When we bought our first house over twenty years ago and money was tight, we were always looking for good deals at the local supermarket. The Chicken leg quarters at $0.39/pound sounded pretty good. This oven-baked five spice chicken is an easy dinner we used to make on school nights, because it was easy to prepare ahead of time, economical, and most importantly, very tasty.
As Simple As It Gets
This five spice chicken recipe has only 9 ingredients. You can marinate the chicken the night before, so that all you have to do come dinnertime is place the chicken on a sheet pan and throw them in the oven. Prepare some rice and a vegetable, and you have a full, hearty dinner on the table in less than an hour.
But don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you. It is extremely delicious! The chicken releases juices onto the sheet pan, and when poured over rice, it’s liquid gold.
Our girls would gobble this up when they were kids (I have a feeling you’ll please even picky eaters with this chicken), and I hear from Sarah that she still makes it for dinner on busy weeknights!
The key? Chinese five spice powder.
What is in Chinese Five Spice Powder?
Five-spice powder is a mixture of ground star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. It can also container ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, dried tangerine peel, or galangal, depending on the recipe.
Five spice powder can be found even in regular grocery stores these days, making this an easy recipe to execute even if you don’t have a Chinese market nearby. You can also purchase it online.
The only other potentially hard-to-find ingredient in here is shaoxing wine, but you can substitute a regular dry cooking sherry!
Oven-Baked Five Spice Chicken: Recipe Instructions
Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a mixing bowl.
Pat the chicken dry and add to the marinade.
Rub the marinade into the chicken, being sure to get some of it under the skin of the chicken thighs or leg quarters (this recipe works well with either).
Marinate the chicken overnight if making ahead. Otherwise, allow it to marinate for as long as you can (at least 20 minutes, or an hour if you can).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Place the chicken on the pan and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting, you can prepare your white rice (or brown rice), veggies, or other sides for your dinner! We decided to serve ours with steamed white rice and a simple stir-fried cabbage with salt and a little garlic.
After 40 minutes, the chicken should be a golden brown, but if not, you can crisp it under the broiler for a couple minutes. Just don’t walk away while the broiler is on, or the chicken may burn! Test the chicken to make sure it is cooked through. Stick a fork in the side. If the juices run clear, it’s done.
Plate, and enjoy this easy-to-make five spice chicken dinner with steamed rice!
If you prefer using boneless chicken thighs, see our post on How to debone skin-on chicken thighs and adjust/reduce cooking times accordingly.
Oven-Baked Five Spice Chicken
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 tablespoon red onion (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (or dry cooking sherry)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 4 chicken leg quarters)
- Combine the soy sauce, salt, five spice, red onion, garlic, oil, shaoxing wine (or sherry), and sesame oil in a mixing bowl and set aside. Pat the chicken dry and add it to the marinade, making sure to get the marinade under the skin of the chicken. Marinate overnight or at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and line a sheet pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Place the chicken on the pan and roast for 35-40 minutes.
- If the chicken has not crisped up in that time, turn on the broiler for a few minutes, but don't walk away while this is happening, or they may burn!
- The chicken is cooked through when you stick a fork in the side and the juices run clear. Serve with steamed rice and a vegetable for a complete dinner!
Tips & Notes:
Note: This recipe was one of the first we ever published on the blog, since it is a long-time family staple! While the recipe was originally published on September 25, 2013, we have since updated it with new photos, clearer instructions, nutrition information, and helpful links as of September 2019. Enjoy!