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

  • 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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