Delicious homemade Chinese five spice chicken recipe made of juicy tender roasted chicken with soy sauces, fresh herbs, cooking wine, and Classic Asian five spice marinade. Serve with a bowl of jasmine rice and steamed vegetables. Incredibly delicious!
This dish is also known as five spice Pekin whole roast chicken, but in this recipe, I am using the whole chicken cut into 4 big pieces before roasting.
Homestyle Chinese-style roasted chicken is one of our family's favourite roast dinners that both kids and adults love! This a perfect recipe to try out if you are craving a roasted chicken with authentic Chinese flavours. Impress your dinner guests with your delicious homemade five spice chicken.
To create a perfect festive meal, you can pair this dish with Spring Rolls, Prawn gyoza, or Siu Mai.
Ingredients We Need
Following is a quick guide with photos and detailed measurements on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- One whole chicken - I used one medium-sized skin-on whole chicken about 1.5 kg. You can add your choice of whole chicken, free-range chicken, turkey, or chicken cut. Preferably skin-on chicken cut into large pieces.
- Seasoning & sauces - Basic seasonings are light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shao Xing Chinese cooking rice wine, sugar, and salt.
- Ground spices - Chinese five spice powder is the key ingredient you must add to the marinade. Add a teaspoon of white pepper for a kick of heat.
- Fresh herbs - You will also need freshly grated garlic, ginger slices, and spring onions.
- Basting sauce - Add honey and cooking oil to the leftover marinade sauce to make the basting sauce.
- To serve - Serve with plain jasmine rice, blanched vegetables, and your choice of dipping sauce.
How to make it
First, you need to cut the whole chicken into 4 large pieces. Next, marinate in the Asian 5 spice sauce and roast in the preheated oven.
Prepare Chicken & Marinade
- Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel, then trim off excess fat. With a sharp knife, cut both chicken legs off by the joint between the body and thigh. Remove the backbone by using kitchen scissors. Cut the chicken wings through the natural joint. Place the chicken breast side down and press down with the knife at the center of the cartilage and breast bone. Flip the chicken breast and cut through the skin in the middle. ( See detailed instructions in the video. )
- In a large mixing bowl add all the marinade ingredients and whisk everything well.
- Then add the cut chicken pieces and coat each chicken piece with the marinade sauce mix.
- Then cover it with the cling film and keep it in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roast in Oven
- Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F ) for 10 minutes. Cover the baking tray with kitchen foil and place the rack over it. Fill the tray with a bit of water.
- Place the chicken pieces skin-side up on the rack, and add the tray in the middle of the oven. Leave to bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F ) for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, the chicken is roasting you can prepare the basting sauce. In a small pot, add the leftover sauce from the chicken marinade. Then add honey, cooking oil, and water. Heat the pot to boil then lower the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce starts to get thickened. Then remove it from heat and set it aside.
- After 30 minutes of baking, remove the chicken from the oven and baste each chicken piece with the basting sauce. Then place it in the oven and continue to cook at 180°C (350°F ) for another 15-20 minutes or until cooked.
- Brush with the basting sauce.
- Chop into medium slices or pieces. Enjoy with steamed rice and blanched vegetables.
- Highly recommend using skin-on chicken as the skin keeps the inside chicken meat moist and creates a crispy golden outside result.
- To crisp up the chicken skin, you can add it to the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until crispy and golden. Make sure not to burn the skin by waiting near the oven and checking occasionally.
- You can either roast the whole chicken or cut it into big pieces. Cooking time can be varied according to the size and type of chicken and the oven you use.
- Free-range or organic chicken meat is leaner and is take a bit longer to cook.
- It tastes best when you marinate for longer hours. We usually leave it in the fridge overnight, but if you have no time, marinate a minimum of 1-2 hours.
- Before adding to the oven, leave the marinated chicken at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Don't forget to fill the tray bottom with water to prevent the sauces from burning at the tray bottom.
- Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving for the best moist and juicy result.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you pierce the chicken's inner deep part with a knife or fork if the juices run clear the chicken is cooked. You can also use a food thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked. If the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165°/76°C it is cooked.
This roasted chicken is delicious on its own but we love to dip it with 5 spice basting sauce and Chinese ginger scallion sauce. Pair it with plain jasmine rice, and blanched vegetables on the side, and make it a wholesome family dinner. You can serve it as big pieces or chop it into small slices just right before serving.
Yes, you can air-fry in the pre-heated 350°F / 180°C air-fryer for 40-45 minutes by flipping and basting halfway through. Please note that cooking time can be varied according to the brand of air-fryer and type of chicken you use.
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Chinese Five Spice Chicken
- Large mixing bowl
- Baking tray with rack
Chicken and Marinade
- 1 Whole Chicken About 1.5 kg/53oz ( skin-on chicken cut into big pieces )
- 4 tbsp Light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp Dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp White pepper powder Or black pepper
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 1 tbsp Shao Xing Wine
- 1 tsp Grated garlic
- 1 tbsp Sugar optional
- 3-4 slices Ginger
- 4-5 stalks Spring onions white part
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Cooking oil vegetable or neutral flavour oil
- Leftover sauce from chicken marinade
- 1 tbsp Water
Cut the chicken
- Cut the skin-on whole chicken into big pieces. If you are using pre-cut chicken, you can skip this step.
- Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel to remove excess moisture and trim off excess fat. Cut the legs off by the joint between the body and thigh. Remove the backbone by using kitchen scissors. Cut the wings part through the natural joint. Place the chicken breast side down and press down with a knife at the center of the cartilage and breast bone. Flip and cut through the chicken breast skin in the middle. See detailed in photo and video instructions.
- In a large mixing bowl add all the marinade ingredients and whisk everything well. Then add the cut chicken pieces and coat each chicken piece with the marinade sauce mix. Then cover it with the cling film and keep it in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roast in oven
- Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes before adding it to the oven. Cover the baking tray with kitchen foil and place the rack over it.
- Place the chicken pieces skin-side up on the rack, and add the tray in the middle of the oven. Leave to bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F ) for 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, the chicken is roasting you can prepare the basting sauce. In a small pot, add the leftover sauce from the chicken marinade. Then add honey, cooking oil, and water. Heat the pot to boil then lower the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce starts to get thickened.
- Then remove it from heat and set it aside. After 30 minutes of baking, baste each chicken piece with the basting sauce. Then place it in the oven and continue roasting at 180°C (350°F ) for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Brush with the basting sauce and chop into medium slices or pieces. Enjoy with steamed rice and blanched vegetables.
- Roasting time can be varied according to the size of the chicken and the type of oven you use.
- Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving for the best moist and juicy result.
- You can make chicken stock/broth or soup with the discarded backbone.
- Use skin-on chicken to achieve the moist and juicy roasted chicken result.
- Chinese five spice powder - is a powder mixture of ground spices, cinnamon, fennel seed, Sichuan peppercorns, white pepper, star anise, cloves, etc. You can buy it at Chinese/Asian grocery stores or Amazon online.
- Shao Xing Wine - is a Chinese cooking rice wine. You can add Japanese mirin or dry sherry as a substitute. If you are cooking a halal or non-alcohol version, you can omit it or add rice vinegar.
- How to check if it is cooked? When you pierce the chicken's inner deep part with a knife or fork if the juices run clear the chicken is cooked. Or you can check with a meat thermometer by inserting the thickest part of the meat. If the internal temperature of the chicken has reached around 165°/76°C, it is cooked.
- What to serve together? This roasted chicken is delicious on its own but you can also serve it with leftover 5-spice basting sauce, sweet chilli sauce, or Chinese ginger scallion sauce. Pair it with steamed rice, egg fried rice, or stir-fried noodles, blanched pak choy ( bok choy ), cucumber slices, or a choice of salad.
can I use skinless chicken breasts instead? I have high cholesterol so trying to avoid the skin
Hi Angela, if you use skinless chicken breasts you can reduce the cooking time. It takes about 20-25 minutes for the chicken breast to be cooked in an oven or air fryer according to the size of the chicken breast.
I made for my family and they all enjoyed it. Absolutely love the marinade. I'm cooking it again for new Year's eve party with whole chicken and vegetables. Do you have any recommendations for stuffed vegetables?
Hi Andrea, Thanks for trying out this recipe and sharing your feedback. Hope you had a wonderful celebration. You can add potatoes, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, celery, etc.
Andrea L says
Sounds easy and delicious. I’ve got the all of these ingredients, except Chinese five spices powder. Is there any substitute or can you make it at home? Thanks.
Hi Andrea. You can buy Chinese five spices powder at most Chinese or Oriental Asian grocery stores like Korean, Thai,or Japanese supermarkets, etc. I will also share our homemade Chinese five spices recipe soon too. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Absolutely love your idea of roasting chicken. I am making with turkey for my family this Xmax eve dinner. If I don't add cooking wine is it going make a big difference? Thanks for sharing your delicious recipes.
Hi Amanda, sounds delicious with turkey. Shao Xing wine brings extra flavour to the dish but if you don't like it you can omit it. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Thanks for trying out our recipe.