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Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken

September 30, 2016

By Kath Dedon


I stumbled across Kirthana Kumar’s recipe for Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken on Food52. It sounded so good, and so easy, I just had to try it.

It takes just a few minutes to mix the flavorful marinade. It’s recommended that the chicken should marinate for at least 3 hours and overnight is fine. I marinated chicken thighs for just 3 hours and they turned out great! Next time I will plan ahead and marinate them overnight for a super easy dinner the next night.

I bought a fresh jar of sambal oelek because the one I had seemed to have lost some of its punch. (“How long has that been in the refrigerator?”) I used 2 tablespoons which we thought gave the chicken a medium amount of heat. (Maybe 2½ stars) I thought it was just right, but I did put the jar of sambal oelek on the table so Bob could amplify the heat.

If you’re looking for a new take on roast chicken, I highly recommend this easy Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken!




Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken

(Adapted from Kirthana Kumar’s recipe found on


(print the recipe)


Serves 2 – 4 (Could easily be doubled.)




2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or to taste)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon light soy sauce (I used wheat-free tamari.)

7 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1½ – 1¾ pounds of chicken thighs (or drumsticks)


(Optional) Sliced green onions for garnish


1. Stir the sambal oelek, honey, soy sauce, and garlic together in a small measuring cup or bowl.

2. Put the chicken in a gallon-size ZipLoc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag, getting as much air out of it as you can, and then squeeze the bag to spread the marinade over the chicken.




3. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 3 hours. It can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

4. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to roast it. Preheat the oven to 350°.

5. Put the chicken in a baking pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Roast the chicken for about 50 – 60 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165° and the juices run clear. (Timing will depend on your oven and the size of the chicken thighs. Large ones can take as long as an hour. If using drumsticks, turn them over after about 25 minutes. It’s not necessary to turn thighs.)

6. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with green onions, if desired, and with extra sambal oelek.




4 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian Connell permalink
    September 30, 2016 11:52 am

    Is skin on a must here?

    • September 30, 2016 11:55 am

      I think it would work fine, Brian, if you removed the skin before marinating the chicken. Thanks for your question. I might give that a try next time! 🙂

      • Brian Connell permalink
        September 30, 2016 12:03 pm

        I feel like I’m probably no-fun for even suggesting/asking 🙂

        • September 30, 2016 2:02 pm

          Haha! Well it’s super fun for me to get suggestions and comments from readers! 😉

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