Can You Marinate Chicken in Orange Juice

Cooking, FAQs

Can You Marinate Chicken In Orange Juice?

Many of us rely on shop-bought marinades and spice blends, but there’s really no need when it can be so easy to throw together something of your own. 

A marinade is typically made up of an acid, an oil and a flavouring agent. As you cast your eye around the kitchen, eyeing up potential ingredients, you may wonder – can you marinate chicken in orange juice?

Orange juice is a great choice as the acidic element in your marinade. The citrus will help to tenderise the meat, and orange juice works great on its own for a subtle flavour or as a base that you can add further flavours to.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Marinade?

There are several reasons to marinate chicken before cooking it.

Firstly, the marinade can help improve the texture of the meat, making it more tender. This is especially true for lower-fat cuts of chicken, such as breasts or fillets.

Secondly, the oil can help keep your chicken nice and moist. Again, this is a good idea for those cuts that lack the fat to provide natural moisture.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it enhances the flavour. There is a common misconception that marinade is intended to flavour the meat right through. This is not the case.

The marinade is intended to flavour the surface of the meat. This will then be the first part that cooks.

Marinating is ideal when you intend to panfry, grill or barbeque your meat, as these methods will cause the marinade to turn into a beautiful, caramelised crust.

How Do You Marinate Chicken in Orange Juice?

There are lots of recipes around for using orange juice as a marinade for chicken. However, if you want to come up with your own recipe, just remember you need these 3 basic ingredients.


Firstly, you need an acid. That’s the role of the orange juice here. The acid is there to tenderise the meat. It helps to break down the proteins on the surface of the meat, allowing the meat to absorb more flavour.

The best choice here is fresh 100% pure squeezed orange juice as this will give a better flavour than juice from concentrate. Even better, you could use fresh oranges and squeeze them yourself; this way you can add the zest to your marinade too.


Your second ingredient, the oil, is there to keep the chicken moist. Without the oil, the acid in the marinade could make your meat a little dry, so adding oil helps to counteract this.

Olive oil is a good option here, although avoid extra-virgin olive oil as the flavour may overpower the subtle flavour of the orange juice.


Finally, your flavouring agent could be as simple as salt and pepper. Any herbs and spices could work here, whether that’s dried herbs and ground spices or fresh herbs from your garden. Rosemary and oregano work well here, whether fresh or dried.

You could also consider adding other flavours, such as some crushed garlic or some soy sauce, both of which work well with orange.

It’s a good idea to slash the surface of the meat before adding your marinade. Despite a common misconception, marinades don’t work their way far into the meat, so cutting the meat will allow the flavours to permeate further.

How Long Should You Marinate Chicken in Orange Juice?

Over time, the acid will change the texture of the chicken. Initially, it will tenderise the meat as intended, but if you leave the chicken in there for too long it can become stringy and dry, particularly if you use orange juice on its own without any oil.

Ideally, you want to leave your chicken in its marinade for 1-2 hours, but if you haven’t got that long, at least 30 minutes should be enough to flavour the outside of the chicken.

If you want to marinate the chicken overnight, you will certainly want to make sure you’ve got some oil in that marinade too, otherwise the texture of the chicken is likely to deteriorate.

How Should You Cook Chicken Marinated in Orange Juice?

Marinades primarily flavour the surface of the meat, so choose a cooking method that will work well with this.

With a sugary marinade, such as orange juice, high heat will caramelise the sugars, enhancing the flavour. Barbequing, grilling and panfrying will help give your chicken a tasty crust.

What Does Chicken Marinated in Orange Juice Taste Like?

If you marinate the chicken in orange juice alone, it will give a very mild flavour. To enhance the citrus flavour further, consider including orange zest in your marinade too.

However, this mild flavour makes it a great base for further flavours. Whereas lime and lemon can be very tangy and noticeable, orange juice will give a mild, sweet flavour that works well with flavours like soy and paprika.

Our Top Tips for Marinating Chicken

To marinate your chicken you can simply place your marinade ingredients in a bowl, stir them well, add the chicken, stir again, cover and place in the fridge. However, a great no-mess alternative is to place all your ingredients in a sealable bag and give them a good shake.

Marinate Chicken in a Bag

Always place meat in the fridge to marinate, as leaving it at room temperature would encourage bacterial growth.

After removing your chicken from the marinade, you can use the marinade to make a sauce, as long as you cook it thoroughly, as that marinade has been in contact with raw meat.

You can marinate frozen chicken as it defrosts. However, the thawing chicken will dilute the marinade, so it’s a good idea to make the marinade stronger.

You can marinate any cut of chicken – breasts, thighs, wings, portions or drumsticks – and you can use boneless or bone-in. 

Chicken in Orange Juice FAQs

Got further questions about marinating chicken in orange juice? Then see if these FAQs answer your queries:

Can You Marinate Chicken In Fruit Juice?

Any fruit juice can be used to marinate chicken, but those with higher acidity will work better. It’s a good idea to limit the time it is marinated, however, to just 2 to 3 hours.

Can You Marinate Chicken in Orange Juice From a Carton?

Yes, you can use orange juice from a carton to marinade your chicken but make sure it is not from concentrate. You want pure, 100% orange juice.


Where we obtain our information and verify the facts in this article:

Peanut Butter Fingers

Orange juice marinated chicken recipe.

Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Marinating chicken in citrus juice.

How to Freeze Guacamole

How to Freeze Guacamole

Acacia Crossley
How to Reheat Tacos

How to Reheat Tacos

Acacia Crossley

Leave a Comment

Latest Reads

Can You Marinate Cauliflower

Can You Marinate Cauliflower?

Elizabeth Masterman
Can You Marinate Broccoli

Can You Marinate Broccoli?

Elizabeth Masterman
Can You Marinate Chicken in Tzatziki Sauce

Can You Marinate Chicken in Tzatziki Sauce?

Elizabeth Masterman
Why Do Deli Sandwiches Taste Better

Why Do Deli Sandwiches Taste Better?

Elizabeth Masterman