Who doesn’t love an easy dinner like this Sheet Pan Chicken with Orange and Fennel? There’s practically no clean-up! With its tart citrus-y/sweet fennel flavor, this dish will help shake you out of your usual “chicken rut.” We both liked it as a tasty change of pace and will definitely be adding it to our dinner rotation.
Why you’ll want to make this recipe
- It’s an easy sheet pan dish with minimal clean-up.
- There are only seven ingredients and no fancy cooking skills needed.
- It’s a convenient “make ahead” meal: Marinate it on day one and bake it on day two. Or if you’re short on time, one hour in the marinade works, too.
- Fennel is low in fat and calories but high in antioxidants, which have many health benefits. It also contains important nutrients like vitamin C, calcium and potassium.
- The active prep time is about 20 minutes.
- It’s easy to get creative with the recipe and add other fruits and vegetables (see ideas below).
- Sheet Pan Chicken with Orange and Fennel has a deliciously subtle flavor that your whole family will gobble up.
Notes on key ingredients
- Chicken: The original recipe calls for chicken thighs with bone-in and skin-on, which I plan to use next time. For my test recipe, I used large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin. I found they dried out a little, however, possibly due to overcooking or pounding them too thin. I recommend sticking with the recipe shared below — using bone-in thighs (and/or drumsticks), which should make for a juicier dish.
- Seville Oranges: A cross between a pomelo and mandarin, sevilles are bitter/sour and typically used for their zest and juice instead of as an eating orange. I’ve never seen them in our grocery store and decided not to go on a hunt. You can easily substitute regular oranges combined with lemon juice to get that slightly tart taste, which is a signature of the dish.
- Fennel: The recipe calls for two large fennel bulbs, but you can get away with less. Fennel has a light, licorice-like (anise) flavor that mellows out when cooked. Remove the fronds and reserve them as a garnish at the end, if you wish.
- Fennel Seeds: The anise flavor is a little more intense in the seeds, which you’ll find in the spice aisle. They also have many of the same nutritional benefits as the plant.
Yum! Another recipe with fennel
Sheet Pan Chicken with Orange and FennelCourse: Main Dish
This simple sheet-pan chicken dinner features subtle flavor from an orange glaze and the licorice-like sweetness of fennel.
2 large fennel bulbs
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus one tablespoon for drizzling
Zest and juice of one orange and juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in OR a mix of thighs and drumsticks. (If you choose to use boneless chicken breasts as I did, be sure to reduce the baking time to avoid dryness.)
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, optional
- Remove the fronds from the fennel and reserve them in the refrigerator if you plan to use them as garnish later.
- Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters and then again lengthwise.
- Use a large resealable bag to make the marinade. You can rest the bag in a wide-necked measuring cup (or something similar) while you add the marinade ingredients.
- To the bag, add the oil, orange zest and juice, lemon juice, salt, fennel seeds and mustard.
- Add a quarter of the chicken pieces, then a quarter of fennel pieces, repeating this until all the ingredients are used. You just want to be sure the chicken and fennel are mixed together in the marinade.
- Seal the bag tightly and rub the marinade over the chicken and fennel. It may seem like there’s not enough sauce, but it will be fine.
- Leave in the refrigerator one hour or preferably overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Using tongs, remove the fennel and place it on a sheet pan or in a shallow roasting pan —- being careful to reserve the marinade. Place the chicken pieces on top of the fennel. Sprinkle Herbs de Provence seasoning on top, if using it.
- Gently tip the marinade over the chicken and fennel in the pan. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top and place in the oven to bake for about one hour. When done, the fennel will be soft and the chicken will be bronzed on top.
- Remove the chicken and fennel to a serving plate. Optional: Add the sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, until it’s reduced and syrupy. This should take about 5 minutes. [I forgot to do this step but will try it next time.]
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and fennel and add torn fennel fronds for garnish, if using. Enjoy!
- Note: This recipe is from the cookbook, Simply Nigella. I made minor changes and simplified the directions.
Make the recipe your own
It’s simple to get creative with this recipe by adding different vegetables, fruits or spices. Keep in mind, you might need to increase the marinade ingredients. Here are a few ideas:
- Add a sliced tart apple, such as Granny Smith
- Add chopped yellow onion
- Try it with unpeeled potatoes, cut in small uniform pieces
- Use chopped garlic
- Substitute fresh chopped sage (or dried sage) for the Herbs de Provence
- Try it with fresh sprigs of rosemary
Hey there! Did you try this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know how you liked it.
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