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A blend of citrus, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, honey, and soy sauce in this Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe lend a balanced flavor profile.


Time can be a funny thing.

Sometimes when life gets hectic I’ll be racing along, thinking I have just enough time to finish what I need to do, with tunnel vision for the task I’m working on. I settle into the mindset that I barely have a moment to spare, especially if it’s to take time to do something trivial like enjoy a cup of tea.

And then life will sneak up completely unexpectedly and take me by surprise. It could be getting sick, or a loved one getting sick who needs my full attention. It could be a flat tire or a speeding ticket (so ironic that in the end speeding slows you down instead of getting you to your destination faster! Life is funny like that). Or more permanently, it could be the death of a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

These things feel like a blow to the chest, literally knocking the wind out.

These things make me realize that no matter how frantic and busy life gets, some things are always more important. My post today is dedicated to everyone affected by the bombings that happened at the Boston Marathon on Monday. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you.

It almost seems silly to talk about food in the midst of such tragedy, but thinking about it, maybe it’s not. Food is more than just bodily sustenance. It’s how we show our loved ones that we care about them. Sitting down and enjoying a meal with someone is one of the most intimate things you can do.

So in the spirit of offering comfort, I offer this simple recipe for chicken.

Citrus Chicken on Silver Tray with Description

Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe

This dish full of layered flavors. Its bright and zesty, but balanced with sweet, salty, and spicy flavors.

I give directions on how to turn the flavorful marinade into a rich sauce, heavy with onion. This is totally optional though, and the chicken is still fantastic without it.

The hands-on time that it takes to make this Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe is minimal. This means you can spend more time on more important things, like reading to your kids, a phone call with a dear friend, a date night with your significant other, or even just a cup of tea to yourself.


How Long Can You Marinate Chicken?

Marinate the chicken for this Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Do You Rinse Marinade Off Chicken Before Cooking?

No, do not rinse marinade off chicken before cooking. Just remove the chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off.

More Chicken Dishes to Make:


Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith

Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Yields: 3 servings
A blend of citrus, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, honey, and soy sauce in this Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe lend a balanced flavor profile.

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  • 5 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice from 1 medium orange
  • 11/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tamari sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger grated on a microplane
  • 1 small onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 3/4 pounds chicken drumsticks about 6 drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water to form a slurry
  • Fresh lemon or lime slices for garnish (optional)


  • Whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest, crushed red pepper flakes, honey, tamari, oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, ginger, and onion in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or lightly spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Arrange the chicken on the prepared baking sheet, reserving the marinade (with the onion). Roast the chicken until fully cooked (the juices should run clear), about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • While the chicken roasts, pour the marinade (with the onion) and the water into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring up to a boil and let the sauce boil vigorously (uncovered) 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook 30 seconds more, stirring constantly.
  • To serve, arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Spoon a bit of the sauce on top and garnish with lemon or lime slices if desired.


  • Paleo Version: Use coconut aminos instead of tamari or soy sauce; use arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch.
  • Gluten Free Version: Use tamari sauce or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.


Serving: 2drumsticks | Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 729mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 336IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Citrus Chicken

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

Spicy Honey Citrus Chicken Recipe Pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on April 17, 2013. I updated it with more information on December 8, 2020.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items. Thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Sometimes it’s worth it to stop and enjoy what life has to offer. You always think there is going to be enough time but in the end life is short. I agree that food is comforting. It’s what makes me feel better when things feel like they cannot get better.

  2. Food will always be connected to comfort to me — there’s nothing trivial about it. Although the tragedy sadly cannot be erased, being able to share a lovely dish with people cared about helps. Beautiful flavors…

  3. i absolutely love lime with chicken, so a lime-infused oil sounds lovely. the ginger is a nice touch too!

  4. I totally know what you mean. I’m so inclined to get caught up in such frivolous things and then am just struck by the silliness of it all when something like this happens.

    Food is definitely important in times like these…and this chicken sounds totally comforting!

  5. Boston was one of such dire happenings which could not fit into anyone’s mindset? Why, why those totally innocent people who least deserved the horror happening. I watched an could not believe . . . My sympahy and empathy goes out to anyone caught in the horror . . . citrus chicken sounds great and is already on my file for the days to come . . .

  6. dixya@food, pleasure, and health says:

    this is such a great dish and I love the idea of sauce actually.

  7. Nancy-SpicieFoodie says:

    What a beautiful, in every sense of the word, post Faith. The bombing in Boston is so sad, my heart goes out to all of the victims and their families. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and scrumptious recipe. xx

  8. Great post Faith…so true…
    I love the way this chicken is prepared…citrus is so Springy…love it.
    Have a nice week :)

  9. Kim - Liv Life says:

    A lovely post Faith, with a comforting dish to go along with the beautiful sentiments. Life catches us by surprise, doesn’t it? We’ve been feeling the permanence of the loss of loved ones recently, and I’ve found myself turning to food and the time around the table and holding them as special moments.
    This chicken has all my favorite flavors!!! I think I love absolutely everything about it and it’s officially on my list. Thank you!!

  10. Carol | a cup of mascarpone says:

    What a lovely post, Faith, while we all struggle to understand. This chicken is wonderful…love all the citrus flavors!!!

  11. I am all for using food as a way to bring comfort and those you love together… and this chicken looks and sounds like a perfect dish with which to do so. Yum!

  12. This post touched a lot od soft spots I’ve been trying to conceal since the whole Boston tragedy on Monday. When things like that happen it really makes you think…

    This chicken looks so comforting, Faith, and perfect to share with people you love! xx

  13. Kari@Loaves n Dishes says:

    We say at our house “food = love”! Actually I’m usually telling my husband that “food doesn’t = love”; as he over feeds our cats and I watch them getting rounder and rounder.
    I love the bright citrus with the salty tamari and the gingery ginger. Lovely!

  14. Food is definitely comforting :) . I love citrus flavors with chicken. They marry so perfectly

  15. Tasty! A wonderful combination of flavors.



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