Regular readers (hi team!) will know I am all about dinner recipes with big punchy flavours and minimum effort. Today’s recipe ticks all those boxes, and I am so excited to share it with you: Sticky Orange Chicken Drumsticks!
These drumsticks are smothered in a finger-licking-good sticky orange sauce with the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and a little spicy. Served with a big pot of fluffy rice and some green beans, this is truly a winner of a chicken dinner.
For my Sticky Orange Chicken Drumsticks, you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- Chicken: The most important part! Drumsticks are a super frugal cut of meat, and they are LOADED with flavour and goodness. They are also almost impossible to overcook, so they are brilliant for novice chefs. No drumsticks or don’t fancy getting your hands dirty? Switch them out for skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, cut-up chicken legs or a whole chicken, portioned.
- Orange: We have a double whammy of orange flavour in this recipe: fresh orange slices that roast with the chicken (so good!) and the secret ingredient: orange marmalade! This forms the base of the sticky sauce. Use unwaxed, organic oranges; you can eat the whole thing, skin and all.
- Garlic, Shallots, and green onions: These provide the base notes of the sauce. No shallots? Use red onions instead.
- Ginger and Chilli: Fresh ginger and chilli or red pepper flakes give the sauce a punchy kick. If you like it extra spicy, dial these ingredients up. You could add a little more of an Asian flavor by adding 1/2 tsp of five-spice powder.
- Soy Sauce and Dijon Mustard: Add an irresistible umami base note to the sauce. No Dijon? Whole grain or even plain yellow mustard are great too!
- Lime juice: A slight tartness to balance out all the fabulous flavours. You can leave it out and squeeze over a touch of lemon juice when you take the drumsticks out of the oven if you can’t get lime.
I told you this is an easy orange chicken recipe, and it is!
- First, heat your oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6, line a large baking dish with foil, and then baking parchment paper. You’ll thank me for this later, as cleaning burnt-on sugar from your baking pans is a huge pain.
- Next, cut some deep slashes into the drumsticks to let the flavour really sink in, then place the drumsticks in a single layer in the baking dish. Surround them with sliced orange and shallots, drizzle with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 25 minutes while you prepare the sauce and sides.
- The sauce is super simple! Stir together all the ingredients until nice and smooth. When the chicken has roasted for 25 minutes, spoon the sauce generously over each drumstick, then return to the oven for a further 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Orange glaze not browning enough? Give it a blast under the broiler, but keep a close eye on it; sugar burns quickly.
- Serve with fluffy white rice and green beans, sprinkled with spring onions and sesame seeds. I guarantee there will be none left!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make Sticky Orange Chicken in advance?
Yes!! Drumsticks can take an enormous amount of cooking before they get dry. Cook them up, then reheat as needed, covered in foil.
Can I make the sticky sauce thicker?
The thickness of your sauce will depend mainly on how much juice the drumsticks throw off while cooking. If you like a thick sauce, place the whole baking dish (metal only!) on the stovetop and bring it to a simmer. Mix a heaped teaspoon of cornstarch with cold water, then stir it into the sauce and simmer until thickened.
Can I make Sticky Orange Chicken with chicken breasts?
Chicken breasts will dry out in the oven in the time it takes to cook this dish. I’d roast the chicken breasts hotter (around 220C) for 20- 25 minutes (cook time depends on the size of the chicken breasts). Simmer the sauce on the stove until thickened, then pour it over at the end of cooking time.
Sticky Orange Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
Sticky Orange Chicken Drumsticks
for the chicken:
- 1 kg chicken drumsticks
- 1 orange, organic / unwaxed
- 4 shallots
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
for the sticky sauce:
- 4 Tbsp orange marmalade
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- Small bunch spring onions, green onion, sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Fluffy white rice
- Green beans
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil and then baking parchment paper.
- ROAST CHICKEN: Cut a couple of deep diagonal slices in each drumstick, then arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Slice the orange and place it around the drumsticks. Peel and quarter the shallots and add to the baking dish. Season well with salt and pepper, drizzle over the olive oil and roast for 30 minutes.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: While the chicken is roasting, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. If you are using bitter marmalade, you may like to add a little honey or brown sugar.
- ADD THE SAUCE: Take the chicken from the oven and spoon the sauce evenly over each drumstick. Return to the oven and roast for a further 25-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- SERVE: Scatter the chicken with sesame seeds, sliced spring onions and serve with fluffy white rice and green beans.
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