Unlike some recipes for lemonade chicken that use frozen lemonade concentrate, this recipe begins with a homemade marinade made with fresh lemon juice, honey, and ginger. It is not overly sweet like some versions, but packs a lot of flavor with the perfect balance of sweetness, tang, and spice. As an added bonus, the marinade also tenderizes the chicken.
It is easier and less expensive to use a whole chicken that you cut up yourself, but feel free to use chicken parts to suit your purposes.
Lemonade Chicken Recipe
One 4- to 5-pound whole chicken
1 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Sweet Hungarian paprika, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper
Spatchcock (see photos here) the chicken. Cut chicken along breastbone. Open flat and cut out backbone. (Discard or freeze for chicken stock). Wash each half of chicken and cut away any excess fat. Pat dry. Put chicken halves back together, bones to bones, and place in a large heavy zip-top freezer bag.
Whisk together lemon juice, honey, ginger, lemon zest, soy sauce, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Reserve and refrigerate 1/3 cup of this marinade in a separate covered container. Pour remaining marinade over the chicken in the bag, squeeze out all the air, and seal. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally to re-distribute the marinade.
Drain chicken from marinade, discarding used marinade, and place halves bone-side down on the rack in the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and baste with the reserved marinade, then sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Return to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes, until golden and thickest part of the leg reaches 165 F.
Let lemonade chicken rest 15 minutes before cutting to serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Lemonade Chicken Recipe Photo ©2020 Peggy Filippone