Sweet & Spicy Roast Chicken with Carrots, Dates & Pistachios

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This sheet-pan roast chicken dinner is the perfect no-fuss dish for company. Everything can be prepared and assembled a day in advance, so all that’s left to do at dinnertime is pop it in the oven.

roast chicken

Don’t you just love discovering new “keeper” recipes? The first time I made Melissa Clark’s fabulous Sweet & Spicy Roast Chicken from The New York Times, I knew it’d be a family favorite for years to come. The chicken is immersed in a honey, citrus, and chili-infused marinade, and then roasted on a sheet pan with carrots and dates.

Before serving, herbs, scallions, and pistachios are added for freshness, color, and crunch. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also the perfect no-fuss dish for company. Everything can be prepared and assembled a day in advance, so all that’s left to do at dinnertime is pop it in the oven. Serve with couscous and a green vegetable and dinner is done!

What you’ll need to make Sweet & Spicy roast chicken

ingredients

The original recipe is wonderful as printed but, as with any recipe, each time I’ve made it, I’ve tweaked it to suit my style and my family’s taste. What follows is the version I make today.

How to make Sweet & Spicy roast chicken

marinade

Begin by making the marinade: whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, red pepper flakes, garlic, thyme, and salt.

Place the chicken, carrots, onions, and dates in a large sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and seal shut. Massage to make sure everything is evenly coated with the marinade, then marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

marinading

Transfer all ingredients from the bag, including the marinade, to a rimmed sheet pan. Turn the chicken skin side up.

ready-to-cook

Roast until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn on broiler (leave pan on middle rack), and cook a few minutes more, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Watch very carefully: the honey in the marinade can cause the skin to burn quickly!

cooked-chicken

Transfer the chicken, carrots, onions and dates onto a platter, along with the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle the parsley, scallions and pistachio nuts over top and serve.

spicy-honey-roast-chicken-1

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Sweet & Spicy Roast Chicken with Carrots, Dates & Pistachios

This sheet-pan roast chicken dinner is the perfect no-fuss dish for company. Everything can be prepared and assembled a day in advance, so all that’s left to do at dinnertime is pop it in the oven.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes, plus at least 6 hours marinating time

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks and breasts)
  • 3 cups ¼-inch sliced carrots
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced dried dates
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
  • 2 scallions, light and dark green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped salted pistachios, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the marinade: In a medium bowl whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, red pepper flakes, garlic, thyme, and salt.
  2. Place the chicken, carrots, onions, and dates in a large sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and seal shut. Massage to make sure everything is evenly coated with the marinade. Place the bag on a rimmed sheet pan to protect against leakage and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  4. Transfer all ingredients from the bag, including the marinade, to a rimmed sheet pan (do not line the pan with foil). Turn the chicken skin side up. Roast until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. About halfway through cooking, stir the carrots so that they don’t burn around the edges of the pan.
  5. Turn on broiler (leave pan on middle rack), and cook 1 to 3 minutes more, or until skin is golden brown and crispy. Watch carefully: the honey in the marinade can cause the skin to burn quickly.
  6. Transfer the chicken, carrots, onions and dates onto a platter, along with the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle the parsley, scallions and pistachio nuts over top and serve.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 1,022
  • Fat: 62g
  • Saturated fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Sugar: 49g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 60g
  • Sodium: 1306mg
  • Cholesterol: 227mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Jenn, Realize this may sound odd to you and your accomplished followers, but I really need some advice. I’m new to cooking meat (30 years a vegan) and this recipe and any kind of roasting makes me very nervous. Real quick question: When one cooks sheet pan dinners that people seem to love so much—do these make a mess of your oven? My absolute pet peeve is having to spend hours in my oven cleaning up a mess after all the guests have left and I’m already exhausted from all the work, you know? I’m worried it will splatter all over the place. Someone told me once that when they make roast chicken this happens and they absolutely hate it, so I had to ask. I would love to make this recipe, the Marbella and the Peruvian Chx but have to be honest and say I’m too nervous w/o asking this first. THANKS!!!

    • — Diane on July 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, None of these recipes should make a mess of your oven. For this recipe, the baking sheet will get pretty dirty, but if you’d like to avoid scrubbing it after dinner, cover it with non-stick foil before putting the ingredients on. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • Good evening can I freeze this recipe? By the way enjoy all your recipes and love the cookbook. Linda

    • — Linda on March 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes! Yes, I do think you could freeze this. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Easy to follow recipe and came out tasty. I used chicken legs,thighs and breasts. Next time I will stick with legs and thighs. Also I did not have dates so I used prunes. Next time I will use twice as many prunes as it is called for. Their sweetness is a great addition.I wanted every bite to have a piece of prune. Enjoyed by all!!

    • — Rose on February 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! A few minor changes to just cut down on sugar and fat a tiny bit and to use what I had on hand: I cut the honey and olive oil down to 1/4 cup each. And I swapped in 2 cubed sweet potatoes for the carrots, and used half dried apricots, half dates. I prepped it at lunch and marinated it in a bowl (no need for the plastic bag). Roasted it in a roasting pan (no need for foil or parchment, the pan cleaned really easily). (I didn’t have parsley or pistachios — and forgot to use the scallions I had sliced up earlier!) My husband and I both loved it — looking forward to leftovers. Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe, Jenn!

    • — Rachel on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I just reviewed this recipe but think I forgot to rate it.

    I give it 5 stars all the way – 10 stars, if there were that many.

    I hope you can add the stars to my review. Thanks!

    • — Barb V on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • I just did – thanks! 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is the most delicious and beautiful make ahead meal and hands down the best recipe for company because you don’t have to be slaving over the stove but can enjoy your company instead.
    I suggest making a double batch because leftovers are amazing. I usually make a double batch and freeze all or part of it before cooking in zip lock bags. Just defrost in the fridge and supper’s a breeze. I have tried different types of rice to serve along with the chicken but would recommend Jenn’s suggestion of couscous as the flavour does not compete with the flavours of the chicken and the texture is perfect with the chicken. I cook this recipe as Jenn has written it but feel that you could probably get by using 4 tablespoons of honey instead of six. I also haven’t bothered to turn the broiler on at the end as I find that it browns enough in the oven.

    • — Barb V on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe has become a family favorite!
    And is great to serve for an intimate gathering because you make everything the day before! Highly recommend… thank you for sharing with us :)))

    • — Lesa on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • VERY HAPPY we tried. Loved it! I will definately make part of our regular rotation. Different than most recipes out there. Thanks

    • — Sue Switenki on December 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thank you Jenn! Your site and recipes have become my favorite go to. I made this for Christmas dinner….so easy as I prepared yesterday and let marinate overnight, popped in the oven for 45 minutes (just as you indicate) and the chicken and carrots were perfectly cooked. Everyone remarked on how good it was. Thank you again.

    • — Chandra on December 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • So easy and plenty of flavor. We enjoyed it and loved the carrots. I cut the oil a bit for health reasons and the honey as well. Still a little sweeter than our tastes but we really enjoyed it and I will adjust the seasonings a bit more for a spicier and less sweet dish. I did not used foil and nothing stuck to my sheet pan. I use a USA steel pan so maybe those who have had sticking issues are using a lightweight pan. The chicken browned very nicely so I didn’t need to turn on the boiler element.

    • — Kathie on December 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Exactly my experience and perspective as well. Easy, delicious. Next time I will cut the honey a bit and definitely increase the chili flakes. Clean up surprised me, the sheet pan cleaned easily! Another winner, Jenn!

      • — Nancy R. on December 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Just realized I only have dijon mustard and not whole grain. Should I use less or do you think I should keep the same amount? Thanks.

    • — Gwen on December 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • I would keep the amount the same. It shouldn’t make a huge difference. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this the other night with just bone-in chicken breasts and it was a huge hit. Threw the leftovers in the freezer. Hope it freezes well. Will definitely make again! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Amy Wollins on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Do you think this recipe would work with Cornish Hens but with reduced cooking time? I love all of your recipes and I’m eagerly awaiting your next cookbook release 🙂

    • — Sandra M on December 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes, Sandra! Yes, I think this would work with Cornish game hens. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2020
      • Reply
      • This worked out beautifully! My hens were about 1.5 lbs each, and they took just under an hour to cook at 425. Flavours complimented the hens perfectly and everyone loved them. Thanks for another winner recipe Jen.

        • — Sandra M on December 24, 2020
        • Reply
  • Delicious as are all Jen’s recipes. Made it for friends for Hanukkah and it was a hit!

    • — Ann Shoemaker on December 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Night 4 Hanukkah dinner. Delish! The chicken was juicy and succulent. No changes to recipe except covering with foil for the last 10 minutes and lowering oven temp to 400 as the skin was getting too dark/black. I did not line pan with foil and have nothing sticking. Enough sauce to use as a lightly over brown rice as I was out of couscous. Thank you Jenn for your wonderful recipes (and tweaks to others like this one).

    • — susan on December 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • I just made this for a second time – so delicious! I leave the chicken in the marinade for 8-10 hours. This is a keeper recipe!!

    • — Hart on December 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn,
    Can I buy the bag of chopped dates? Or does the dish cook better with whole dates that I “slice thinly”? Will the chopped ones burn or something?
    Thanks!
    Elise

    • — Elise on November 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Elise, Chopped dates should work here. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    This sounds fabulous! My husband does not like thyme. Can I substitute another herb? Would rosemary work?

    • — Laurie R. on October 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure — hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • This looks delish and I’m planning to make it, but the calorie count is off. As written, it’s about 670 calories per serving, not 1,000+ (at 6 servings per recipe). I’d reduce the amount of olive oil to 3 T., dates to 1/2 cup, and honey to 4 T., to lighten it further.

    • — Hannah on October 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Hannah, Thanks for your note. Because I’m not a nutritionist, I use an online tool to calculate the nutritional information for the blog. When I plugged in the ingredients for this recipe, those were the results. I just double-checked it and am getting the same numbers. (I have included the scallions and pistachios in my calculations.) Regardless, hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks, Jenn. I used the verywellfit calculator: verywellfit.com.
        LOVE your recipes, thanks!

        • — Hannah on October 6, 2020
        • Reply

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