Brining chicken with oranges is an easy way to enhance the meat’s flavor.

With a $1 fruit and a pan of salted ice water, you can make your chicken taste like a million dollars. The ice and salt help drain foul-tasting blood from the flesh.

Refrigerate the chicken in the cold water overnight, and it’ll be ready.

This is a German tradition that I learned from a late friend. James H. Slusser promised my chicken dishes — whether Indian or Italian — would taste better. And he was right!

Brining chicken with orange, the ingredients


  • 1.25 lbs. Chicken thigh, boneless and skinless*
  • 1 Navel orange
  • 1 Tray of ice cubes
  • Water
  • Salt

*Chicken breast can be used instead.

Tub of water

Dump ice into water

Brining Chicken

Fill pan with enough water to cover chicken. Add ice cubes.


Cut orange skin with knife

Peel orange skin with hands

Peel orange. I cut the skin with a knife first, then peeled it off with my bare hands.


Pull orange slices apart.

Separate orange into slices.


Brining chicken with orange 09

Add slices and skin to pan.


Sprinkle salt into ice water.

Sprinkle salt to taste.


Cut chicken thigh with scissors.

Brining chicken with orange

Add chicken. I cut mine into chunks with scissors first.


Refrigerate chicken in ice water overnight.

Cover pan with aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.

Remove chicken from pan, then pat dry with paper towel. Discard orange. Cook chicken with your favorite recipes.

Grocery Receipt

Ingredients cost $7.72. Here’s a breakdown of my shopping bill:

  • Chicken thighs, produced by Perdue: $3.73
  • Orange, Sunkist: $1
  • EZ Foil roaster pan, Hefty: $2.99

Had I bought chicken breast instead, meat alone would have cost $7.49. As for the Hefty aluminum pan, I purchased it so I can have a pan specifically for brining or marinating.

Kitchen Tips

  • Chicken thighs taste better than chicken breasts. They’re cheaper, too.
  • Brining with orange can enhance other types of meat. For Thanksgiving, my friend soaked his turkey in this citrus solution.
  • I can’t remember what he said about fish. I’ll test this with salmon for a future blog post.

Who was Slusser?

He was a well-known man in my town. You can read his obituary, but an obituary rarely tells you anything about a man’s character. It barely scratches the surface of its subject’s life. In an upcoming post, I’ll write briefly about my friend and my debt to him.