This post may contain affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission for items bought through some of the links in this post, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting The At-Home Test Cook.
My family and I, like many people, eat a lot of chicken dinners. Chicken can be repetitive. Chicken can be boring. Chicken can also be aromatic, complex, and comforting. Glazed Five-Spice Chicken is the latter. Plus, this is an easy chicken dinner that bakes in just under an hour! All the prep is done the day before, so all you have to do is bake it the day you wish to eat it.
Before I started The At-Home Test Cook, I had just finished my culinary certification program, and knew I needed a project to keep the momentum in the kitchen going. Also, I was really sad that class was ending. It was so fun, and came at a time in my life when I really needed it.
Anyway, I looooooooove a good cookbook, so I thought “I’ll cook through an entire cookbook! That will keep me busy!” I picked Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. A few weeks into the project, I realized what I really wanted to do was start this blog, so I abandoned ship on cooking through an entire book, but it got the gastronomical ball rolling. Its abandonment was not Salt Fat Acid Heat’s fault. In this case, it truly wasn’t them, it really was me. If you also love cookbooks, run, do not walk to this link and get yourself a copy of this book! It’s a masterwork, filled with detailed descriptions of both the technique and science behind the basic tenants of cooking. Samin also manages to put so much heart into her writing, that you feel like she is in your kitchen helping you along. It’s just great, and I do intend to try many more recipes by Ms. Nosrat.
Glazed Five-Spice Chicken comes from Salt Fat Acid Heat, and Samin in turn got it from David Tanis. What’s so brilliant about this dish is the fact that it is very simple to put together, but the payout is so complex and beautiful.
The Path to Chicken Enlightenment
You start by making the marinade, which was tons of flavorful heavy-hitters like soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and Chinese five-spice powder, of course. It’s always a good sign when even the raw marinade smells good. Then you pour your marinade over the chicken inside a resealable plastic bag, and let it sit overnight in the fridge. This recipe is especially well-suited to dark meat, due to its high cooking temperature. I used drumsticks and boneless skinless chicken thighs.
The next day, you take the chicken out of the fridge, pour it in a 9×13 baking dish, and bake it at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. You crank the heat up at the end and bake an additional ten minutes. When I first read the recipe, I though the chicken would definitely overbake, but no! Such is the magic of dark meat poultry. It comes out sticky and shiny and wonderful. The first time I made this, my older daughter ate 4 large drumsticks and a thigh. She’s 4.
Chinese five-spice powder is made up of star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel, cinnamon, and cloves, so as the chicken bakes, your house starts to smell like spice heaven. Mark thinks it smells like fall (enter cloves and cinnamon), but of course this dish is perfect to make any time of the year.
Serve Glazed Five-Spice Chicken with jasmine rice and a tangy salad, and let the people feast! Be warned though, whomever you serve this too will probably smooch you. They won’t be able to help it, probably.
When you make this, take a picture and tag me in it! @athometestcook
Glazed Five-Spice Chicken
- 9"x13" baking dish
For the Marinade:
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks, thighs, or a combination of the two
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar light brown sugar is fine too.
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 4 finely sliced scallions
The day before you want to eat the chicken:
- Place chicken into a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder and cayenne, if using.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken.
- Seal the bag and place in the fridge overnight.
The day you are going to eat the chicken:
- Take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before you put it in the oven, to bring it back up to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the chicken skin side up in a 9"x13" baking dish.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken. If the marinade doesn't cover the bottom of the pan, add a few tablespoons of water until it does.
- Set a timer for 45 minutes.
- Place the pan in the oven and rotate it every 10 to 15 minutes.
- When 45 minutes have elapsed, crank the heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook for an additional 10 minutes, brushing the chicken with the marinade every 3 minutes or so to glaze it.
- Serve with cilantro and scallions scattered on top.
- Keeps in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.