Orange Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks

Inspiration for recipes can come from the strangest places. During my kiddos 24/7 Disney Channel stage, there were commercial breaks that went through recipe ideas with their favorite stars.  The idea behind the commercials was to encourage kids to try new things and eat healthy. During one of these commercials there was a recipe for Orange Chicken Drumsticks. We saw this commercial a million times, although I never paid close attention or wrote anything down.  One day my kiddos said they would really like to try Orange Chicken Drumsticks, can I make it for them.  Well these kiddos rarely ask me to make things other than pizza or pancakes, so I decided to make my own version. Orange Chicken Drumstick is now their all time favorite way to eat chicken. The recipe is simple and works with dark meat best, drumsticks and thighs.

For this recipe removing the skin from your drumsticks or thighs is essential.  Once in a hurry I did not skin the chicken and the meat did not have the same full flavor.  The flavor is better the longer you marinate as well. I try to let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours. Pictured are chicken thighs. My kiddos prefer drumsticks, but sometimes they have to settle for thighs because they are available in the chest freezer and drumsticks are not. It is best to take the chicken out the night before to start the defrosting process. Frozen chicken is impossible to skin! I like to marinate my chicken in gallon size plastic bags. If you are using the same bags the chicken was frozen in, check for tears and holes. It is never fun when the marinade leaks all over the counter instead of staying with the chicken where it belongs.

Next, it is time to mix together our very simple marinade. It requires citrus punch, Sunny Delight or any generic version, olive oil, minced garlic, and honey. Whisk the ingredients together well and you are done. Pour the marinade into the bags of chicken and set to the side for at least 4 hours.

When the time comes to cook dinner, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. The chicken comes out of the oven beautifully caramelized around the edges.

Orange Chicken


My kiddos will eat this chicken, without complaint, 3 days a week. It’s simple, delicious, and pairs with just about any side your crew enjoys. I tried it with orange juice, and while good, it is better using the citrus punch.  The flavors are stronger. I stock up on chicken thighs and drumsticks when they go on sale, so this meal is budget friendly as well. I hope you find this recipe a delicious addition to your regular kiddo friendly meal plan. Happy Cooking!

Orange Chicken



Orange Chicken Thighs/Drumsticks

A simple orange marinade that makes for a flavorful, yet easy mid week meal.
Prep Time 5 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 45 minutes
Course dinner
Servings 8



  • 2 cup orange citrus punch Sunny Delight for example
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup honey
  • 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks bone in skin removed


  • Prepare marinade by adding all ingredients to a bowl and whisking together well.
  • Pour marinade over chicken. Cover and let marinate for 5 hours
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place chicken on baking sheets.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes until chicken juices run clear when cut.
Keyword chicken, citrus, drumsticks, marinade, orange, thighs

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