary stick. Blend until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C
- Put the sauce on the bottom of the baking pan.
- Put chicken thighs on the sauce.
- Clean and cut carrots in half lengthwise. Cut carrots into strips and put around chicken thighs.
- Combine all ingredients for greasing the chicken. With half of the mixture grease top of the chicken thighs.
- Slice the lemon and put them on the chicken.
- Tear the rosemary and sprinkle on top of the chicken, carrots and sauce. Also add salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Then remove the pan from the oven.
- Remove lemon slices from the chicken tops and put them near.
- Grease the chicken with leftover sour cream mixture. Cook in the oven until browned and cooked through – about 25 minutes more.