A little sweet heat does wonderful things for Sheet Pan Citrus-Chipotle Chicken Thighs! A blend of citrus juices (and their zest), the smoky heat of chipotle en adobo, cumin, garlic, and olive oil make a flavorful glaze for your favorite vegetables, and of course, the chicken thighs.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Sheet Pan Dinners
"Sheet pan dinners" are trending, and with good reason. Roasting tends to be a healthy and flavorful cooking method, and ONE. PAN. Less clean up time means more time to sit and enjoy a nice meal (with or without a glass of wine!).
My biggest concern when creating a "sheet pan dinner" is cooking times. It's easy to come up with flavors that work with all the ingredients. Cooking times? Not so much.
Admittedly, chicken breast is not my favorite. I do acknowledge its health benefits, and I use a good amount of it. However, I do not roast it. I see a lot of sheet pan dinners that include chicken breast, and they evoke images of shoe leather. Is that TMI?
Veggies require different cooking times to become tender and flavorful. The challenge, then, lies in cooking your protein and your veggies long enough to get the protein cooked, and not long enough to result in soggy vegetables. I don't care for crunchy sweet potatoes either. Just sayin'...
When I began working on Sheet Pan Citrus-Chipotle Chicken Thighs, I knew I wanted to use chicken thighs - while a bit higher in fat and calories - they're more forgiving with cooking time. The chicken thighs require about 20-30 minutes on 400° making them a good candidate for roasting alongside sweet potatoes. However, the sweet potatoes can take up to an hour unless they're sliced fairly thin (as opposed to wedges or chunks).
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- chipotle chiles - Use 1 (or 2 if you like heat) chipotle chiles with about a tablespoon +/- adobo
- blood orange - Tangerines, cara cara, clementines, any orange will substitute just fine. You use both zest and juice.
- lemon - I use Meyer lemons when I can get them. Grapefruit is a great addition!
- ground cumin
- sweetener - I typically use agave nectar. Honey also works well, but you may want to double the amount.
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Vegetables
- chicken thighs - I find they roast better than chicken breast, and result in a more moist chicken. The timing works out well with the vegetables in the recipe.
- sweet potatoes
- summer squash - Mexican grey squash, zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan are all great options.
- shallots - Red onion is a great substitute.
- bell peppers - I love colorful food, and like a mix!
- tiny tomatoes
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- cilantro and/or scallions for garnish
- Orange slices for garnish
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- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 convection roast).
- Prepare the glaze - Add the glaze ingredients to a small food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste for sweetness and seasoning. Add to a large bowl.
- Prepare the chicken and vegetables - Cut the squash in fairly thick slices, and the sweet potatoes in thinner slices (they require more time). If the shallots are large, cut in half lengthwise. Cut the bell peppers in chunks. See photos for reference. Cut away any excess fat on the chicken thighs. Add the prepared vegetables and chicken to the glaze. Toss to coat.
- Roast the chicken and vegetables - Using a slotted spoon, add the vegetables and chicken thighs to 1 or 2 sheet pans in a single layer. Don't pour the remaining glaze or you'll have boiled not roasted food. Every 10 minutes or so, brush with remaining glaze. Roast until chicken juices are clear (160-165 degrees internal temperature). Vegetables should be tender. I find this takes 30-40 minutes.
- Serve - Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!
Given the Mexican flavors in this dish (cumin, citrus, chipotle), I wanted to include Mexican grey squash (or zucchini). The trick is to get the sweet potatoes tender without having mushy squash! I cut the squash in fat chunks, and the sweet potatoes in thinner slices. Problem solved!
I wax poetic about colorful food... This dish can be very colorful! On photo day, I chose a ruby sweet potato and a purple yam, orange bell pepper, shallot, multi-colored tiny tomatoes, and Mexican grey squash to join my boneless, skinless chicken thighs on the baking sheet.
What other vegetables can I use? I have done this dish with beets and loved it, but my husband didn't like it with the glaze. You can mix it up a bit, but think about how the glaze will combine with your preferred veggies. Also, be sure to account for cooking times. If you like brussels, slice in half lengthwise. Cauliflower? Break down into small florets. Beets? Slice them thin. You get the idea, right?
How long does this sheet pan dinner cook? Convection roast saves about 20% on time, and my dinner was perfectly roasted in about 25 minutes. The thickness of the thighs determines the cooking time. You want to get the thighs to 165° internal temperature. Double-check the root vegetables to make sure they're tender!
Hubby says "the purple yam" (when cooked) "looks like salami in the dish." 😂 Seriously, though, purple yam is loaded with anthocyanins, and is a super healthy and tasty way to get your veggies!~~ Mark Andersen, husband.
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
This sheet pan dinner is a one dish wonder. You don't need any sides! We love it with a crisp rosé. Craft beer lovers will appreciate a saison (farmhouse ale).
Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Citrus-Chipotle Glaze really is simple, and so delicious! Don't forget it's also gluten free, dairy free, and relatively low carb. And when you're done? Only one pan to clean!
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