This Brilliant 4-Ingredient Chicken Changed the Way I’ll Make Chicken Forever

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Harissa Orange Chicken Thighs Recipe

A mix of orange zest, harissa, and honey make these chicken thighs super flavorful.

Serves2 to 4

Prep10 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 35 minutes

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overhead shot of three harissa orange chicken thighs in a small white baking dish.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

Chicken thighs are a regular staple in my family’s dinner rotation. The reason: they’re super flavorful, versatile, inexpensive, and less likely to overcook than lean chicken breasts. And while there are a ton of chicken thigh recipes my family loves to dig into, this is the one we’ve been eating on repeat because it’s just so flavorful and so easy to make. 

Here, fresh orange juice and zest, harissa paste, and honey come together to deliver the ultimate weeknight chicken dinner. The sweet, spicy, and bright flavors soak into the meat, so you get big flavor in every bite. Best of all, you need just four ingredients and about 30 minutes on the clock.

Key Ingredients in Harissa Orange Chicken Thighs

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I recommend going with larger, meatier thighs for this recipe.
  • Navel orange. You’ll need just half of the orange (enjoy the other half as a snack or use for another recipe). Its acidity and bitterness are a nice contrast to the spice from the harissa paste.
  • Harissa paste. You definitely want to use harissa paste here, which has a thicker consistency than sauce. Spice level can vary greatly between brands. If you’re using a new-to-you brand, it can be helpful to taste a tiny bit before making the rub. The orange and honey will balance the heat, but if the harissa feels a little too fiery for your taste, it’s okay to dial it back here (no need to adjust the other ingredients).
  • Honey. Orange, harissa, and honey are always such a nice flavor combination. The honey helps brown the chicken, and its natural sweetness balances the harissa. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

How to Make Harissa Orange Chicken Thighs

  1. Make the rub. Mix together the orange zest, harissa paste, olive oil, honey, and salt. Add the orange juice to an 8×8-inch baking dish.
  2. Coat the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and use your fingers to gently loosen and pull the skin away from the meat without removing it. Add to the marinade and rub all over, working it under the skin. 
  3. Roast the chicken. Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in the baking dish and roast until cooked through and browned on top. If it looks like the thighs are getting too much color, tent a piece of aluminum foil over top.

What to Serve with Harissa Orange Chicken Thighs

There are so many sides that pair well with these chicken thighs. Having something to soak up some of the sauce is nice but not essential here. For that, I love roasted potatoes, a simple pot of herbed couscous or buttery orzo, or a nice loaf of crusty bread.

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