This Whole30 Orange Five-Spice Chicken Marinade is the perfect combination of sweet with a kick. It brings together sweet, sunny citrus with the punch of one of our favorite spice blends. You will be surprised how much you love this flavorful marinade!
Our Orange 5-Spice Marinade is Whole30, meaning is it gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy free. Plus, it is also naturally nut-free and egg-free. A great allergen-friendly component of a delicious family meal. Additionally, we gave you lots of options with instructions on how to cook it on the grill, in the oven, or in the air fryer.
The marinade has 7 simple ingredients and comes together in 10 minutes. We rev up the orange flavor by using both orange juice and the zest from an orange. Zest is when you grate the peel of citrus fruit into the dish for added flavor. We love using a microplane for this job, which you can learn more about here.
What exactly is Chinese Five-Spice Powder?
It’s a special blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. This unique mixture is commonly used in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine, adding a distinctive flavor to dishes. The beauty of this spice blend lies in its ability to encompass all five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami, resulting in a powerful ingredient that enhances the deliciousness of various recipes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own five-spice powder at home. However, keep in mind that if you don’t already have these specific spices in your pantry, it might be more cost-effective to purchase a pre-made blend. You can find a Whole30 Approved version by Primal Palate, which is widely available online or at your nearest grocery store.
It’s important to note that this seasoning is crucial to the recipe we’re discussing, so we strongly advise against omitting it. It serves as the cornerstone, adding depth and complexity to the dish. Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on the incredible flavor this spice blend brings to the table!
All ingredients are whisked together to create the marinade. Then, add it to the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes. For an even more flavorful result, you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours.
You can use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts with this marinade. For chicken breasts, we recommend using pounding them into thinner, uniform pieces, or cutting them in half horizontally for quicker and more even cooking. You can also pierce each chicken breast with a fork a few times to help the marinade infuse the chicken even more.
Treat future you and throw a batch in the freezer!
If you are meal prepping, you can throw it into the freezer to pull out on a busy week. Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade. We use either a sealed reusable zip-top bag (we love Stasher bags!) or a glass container with a lid. No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer and as it thaws. The frozen chicken in the marinade does need to be thawed fully before cooking, so be sure to pull it out the night before you want to cook. (Chicken should not be left to marinate for over 24 hours, as raw chicken will begin to break down and become mushy).
Whole30 Orange Five-Spice Chicken Marinade
Whole30 Orange Five-Spice Chicken Marinade
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 large orange, zest of
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil
- 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts
- WHISK together all the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl.
- ADD chicken and combined marinade into a zip-top reusable bag or glass container. Seal or cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
- TO GRILL – Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with oil so the chicken won’t stick. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until chicken has sear marks and is cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 °F. Remove from the grill and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes to let juices redistribute before cutting.
- OVEN BAKE – Preheat your oven to 425 °F. Pour the marinade and chicken into a 9×9 pan. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside, or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
- AIR FRY – Add the chicken to your air fryer basket and air fry at 400 °F for 9-10 minutes, flipping halfway if the chicken is overlapping at all. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside, or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
- TO FREEZE – Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade in either a sealed reusable zip-top bag or a glass container with a lid. No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer. The frozen chicken in marinade does need to be thawed fully before cooking, so be sure to pull it out the night before you want to cook.
Recipe Creator | Whole Food for 7