yummy recipes for busy people

Chinese Chicken with Oranges [Gluten-free]

Cooking a whole chicken is easier than it seems – and while it takes about an hour in the oven, it mainly cooks itself. This Chinese Chicken is filled with oranges and onions and covered in a soy, ginger and orange juice marinade. The perfect choice for Sunday night dinner, and equally delicious in your Monday lunch box!

top view of roasted chinese chicken filled with oranges and onions
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So as you might know by now – I come from a family of serious food lovers and avid home cooks. And so does this recipe. This one is all Dad, and I don’t even think I’ve added a twist this time. It’s just one of those amazing recipes that’s been tried and tested over and over and there really isn’t any way of making it more awesome. (Or is there?! Let me know if you find one!)

Anyway, this recipe was one of my favorites growing up – challenged only by the Pan-Seared Breaded Plaice – and the only reason my 18-year-old self decided to learn how to cook a whole chicken. It’s easy to make with few ingredients, deliciously comforting to eat and full of some of my favorite flavors (soy sauce! ginger! oranges!) – and not to mention, it makes the best lunch box leftovers.

It’s a winner, and I think you deserve a winner.

a roasted whole chicken with oranges and onions on a wooden board

Why I love this recipe

  • The yummy crispy skin from cooking the chicken uncovered and basting it with the marinade.
  • Soy sauce! Ginger! Oranges! Just one of the best flavor combos there is.
  • It’s easy, you don’t need lots of ingredients and while it takes an hour in the oven that’s time you can spend on something really productive (like, I don’t know, finishing 10 levels of Candy Crush?) all while still being able to claim that you’ve been hard at work in the kitchen all day.
  • You get a lot of sauce, and coming from a house where sauce is always in too short supply (or well, compared to the demand that is) this is something I really value.
  • You kinda feel like a badass Martha Stewart when you serve up a proper Sunday night dinner like this.

Expert tips

  • Remember to baste your chicken every 10 minutes or so, to ensure it doesn’t dry out and to help create that deliciously crispy skin.
  • Use a kitchen thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through, but not dry.
roastd chicken filled with onions and oranges


How long does it take to cook a whole chicken in the oven?

How long your chicken will take to cook depends on how big it is. Generally, in my oven, a 1 kg/2 lb chicken takes about 50 minutes to cook at 200 C/390 F and a 1.5/3lb chicken takes about 1h 15 minutes.

When is a whole chicken done?

As is always the case with chicken, cooking it through is important. The recommended temperature varies, but the one I always aim for with a whole chicken is 82 C/180 F right at the bone. (Somtimes I’ve seen lower temperatures recommended, but with chicken I’m rather safe than sorry.)

What if I don’t have a kitchen thermometer?

If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer you’ll need to go for the old school method of cutting into the chicken to check it. The general rule here is that if you cut the chicken and the liquid coming out is clear, then the chicken is done. With a whole chicken I do however recommending checking that it is actually cooked through to the bone – do this by slicing all the way through the thigh or filet and making sure the meat is white.

What should I serve with Chinese Chicken with Oranges?

I have one single way I’ve always served this – and it’s always delicious. And that’s with rice, lots of sauce, and maybe (maybe!) a side salad. But I can imagine this being delicious with bulgur, quinoa or cauliflower rice as well, or just with a big salad.

Essential tools for cooking a whole chicken

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How to Make Chinese Chicken with Oranges

Start by setting the oven for 200 C/390 F.

process shots for making a soy sace, ginger and orange marinade
Ingredients for the marinade

Then make the marinade by combining dark soy sauce, ginger powder, ground black pepper and orange juice in a bowl large enough to fit the whole chicken.

process shots showing how to mix the marinade and cover the chicken in it
Mix tgether the marinade and cover the chicken in it

Mix the ingredients together and place the chicken in the bowl. Turn it around so that it gets completely covered in marinade.

process shots showing how to prep the roasting tray with butter, onion and oranges
Prep the roasting tray

Now it’s time to prep the roasting tray. Do this by spacing out pieces of butter followed by oranges and onions cut in medium-sized pieces. Save some onion and orange pieces to place inside the chicken.

process shots showing how to stuff the chicken with oranges and onions
Prep the chicken for cooking

Now place the chicken on top of the butter, onion and orange and stuff it with the remaining onion and orange pieces. Then pour over the remaining marinade, stick in an oven thermometer close to the bone and place in the middle of the oven. Cook for about an hour, until the chicken has reached 82 C/180 F. Baste the chicken every 10 minutes or so while cooking.

finished roasted chicken on a roasting tray
Finished chicken

Once the chicken is finished, place it on a serving plate and pour the sauce from the roasting tray – onions and oranges and all – into a strainer over a sauce pan. Smash the onions and oranges a bit to release more of the juice, and then remove the strainer.

Make the sauce by heating up the sauce from the pan and then adding in milk. Allow to heat and when it it’s hot, thicken by mixing in either an instant roux mix (easiest) or some corn starch mixed with water. Let simmer for about a minute while stirring.

roasted whole chicken with oranges and onions on a wooden board

And now, you’re ready to serve your Sunday night dinner! Now tell me this didn’t make you feel all Martha Stewarty?? (Minus the tax fraud, I hope.)

How did you like this recipe? Do you have any other favorite Sunday night dinner recipes? Let me know in the comments below – and I’d love for you to leave a rating while you’re at it!

top view of roasted chinese chicken filled with oranges and onions

Chinese Chicken with Oranges

Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 614kcal


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ginger powder
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 oranges divided
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 dl milk
  • 2 Tbsp instant roux mix or corn starch if using corn starch, mix with a little cold water first
  • 4 portions white rice


  • Set the oven for 200 C/390 F.
  • Make the marinade by mixing together the dark soy sauce, ginger powder, ground black pepper and juice of one of the oranges in a bowl large enough to fit the whole chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the bowl and turn it so that it gets entirely covered in the marinade. Set aside for now.
  • Bring out a roasting tray. Cut the butter in pieces and place in the bottom of the pan. Cut the onions and the two remaining oranges in medium-sized pieces and place most of them in the pan on top of the butter. Save some for stuffing inside the chicken.
  • Place the chicken on top of the butter and pieces of orange and onion, and stuff with the remaining pieces of onion and orange. Pour over the remaining marinade.
  • Stick an oven thermometer in the chicken, close to the bone, and place the chicken in the middle of the oven. Cook for about 1 hour (depending on the size of your chicken), until the inner temperature of the chicken close to the bone is 82 C/180 F. Baste once every 10 minutes will cooking for best results. Get the rice started when the chicken has about 20 minutes left.
  • Once the chicken is done, bring it out of the oven and transfer to a serving plate.
  • Now to make the sauce. Place a strainer over a sauce pan. Pour the sauce from the roasting pan into the strainer together with the onions and oranges from beneath the chicken. Smash them a bit to allow for more juice to be released. Then remove the strainer and place the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil, add in the milk and let it heat up once again. When it's starting to boil again, add in the roux mix or corn starch and mix well. Let simmer for about a minute while stirring, until the sauce has reached desired consistency
  • Serve the chicken with rice and the sauce.


  • A 1 kg/2 lb chicken takes about 50 minutes to cook, if it’s larger it will take longer
  • Nutrition information is including white rice
Nutrition Facts
Chinese Chicken with Oranges
Amount Per Serving
Calories 614 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Fat 40g62%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 172mg57%
Sodium 990mg43%
Potassium 697mg20%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 840IU17%
Vitamin C 59.4mg72%
Calcium 107mg11%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.

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