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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

Berbere Spiced Chicken
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

If you read my recent post comparing the meal kit services of Home Chef and Blue Apron, you might have noticed that one of the most enjoyable perks of using these companies was being able to learn about and try new ingredients and cooking methods without much investment. One of my favorite home chef meals were chicken thighs made with Berbere spice blend, and I liked it so much I’ve adapted it and put it into regular rotation at our house.

Berbere spice is a mix of spices commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine. It typically contains such spices as paprika, cayenne, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger. When I looked it up, I found that every recipe was different, much like a curry. In the end, instead of making it myself, I bought Organic Berbere Spice* from Amazon and I found it to be almost identical in flavor to the one I got from Home Chef (also much more affordable at $3.50 than buying all the spices separately).

In the Home Chef recipe, they simply coated the chicken in the spice. In my version, I’ve included it in a marinade (as well as on top of the chicken), but also added orange zest and juice for a complementary flavor and I’m incredibly pleased with the result. I chose bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because they have more flavor and are almost foolproof to cook to a juicy doneness with crispy skin. And who doesn’t like that? If you prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts you can use this recipe on them too, just take care not to overcook them.

Berbere Spiced Chicken
Berbere Spiced Chicken

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chicken


  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons Berbere Spice divided
  • 1 each orange zested then juiced (about 1 tablespoon zest and 1/3rd cup juice)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3- 3.5 lbs bone in skin on, chicken thighs (6 large thighs)


  • Combine the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of the Berbere spice, the orange zest and juice vinegar, oil and salt in a container large enough to snugly hold the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the marinade, turning it a couple of times to coat each piece.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, allowing to marinate. Turn the pieces a time or two while in the marinade. Can be held in the marinade up to 24 hours in advance.
  • When ready to roast the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan*, skin side up. I do this because it elevates the chicken so it's not sitting in the chicken fat and juices. This gives a crispier skin.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Berbere Spice, generously coating the skin side of the chicken.
  • Roast the chicken in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the skin is crisp.


I served this dish with grilled zucchini and cous cous cooked with dried apricots, dried cherries and pistachios mixed in. I know this is not Ethiopian, and more Moroccan in flavor, but it some of the spices are similar in both cuisines and it worked well.
Berbere Spiced Chicken
Berbere Spiced Chicken

*Amazon links above and in the recipe are for examples. If you choose to order something your cost is the same, but I get a teeny-tiny percentage which goes to help support this site.


  • Susan Claire

    On reading the ingredients on the spice bottle, I see cinnamon and cloves, spices I associate with pumpkin pie and gingerbread. How strongly do these flavors present in the finished dish? This recipe sounds heavenly, I really want to try it, but not if it comes out tasting like a Christmas cookie!

    • formerchef

      I’m really sensitive to cinnamon and not really a huge fan of anything “pumpkin pie spiced” flavored and I love this spice blend. I’d say the cinnamon and clove are more accent flavors than dominant flavors. I think the paprika, fenugreek, cayenne and cumin are more dominant. There’s definitely a hot kick to this mix.

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