Cilantro Orange Chicken with Rice and Beans Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Cilantro Orange Chicken with Rice and Beans

28 reviews / 4.9 average

This golden Cilantro Orange Chicken is so flavorful, crisped to golden brown perfection, and just very finger-licking good! Served with rice, beans, and a quick homemade pineapple salsa.

This is a brand new recipe that’s part of our Spring 2023 SOS Series – in other words, EASY recipes! View our full collection of SOS recipes here.

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In This Post: Everything You Need For Cilantro Orange Chicken


JUICINESS alert! This golden Cilantro Orange Chicken is so flavorful, crisped to golden brown perfection, and just very finger-licking good. You’re going to need some napkins.

When I’m being normal, I usually serve it with rice, beans, and quick homemade pineapple salsa – which all just works together so well, you know? It has a Cuban feel to it: a mojo-like sauce with rice and beans and some tropical fruit on the plate for good measure. Yum. Yum yum yum.

But the beautiful thing is that if you don’t have time or patience for the extras, or you’re your most hungry and desperate self, the chicken can very much stand on its own.

It’s rare for me to really love a “plain chicken” recipe, but this chicken is eat-directly-off-the-pan delicious. Just brush that burnished chicken with some extra sauce straight out of the oven, pass me a couple skewers, and I am done. It’s all I need! Just a snack-turned-dinner standing over the stove.

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Source Notes: I got the idea for this recipe from this Milkstreet cookbook. I played around with it a lot with things I thought I wanted: added limes, added spices, etc. but ended up just loving the original version plus vinegar for more punch! It’s delicious.

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A picture of Cilantro Orange Chicken with Rice and Beans

Cilantro Orange Chicken with Rice and Beans


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 23 servings 1x

Description

This golden Cilantro Orange Chicken is so flavorful, crisped to golden brown perfection, and just very finger-licking good! Served with rice, beans, and a quick homemade pineapple salsa.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Cilantro Orange Sauce:

  • 1/41/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • juice of 2 oranges (about 45 tablespoons juice) + a bit of zest
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Chicken:

  • 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • wood or metal skewers (optional)

Optional / For Serving:

  • one 8.8-ounce pouch pre-made yellow rice (or make your own!)
  • one 14-ounce can refried or regular black beans
  • 12 cups diced pineapple, mango, and/or avocado (optional)

Instructions

  1. If you’re using wood skewers, start soaking them!
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Turn on the broiler, and make sure one of the oven racks is way up at the top, about 6 inches from the heating element.
  3. Place chicken in a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Pour only half of the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat; reserve the other half of the sauce for later. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers, or you can just let the excess sauce drip off and add the chicken directly to your sheet pan! If you want (I do!) season the chicken with a little pinch of extra salt.
  6. Broil for 12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and has a burnished and golden exterior.
  7. Optional – mix a little bit of the reserved sauce with the diced pineapple/mango/avocado to make a little “salsa.”
  8. Brush the golden brown chicken with reserved sauce. Serve chicken with rice, beans, and your fruit salsa! Fresh, juicy and savory, so good.

Notes

My oven has high / low broil settings – I use the high broil for this recipe.

If you’re using wood skewers, make sure you soak them in water for 20-30 minutes before threading the chicken on and baking.

When using parchment paper, mine usually gets a bit brittle around the edges but stays intact throughout the middle of the pan due to the moisture from the sauce and the chicken. This article says you can use parchment for a broil, and it has always worked for me! But if you’re feeling unsure about it you can use aluminum foil.

The sauce has a lot of salt, and that is on purpose – you’re only putting half of the sauce on the chicken, and even then, not all of it will actually bake into the chicken. If you’re worried about it, you can start with 1 teaspoon in the sauce and just add extra salt to taste the chicken itself during or after baking.

I like this yellow rice, and this precooked yellow rice. For beans, I like these refried beans, or these ready-to-serve black beans.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Cuban-Inspired

Keywords: cilantro chicken, garlic chicken, cilantro garlic chicken, rice bowl, chicken skewers

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Do I Have To Use Skewers?

Nope. You can place the chicken directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and position the pan 4-6 inches below the broiler. You’ll get the same juicy-delicious burnishing on the outside of the chicken without the work of the skewers! (But… if you have time, the skewers are definitely fun.) You can use these simple wood skewers* or metal skewers* to use over and over again!

What If I Don’t Like Cilantro?

I would recommend another herb like parsley, basil, or maybe some oregano. Green onion could be good, too.

Do I Need To Marinate The Chicken?

I didn’t marinate the chicken – it was still great, especially because the sauce has a lot of flavor and you’re going to brush that over the chicken again before eating it. This is an SOS recipe (aka easy recipe) so we’re trying to keep the whole process simple and streamlined!

But if you had time and you wanted to marinate the chicken, I think that would be delicious! Just be sure to save some of your sauce in a separate container so you can use it for brushing after it’s done.

What About Grilling?

Yes! This would be so great on the grill. Here in Minnesota, we are not in grill season quite yet, so at the moment I prefer to just pop them in the oven. But if you’ve got your grill up and running, by all means!

What’s a Good Vegetarian Substitution?

I think you could do something similar with roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or mushrooms! For a protein option, I’d try coating crispy baked tofu in this sauce and then roasting it for a few extra minutes to get it caramelized.


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56 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Directions say to put in broiler but then say to bake? What is the broiler for and when do you use it??

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Did you change the whole recipe when you changed to broil? I printed it out before the change and for 2x the recipe it had 4 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 6 cloves of garlic. Now it has 3,3 & 4. Which is correct now that I’ve already done everything and just noticed the switch.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I just changed out the word “bake” to say “broil”, but I just checked with the team and Lindsay made a couple slight adjustments to some of the ingredient amounts to make things even better! We’d recommend following the current version of the recipe. Hope you love it!

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Is 889 calories per serving for the chicken only, or the chicken, rice, beans and pineapple salsa? 889 calories for chicken only seems a bit high.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi
    The recipe says it’s serves 2-3, but the nutritionals say serves 6, so just checking which one is right? Thanks!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    If you were to swap chicken breast in for the thighs, what would recommended time for broiling be?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi, Nat! You could bake it in a pinch, but it likely won’t get that wonderful crisped golden brown exterior. If you’re able, we’d really recommend a quick broil treatment here. 😊

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          This recipe is spectacular!!! WOW! The flavors are so good and broiling was the perfect way to cook this.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was delicious. We went for the whole shebang (rice, beans, pineapple salsa, and chicken) and it was worth it. It’s super flavorful and the variety of textures was really nice. Only hang up was that we had a close call with the parchment paper…we had to take it out mid-bake because the paper started to burn and our fire alarm went off. We’ll go with tin foil next time!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was delicious. We went for the whole shebang (rice, beans, pineapple salsa, and chicken) and it was worth it. It’s super flavorful and the variety of textures was really nice. Only hang up was that we had a close call with the parchment paper…we had to take it out mid-bake because the paper started to burn and our fire alarm went off. We’ll go with tin foil next time!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was so delicious. Didn’t bother with the skewers and broiling on the parchment worked just fine, especially since I used a pan that just fit the chicken so all the parchment was covered. Forgot to serve the rice with it and even so the combination of textures and flavors from the beans and pineapple salsa were perfect and we didn’t miss it.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I used this marinade tonight and opted to grill the skewers rather than broil. I didn’t have enough cilantro, so I mixed in some basil. It was great! Will definitely make again.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this tonight and it was delicious! I have been so sick of cooking with my work and with 2 little kids but this was simple to make (would have been even better if I prepped), and all 4 of us ate dinner and enjoyed it! I can hardly wait to make it again!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Holy Moly- these chicken bites were sooo good. I skipped the skewers and put them on the parchment paper. This is definitely a keeper. Thanks!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi, is the 889 calories per serving for the chicken only, or the chicken, rice, beans and pineapple salsa?

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Five stars from all four of us, including the 2- and 4-year-old. We made them on the grill and used extra marinade as dressing for our black bean salad. Will make again!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Delicious! I used chicken breast (marinated it in half the sauce first) instead of thighs and it was great. I also reduced the salt in the sauce to only 0.5 tsp instead of 1.5 tsp. Sauce was SO good. This will definitely be a regular for us!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This chicken is yummy! We ate it over mixed greens with a citrus vinaigrette. I did marinate the chicken for a couple of hours — it worked well for me to mix up the sauce and cut the chicken while my toddler was napping, and since that prep work was done dinner came together super fast!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was sooo yummy … BUT … it was not so much an SOS meal. Between juicing the oranges, grating the garlic, and chopping the cilantro, mango, avocado, and raw chicken, the SOS feel turned into regular meal feel. That’s fine because it’s a good recipe, I just don’t think it belongs in this series. But that sauce is delicious!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I agree so much with this comment. I made it last night for dinner and while it wasn’t difficult it still took a fair bit of time and attention and was hard to do with small kids running around. Good dinner, just not SOS.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum! I made the sauce in my food processor and marinated the chicken overnight. With rice and bean packets, it was so easy. Added some fajita veggies which I sautéed while the chicken was broiling. I bet it would be fantastic on the grill.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yep! My whole family loved it. It might require slightly more time than a true SOS, but it doesn’t require lots of focus or skill. Low stress! And truly, it’s worth the extra orange squeezing and salsa chopping— so flavorful!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was so delicious! I grilled the chicken skewers and made homemade yellow rice in the rice cooker. I also added some red onion and jalapeño to the pineapple salsa. An SOS meal but made it extra. We are absolutely making this again!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thanks for this lovely recipe! I rounded it out with pinto beans and brown rice, and it was a hit in my household!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Mindfulness and meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and promote a sense of calm and well-being. It’s important to make time for mindfulness and meditation in your daily routine, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. By taking care of your mental health, you can improve your overall well-being and quality of life. https://versalininyc.com

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Delicious! This being a SOS recipe, I do wish there was more said to encourage the skewer-less option for those needing a true SOS recipe. I just didn’t realize how much more time that part would take, and it made it feel very non-SOS for me with a 1 and 3 year old wreaking havoc all around. BUT the flavors of the chicken were so, so good. We did store bought yellow rice, canned black beans, and a pineapple-avocado “salsa” by tossing a bit of the orange cilantro sauce in.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this last night and I’m obsessed! And I managed to get a perfect pineapple at the grocery store. The sweet salsa, combined with the spicy refried beans, the rice, and this delicious crispy chicken was such a great combination. I will definitely make this again.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey excited to make this tonight but it seems the video is for a lentil dish? You probably can’t make the change before I’m ready to cook but lmk if you do! Thanks!

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The flavors here were great but after 12 min under the broiler (on high as recommended), my oven was absolutely OVERFLOWING with black smoke and my chicken was still raw on the bottom half side. I think it might be better to bake through and then finish under the broiler – any recommendation for oven temp/time for a pre-bake and then time under the broiler to finish?

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This one is a winner!! Will definitely make again. Everyone loved it, thanks for the great recipe!