Orange Sauce Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs

Orange chicken thighs

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
104 Calories
4g Fat
18g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 104
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 355mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 33mg 164%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 201mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chicken thighs are without a doubt the most succulent cut of the chicken. Darker in color and with a more pronounced flavor than other cuts, chicken thighs are the perfect ingredient to make all kinds of baked, grilled, or roasted chicken dishes. Our sweet and savory recipe makes these chicken thighs into a delicious meal that's easy to make and can be on your table in less than one hour. Perfect for a weeknight meal, these chicken thighs go well with any of your favorite side dishes, from pasta and rice to salads to roasted vegetables. Besides, the thighs make wonderful leftovers that you can repurpose in a delicious sandwich, salad, or wrap.

Chicken thighs were historically cheaper than sought-after and leaner chicken breasts, but nowadays the two cuts are comparable in price—even if chicken thigh flavor beats that of any other part of the chicken. For our recipe, we prefer boneless thighs, but making them bone-in might actually bring in more flavor. You can choose to go skinless or not—it all comes down to your personal taste. Although, crispy skin is actually pretty delicious. Fresh herbs, orange juice, and a touch of soy sauce make a wonderfully tangy sauce that coats the chicken.

Don't miss out on this easy and delicious recipe. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to greasing and brushing

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

  • 6 to 8 boneless chicken thighs

Steps to Make It

Make the Orange Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until softened.

  3. Add the orange juice, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

  4. Divide the sauce in two. Reserve.

Assemble the Dish

  1. Arrange the chicken thighs in a greased baking dish lined with tin foil or parchment paper—skin side up if using thighs that has it.

  2. Brush the chicken lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Bake for 20 minutes.

  4. Liberally brush half of the sauce over the chicken thighs and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

  5. Bring the remaining sauce to a boil and reduce to a syrupy glaze to serve with the chicken.

  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

Can I Use the Orange Sauce in Other Dishes?

Yes. And you definitely should. This flavorful sauce is great on other chicken cuts like grilled breasts or fried wings. Simply reduce the sauce to a glaze consistency with a few minutes of extra simmering and serve alongside your favorite protein. Beautiful served with roasted turkey, the sauce is also pretty delicious with fried veal cutlets and lamb chops, and complements all sorts of pork cuts really well.

How to Choose Chicken Thighs

When buying thighs, check for pink and firm flesh and look at the best-by date. If you're using skin-on, be sure the pieces are covered in the skin in their entirely. Buying cuts with the skin on is actually cheaper than choosing cuts that have been cleaned, as more work means more cost, so you could buy them with the skin on and then remove it yourself for a cost-effective transaction. This, however, might put more work on you, so that's the trade-off.

What you might not find is boneless and skin-on thighs, as commercial poultry processes remove all the skin when taking the bones off the thighs.