All-natural, organic Turmeric powder gives this chicken recipe its golden hue and earthy flavor foundation. The rest of the spices, along with a little brown sugar, fennel, onions, and citrus, surround the turmeric, building on its woodsy, earthy characteristics for an unforgettable meal that takes only 15 minutes of hands-on time.
When you don’t want to spend ages in the kitchen, try this easy turmeric chicken recipe with fennel!
Hands-on time is just 15 minutes as the oven does most of the hard work for you! While the chicken is roasting away you will have more than enough time to whip up a side of rice or bulgur and a salad, or to simply relax with a glass of wine.
In this turmeric chicken recipe, I season chicken pieces with a variety of colorful spices before tossing them in an olive oil, white wine, and citrus marinade. I nestle the chicken into a baking dish along with fennel, onions, and orange slices.
Pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes until the chicken skin is perfectly golden and perhaps even a bit charred, and the sweetness from the vegetables has been coaxed out.
When it all comes together, this roasted turmeric chicken dinner creates a symphony of flavors — slightly sweet, earthy, and comforting!
In this post
Ingredients for turmeric roast chicken
This roast chicken recipe is packed with flavor from various spices, citrus, and even a little mustard and brown sugar! Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Marinade: Extra virgin olive oil, white wine, orange juice, lime juice, yellow mustard, and brown sugar are whisked together to form the marinade for the chicken, fennel, onions, and orange.
- Spice rub: This is where the star of the show, turmeric, comes in. It’s combined with garlic powder, coriander, paprika, kosher salt, and pepper. Half of it goes into the marinade, and the other half generously seasons the chicken.
- Chicken: You will need 6 pieces of bone in, skin on chicken. I used whole chicken legs (the thigh and drumstick), but you could also use breasts, a combination of the two, or a whole chicken cut into 6 or 8 pieces — depending on how large the chicken is.
- Vegetables and more: Fresh fennel has a strong anise kick when raw, but this transforms into a delightful sweetness when it’s roasted. I also add some sweet onion and unpeeled sliced oranges.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright orange rhizome native to the tropical areas of southern Asia. It can be used in both its fresh and dried forms. Turmeric tastes bitter and earthy and it’s a key ingredient in curry powders. Because turmeric is a warming spice, homecooks around the globe often use it in soups, rice dishes, and even drinks to add color and comfort.
In this recipe, I use dried powdered turmeric, which imparts a gorgeous golden hue to the chicken. It also provides the flavor base in this roast chicken recipe. The rest of the spices, along with the brown sugar, fennel, onions, and citrus, all complement the turmeric, building on its earthy, musky flavor.
Be warned: Turmeric stains – both fresh and dried. Powdered turmeric is easier to use, but it does stain hands, clothes, and plastic containers as well. If you work with fresh turmeric, it’s a good idea to wear gloves because your fingers and fingernails will be dyed yellow!
Fresh turmeric, which resembles fresh ginger, is less potent and a touch brighter in flavor than its dried counterpart.
How to make turmeric chicken
One of my favorite things about turmeric chicken is that it is easy. You only spend about 15 minutes of hands-on time! After that, your refrigerator and oven do most of the heavy lifting. Here’s how to make it:
- Make the marinade. In a large bowl, mix together ½ cup each extra virgin olive oil, dry white wine, and orange juice, as well as the juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar.
- Make the spice rub. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper. Add about half of the spice mix to the liquid marinade and mix to combine.
- Season the chicken. Pat dry 6 pieces bone in, skin on chicken and generously season with the other half of the spice mixture. Be sure to lift the chicken skins slightly and apply some of the spice mix underneath the skin for even more flavor.
- Marinate the chicken. Add the seasoned chicken to the bowl with the marinade along with 1 large sliced fennel bulb, 1 large sweet onion (cut into half moons), and 2 oranges sliced into rounds. Toss well to coat everything in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours (optional). Skip refrigerating the chicken if you are short on time and go straight to roasting the chicken.
- Roast the chicken. Grab a large baking pan and add the chicken, veggies, and marinade. Everything should be arranged in a single layer. For crispy skin and to keep the chicken moist, make sure to place the chicken skin side up. Roast in a 475° F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
How to know when chicken is cooked?
Cooked chicken will have an internal temperature of 165°F when measured with a meat thermometer inserted near a bone.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut the chicken open near a bone and look at the juices. If they are bloody, the chicken still needs time. When the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.
Tips for success
No one wants dry, tough roasted chicken. Here are some tips to avoid that:
- Use bone in, skin on chicken pieces. Not only does the bone help with the even distribution of heat, the skin helps protect the meat (which can become dry before the inside is cooked). And, really, you can’t beat crispy, flavor-packed chicken skin.
- Best chicken pieces to use. I used chicken legs (drumsticks + thighs), but you can also use breasts, breasts and legs, or a whole chicken, cut into 6 or 8 pieces. The beauty of this recipe is that the bone helps the chicken stay succulent, no matter what pieces you choose. See tips below for using boneless chicken.
- Allow the chicken to marinate, even for 30 minutes. While marinating the chicken is optional, allowing it a little time to sit in the oil and citrus marinade will give you juicier, more tender roast chicken. The acidity of orange and lime juice helps tenderize the chicken, while olive oil helps to transfer fat-soluble flavors into the chicken.
To use boneless chicken
Boneless chicken is an option in this recipe, but you’d need to tweak the cooking time and oven temperature so the chicken stays moist — especially if you use breasts, which are much less forgiving than drumsticks and thighs.
Here are some tips for substituting boneless chicken in this recipe:
- Like in my baked chicken breast recipe, start by pounding the chicken a bit so it is more or less uniform in thickness. This will promote even cooking.
- Cover the chicken in foil for the first 10 minutes or so of roasting. This allows steam to cook the chicken from the inside out.
- Set the oven to 425° F, instead of 475, and the chicken should be cooked in about 18 minutes.
What to serve with turmeric chicken
Rice or another grain is the perfect accompaniment to turmeric roast chicken, so that you don’t waste any of the sublime golden sauce. I like to whip up some Lebanese rice or plain basmati rice while the chicken roasts.
You could definitely also serve turmeric chicken with a salad, whether you want a crunchy cucumber salad, or a more substantial farro salad or bean salad.
How to store leftovers
Roast chicken makes amazing leftovers! Simply wait for the chicken and vegetables to come to room temperature and pop it all into an airtight container. (I recommend using a glass container so the turmeric does not stain.) It will keep for up to 4 days.
To reheat, throw everything into a skillet (perhaps with a very light drizzle of olive oil) and warm it up over medium heat.
More turmeric recipes to try
Easy Turmeric Chicken Recipe
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 lime, juice of
- 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoon brown sugar, more for later
- 2 teaspoons all-natural garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored, sliced
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced into half moons
- 6 pieces bone-in skin-on chicken, chicken legs or breasts, or a combination
- 2 Oranges, unpeeled, sliced
- 1 lime, thinly sliced (optional)
- Make the marinade. In a large bowl or deep dish, mix together the first six ingredients: olive oil, white wine, orange juice, lime juice, mustard and brown sugar.
- In a small bowl, mix together the spices: turmeric, garlic powder, coriander, paprika , salt and pepper. Now, add about half of the spice mix to the liquid marinade. Mix to combine.
- Pat the chicken pieces dry and generously season with the remainder of the spice mix. Be sure to lift the chicken skins slightly and apply some of the spice mix underneath the skin.
- Add the seasoned chicken and the remaining ingredients to the large bowl of marinade. Work the chicken well into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (if you don't have time, you can skip the marinating).
- When ready, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Transfer the chicken along with the marinade and everything else to a large baking pan so that everything is comfortably arranged in one layer. Be sure the chicken skin is facing up. Sprinkle with a dash or salt and more brown sugar, if you like.
- Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the chicken skin has nicely browned. Internal chicken temperature should be 170 degrees F.
- How to know when chicken is cooked? Cooked chicken will have an internal temperature of 165°F when measured with a meat thermometer. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut the chicken open near a bone and examine the juices. If they are bloody or pink, the chicken still needs time. When the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.
- What to serve with turmeric chicken: Rice or another grain works well so that you don’t waste any of the sublime golden sauce. I like Lebanese rice or plain basmati rice here. You could also definitely serve turmeric chicken with a salad, whether you want a crunchy cucumber salad, or a more substantial farro salad or bean salad.
- How to store leftovers: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Use a glass container so the turmeric doesn't stain.
- Visit our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils, organic spices, and more.
*This post has recently been updated with new information for readers' benefit.