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Roast Orange Brined Chicken

Salty, herby, and citrus permeated, this aromatic orange brined chicken is infused with so much flavor. A stunning centerpiece for special occasions, this simple roast chicken is perfect for entertaining. Naturally gluten-free.

Close up of orange juice brined chicken with a rosemary sprig.

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You guys!!!!! I’m literally obsessed with brining protein. If you’ve tried my pickle brined fried chicken tenders or my apple cider brined pork loin, you’ll understand why. This citrused brined chicken is another showstopper and I cannot wait for you to try it.


What you’ll love about this recipe?


  • The flavors! The brine infuses all sorts of flavor into this roast chicken. It’s salty but not too salty with hints of garlic, rosemary, sage, and of course, citrus from the navel oranges and lemon. In the end you’re left with a flavorful bird as well as the concentrated juices that can be used to baste the chicken or to make gravy.
  • The simplicity! While it does take time, brining is a super simple process that is so worth the extra step required.
  • It’s great for special occaisions and entertaining! This citrus brined chicken is perfect for winter holidays like Christmas or New Years. It makes a beautiful centerpiece and tastes amazing. Using oranges for the brine, which are in season this time of year, gives it a special seaonal touch.
Side view of orange juice brined chicken.


Ingredients for roast orange brined chicken (see recipe card).
  • Navel oranges: For the brine you will need anywhere from 6-10 oranges depending on how juicy they are. I highly suggest hand picking the oranges rather than purchasing a bag. To ensure you end up with enough juice, you should choose oranges that are plump and a bit squishy. You will need one additional orange to stuff in the inner cavity of the chicken prior to baking.
  • Lemons: For the brine and to stuff the chicken.
  • Water: For the brine.
  • Kosher salt: Brining requires salt and kosher salt is the best option. If you do not have kosher salt, table salt will work, but only use 3/8 cup rather than 5/8 cup.
  • Shallots: Aromatics like shallots add flavor to the brine.
  • Garlic: You’ll need a whole head of garlic for the brine.
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Bay leaves
  • Black peppercorns
  • Ice cubes: Used to cool down the brine so that the chicken does not cook in it.
  • Whole chicken: This recipe was written for a 5-6 pound bird although it wouldn’t hurt to use a smaller one.
  • Olive oil: To rub on the chicken prior to roasting.
  • Ground black pepper: To season prior to baking.

How do you make roast orange brined chicken? (+ tips)


  1. Add all of the ingredients for the brine except for the ice to a medium saucepan.
Orange brine before boiling in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil over high heat and continue boiling for two minutes.

Boiled orange brine in a saucepan.

2. Transfer the brine to the container you intend to brine the chicken in and add the ice. **The size and shape of your brining container will determine how much brine will be required. Ideally, the container should not be too wide in order to ensure you can fully submerge the chicken.

Once the ice has melted, submerge the chicken in the brine. If it is not completely submerged, you can add just enough water to cover it. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours up to 24 hours. Ideally, you should keep it in the brine for as close to 24 hours as possible. The longer it bathes in the brine the more flavorful and delicious it will be.

Chicken bathing in orange brine.

3. Remove the chicken from the brine and let air dry for 30-minutes at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

4. Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan or to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Rub it down with olive oil on all sides, squeeze the juice of one orange and one lemon on top, then sprinkle with ground black pepper. Stuff the squeezed orange and lemon halves into the inner cavity of the chicken. You may also add some more fresh sage and rosemary if you like. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine.

Whole chicken in a roasting pan prior to baking

5. Bake uncovered on the middle oven rack at 450 degrees for 45-minutes. Remove from oven. ***If you want to add some vegetables for roasting now is the time to do so. Carrots, new potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and onions are all solid choices. Baste with the juices from the pan then reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 45-minutes.

7. Remove from oven, gently tent with tinfoil, and rest for 10-minute before slicing and serving. Don’t let the juices go to waste – it’s so flavorful!! Use them for basting or make gravy for mashed potatoes


Storage


Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.


FAQ


What is brining?

Brining is a wonderful process used to generate juicy, tender, and flavor-infused meat. The technique has been around since before refrigerators and was originally used as a preservation method. To brine, simply means to soak/preserve in salty water. The use of salt allows the meat to absorb liquid rendering it juicer and more flavorful. Additionally, the salt acts as a tenderizer, breaking down the protein in the meat.

Roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions with a citrus brined whole chicken.
Juices being poured on to chicken.

What to serve with this roast orange brined chicken:


  • Boursin Mashed Potatoes: Step up your mashed potato game this holiday season with these Boursin mashed potatoes. Elevated with the addition of herby Boursin cheese and fresh garlic, these richly flavored potatoes are simple to prepare in just 30-minutes. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.
  • Gouda Mashed Potatoes w/ Caramelized Onion & Garlic: These Gouda mashed potatoes are perfect for a special occasion. Laced with sweet caramelized onions, fragrant garlic, and plenty of cheese and fat, these delectably rich potatoes are bound to be a hit. Naturally vegetarian and gluten-free.
  • Goat Cheese Mashed Cauliflower w/ Sautéed Leeks: This easy goat cheese mashed cauliflower is creamy, garlicky, and topped with oniony sautéed leeks. It’s a wonderful low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes and a perfect side dish to share with a crowd. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.

If you make this roast citrus brined chicken I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Backside of roast orange brined chicken with assorted root vegetables.

Roast Orange Brined Chicken

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 12 minutes

Salty, herby, and citrusy, this aromatic orange brined chicken is infused with so much flavor. A stunning centerpiece for special occasions, this simple roast chicken is perfect for entertaining. Naturally gluten-free.

Ingredients

Orange brine

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (see notes), reserve two of the squeezed orange halves
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice from one lemon, reserve the squeezed lemon halves
  • 5/8 cup kosher salt
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 8 cups ice

For the chicken

  • 5-6 pound whole chicken, innards discarded and neck folded into inner cavity
  • 1 navel orange, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients for the brine except for the ice to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue boiling for two minutes.
  2. Transfer the brine to the container you intend to brine the chicken in (see notes) and add the ice. Once the ice has melted, submerge the chicken in the brine. If it is not completely submerged, you can add just enough water to cover it. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours up to 24 hours. **The longer it brines the more flavorful it will be.
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine and let air dry for 30-minutes at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan or to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Rub it down with olive oil on all sides, squeeze the juice of one orange and one lemon on top, then sprinkle with ground black pepper. Stuff the squeezed orange and lemon halves into the inner cavity of the chicken. You may also add some more fresh sage and rosemary if you like. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine.
  5. Bake uncovered on the middle oven rack at 450 degrees for 45-minutes. Remove from oven and baste with juices from pan then reduce heat to 400 degrees and back for an additional 30-45-minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, gently tent with tinfoil, and rest for 10-minute before slicing and serving.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.

Notes

    For the brine you will need anywhere from 6-10 oranges depending on how juicy they are. I highly suggest handpicking the oranges rather than purchasing a bag. To ensure you end up with enough juice, you should choose oranges that are plump and a bit squishy. You will need one additional orange to stuff in the inner cavity of the chicken prior to baking.

    The size and shape of your brining container will determine how much brine will be required. Ideally, the container should not be too wide in order to ensure you can fully submerge the chicken.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1219Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 40gCholesterol: 399mgSodium: 6664mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 18gProtein: 126g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Liz

Sunday 19th of December 2021

This recipe sounds delicious! Will have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

Linda

Saturday 18th of December 2021

What a beautiful dish and it does turn into a showstopper. Can't wait to make more of this!

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