Smoked Paprika & Orange Roasted Chicken

Smoked paprika is a rich and flavorful spice, with no real chile heat but the warmth of paprika, the smoky flavor of a wood fire and somehow, the flavor of bacon. This orange & smoked paprika paste yields a very flavorful bird; while I’ve been unable to get a crispy skin despite a few attempts, the meat is highly flavored with smoky paprika and tart-sweet orange, so it is a worthwhile recipe (and the carcass makes an amazing chicken stock).

I think next, in search of a crispy skin, I will try a dry rub with smoked paprika & orange zest: I’ll report back once I’ve tried it.

Adapted from Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken by Elise at Simply Recipes and Roasted Chicken in Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child


Smoked Paprika & Orange Roasted Chicken


  • 1 roaster chicken, 3 – 4 lbs
  • about 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice, plus more as needed for basting
  • 1 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or about 3 cloves, minced)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • zest and wedges from 1 orange


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (300 degrees F convection).
  2. Rinse off the chicken and dry thoroughly, inside and out.  Sprinkle liberally with salt. Allow to sit, open to the air, and rise to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (This will dry out the skin somewhat and aid in making it crispier; alternatively, do this step the night before and allow to sit, open to the air, in the refrigerator overnight.).
  3. Zest the orange. Cut in half, squeeze juice from one half, then cut the other half into wedges. In a small bowl, mix paprika, honey, 1 tbsp orange juice, butter, garlic, pepper and orange zest into a paste. Insert 2 or 3 orange wedges and a sprinkle of salt and pepper into the chicken’s cavity.  Pat the chicken dry one more time (salt draws moisture from the skin) and spread the paprika paste over the entire surface of the chicken.  Truss the legs and place the chicken on a V-shaped rack in a shallow, 9 X 13″ roasting pan.
  4. Roast at 325 degrees F (300 degrees F convection),  basting with pan juices (add orange juice if there is insufficient chicken fat) every 15 -30 minutes, for about 75 – 90 minutes, or until the chicken is done: an instant thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted between the thigh and breast, the legs move in their sockets, the thickest part of the drumstick is tender when pressed, and when the thigh is pricked the juices run clear with no hint of pink. 
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving, to ensure the most tender and juicy meat.

Serves 4.


  1. I’ve made this a few times and, while flavorful, the skin never really gets crispy (likely due to the honey & butter in the paprika paste). I believe, for the crispiest skin, a dry rub may be the way to go. I have attempted a high-heat start (425 degrees F for the first 15 minutes) to crisp the skin, but the glaze tends to blacken & burn before the bird is fully cooked. A long slow roast seems the way to go here.
  2. I’ve made a lemon-lime version as well (zest, juice and wedges of 1 small lemon and 2 small limes); surprisingly, the lemon-lime flavor does not come through as well as the orange. I like the orange better; maybe it is just that it complements the smoked paprika better. 
  3. The chicken wings were particularly good (and I don’t even like dark meat); I think this glaze would work well thinned with a little orange juice, poured over chicken wings and baked in a 350 degree F oven. 


Refrigerated, for up to 5 days.  Be sure to freeze the carcass and bones for homemade chicken stock.


Year round, but oranges are in season in winter.

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