Here’s a low-effort, big-reward chicken recipe: roasted chicken thighs with clementines. It requires about 15 minutes (or less) to throw together, and it bakes for about an hour. The result? A stunning, festive, incredibly delicious assembly of caramelized onions, burnished oranges, and crispy-skinned fall-off-the-bone tender chicken.

A platter of roast chicken and clementines.

Upon receiving Jerusalem early last summer, I poured through it cover to cover, reading about hummus wars and baba ghanoush, feeling inspired to start burning eggplants and preserving lemons with every turn of the page.

Six months later I’m only just enjoying my first taste of the cookbook: roast chicken with clementines, a recipe my mother has been urging me to make since the start of citrus season.

This recipe calls for high heat — 475ºF — for a long time — just under an hour — which allows the chicken skin to brown and the vegetables to caramelize beautifully. The liquid, a mixture of freshly squeezed citrus juice and some sort of anise-flavored liqueur (Arak, Ouzo or Pernod), keeps the chicken meat incredibly juicy below its crispy skin. (Update: I always use white wine for simplicity.)

Ottolenghi and Tamimi, the authors, note in the preface to the recipe, this is a “sweetly comforting dish you will always want to come back to” and suggest serving it with plain rice or bulgur. For me, the volume of slightly sweet, mustard-seed laced juices pooling below the chicken demands lots of crusty bread.

This dish is festive and colorful, and with clementine season in full swing, there couldn’t be a better time to get it on your table. Hope you love it as much as I do.

A roasting pan with roast chicken and clementines.

How to Make Roast Chicken and Clementines

Gather your ingredients:

ingredients for roast chicken and clementines.

Stir together a simple sauce:

The sauce for the clementine roast chicken.

Combine everything in a large roasting pan:

A roasting pan filled with seasoned chicken and raw onions and clementines.

Transfer to the oven for about an hour.

A roasting pan filled with sauced chicken and vegetables.

It’s done when the skin is crisp and caramelized, and the meat is nearly falling off the bone:

A roasting pan with roast chicken and clementines.
An up close shot of roast chicken and clementines.
Roast chicken and clementines on the plate.
A roasting pan with roast chicken and clementines.
Roast chicken with clementines.
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A roasting pan with roast chicken and clementines.

Roasted Chicken with Clementines

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5 from 24 reviews

  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Feel free to take liberties with the ingredients here. I now make this with 1/3 cup clementine juice (versus 3 tablespoons orange juice and 3 tablespoons lemon juice), which works just fine. The original recipe called for fennel bulbs but I prefer onions, and I have also used leeks in place of the onions. The original recipe also called for fennel seed, which I omit, and anise-flavored liqueur, but I now use white wine. So, essentially (and unintentionally!) I’ve removed all three of the anise-flavored components to this dish. 

The key is to use a large enough roasting pan that allows space between each piece of chicken. If the chicken is crowded together it won’t brown properly. Marinating overnight is not necessary though it’s nice to know that you can assemble this dish ahead of time.

Also, the clementine pieces are edible! Some of them are tastier than others — the ones that are exposed (above the juices during the roasting) crisp up and can taste a little bitter; the ones that remain under the juices during the entire cooking process, however, are soft and delicious. You can be strategic and place more of the orange slices beneath the chicken so that they are protected, but  I would leave some of them exposed, because they look so pretty when they get a bit caramelized. (I also don’t mind when the oranges are a bit bitter/crisp.) 


  • 1/3 cup white wine (or Arak, Ouzo, or Pernod, see notes above)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange (or clementine) juice
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (a mix of thighs and drumsticks is nice)
  • 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced thin
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 to 3 medium onions (or fennel bulbs) cut lengthwise and then into quarters


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together alcohol of choice, oil, orange juice, mustard, brown sugar, and salt. Season with pepper, to taste.
    • If you are roasting immediately: Place chicken skin side up in a large roasting pan with clementine slices, thyme sprigs, and onion pieces. Pour sauce over top and gently toss everything together with your hands.
    • If you are marinating: Place chicken with clementine slices, thyme sprigs, and onion pieces in a large mixing bowl or ziplock bag. Turn several times to coat. Marinate chicken for several hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 475ºF degrees. Transfer pan to the oven. After 30 minutes, check on the chicken. If the skin is browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 400ºF and continue roasting until the skin is brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes longer. I roast the chicken at 475ºF for 45 minutes and at 400ºF for 10 minutes, but every oven is different, so just keep an eye on it. Remove pan from the oven.
  3. Transfer chicken and clementines and onion pieces with juices to a serving platter. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Roasting