Citrus Brined Roasted Chicken


Do you need a special meal for Thanksgiving, but not enough people around to warrant roasting an entire turkey? There is nothing wrong with that, and I have been in that position before. While it’s not the best scenario celebrating the holidays without extended family, making a special meal is sometimes better than going out. Our first Thanksgiving away from family was the worst on record, and I never want to experience that again. We lived in a tiny city in Texas and the only place open that day was a buffet – yuck! We had no choice because I didn’t cook back then like I do now…live and learn, right?

Roast chicken is made even better with a tad more effort; and I can’t get over how much better chicken tastes once it has been brined! My husband took a bite and was confused because of the orange flavor, because he wasn’t expecting it. It was so juicy and flavorful that I’m not sure I’ll be able to skip brining next time.¬†I have tried one other recipe before, but I concocted this recipe myself after searching around for ratios of water to salt to weight. Citrus and chicken make a winning combination, and the idea went from there. Thanks for reading, enjoy! ūüôā

Citrus Brined Roast Chicken – a Mom-Makes original

  • 3-4 lb. whole chicken
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced and zested (*save the other half for roasting*)
  • 1/2 orange – juiced and zested (*save the other half for roasting*)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

Directions –

Heat 2 quarts of water in a small pot. Once the water simmers, add your salt and sugar Рstir until dissolved. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse your chicken and remove anything inside the cavity (giblets, liver, ect).  Place your chicken in a large lidded container (mine holds 6 quarts of liquid) or a heavy-duty plastic bag. Add the citrus, garlic, spices and herbs. Pour the cold water and then the dissolved salt/sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate of 8 hours or overnight.

*About an hour before roasting, take the chicken out of the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Set it on a sheet pan and place it uncovered in the refrigerator so the skin can dry out a little.

**Citrus and Herb Butter –

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • heavy pinch of kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon and orange zest
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions –

Place butter in a small bowl.  Using a fork, mash until softened.  Add salt and pepper and mash to incorporate.  Add olive oil, zest and rosemary and stir to combine.

Roasting Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the other half of lemon and orange in the cavity, and garlic or shallot if you have it. Truss chicken and coat generously with the citrus butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and place in roasting pan or a foil lined sheet pan; insert probe thermometer into the thickest part of one of the breasts. Roast the chicken until the thermometer reads 155-160 degrees, (about 70-75 minutes with my convection roast setting). Once the desired temperature is reached, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve, serve and enjoy!


Citrus Chicken

I had a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge that were meant to be grilled. That is usually my go to method and they’re always marinated, but then I remembered that we’re out of propane – bummer! I came across this recipe at Tastespotting and was happy that I already had most of the ingredients required. I was worried about dry chicken, but this looked like a good recipe that would be full great Asian inspired flavor.

Verdict: Yum! This had great flavor, but next time I will make sure to reduce the citrus sauce down much more. The chicken was tender and juicy and I’m glad I made one and a half portions of the sauce to spoon over rice. Next time I will serve this with sugar snap peas or some other vegetable to round out the meal. I’m always happy when a new recipe turns out well and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I will make this again! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Kay’s Citrus Chicken – adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • thumb size piece of ginger
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • pinch dried chili flakes
  • 2 orange slices
  • 1 medium red onion
  • pepper
  • salt

Directions –

Squeeze out the oranges, sieve the juice and pour it into a sauce pan. Add the grated garlic, grated orange zest and grated fresh ginger. Pour in the honey and chicken broth. Add a few drops of tabasco, a good pinch of salt, pepper, and I squeezed in some lemon juice, about 2 tbsp. Add a pinch of chili flakes.

Mix the corn starch with a little water and whisk until it’s a lump-free¬†liquid and pour it into the orange sauce.¬†Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil and butter and cook the chicken over medium heat until nice and brown on all sides.

Transfer them to a casserole.¬†Top the chicken breasts with the onion slices and place half an orange¬†slice on top of each breast.¬†Place the casserole in the oven and bake at 350F¬ļ for 20 to 30¬†minutes, depending on how thick your chicken is.