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)
707 Calories
42g Fat
18g Carbs
69g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 707
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 53%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 367mg 122%
Sodium 857mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 69g
Vitamin C 33mg 164%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 937mg 20%
*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 chicken. Darker in color and with a more pronounced flavor, chicken thighs are the perfect ingredient for all kinds of baked, grilled, or roasted chicken dishes. Our sweet and savory recipe is easy and delicious, and these chicken thighs can be on your table in less than one hour. Perfect for a weeknight meal, this recipe goes 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 flavorful 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. We prefer boneless thighs for this recipe, but making them bone-in might bring in more flavor. You can choose to go skinless or not—it all comes down to your personal taste. Fresh herbs, orange juice, and a touch of soy sauce make a wonderfully tangy sauce that coats the chicken.


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

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup orange juice (frozen concentrate; about 8 ounces)

  • 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 aluminum foil or parchment paper, skin-side up if you're using thighs with skin.

  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.

Recipe Variation

You can use 1 cup of fresh orange juice if you'd like, but the flavor won't be quite as intense as it is using the frozen orange juice concentrate.

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, it's a lot less expensive. Just be sure the pieces are covered in the skin in their entirely.

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.

How to Store and Freeze Chicken Thighs With Orange Sweet Sauce

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for three to five days if covered in an airtight container. You can freeze them for up to three months if well wrapped and in an airtight container.

Can I use the orange sauce in other dishes?

Yes—and you definitely should. It's great on other chicken cuts such as grilled breasts or fried wings. Try it served with roasted turkey, fried veal cutlets, and lamb chops. It also complements all sorts of pork cuts really well.